Santa’s IQ Test
‘If Santa really exists,’ Gary announced in the professorial monotone of his Asperger’s, ‘he will be able to read it.’
Trevor looked into the serious blue eyes of his nine year old son and took delivery of the bundle of papers. They were going shopping tomorrow; this had better be easy to figure out.
Later, Gary in bed and ritually counting the fluorescent stars on his ceiling, Trevor unfolded the letter.
‘Dear Father Christmas …’ it began, then nothing – just rows of black lines, some thick, some thin, some spaced out and some close together. Gary had spent hours doing this and he was meticulous so it definitely had meaning but what? Maybe there was a clue on-screen. Trevor called up Gary’s account, pushing aside some wrappers and labels stacked neatly next to the monitor. There it was, four pages, all lines. He zoomed in; Gary was a demon for detail, he could have hidden something in the lines. Trevor squinted at it. Nothing. Zoom out then; whoops, way too far. Hang on though, it seemed familiar. Trevor looked at the page, the stack of labels, back at the page and dawn broke – bar codes! Gary had produced, with photographic accuracy, a bar coded present list as a digital challenge to Santa’s authenticity. Trevor checked the labels; a USB stick, a DVD of British birds, a Dr Who annual. Repeats for now but maybe not next year and he dreaded to think what fiendish tests his son might have devised by then.
©suzanne conboy-hill 2010