The newspaper had a special edition to get out, but the editor takes time to listen to the choir’s sing Christmas carols in the next building. Johnny Hale is a prisoner who closes up the newspaper shop to talk to a guard, and an aging prisoner. Ed is an oldtimer on a life sentence, who almost seems content with the life that he has been dealt, paying for the crime he committed all those years ago. Johnny has only 6 months left, and is more of a hot head about the rules imposed on prisoners, and the infractions on privacy and liberties. Well duh… it’s prison. That’s what it’s there to do. Though the warden isn’t sympathetic, Johnny claims that by next Christmas, he’ll be back at his job at a newspaper, and he’ll have something to put into print about this matter.
It has been several days since the conversation with the warden, and it’s Christmas day. Johnny’s still upset at the incident with the censorship of old Ed’s letters. When he hears prisoners in the yard laughing, he learns it’s because they’re reading Eds mail. The fight that ensues, combined with the rules blend to land Johnny in solitary for a while. When he’s out, Johnny gets the chance to read some comforting words to Ed as he breathes his last.
Where is this story leading? Will the warden learn a lesson from Johnny’s insistence on being treated with dignity? Will he follow up on Ed’s last request? The Whistler unlocks a secret that changes attitudes for Johnny and the warden. The Christmas spirit has a way of turning emotions around once secrets are layed bare.