In this heartwarming seasonal tale Roy is now my neighbour in Dusseldorf and often pops round to my house to borrow kitchen necessities.

It is Christmas eve and Roy has popped round to enjoy a warming glass of Glühwein and help me affix tinsel to Jetta.

'Ach,' says Roy suddenly, 'I find I have forgotten to obtain a Christmas present for my Mother who is wintering at Baden.'

I sip my Glühwein carefully and remark, 'This will lead to familial tensions and unseasonal strife.'

'It is so,' says Roy.

'You know,' I say thoughtfully. 'It strikes me that the best gift a son can give his mother is himself.'

'What you say has a certain validity yet how are we to dramatize this concept in such a way that my mother will not merely feel gypped out of a present?'

'Perhaps if we were to wrap you in Christmas wrapping paper and convey you to Baden.'

'Also,' says Roy, rising. 'You will wrap me in Christmas wrapping paper and convey me to Baden at once.'

'Regrettably I find we have run out of wrapping paper and the shops have now closed. Logically some substitute will have to be found.'

'Yes, that is logical, but I cannot think what.' Roy looks around the room seeking that in which he may be wrapped.

My mouth is dry. I tickle Jetta's paws idly and say, 'You know, I believe I may have some cling-film in the kitchen.'

'Then the situation is saved. You will wrap me in cling-film and have me stowed beneath my mother's Christmas tree.'

I bow my assent and make to the kitchen. But when I open the cupboard I turn ashen and begin to quiver. For the cupboard is bare. The cling-film has been used, all the rolls of it.

In alarm, I return to the living-room and open the other clingfilm cupboards but it is the same story. I check the cache in my bedroom wardrobe and again there is none. I ransack the entire house from top to bottom. I look for the emergency rolls I keep hidden in the toilet cistern and inside lampshades. Everywhere there is the same horrible dearth of cling-film. My palms sweat. I wish to die.

'Roy,' I say, 'I find I was mistaken. Due to an oversight I have no cling-film in the house. I will not be able to wrap you in it. I am sorry, this has never happened before.'

'Also,' says Roy. 'Perhaps some brown parcel paper?'

'I would rather die than wrap you in brown parcel paper.' I am broken and pitiful.

And then it happens, the seasonal miracle. A cloud of soot billows from the fireplace and he comes down my chimney, that well-known man in red.

'Hello Santa,' I say. 'What are you doing in Dusseldorf?'

'Attending to the distribution of presents,' he says.

'Ah,' I say.

'You have been good this year,' he continues. 'You have been orderly and polite and have kept your shoes neatly arranged.'

I bow courteously. 'Good behaviour is its own reward.'

'Nevertheless I intend to give you a present.'

'May I enquire what?'

Santa Claus opens his sack, revealing dozens of silvery tubes. 'It is many rolls of cling-film.'

'Capital,' says Roy. 'Now you may commence.'

Trembling with anticipation, I take a roll from Santa's sack. I start at the feet and work my way up. I work with the craft and dexterity of an expert shopkeeper wrapping a purchase. Soon, Roy Orbison is completely wrapped in cling-film. I am filled with peace on earth and goodwill to all men. As a seasonal touch I drape him with tinsel.

'He is completely wrapped in Clingfilm,' I say to Santa.

'Ho,' says Santa, stroking his trademark white beard. 'So this is how it is. Is it that you like to wrap him as a present to the world?'

'Who can plumb the mysteries of the human heart?'

'Who indeed? I confess to being envious of him. In my long life I have wrapped many gifts and yet, ironically, I have never been wrapped.'

'Perhaps I might oblige? I have many rolls left.'

'Commence,' says Santa.

I start from his boots and work my way up. It takes a good half a roll to encompass his jolly round belly alone. Soon, Father Christmas is completely wrapped in clingfilm. It is not quite so good as wrapping Roy but it is enjoyable nonetheless and is certainly a feather in my cap.

'Both Father Christmas and Roy Orbison are completely wrapped in clingfilm,' I say to Jetta.

I place Santa next to Roy and stand in between them. With some difficulty I wrap all three of us up together as best I can. We enjoy a quiet but satisfying yuletide until people from the social services come to release us.

God Bless us one and all.




© Ulrich Haarbürste Christmas 2003

More tales of Roy in Clingfilm