Christmas was brilliant, thought Arthur Shappey. He'd never been this excited. This Christmas was even better than normal Christmases. You could call it double brilliant!
He'd never lived through a year before that had not one but two Christmases. Two Christmases! And both while flying! It was almost too much to take!
Arthur wondered if he would have two birthdays this year as well. He'd have to ask Douglas. If that happened, wow. That would be fantastic.
It had been a close run thing. There had only been a few minutes before the end of the day when they finally got to give each other all their Secret Santa presents.
Arthur's present had been chocolate coins in a sock from Skip. A Christmas Sock was like a Christmas Stocking, but even better, thought Arthur, because it was still warm from Skip's feet. Warm like a hug.
Then Douglas had informed them all in the dying minutes of the day that they were going to do Christmas all over again. They had just passed the international date line and it was once again the morning of the 25th.
Arthur didn't quite understand what an international date line was, or why it had made two Christmases (although that was brilliant!)
He did know that dates came in a box at Christmas. Dates were shiny and sticky and smelt funny. They also came from other countries, so that was international. But perhaps those were a different kind of date? It was probably just one of those things that nobody knew.
Mum liked to eat dates at Christmas using a little plastic knobbly stick that came inside the box. Perhaps she was missing her dates this Christmas, thought Arthur. There were no dates on the plane.
He had an idea of how to cheer her up.
Locking himself inside the toilet, Arthur concentrated as he tickled his face with the business end of a permanent marker, trying not to giggle. This was going to be a brilliant surprise. He wound five blankets around himself and inserted a strategic cushion.
How happy they'd all be in a few moments. Arthur imagined their faces as they saw him coming down the plane, ho-ho-ho-ing and bringing good cheer to all men – as well as to mum.
It was only as he put the finishing touches on his beard that he had a moment of doubt. The scribbles on his face were dark black ink. What was that niggle? He tried to remember why that was different from Santa's beard. After a moment Arthur decided it probably didn't matter.
Time to give everyone a nice surprise. Here comes Santa!
Christmas was brilliant!