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Austin and THE LIST!
Holly Garland

Copyright by Kathy Waters
Copying or reproduction strictly prohibited.

Kelton is a bustling little town just about half way from here to the North Pole. It sits on the edge of a deep pine forest besides a clean fast moving river. Most of the town's people work in the local toy boat factory. The rest of the people work in stores, restaurants and business offices. The people are hard working, but friendly. They like living and working in Kelton.

Austin works in the second floor office of R.Ing & Sons Business Services. The modern office is one of the biggest red brick buildings right in the middle of downtown Kelton. It is a very successful business. Austin is a busy little typewriter who works hard through his day merrily singing, "Tappity-tap, tappity-tap, tappity-tap-tap-tap, brriinngg." He likes his job and has been happy there a long time.

One cold snowy day in December when everyone was especially busy, two shiny computers moved onto the wooden desk next to, and the large desk across from, Austin's. The computers were new and big with lots of extra curly cables and square boxes and other strange things. They each covered a whole desk. Being a friendly sort of fellow, Austin introduced himself to the newcomers. "Hi, I'm Austin. I sing, 'Tappity-tap, tappity-tap, tappity-tap-tap, brriinngg.' I write business letters, address envelopes and fill in government forms. What do you do?"

"I'm a computer. I do everything," said the nearest computer. "I write all kinds of letters, address envelopes and I create the government forms that you can only fill in. I draw pictures, play chess and music, and do it all in 256 colors, too." "We are the latest and most famous of modern office machines. We take the place of old useless typewriters like you," laughed the other. "We will replace you too. The people here will toss you away. Typewriters are just not useful anymore." This shocked Austin. "Oh no," Austin said, "I've been here a long time. I work hard here and I'm very useful." The new computers laughed again. "We'll see about that."

Sure enough just then, a pair of hands picked Austin up from his special desk where he had always worked. Into an old cardboard box marked junk, he went. The box sat out of the way in a far corner of the office storage closet. It was very dusty and dark in there. Austin was very sad.

Even though it was an especially busy time in the office of R.Ing & Sons, it was a lot quieter without Austin's "Tappity-tap, tappity-tap, tappity-tap-tap-tap, bbrriinngg." The new computers flashed and hummed, but did not talk cheerfully like Austin.

Soon the work day ended and the office closed for the night. A wet snow fell heavily throughout the winter night. Austin spent the long cold uncomfortable time alone in his dusty box. When it was morning, the people arrived at the office of R.Ing & Sons. They switched on the overhead lights, but no lights lit up. They plugged in the electric coffee pot, but no coffee perked. They turned on the big copy machine, but no papers copied. They powered up the new, shiny computers but the computer screens stayed dark.

"There is a power failure," someone said. "None of the machines will work without power." "Oh no," cried another. "We have to do THE LIST this morning. Today is the last day! What are we going to do?"

THE LIST was the single most important list in the whole wide world! It was THE LIST of the newest good boys and girls for Santa Claus! Without THE LIST, Santa would miss some of the good boys and girls when he delivered all his wonderful Christmas presents. Christmas Eve is tomorrow!

"I could help. I could do THE LIST. I know how. I did THE LIST last year and many years before that," thought Austin. Unfortunately, Austin could do nothing while trapped in a cardboard box. Just then, someone remembered the unhappy little typewriter. "The typewriter doesn't need power. We can do THE LIST on the typewriter!"

Quickly, out of the dusty storage closet came the cardboard box. A pair of hands lifted Austin carefully from the box. Back on his old wooden desk, he went. Austin went right to work, singing out "Tappity-tap, tappity-tap, tappity-tap-tap-tap, bbrriinngg," all throughout the morning. He worked hard and quickly and did his job well.

In time, the electric power was back on and the computers were bright again. By then, Austin had finished THE LIST. THE LIST was safely on the way to Santa Claus. Austin was proud that he helped with such an important job as Santa's LIST. However, he worried now that the new computers were running again. Would he go back into the cardboard box marked junk? Would people forget and leave him in the far corner of the dusty storage closet again?

Mr. R.Ing, himself, picked Austin up from his old desk. Austin trembled but his fear turned to joy. Into a new place of honor in the middle of Mr. R. Ing's own office, Austin went. He had a new marble desk with lots of space and a new bright blue cloth cover

"We need to keep this hard working typewriter and take special care of him." Mr. R.Ing smiled, "He is useful still." Austin was content. He was not going to be junk. THE LIST was on Santa's sleigh. ALL the good boys and girls of Kelton and the rest of the world would have new toys on Christmas Day. The children's happiness was all due to Austin, the little typewriter who merrily sings "Tappity-tap, tappity-tap, tappity-tap-tap-tap, brriinngg!"

Holly Garland
Copyright by Kathleen Waters
Copying or reproduction strictly prohibited.
Please contact to request linking permission.


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