tagSci-Fi & FantasyBorn on Christmas Day

Born on Christmas Day

bySpencerfiction©

"Mary's boy child Jesus Christ, was born on Christmas Day, signed Henry," the girl at the service counter read the report from the last tour guide to come in.

"Doh!" she thought, not experienced enough to know if this was an unusual report or not. But then, everything was unusual today, of all days. She had found the report on the counter, the guide Henry having already disappeared. She filed it in the blue box resting on the counter. Then she looked up as a grim-looking man stomped through from the Arrivals area.

"Thank God you're back, we're just closing up," she said.

The girl was alone, the lights in the offices behind her already in darkness.

"That's all very well," the tall red-turbaned excursion-traveller retorted, "I want to deliver in the strongest possible terms a complaint about the cavalier attitude of your tour guide, Henry."

"I think that's probably rather academic, sir, we are closing up for good and you are the last ever excursion to return," the girl smiled sweetly, adding, "Safely, I might add."

"That's hardly the right attitude young lady," he spluttered, "I will take your name and report you to your superior."

"Rebecca, sir," for some reason unknown to Rebecca, she genuflected ever so slightly, no doubt intimidated by this imposing man, still wearing the historic priestly robes appropriate to his excursion.

"Ah, Jewish, are you girl?" he sneered, "I thought as much."

"No, we're Lutheran, but don't practice as often as we should." Rebecca busied herself putting plastic files and the desk equipment into the blue box, "Not many do nowadays."

"Well, these are the times we live in, I suppose," he continued, crisply, "Aren't you going to fill in a complaint form or something?"

"Of course," she said, pulling open a drawer in the desk, putting on an uncertain smile, a little flustered as all the drawers had already been emptied. She started looking through the blue box, "Sorry, I think they are in here somewhere, I haven't been here long and everyone else has gone. Just Security left, checking through the building before we close up for good."

"Sorry, my dear, for snapping at you," the tall man replied, "It was wrong of me to be so short with you. It's all the fault of the tour guide and he seems to have completely disappeared."

"Ah, here it is, sir," Rebecca smiled, smoothing out the slightly creased form on the table and extracting a pen from the box. "Right, today's date is 24th December -"

"What?" he exclaimed, "We left on the 19th Tevet, girl, what nonsense is this?"

"No, you're wrong there, sir, your trip was 'Bethlehem Number One', it is, or rather was, one of our most popular trips at this time of year."

"Well, whatever, we can argue about the date and time later. Do you have the surname of the tour guide?"

"Let me see," she rummaged through the box again, "Sorry about this, they removed all the computers earlier today. All the equipment is being removed, by order of the Government, all governments actually, they say time travel is far too risky to continue."

"They certainly are right there," the man said, "Never mind the name, I suppose someone must have it somewhere."

"Right oh, can I have your name, sir?" she asked, pen poised.

"Don't you recognise me, girl?" he rasped.

Rebecca regarded him, he was tall, with a long greying beard, wearing a red turban and flowing robes appropriate to his tour. Rebecca had only been working at Time Travel International Inc, or TTI as most people called it, for two weeks. The temp agency got her the job to help with the seasonal rush, way before the Edict was declared, "Sorry, sir, but no."

"Don't you watch the compulsory prayer telecasts?"

"I hardly ever watch TV," she replied nervously, "Just the music and movie channels, really."

"Well, I am the Lord High Priest of the Samaritans, based here in New Samaria."

"Sorry Mr ... er Lord, I'll just write that down ..." Rebecca scribbled furiously, "And the complaint is?"

"Well, with some compassion, one can understand Henry's motives, in normal circumstances," the Samaritan said, "But I was told specifically that we were never to interfere with these people we meet."

"That's right, sir," nodded Rebecca, "The golden rule." The first hour she was on the job they emphasised that golden rule.

"Well, Bethlehem was crowded to bursting point and one couple couldn't get a room anywhere, the woman extremely heavy with child," he said, "I felt sorry for her, of course, but Henry went too far and paid the innkeeper for the couple to spend the night in the stable ... Oh, what's happening to me?"

In front of Rebecca's eyes the Samaritan faded and disappeared, the company's universal translator unit falling to the floor.

"Oh, dear," Rebecca said, half to herself, "That's the third one today!"

She scooted around the counter to collect the translator, seeing another on the floor right next to the exit. She picked them both up and popped them in the blue box.

Just then her cell phone chirped, she immediately recognised the caller, "Hi Mom!"

"You finished yet, Becky, sweetheart?" came the familiar voice through the speaker, a little slurred.

"Just about, Mom," she answered, a little sorrowfully, "I'm glad this is my last day, though, this time travel lark is really distressing."

"Yeah, your Uncle Henry's worked there five years and swears time travel messes with you, no wonder they are shutting it all down."

"Mom," Rebecca said quietly, "I don't have a Uncle Henry."

"Course, you don't dear, don't mind me, your grandma and I've had one too many eggnogs, I think, that's why your Dad's picking you up in a cab, he should be outside now."

"Yes, I see him, Mom, see you soon," Rebecca smiled and waved to her Dad standing next to the big yellow taxi through the glass, "Oh, Mom?"

"Yes, Becky?"

"Merry Christmas, Mom."

"Merry Christmas, sweetheart."

THE END

inspired by "Mary's Boy Child Oh My Lord", by Boney M.

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