Friday, December 13, 2013

"Some Christmas Camouflage: A Short Story" by Elisabeth Grace Foley (Novelette)

Genre:  Historical Fiction, Christmas

Type of Short Story:  Novelette

Summary:  On a snowy December evening during the Great Depression, a high-spirited college student impulsively decides to do some spying on a quiet classmate—with unexpected results. A short story both funny and touching, in which mischief brings about a small Christmas miracle.


He looked across toward the other side of the street, less well lit, where Philip had gone. A wild idea darted into his head. Had it not been for his unusual elevation of spirits, and the curious incident of the shop window, he might not have entertained it. But in his present mood it seemed like another splendid joke—to follow Philip Brown and see exactly where it was he did go in those evenings away from the campus.

It was almost too easy. Wesley crossed the street, and in a few moments again had Philip in view in the dimmer light of the now sparse street lamps, walking along with his head slightly down, the idea of an irrepressible classmate flitting from house to house like an amateur detective behind him evidently the furthest thing from his mind. Philip walked on steadily, turning down narrower streets where the snow was still crusted on the sidewalks, only trampled in a line down the middle by passing feet. They were getting into a different section of town now, made up mostly of cheap rooming-houses and apartments. Wesley hovered about a block behind, by this time brimming with suppressed glee over the sheer novelty of his escapade. At last he poked his head from behind the combined shelter of a tree and trash can to see Philip turn into the dark lower doorway of a small brick apartment house. Wesley waited a few seconds after his disappearance, then came out of hiding and crossed to the door himself. He examined the cards on the mailboxes in the entry and found the name ‘Brown’ on number 9. From a glance at the numbers on the doors in the ground-floor hall, he correctly calculated the position of number 9 at third-floor back, and darted back outside. The window at the back corner in question was lighted—and a fire-escape that doubled intricately back and forth over itself up the back of the house provided him easy access. Wesley was too far gone in adventure by now to even think whether he was doing something quite right.

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