Christmas was coming. Who’d be Santa Claus had suddenly gotten sticky.
There had to be forty or so kids living in the urban cul-de-sac, all of them in squashed-in apartments in a dozen three- and four-decker buildings, the pigeons on the roof often mingling with the kids at tall hide-‘n’-seek, romances in dark budding, now and then some contraband or stolen goods getting exposed, two or three gymnasts every generation that managed and used the roof tops for exercises, dares, escapes of one sort or another. Merton Place, from various points of view, was a city in itself.
And Christmas was coming. It was around the corner.