One of the several huge malls in and around the urban sprawl of Tampa, Florida- a mall parking lot like many across the country today just filled to bursting with frustrated last minute shoppers. We notice all the green and red trappings of Christmas zip tied or propped up in any negative space available as we move through the main entrance, through the crowds. We pass by all the storefronts, each one experiencing no doubt one of their best financial days of the year thanks to forgetful shoppers struggling to find something, anything for tomorrow’s festivities for that aunt or uncle or cousin twice removed that sends word they were coming into town last minute.
“Ho! Ho! Ho! Who’s next in line to see Santa!”
The unusually well built, tall, handsome, blond haired blue eyed elf tugs on his ill fitting uniform and waves for the next kiddo to step up on stage into the rather impressive little winter wonderland this particular mall shelled out for this season. Artificial snow beneath two rows of decorated plastic trees all leading up to the life size sleigh in which is perched a smaller than average Santa- like way smaller- the iddy-biddy Santa punches at the lumpy, uneven padding making up his “jolly” belly.
“This gig blows, Dabney.”
The elf whisper yells back to his counterpart“
Hey! Kayfabe, man, come on- jeezum crow. There’s kids around.”
Santa mumbles mindlessly to himself as a portly little boy with the stickiest of fingers takes his time rolling onto the stage and waddling towards him “Sorry boys, I’m sick as a dog, he says- can one of you fella’s fill in, he asks- stupid Dad. Oh and I’M Santa, sure, I weigh about as much as one of Santa’s upper arms but sure why not- heeeeey kid! Aren’t you a- big lad. Ho! Ho! Ho! and- stuff- oh wow, you are just covered in goo, aintcha?”
The very tall elf peers narrow eyed back over his shoulder-
“Dou- I mean, Santa! Be NICE, ok? That nice man Dale we’re doin’ this favor for would like this gig again next year, you catch my drift?”
Santa sighs as the portly kid just SLAMS down on his thigh and immediately buries his sticky fingers in his very expensive beard. “Another winner Doubleday Christmas here, Dabs- SO kiddo, whatcha want from Santy Claus?”
The child breaths in and out through a snot filled nose, his wide unblinking eyes just stare up at Santa- seconds feel like minutes- until finally, all at once.
“IWANNAHENRYKEYESAIRSHIPACTIONSET BUTNOTTHENEWONEWITHTHEPINKCOAT THEOLDONEWITHTHEOLDBETTERCOAT ANDTHETWOEXTRAPLAGUEDOCTORSANDTHETIGER ALSOIWANNALINDSAYTROYWRESTLEBUDDYBECAUSESHESTHECOOLESTWRESTLERANDSHESPRETTY OHANDALSOAHNEWBLUEYSTUFFYBECAUSEMYOLDONEGOTEATEDBYMYDOGSBUTCHANDOSCAR- *whispers* also, you’re small.”
“You- ahh- please just get off me kid, have a merry one- ”
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE DOUBLEDAYS