More Griller and Shorty
Shorty gazed into the patch of sky framed by the top of the skip. I could tell he were thinking hard, so I kept quiet.
“Where does Santa spend Christmas?”
Was it a trick question?
Lookin’ for clues, I followed Shorty’s eyes. They were blinking as they followed a passenger drone flying across the rectangle of sky that were framed by the top of the skip we was lying in.
It was a while since the blue lights had stopped flashing in the alleyway, and the police cars had left. We were recovering from the chase and what had happened after.
I tried to sit up, and bits of broken robo-vac splashed into stinking water at the bottom of the skip.
“Tell me we at least got a couple of wallets,” Shorty had said.
“Come on, Griller. I passed you two I lifted from the carol singers. What’ve you done wiv ’em?”
“Um… I put ’em in the backpack, Shorty.”
Shorty’s eyes blinked rapidly. “But the backpack were empty, Griller.”
“It’s like I said, everyfink must’ve fallen out when I fell in the skip.” I didn’t even have any pictures from my opti-cam to check, ’cos I’d kept my eyes closed. The top of the skip was a long way up.
Shorty squeezed his eyes shut and took three deep breaths while his fists unclenched. When he opened his eyes again, they fixed on a little flyer cruising across our patch of sky.
That was when he said, “Hey, Griller, where does Santa spend Christmas?”
“I dunno, Shorty. Where does Santa spend Christmas?”
“No, it’s not a joke. Where do you reckon Santa goes after delivering all those presents?”
“To bed, I should think.”
Shorty sighed. “But to bed where? Where does Santa spend Christmas Day? And the rest of the year – keeping them elves on their toes and telling ’em what to make for next year’s Christmas presents?”
He didn’t wait for an answer. “We’re gonna steal a PAC.”
“Pack o’ wot Shorty?”
“Not of anything – a Personal Air Craft.
“Oh yeah, a P.A.C. My bruvver got ’old of one o’ them. He tried to spring his pal from Wormwood Scrubs, but he got picked up by the security cameras and now he’s serving time wiv his mate.”
“We won’t be near any security cameras. We’ll be following them reindeer back to wherever they goes after their deliveries. I bet there’s no security cameras there, else someone would’ve hacked into ’em and sold the footage to a news channel by now.”
“What if he sees us following?”
““I’ll get hold of some of that new chameleon spray, wot blends in with the surroundings.” Shorty blinked a few times. “I reckon he’ll be too knackered on the way home to look behind him.”
“How we gonna find him to follow, Shorty?”
“Santa delivers to the children’s home don’t ’e? We’ll wait there an’ follow ’im. We can hide the PAC behind the bike sheds. There’s space for it if we move the wheelie bins.”
I’d never managed to stay awake for Santa when I were a kid. But Shorty weren’t asking my opinion. “We’re gonna find where he stores all those presents. We might even sneak some away, a few at a time, so’s nobody notices. Then, come December when he’s taken off with a full sleigh, we hijack it, offload the lot into a lorry an’ leave Santa tied up somewhere. How’s that for long-term thinking?”
A magistrate once told Shorty it were time he thought about the long term instead of relying on shoplifting when we was hungry. I’d thought he were telling us to expect a long term in prison, but Shorty said I were a numbskull and the magistrate were a jobsworth.
Shorty never liked being told what he oughter do.