He'd left it too late. He kept telling her and the kids he'd get the tree, but between the pressures of being foreman this year, and working thirty miles away over a mountain pass, he'd kept forgetting. Now it was two days before Christmas, one of his rare days off, and he couldn't find a tree. He'd been all over town, and everyone was sold out. What was he going to do?
Then he saw it. The sign. It was outside a car wash and it said "$3 tree with $5 car wash." That was a deal. He wondered if they still had trees and what was wrong with them. He pulled into the parking lot and hopped out of the truck.
He didn't see anyone or any trees, so he started to the back of the carwash. Suddenly an attendant appeared. "Can I help you?"
"Yeah, do you have any trees left?"
"Oh, yes. Right this way. We keep them around back to keep people from taking them before they get a carwash."
"That's fair." They came around the corner of the building and he gasped. There were dozens of trees, all beautiful, and all huge.
"What's wrong with these trees?" he demanded.
"You can't afford to ask questions, Mr. Taylor," the attendant answered firmly. "You've left it too late and you're about to disappoint your kids."
How did the little man know his name? He looked down, about to demand some answers, but the look in the little man's eyes made him close his mouth.
"Yes, we know your name. We know everyone. And we just want everyone to have a merry Christmas, with a tree. What fun are presents if there's no tree to put them under?"
He got his carwash and loaded the tree in the back. As he drove off, he heard "Ho ho ho. Merry Christmas!" and jingling bells. But when he looked back, there was just the old carwash.
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