Authors: David Logan
David Logan grew up on the south coast of England. After deciding at an early age that he wanted to be a writer, he pursued a career in the film business and has been earning his living as a screenwriter for the last thirteen years. In that time he has worked for most of the major American studios. He lives in Hove, East Sussex, with his wife, Lisa; three children, Joseph, Grace and Gabriel; and his dog, Harper.
Based on a screenplay by John Hay and David Logan
First published in 2011 by
55 Baker Street
7th Floor, South Block
Copyright Â© David Logan and John Hay
Based on a screenplay by John Hay and David Logan
The moral right of David Logan to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Design and Patents Act, 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
A CIP catalogue reference for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN 978 0 85738 736 3
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places and events are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
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I started filming
in Manchester in March
2011, after having just finished filming
Filming the role of Long John Silver in
and then, two weeks later, the role of Anthony in
was a challenging opportunity and a drastic
weather change. But I'd spent years trying to get to get roles
The film story and the book story of
slightly different, but I hope they will give people the same
overall feeling â that it's always good to hear a tale about a
little magic at Christmas.
Anthony is a character who knows no fear. He can't feel
fear as he has lost all his memory, and this gives him his
magical quality. He knows he has a mission, but has no idea
what that mission is. He keeps having visions that scare him
but also rather intrigue him.
He wanders through our story with the innocence of
a child and the knowledge of a god â a god who knows
only the weird stuff. He also has a spiritual link with other
people's lost things, but again he has no idea why.
In the end I think Anthony is the spirit of Christmas past
and the spirit of Christmas future rolled into one.
Once upon a Christmas present . . .
Eddie Izzard, November 2012
For Lisa, Joseph, Grace and Gabriel
Goose woke to the distant sound of a dog barking. It wasn't much of a bark. More of a yip. A yip that belonged to a small dog. A puppy. And not so distant. Actually â¦ close. Very close. In his house close.
He heard it again, pushed himself up on one elbow and listened. His wild, all-over-the-place hair stuck out all over the place. Goose had big, green, soulful eyes. Right now they made him look cute. A few years from now they'd be the sort of eyes that made girls go weak at the knees. His mum said that to him all the time, which made him cringe.
âGirls suck!' he would say, and he meant it. His mum would smile, that all-knowing smile grown-ups have that means I know something that you don't because you're only
ten. Goose hated that smile. He hated being patronized. Most of all he hated the fact that he suspected she was right; there was something he was missing. Things were so much simpler when he was nine, he thought.
The yipping had stopped. He tilted his head to listen. A sliver of white light caught his eye as it crept in through the gap at the top of his Man City F.C. curtains. They were pale blue and spotted with the old ship and Lancashire rose emblem. His dad refused to let him update to the later eagle and stars shield. He said that the rose and the ship on the Manchester Ship Canal represented the city. What did an eagle have to do with Manchester?
Goose was an avid supporter. His walls were plastered with posters: lots of City, naturally, and
. There was Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia, Iron Man, Harry Potter and Thor. There was a stack of books and comics on his bedside table. Goose was a voracious reader. He loved books. He also loved films, football of course, swimming, dragons and computer games. He considered himself a bit of an all-rounder.
He couldn't hear anything now. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe he had imagined it. Maybe it was the end of a dream. That happened sometimes, in the few short seconds between dreaming and waking when the two states merged. Goose liked dreams. He liked the idea of dreams.
Once his mum had taken him to a lucid-dreaming
workshop. Goose had asked the man running the workshop a question he couldn't answer. The man was impressed. Especially as Goose was the only child in attendance and none of the adults had thought of any question half as interesting. The man had said that it was not possible to turn a light on or off in a dream. Goose had asked if it was possible to light a match in a dream. The man had thought about it, but in the end had to admit defeat. He just didn't know.
Goose's dad had sneered at the idea of lucid dreaming. He didn't believe in all that nonsense. No, that wasn't entirely true. His dad said he was âa healthy sceptic' â whatever that was. He didn't believe in ghosts or UFOs or God, but he wasn't arrogant enough, his dad would say, to know for sure they didn't exist. He liked to keep an open mind about such things. That open mind didn't extend to astrology, which Goose was sure had to be based in science. It did end in â-ology' after all. But his dad said it was nonsense. How could six billion people be categorized by something as random as birth date? Auntie Alice, Dad's best friend Frank's wife, really believed in astrology, and when Uncle Frank and Auntie Alice came over for dinner Dad and Alice would invariably argue the rights and wrongs of astrology. Alice would say there's so much more to it than just birth date, and Dad would say that at best astrology could group people together in very general categories that didn't take
into account environment, education or experience and therefore was about as much use as a chocolate teapot or shoes for fish.
Goose was wondering why that thought had chosen to pop into his mind at that particular moment when he heard another yip. It was definitely coming from inside the house.
He jumped out of bed to investigate, stepping straight on to a Lego model of Imperial AT-ST.
âOOWWW!' He fell back on the bed and rubbed the sole of his foot. He looked down at his bedroom floor, which was strewn with pieces of Lego and other toys. There was a whole bunch of Transformers and
figures in and around a wooden castle in the middle of the room. Several versions of the Doctor had joined forces with Optimus Prime to battle three dragons and numerous knights. Evil knights of course, who had been possessed by the spirit of Seerg the Destructor (who had taken the form of a giant gorilla). Goose had been in the midst of the final battle last night; the future of the universe rested in his hands. It was a gargantuan responsibility that many a lesser individual would have shied away from, but not him. He was up to the challenge. He was Batman, he was Aragon, he was Captain James T. Kirk and he said
BRING. IT. ON
. But then his mum had made him go to bed.
Another yip from downstairs. Goose forgot all about the game and hurried to the door, being careful to step only on safe, clear patches of carpet. He pretended he was Indiana Jones as he approaches the idol at the beginning of
Raiders of the Lost Ark
, tiptoeing precisely. He reached the door and slipped out into the hallway.
Goose's real name of course wasn't Goose. It was an affectionate nickname that started at an early age and stuck. When he started to crawl, which according to his mum he did very early, he would invariably try to crawl away, to escape. When he matured into a toddler, he would toddle off at any opportunity. His parents couldn't take their eyes off him for a second. Once, when Goose was not quite two, they were at Manchester Airport, waiting to collect Frank, Alice and their daughter, Jemma, returning from two weeks in Tenerife. Goose's mum and dad turned their attention away from Goose's buggy for all of thirty seconds as they scanned the arrivals board to see if the plane had landed. In that time, Goose somehow managed to squirm out of the straps holding him in and wander away. When Mum turned back Goose had vanished into the hordes of holidaymakers. An exhaustive and frantic search of the airport followed, and eventually he was found sitting on a plane about to take off, destined for Greece. No one was quite sure how he had managed to avoid the airport's extensive security. The
Manchester Evening News
had written a little article about his adventure, and his dad had joked that he had been a goose in a past life and was trying to fly south for winter. So even though he was christened Richard Michael Thornhill, he had answered to the name Goose for most of his life. And even now at the grand old age of ten, Goose rarely stayed in one place for very long. The world was big and he was hungry to see it all.
As Goose headed to the stairs, he could hear muffled voices coming from below. He passed his mum and dad's bedroom. The door was open and he could see the big bed was empty. The white duvet was turned down at both top corners and turned up at one bottom corner. Goose knew this was because Mum was always cold and Dad was always hot. They had a special duvet that was thicker on one side (Mum's) than the other. The bottom corner was turned up because Dad always slept with his feet exposed. Goose was the same. He loved those little similarities he noticed between himself and his parents.
As he trotted down the stairs, past a series of photographs of himself as an infant and three canvases that Mum had bought when he was little and made him walk across with paint-covered feet so his baby footprints walked down the wall, he could hear his parents' voices along with that of his nan. They had heard him coming and were
busily trying to hide something. Goose reached the bottom of the stairs and pushed open the door to the living room.
His mum, Linda, his dad, Paul, and his nan, Nan, turned to face him, shoulder to shoulder, forced closed-mouth smiles on their faces.
âAwright there, Sir Gooseby?' said his dad. Goose liked that nickname. Other times his dad called him âsausage', which he really wished he wouldn't. âWhat are you doing up so early?'
âWhat's going on? I heard barking.'
âBarking?' His mum was trying to sound casual. She wasn't good at it.