December 1, in the morning, the alarmed inhabitants of the town of C. discovered, plastered on trees and shop windows, a small poster. Some were amused but most of them were indignant, even furious.
All day long, people kept talking of that.
The next day it was worse. The posters were plastered on the doors of schools and public buildings. Anger mounted.
The next night, Lucas Rossetti could only stick 3 posters. 3 people, obviously aggressive, rushed towards him.
Just at that moment, a car stopped next him. the door opened and a urging voice said.
– Come in !
He climbed in.
The man who drove was around 35, sympathetic looking. He wore a bomber and jeans. After a few seconds he asked Lucas :
– What sort of game are you playing ?
-« I’m not playing! »
– So why do you do that ? You see it disturbs people!
– Yeah! it disturbs them, snarled Lucas.
– How old are you ? You seem already very skeptical!
– I am eleven.
Lucas guessed that the man would keep on questionning him. He decided to counter-attack.
– why did you kidnap me ?
Thomas Roussel burst ou laughing.
– Excellent. Excellent ! You’re cheeky indeed. I should have let them rip you apart.
Thomas stopped the car.
– Here we are, it’s my house. Come and have a coke.
A few minutes later, Thomas knew the whole story. He had put a few drops of rhum in the coke and lucas had stold everything.
Lucas’s father was a painter. His mother a doctor. They did not lack money but his father sold very little even if his fame was growing. So, from time to time, to offer some extras to his family, Lucas’s father painted copies. His copies were of an excellent quality and sold very well.
But here, he had been framed. A decorator had resold a copy of a Nicolas de Staël as an original. The client had found that he had been scammed and the dishonest decorator had accused Théo Rossetti. As the decorator had paid Theo with cash, theo had been unable to prove that he had received 1 000 euros of Richard Lafange and not 100 000.
The judge frequented the same club as the decorator and Théo was soon arrested .
Lucas wanted to protest, grab attention. He had found no other way to do it. He could leave the flat during the night without being noticed. His mother took sleeping pills since her husband was in jail.
– My idea was not stupid. People noticed.
– Not stupid! You created a damned mess… I’m a journalist. That’s why I was looking for the person who was sticking the posters. I have vaguely heard of that story of fake de Staël. I will investigate and maybe I will be able to help you.
– No need to investigate. It’s easy to prove that my father did not want to cheat. When he does a copy he signs them copy of so and so by Théo Rosseti. It’s done on purpose so that the copies can’t be sold as originals afterwards. Lafange has painted over his signature. Xrays would show it We told it to the judge and the lawyer but no one listened to us.
The following morning, ALL ABOUT THE CHRISTMAS AFFAIR was the main title of the local newspaper where Thomas worked.
Lucas’s father was freed rapidely. Thomas was a bit bitte. He had not heard of Lucas since their nocturnal meeting. He had just received a warm letter and a gift from Lucas’s parents.
The 25th of December at 8 am, the doorbell woke Thomas up brutally, He had gone to bed lately, drank too much champagne. He did not see clearly, had a headache and was unsteady. He opened the door. On his doorstep, Lucas stand proudly perched on a brand new pair of rollers and and found on his doorstep. In one hand he hold a bottle of champagne and in the other a bottle of coke.
– « Giant, you see. I came to your house in five minutes. Classy that man in the end.
– I understand nothing Lucas, you call your father that guy now?
– He no, You mad, I was speaking of Father Christmas !