Nutcracker tries to figure out who the ornament-napper is.
|Time for hibernating was over. My business associates and I blinked and stretched as we woke. The traditional Seasons Greetings and jolly grins were mandatory after a long year of sleep. Raising wooden arms, I hushed the merry reunion. As the eldest in our group, it was my job to not only keep everyone organize, but to motivate them, as well.
"Are y'all ready to shine?" My eyes flickered over each member in the lot.
"Ready for duty, sir!" Angel squealed.
Santa adjusted his grip on his reindeer reigns and flashed a thumbsup, while the Gingerbread Brothers patted the dust off of each other's gumdrop buttons. The Little Drummer Boy ratta-tat-tatted a warning, and we all held our breaths, silent with anticipation, as our old cardboard box shifted under our feet. The roof of our home flew open and a tree towered over us. The smell of pine was thick in the air.
"I hope I get a position near the top, this year," Frosty whispered.
"The children know best," I hissed before a hand decended and scooped me from my place. Within seconds I was affixed in a place of honor. With joy I watched as my friends were settled into their positions. Colorful twinkling lights were turned on and we were left alone for the night.
"Hey, boss, we seem to be missing someone."
I glanced down from my perch to see Rudolph frowning.
"Who might that be?" I asked. I could have sworn we'd all been removed from the box. My bearded jaw snapped shut at the thought of one of my fellows being left behind.
"It's Mozart the Mouse and his Holiday Piano," Rudolph sniffed, "He's gone!"
"We'll need to investigate," I sighed. "Angel, you have the best view. Did you notice whether Mozart was taken from the box?"
"Oh, he was!" Angel fluttered her wings, "He was put near the Grinch this year."
I flinched at the news. Despite his Santa hat, the Grinch wasn't a very jolly guy.
Carefully pulling my ribbon, I moved from my esteemed spot to interrogate the Grinch.
"What are you insinuating, Nutcracker?" Grinch scowled after I asked if he'd seen Mozart. " Do you think I did something to him? I think you've forgotten that my heart's grown three sizes. I'd never hurt that musical mouse!"
"I'm only asking if you saw anything unusual," I hastened to assure him.
"Well," Grinch grumbled, "you might try asking Frosty. There was a flurry of activity near his area of the tree not too long ago."
I hopped down a few branches to find Frosty hanging out with Jack Frost.
"How'd you two get stuck together this year?" I grinned.
"The children thought it'd be cute to put us on the same limb," Frosty said.
"So, Mozart Mouse seems to be missing," I said. "Have either of you seen him?"
"Oh, snowballs!" Frosty gasped. "I saw him and Drummer Boy arguing earlier Do you think DB might've taken Mozart out? I heard he was jealous that Mozart's piano could play real music."
The branch swayed as I thought aloud. "That doesn't sound like DB. He's a sweet kid. I don't imagine he would ever harm another ornament."
Frosty shook his head. "It's always the quiet ones."
"DB isn't quiet," Jack Frost laughed. "He's always playing that drum of his. Hence his name."
"You snow what I mean," Frosty snapped.
I left the two to their argument and circled the tree to find DB. The lad was peacefully asleep. I felt bad nudging him awake but I had to hear his side of the story.
"A fight?" DB yawned, "Yeah, Mozart and I had different ideas on what songs to play for the concert tomorrow. We worked it out, though."
"So, you're not jealous of his piano?"
DB rubbed an eye and shook his head. "No. Mozart's piano is neat but — " he hugged his instrument tenderly, "I love the drums best!"
I ruffled DBs hair. "Go back to bed. And thanks for the information."
DB laid his head on his drum and drifted off to sleep while I thoughtfully climbed back to my original spot.
As I settled into place it hit me like a ton of tinsel. With a frown, I beckoned the clothespin soldiers to assist me in apprehending the ornamentnapper.
"Frosty, you're under arrest!" I pointed an accusing arm in his face, "Tell us where you've hidden Mozart and we'll go easy on you!"
Glaring down his long carrot nose at me, Frosty crossed his branch arms over his chest.
"How'd you know it was me?"
"Simple," I said. "The only way you would have known that DB and Mozart had a fight would be if you were near them. But you were put on the opposite side of the tree from them. That means you left your spot."
"You told me you left to get cocoa!" Jack Frost squawked.
"So, why were you over there?" I demanded.
"Fine!" Frosty threw up his arms in defeat. "I did it! I got rid of Mozart! He's a new ornament and he took my old position on the tree leaving me stuck on a low branch! Nobody can see me down here!"
I shook my head in disgust. "Where is your spirit of giving?" I scolded. "And where is Mozart?"
"I knocked him out cold and stuffed him in the stocking next to the fireplace," Frosty grumbled, kicking pine needles to the ground. I nodded to the soldiers, and they marched off to rescue Mozart.
"You'll have to be punished, Frosty."
Icicles dripped from his eyes as he nodded in understanding.
The soldiers brought Mozart back while I secured Frosty behind a row of candy canes. We listened as the tiny piano began to play Silent Night and dawn's first light pierced the darkness.