The stack of presents seemed to never grow smaller. There sure where a lot of good little Munchkins in OZ with some very strange names too.... Blopp... Grisp... Vlek... Quont... and the names got stranger as the pile grew smaller... Finally! The unloading took longer than Arwin thought it would, and there was no time to talk to the Mayor before a flood of little Munchkin children filled the room. Just WHAT had Santa gotten her into? Now... SHE... was Santa passing out presents... and somehow she knew this adventure was just beginning.
Arwin was overwhelmed. She hadn't planned on passing out the presents to the Munchkin children... it just sort of... happened. Reading all the names was a challenge, but with the children’s help she managed. Some of the children opened their present neatly as their parents stood overhead... others RIPPED open the box like there was no tomorrow. Wrapping paper was everywhere! Arwin was sure that someone would give her a broom, but Meemope had everything cleaned away in no time at all.
When the last child had opened their present the Mayor ordered them all to sit down in a circle for their annual Christmas story. Arwin and Suzie looked like giants as they sat down with the children in a circle around the mayor. The parents huddled in close around the circle's outer edge. Meemope passed out cookies and milk to everyone and sat next to Arwin and Suzie.
The Mayor started his story..."Once upon a time the Emerald City was above ground. It was a happy city for a time with the Wizard taking care of things. But good things don't always last forever. After the wizard left with Dorothy and her little dog Toto, the Tinman, Scarecrow and Lion tried to run our city but it was too much for them, and they went off to follow other dreams. That left the Emerald City unprotected. With the Wicked Witches all dead the evil monkeys had no one to take care of them. They wreaked havoc in the lands, and it wasn't long before the Emerald City was next on their list. Every Christmas as the little Munchkin children opened their presents, hoards of monkeys would swoop down and steal their presents. The children would cry for hours and it took a long time for their parents to calm them down.
After years of Christmas torment a plan was put in place, with the help of Santa. He talked to the merpeople of OZ and they agreed that for Christmas day, THEY would protect the city UNDER water. So... as the city slept... it sank deeper and deeper under the water. And now as like every year before we celebrate and give thanks to the merpeople for protecting us from the evil monkeys. We are protected by this airbubble for one day, and tonight our city will rise again above the water as we sleep. So children... enjoy your presents from Santa and make sure you write your thank you's and give them to Arwin before she leaves."
The children all promised they would and Arwin and Suzie are hugged endlessly as they get up and follow the mayor to his home.
"You will stay the night in my home," said the Mayor. "You can start back home in the morning when we are above water again. You will be safe here. I will let you freshen up before dinner. We eat in an hour." He closed the door of their room and Arwin and Suzie were left alone.
"My, what an exciting time we are having," said Arwin to Suzie. She shook her head yes and yawned. It was way past her nap time. "You lie down and take your nap. I'll wake you before dinner," said Arwin. "OK Mommy," said little Suzie and she fell fast asleep. Arwin stroked her little girl’s hair and kissed her on the forehead. She walked over to the wash basin and dipped her hand into the cool water. She splashed some water on her face and wiped it off with the towel. It felt good.
Loud noises outside got her attention and Arwin went to the window to see what all the commotion was about. Everyone was looking up to the top of the bubble. She made her way to the bedroom door and the Mayor greeted her. "The monkeys are HERE!!!" He told her. "We should be safe. The merpeople will protect us." They went out the front door.
Arwin and the Mayor looked up and saw a fierce battle above their heads. The monkeys had a new trick. Arwin could see a small bubble around each monkey's head allowing it to breathe under water. The merpeople were frantically popping the bubbles with their spears, but there were too many monkeys. A few of the monkeys had broken into the Emerald City airbubble and were now flying around the city. Arwin heard a scream behind her... SUZIE!!!
A few of the merpeoples' spears lay on the ground and with quick thinking Arwin grabbed one and hurried to check on Suzie in the house. She reached Suzie just as a monkey was dragging her out the window. Arwin grabbed Suzie's foot and prevented the monkey from flying her through. Before she knew it, Arwin had thrust the spear into the monkeys' bubble and popped it. The monkey gasped at the air and let go of Suzie. Arwin threw out her fist and punched the monkey so hard he flew into the water and started gulping for air. It frantically swam for the surface and Arwin saw it fly off into the air.
Locking the window of the bedroom, Arwin gave Suzie a hug and strict orders not to open it no matter what. Suzie nodded as Arwin headed back out the door.
Outside Arwin instructed everyone to pick up a spear and start popping the monkeys' bubbles and push the monkeys back into the water. A few moments later every monkey was out the airbubble and into the water scrambling for the surface. Everyone watched as the monkeys flew high above them and out of sight of the city. The merpeople looked down and waved as they swam off.
A big cheer and singing filled the airbubble and Arwin was lifted off the ground. People were cheering her and her quick thinking. They all said they were glad she had come to the Emerald City and that they were thankful to Santa for bringing her to them.
Arwin and Suzie were the guests of honor that night at a banquet. The people of the city were so thankful that they gave them both a new outfit (complete with shoes) and new hairdos. They laughed and sang along with the people and had a wonderful time.
As Arwin tucked Suzie in her bed for the night Suzie said... "Mommy this has been the BEST Christmas ever. Thank you for adopting me." A big smile on her face showed Arwin that she had made the right decision in adopting Suzie. It was worth the year of waiting for the papers to go through. Suzie was hers and no one could take her away from her (not even a monkey)! Arwin kissed her good night and pulled the cover up to Suzie’s' chin and kissed her on the cheek.
There was a slight knock on the door and Arwin went to answer it. It was the Mayor checking on them. Arwin closed the door as she stepped into the hallway. "I thought you'd like some hot chocolate before you go to bed," he said. "It's been an exciting day for you but I think by now most of your questions have been answered." Arwin nodded as she sipped the chocolate. "It sure is a wonderful place Mr. Mayor. Thank you for your hospitality."
"You get some sleep Arwin, you have a long drive ahead of you in the morning," he said as he walked away.
Arwin stepped back in the room and sipped the last of her hot chocolate. She put the cup down on the dressing table and lay in her bed staring at Suzie til she fell asleep, exhausted from the day.