by A21 Reporter Andy Clems
The fine folks of Four Feather Falls were certainly getting into the festive spirit and the town had never looked prettier. However, trouble lay just around the corner in the shape of no-good bandits Pedro and Fernando. They had a plan to make Christmas a lot less merry for everyone!
Pedro had been planning what he described to himself as the crime of the year and Fernando hadn’t wished to argue. Every year, the townspeople gathered together for a feast in the town hall, followed by an exchange of gifts and while Pedro loved to eat his fill, he loved presents even more. And what could be better than a whole heap of them?
Yes, Pedro planned to steal every last gift while the good people of the town tucked into their meals. It was a very good plan, or so Pedro thought. Fernando would act as lookout, while Pedro crept into the storeroom and pilfered the presents. Fernando didn’t mind, to him the job of a lookout was much better than carrying a lot of heavy boxes around.
The evening of the feast arrived and the pair of rogues watched from the shadows of the street while the people poured into the town hall. Everyone was there, from Sheriff Tex Tucker and Marvin Jackson, to Ma Jones and Dan Morse. Everyone under one roof and not another person in sight! Pedro grinned with glee as he and Fernando crept along the wooden sidewalk and then around the back of the building.
The party was going on in the large room at the front of the hall, but the store room at the back was Pedro’s target, that’s were the presents would be. He could just imagine the looks on the faces of everyone else when they opened the door and saw that all the presents were gone. He chuckled greedily and set to work picking the lock.
Meanwhile, Fernando took his position across the street. He would whistle a warning if anyone came out the front door. It was a simple plan, and that was the way Fernando liked it. He leaned against the door of the blacksmith’s stable and focused his attention on the town hall, listening to the hubbub of conversation and piano music coming from inside.
Inside the store room, Pedro couldn’t believe his eyes. He had never seen so many presents in one place before. He wasn’t sure how many he could carry in one go, but decided to start with the largest first. It was very heavy and he struggled to move it. Inch by inch he slid the box closer to the rear door. He began to whisper excitedly to himself as he did so, complimenting his own brilliant plan. That’s when the box jammed in the doorway.
Pedro grunted and strained, but the parcel was stuck fast and wouldn’t budge. Pedro heaved again, to no avail. He backed out the door and ran around the side of the building, waving Fernando over. Somehow, with one of them at each end, they were able to lever the present out into the night and then went back for more. When all the presents were arranged in a pile, Pedro rushed to a nearby barn where he’d hidden his horses and wagon and soon the presents were loaded aboard.
Pedro and Fernando climbed up onto the seat and Pedro was just about to signal the horses to move when the lid sprang off the large parcel and the shadowy figure of Tex Tucker popped up from inside. His magic guns swiveled to cover each of the bandits. Their stunned expressions said more than Pedro’s incredulous stuttering ever could. A pitiful whistle escaped Fernando’s lips, much to Pedro’s annoyance.
With the two criminals safely under lock and key, the party continued long into the night. The next morning, Tex explained to his captives that the people of the town figured the ne’er-do-wells would try some kind of stunt and decided to arrange a festive surprise of their own. Pedro and Fernando decided that next year they’d make their own presents…