The Miracle on 34th Street

The Miracle on 34th Street by A. L. Singer Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: The Miracle on 34th Street by A. L. Singer Read Free Book Online
Authors: A. L. Singer
opportunity to prove that I don't exist?" Kringle asked.
    "Exactly. And he'll go too far. Our best defense is to let Collins hang himself. But you have to promise me that you'll speak only when I tell you."
    "You have my word," Kringle said.
    "Good. I'll see you in the morning."
    Bryan walked briskly out of the courtroom. His mind was tumbling. He thought about what he had said, what he should have said, what he would say.
    But when he spotted Dorey Walker, standing by the front door, he was at a loss for words. He slowed down and gave her an uncertain smile.
    "I wanted to thank you for doing this for Kriss," Dorey said. "I was in the gallery. I don't think you saw me. I don't understand your strategy, but I trust it'll work."
    "I still have a long way to go," Bryan said. "But I have a few tricks up my sleeve."
    Dorey looked down. "Urn, about last week . . . I'm sorry I lost my temper."
    "I said some things I shouldn't have," Bryan replied.
    "No permanent damage." Dorey looked at her watch. "Well, I have to pick Susan up at school."
    "Tell her hello from me," Bryan said.
    "I will." Dorey tried another smile. "Thanks again. I suppose I'll see you around if this thing drags on."
    "Okay."
    Dorey left, waving to Bryan over her shoulder.
    Bryan leaned against the door. He felt as if she'd taken a part of his heart with her.
    Dorey was dead tired as she tucked Susan into bed that night.
    "Is Kriss going to be okay?" Susan asked.
    "I hope so," Dorey replied
    "I hope he turns out to really be Santa Claus."
    Dorey nodded. "So do I," she said softly.
    "Then I'll get what I want for Christmas."
    "Well, don't you worry about Kriss. He's going to be fine."
    "Because Bryan's his lawyer?" Susan asked.
    "That has a lot to do with it."
    "Are you still mad at him?"
    "I'm not mad at him, Susan."
    "You like him again?"
    Dorey thought about that a moment. Finally she said, "He's a very nice man. Now get to sleep."
    Then she kissed Susan's grinning face good night.

December 23, 9:11 A.M.

    2 Days To Christmas
    Dr. Arthur Hunter droned on and on about Saint Nicholas. Hunter was a leading religious scholar, and Collins had called him to the witness stand.
    Judge Harper listened with his head propped in his hands. There were a few snores in the gallery.
    ". . . His relics are enshrined in the basilica of Saint Nicola, Bari, Italy," Dr. Hunter said. "His legend is credited with a number of miracles, the best known dealing with saving children from tragedy."
    "Miracles?" Collins blurted out. "Do you believe in miracles, Dr. Hunter? Extraordinary events in the physical world that are said to be caused by supernatural forces?"
    "I can't say I believe in miracles as you frame the term," Dr. Hunter replied.
    Collins paced the floor. "Dr. Hunter, is it not true that in 1969 the Church dropped Saint Nicholas's feast day from the calendar?"
    "That's correct."
    "In essence, the Church walked away from Saint Nicholas," Collins declared. "So would they not also walk away from the pop-culture figure based on him—Santa Claus?"
    "I would presume so," Dr. Hunter said.
    "No further questions," Collins announced.
    Kriss Kringle seemed ready to burst. Bryan eyed him cautiously. He hoped Kringle would live up to his promise.
    The next witness was Air Force Commander Charles Colson.
    "Have you ever been to the North Pole?" Collins asked him.
    "Yes sir," Commander Colson answered crisply. "In 1972 and again in 1984. I explored the region extensively."
    "Did you ever come across any evidence of dwellings, animal pens, barns, workshops—any
    settlement whatsoever?"
    "None, sir."
    "In your opinion, would it be possible in that region for an individual such as Mr. Kringle to create a settlement large enough to manufacture at least one toy for each of the earth's one-point-seven billion children?"
    "No, sir."
    Collins looked smugly at Kriss Kringle. "No further questions."
    Kringle suddenly rose to his feet. "There isn't any way the gentleman could have seen my workshops,"

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