The Twelve Lost Days of Christmas
(A Lost in Space Story)
by Pat Crumpler
usually writes Zorro stories, but this little wickedly humorous gem was
written about five years ago and has circulated among some lists ever
since. It's about time to give it a home where it can be enjoyed
at our noon meal Dad reminded us that it is now the Christmas season on
earth. We decided to celebrate the holiday as if we were back on our
own dear planet. Almost everyone was pleased with this suggestion,
but do I have to name the one person who was not thrilled? Even the
robot agreed to participate. Each day we will do something special
to commemorate this most special season. I am thinking of things I
could do for my part. After our supper, Dad asked us to make a little
speech about what Christmas means, and to name some memorable past
Christmas moments. Judy remembered the time she played Mary at the
church pageant and Will remembered the last time we were together with our
relatives. (I saw Mother wipe her eye thinking about that, too).
Major West remembered winning his rocket wings in December and said that
had been his best Christmas ever. I recalled the time I pulled the
ribbon on the big moving box and two puppies came hopping out all over me,
licking me and smelling so puppy-good. Dad said he did not have a
favorite Christmas, but a memory of us three kids hopping into their bed
making them get up so we could open our presents Christmas morning.
He said that watching us was the most valuable present one could have.
Mom agreed and said watching us was her favorite part of the Christmas
ritual, too. She also reminded us of the reason for Christmas, and
we all kneeled and listened while she thanked God for our safety and the
true reason for the holiday. It was a wonderful dinner. Never
did dried food taste so good as it did tonight. Now that we are
almost out of real food supplies we have to eat the dried food morsels
more and more. Of course, Diary, you have now noticed I have not mentioned
a certain person. Did this person make a speech? He did, indeed.
He pointed out how last year at Christmastime we were in space trying our
best to get out of that veladium cloud which had almost completely drained
our power stores. We were so panicked we did not even realize the
time of year, let alone celebrate. Most of us wanted to forget about
that time. But, wait, there is more. He reminded us about the
year before when we were on that desert planet and just at Christmas time
we were caught in that sand storm which took us two weeks to dig out of.
And, the year before that, we had landed on a nice planet, but before we
could do anything, we had to spend two days testing water, atmosphere and
all of the other things we needed to test before we could set up camp in
the rain. We were so mad at him for ruining our warm feeling.
Mom used the last of the flour, sugar, egg powder and cocoa she had been
saving to make what she called a Joyous Christmas Season Chocolate Cake.
It was a surprise because we had all thought we had none of those supplies
and we were really looking forward to dessert, I can tell you. The smell
drove us crazy all afternoon. An unnamed person, however, said
there was an emergency in the observation room and there was not. We
did not think too much of that little lie, except when it was time for
dessert, we found the cake gone. We also found this unnamed person
in his bunk licking the last little bit of frosting from his fork.
Will became so upset he actually cussed. Mom and Dad sent him to his
cabin, and Dad said if he ever heard that again, Will would dine on soap.
What happened was Will's present to the family was a neat mixture he made
with his chemistry set. He used a big glass bottle and when shaken
the clear mixture gave off all kinds of bright colors. It was Will's
light show. Unfortunately, Dr. Smith wanted that bottle and he
dumped out the chemicals ruining Will's present. Boy, was Will mad.
I don't know what made Dad and Mom angrier, Dr. Smith taking the bottle or
what Will called Dr. Smith.
when I said Dr. Smith dumped out those chemicals? Well he said he
threw the mixture down the drain, but he actually threw it into the rinse
basin where Judy had her face towel. When Judy used the towel not
only did she get colors all over her hands, she had all kinds of colors on
her face, too. And it would not wash off. Mom said it would
have to wear off slowly. Poor Judy, she looked awful. Just
awful. And it did not help when Dr. Smith laughed and called her a
"horse of different colors." Judy cried.
after dinner, we sang Christmas Carols. It was lovely. We did
not look at Judy, so we would not laugh in the middle of the songs.
Dr. Smith looked. Dad was mad. Don was mad. Judy cried.
Mom decided she would like a new hairdo for our Christmas Eve party. I
helped her comb out her hair and select a new style. I helped her
put on the styling helmet. But guess what? Someone, should I
mention who, borrowed a few parts from the helmet and did not put them
back correctly. When the helmet was programmed to cut one inch, it cut
ten, and not evenly, either. Mom's hair was cut to her ears, and it
pulled her hair so hard she yelled. Daddy came out and took the
helmet off in the nick of time. He had to hug her for an hour to
keep her quiet. When Judy came out and saw Mom, she laughed and then
started crying again. Boy, does Mom's hair look choppy. Dad is
Judy looked a little better. Some of the red is fading. Don
told her it made an interesting pattern. Then he said, "Please
don't cry." Dad told Mom he loved her new hairstyle that it was
very modern. Then Don told Mom "Please don't cry."
Dr. Smith said Women were subject to nervous fits and crying jags, and he
was glad he never had to indulge their emotional spasms. Dad and Don
had to hold Mom and Judy back. Dr. Smith said "Pullease, madame
and missy, spare ME your holiday sentiments." Then Don said
"Why, I oughtta..." Dr. Smith ate by himself because he
said it was too loud and the food was bad enough in quiet.
I HATE Dr. Smith. I was almost finished with my Christmas play, and
he used my papers as a mat where he took apart the air unit to grease it
because it was noisy. There was so much grease, I could not read a
word. And I spent four days on it. He said he looked at it before he
used it and he was certain it was nothing. He said he probably did
the family a favor. Don hugged me a little and told me not to cry. I
HATE Dr. Smith.
I heard Don begging my Dad to let him eject Dr. Smith out the air lock.
I think he was teasing. It took Dad a few minutes before he said
"No, Don, Don't." When Will told Dad that Dr. Smith did
not do his cleaning chores today and Mom had to do them, I heard Don ask
Dad again. I think he was teasing, that time, too. It sure
took Dad a long time to say, "No, Don, Don't."
am so glad I have you to talk to. I wonder if we will stay lost and
then someone a thousand years from now will find my diary. Oh, by
the way, Dr. Smith ruined the surprise Don had for Judy. Now he has
to make her something new. Dr. Smith suggested that the new thing
be a mask and gloves to hide the colors. I think Don would have hit
Dr. Smith, but he was hugging Judy and telling her to please stop crying.
think I am going to call you Diane for the next few days, as I am getting
tired of always writing to Dear Diary. Or maybe I will name you
Dinah. Dad has been working on a secret project for our Christmas party.
No one is allowed in the tool compartment, because that is where he is
making it. Of course, we all know what it is because Dr. Smith goes in
there all of the time to get tools when Dad is not there. Dr. Smith
always leaves the door open and I think each one of us has had to close
Dr. Smith went into the tool compartment and accidentally knocked over the
big chiming clock Dad was making. There were pieces all over the
floor. Dr. Smith blamed it on the robot. When Dad started to
yell Dr. Smith pointed out that Dad's face had red blotches bigger and
more unattractive than the ones on Judy. We could hear Judy's sobs
was our Christmas Eve party. We decorated the robot like a tree with
our handmade ornaments and Don put on garlands he made from the recycled
green plastic of the storage boxes. It was so pretty. The
robot stood still for the whole party. I cut out our food morsels
with cookie cutters and then used food coloring to make them look like
Christmas cookies. Judy gave everyone colorful hats with pictures of
angels, and candy canes and other decorations she had painted. They
were beautiful. Will gave us each a attractive place mat made from scraps
from the recycling bin. It was so festive. Instead of a big
clock, Dad put together the useful parts and made a moving thing. We
do not know what it is, but it moves and reflects the light. Don
gave us each a key chain he made with old mechanical parts. We had
some keys a few days ago, but Dr. Smith welded them together to use as a
metal prop for his books so he could lay in bed and not have to hold his
book. Mom made each of us a dinner napkin with embroidered designs
and our names on them. They were so pretty. Did Dr.
Smith give any presents, you ask? He certainly did. He gave each one
of us a poem. He asked us to read them aloud. Here they are:
Owl and the Pussy Cat went to space
Owl looked up to the moon above
said to the Owl, you elegant fowl,
they left in a day and were carried away
Twinkle little lad
Dumpty sat on the wall.
was an old woman from Jupiter II
Penny Blue, come blow your horn
pretty young lady in space
Dinah-Diane, do you know what happened next?
said "That's it. I am gonna do it. John, don't try to
stop me. SMITH, let's go."
course Dr. Smith laughed and asked just where did Major West think they
Don said, "To the airlock. You have earned it. You have
Dr. Smith laughed again and said it was Christmas, Major West would not do
anything so unsociable as sending anyone out the airlock and besides,
Major West did not have the courage, and he emphasized the word courage.
We all looked at Dad, expecting him to say, "No, Don, Don't."
But he did not say a thing, he only stood there with his arms crossed over
his chest. So, we all followed them to the airlock. Dr. Smith
ridiculed Don the whole way, and the next thing Don said was, "Out
you go, flushed like a big turd into space."
And you know what I heard, Dinah, Dear Dinah Diary? "Click,
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