The Twelve Lost Days of Christmas

(A Lost in Space Story)


by Pat Crumpler



Pat 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 year round.  



Dear Diary,

Today 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.


Dear Diary,

Today 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.


Dear Diary,

Today 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.


Dear Diary,

Remember 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.



Tonight 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.



Today 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 mad.



Today 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.



Well, 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.


Dear Diary,

Today 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."


Dearest Diary,

I 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.



I 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 the door.

P.S.  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 even upstairs.


Dear Diane,

Tonight 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:

For Dad,

The Owl and the Pussy Cat went to space
In a beautiful silver craft
They took some honey, and left their money,
For that, you know they were daft.

The Owl looked up to the moon above
And sang with a small guitar
Oh, lovely lady, oh lady my love
Accompany me to the stars.

Pussy said to the Owl, you elegant fowl,
How wonderfully sweet you sing,
Oh, let us not stay, please take me away
And the three of our children we'll bring.

So they left in a day and were carried away
By mistakes so horribly wrong.
They dined upon pills, and other bad swills
And that was the end of their song.

For Will,

Twinkle, Twinkle little lad
How did you get so very bad?
Lost in space so very high,
Like a coal chunk in the sky,
Twinkle, Twinkle little lad
Your language makes us very sad.

For Don,

Major Dumpty sat on the wall.
Major Dumpty had a great fall.
All Robinson's women, Robinson's men
Couldn't put Major together again.

For Mom,

There was an old woman from Jupiter II
She had so many chores, she knew not what to do.
She washed, and she cleaned and saw all were fed
On dehydrated veggies, dry meat and fake bread.
She worked and she worried
And stayed with her goal.
She wound up forever just stuck in this hole.

For me, Penny,

Little Penny Blue, come blow your horn
You don't have potatoes, green beans or corn.
Where is the young girl in black space so deep?
Wondering why she is riding this heap.

And, for Judy,

A pretty young lady in space
Had a most unusual case
Reds, greens, and blues
Are the colors she'd use
To decorate all of her face

Well, Dinah-Diane, do you know what happened next?

Don said "That's it.  I am gonna do it.  John, don't try to stop me. SMITH, let's go."

Of course Dr. Smith laughed and asked just where did Major West think they were going?

And Don said, "To the airlock.  You have earned it.  You have got it."

Then 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, swoosh, click."




Like this delightful story? 


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