All of the works of fiction on this blog are the property of Bobman and may only be used with my permission.

Author’s Note: I wrote this sometime back in the mid ‘80s. It is a result of the few Christmases I had already spent in retail at that time. If you take the person with the most Christmas spirit and have that person work in the retail sector for a year or two including the Christmas season (and the Christmas return nightmare after Christmas has passed) that person’s holiday spirit will be broken beyond repair. There is nothing like the hordes of mindless materialistic zombies trashing your workplace like they are participating in the LA riots in their pursuit to celebrate what they believe to be a Christian holiday based on a symbolic figure that doesn’t even exist. Even though I might not have been consciously thinking it at the time of the original writing, this was also a way for me to explore the bigger picture of other symbolic icons our elders brought us up to believe in out of fear – you better watch out… if you are not good, you will get coal in your Christmas stocking, or you will end up burning in the eternal flames of damnation.  It’s all basically the same result. With a few minor tweaks, this is the story this thought process led to:

scary_santa  santa_motor1 santa_boots2 man with gun1

 

Santa Claus

by Bob Langham

 It was Christmas Eve. The Christmas tree lights were blinking – creating living patterns on the wall. The glow from the tree peered through the frosted windows. A red smear of motion appeared outside the window. It was Santa. His lazy Christmas stocking cap hung crookedly off of his head. His face was crunched into an ugly grin as he pressed it against the outside of the window. His eyes, as dark as the night at his back, canvassed the Goodman’s living room, but from outside he could only see shadows. His damp beard was littered with an assortment of trinkets which he had accumulated during his travels on this frigid night – blades of frozen grass, slivers of broken candy canes, which had gotten stranded on the way to his mouth, cookie crumbs that poked their tiny heads out of the dingy white tuft of hair, and at the tip, the beard was damp where Santa had gotten careless with his thermos of coffee. His wrinkled undershirt peeked out of his red coat in yellowing hints of soiled cotton. His black belt overlapped his belt loops and hung awkwardly below his waist.
     Santa could see no movement behind the window. He reached down and yanked his red pants up a few inches. Then he leaned over and pulled a silver object from his boot. It had jagged teeth, not unlike his own and a pearl handle. Santa examined it closely in the glow of the blinking lights. The blade came alive in the moving light. Santa squinted and pulled a smoke from behind his ear and shoved it unlit in the corner of his crooked mouth and went to work.
      As easily as if he were carving a tender Christmas turkey, Santa removed the pane of glass and laid it down gently at his feet. He stared at the blade as if to thank it silently for another job well done.  He bent over and slid it back into his shiny black boot.  He stood up and threw a quick glance over his shoulder, yanked his pants up again and stuck his hand through the opening he had created. His pale, meaty hand searched blindly for the lock, and like all of the other times, it was easy. He found it, flipped the latch and was in the house in a matter of seconds.
      He reached through the open window and pulled in his oversized, bulging Christmas sack of loot. It was dingy and yellowing and peppered with cigarette burns. He laid it at his feet. The wind started to howl fiercely outside the open window.  Santa inched across the room. The wooden floor creaked with every tiny step.
      The framed photograph of Mrs. Goodman hanging on the wall caught Santa’s eye. It captured her in her younger days. The blinking Christmas tree made Mrs. Goodman appear to smile down on Santa in the darkness. The children’s photographs, also caught in their younger days, snuggled beside Mrs. Goodman’s smiling image.
     It was the picture of Elaine Goodman, the oldest daughter that caught Santa’s attention. He raised his colorless hand and traced the outline of her face – his nicotine stained fingers smudged the glass that protected her. His nails scraped the glass, causing a high-pitched squeak. He yanked the framed picture from the wall and tucked it under his arm.
      Santa skillfully disconnected the wires to the VCR and slipped it into his Christmas sack of loot. He placed Elaine’s picture safely on top. He was turning to grab the compact disk player when in his peripheral vision he detected the silhouette standing in the doorway to the room. Santa rotated his head slowly, with a slightly audible creak. The Christmas tree lit up the shadow’s face. It belonged to a young man – an older more mature version of one of the boys in the flock of children that nestled around Mrs. Goodman’s picture on the wall.
     The young man’s face was filled with disbelief – not so much that he was being robbed, but more of an expression that said; I thought Santa Claus wasn’t real.
 The young man stared into Santa’s eyes. Even in the limited light he could see that they were dark and deep and red around the corners. Santa straightened up, his joints cracking to break the silence. The young man shot a quick glance down at Santa’s boots to escape the dark heavy gaze of Santa’s eyes. The boots were shiny black with silver studs on each ankle. He saw the blade sticking out of the top of Santa’s boot. That was all it took for reality to win him back over. Santa had followed the young man’s gaze down to his boots and recognized the new awakening on his face.
     Santa finally spoke in a low guttural voice.
      “What’s wrong man? Don’t you believe in me? Forget what your parents told you. I really do exist. Just not quite the way they told you though.” Santa’s eyes began to glitter.  
     Seeing this, the young man took several steps backward, stumbling. It was then that he remembered he hadn’t come into the room empty handed. He felt the steel, an added weight, as his arms flailed wildly and he fell backward hitting the floor hard.
     Santa yanked the compact disk player up and placed it with the VCR and photo of Elaine. He snatched up the sack of loot and leapt gracefully through the open window.
     The young man scrambled to his feet and gave chase. Even over the howling wind he heard Santa’s boots clicking rapidly down the street. He sprinted after him. When he thought he was as close to him as he was going to be able to get, the young man raised the gun and jerked the trigger twice. Santa’s red coat ripped in two places as the bullets penetrated the red material. Santa didn’t even break his stride. He slung the oversized sack over his shoulder and cackled loudly.
     The young man came to a halt – not believing what he had just seen. Santa hurdled over a six-foot wooden fence. The toe of one of his boots snagged on the top of the fence and ripped one of the planks off the foundation completely. The board cartwheeled through the chilly air following Santa over the fence.
     The young man stopped and stared in disbelief.  His rapid breaths floated around his head in gray puffs. He was dressed only in thin pajamas, and barefooted but too stunned to notice. The wooden fence, now a crooked grin concealed Santa.
     An engine quickly roared into life and tires squealed angrily in the thin air. The fence explode as Santa plowed through it atop a shiny red motorcycle, with the bulging sack of loot strapped snugly to his back.
 The motorcycle engine growled into higher gear as the front tire lifted gradually off of the ground. Santa cackled loudly over the roar of the engine, his eyes glowing red and his Christmas hat still obediently in place.
     The young man raised the gun, but slowly dropped it to his side. Santa shot past him in a streak of red, leaving a trail of laughter behind. The young man’s mouth hung open, billows of steam shooting out in short bursts of breath, as the back tire of the motorcycle lifted slowly from the pavement also. The motorcycle was quickly flying through the winter night high above the street. The motorcycle cleared the Goodman’s roof by only inches. Santa giggled loudly as the bike roared and shot off into the night.
     The young man noticed an object lying at his feet. He bent over slowly and picked it up and examined it closely. It had a pearl handle and a jagged blade. At the base of the handle, there was a red monogrammed SC. He glanced over and beyond the roof of his house into the empty darkness and shook his head as a light snow began to fall silently.
    He realized he was dressed only in his pajamas. He quickly ran back to his house on cold numb feet as the wind began to howl louder and the snowfall became heavier.
 
–Bobman

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