Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ungrateful Santa

The scene: It's Christmas morning at my home. 1:15 a.m. I'm awakened by a series of footsteps from the floor below. I listen closely; I hear a tremendous thud, followed by a man whispering loudly to himself, "Damn! Damn damn!" I carefully slip out of bed and make my way downstairs, bleary-eyed, unshaven and in my pajamas. What I see surprises me: Santa Claus, on the carpet, lying on his side, reaching for his cellphone.

"Santa, what on earth are you doing?"

"Shane...I wasn't expecting to see you awake at this hour. Ho, ho, ho, merry Christmas!"

"Why are you on the ground?"

"I'm afraid I was a bit clumsy. I'd just left presents underneath your tree and was attempting to take a selfie when I tripped over a cord."

"Why were you attempting to take a selfie?

"Why, for my Instagram page, of course. You didn't think I was going to cross the globe, break into everyone's home and not take pictures of myself, did you?"

"I suppose not. Since you're here...what did you bring me?"

"Oh, you'll have to wait and see later this morning. Suffice to say I brought lots of wonderful gifts for you and your children."

"Santa, I don't have children."

"You don't? I thought for sure you'd be a father by now. Huh. Well, you can just split the presents between yourself and your wife."

"I don't have a wife, either."

"Girlfriend?"

"No, Santa."

"Really? How old are you?"

"I'm 34."

"34? Isn't it time you find someone and settle down? You're six years away from middle age. I mean, if you want to start a family, now is the time to do it."

"It's complicated. I'm busy with my career, and it's so hard to meet someone here in the city and...wait, why am I even having this conversation with you? Just...thank you for the gifts. And please help yourself to the cookies and the milk I left for you on the dinner tray over there."

"Are those chocolate chip cookies? Excellent! I must say, I am famished from all my travels so far. I certainly could use a snack. [Santa picks up one of the cookies, adjusts his glasses and inspects it closely.] Say, is there gluten in this cookie?"

"I'm not sure. I bought the cookies at the supermarket. I didn't look at the nutrition facts label on the container."

"I see. Listen, I am very appreciative of your kind and thoughtful gesture, but I'm currently on a gluten-free diet. Gluten causes me digestive issues, especially on long flights."

"You're gluten-free?"

"Yes. I haven't told anyone other than Mrs. Claus. I don't publicize it. I don't like to make a big deal of it."

"I'm truly sorry, I had no idea. At least you can drink the glass of milk."

"Is it soy milk?"

"Is it soy milk?"

"Yes. I'm off dairy. Again...digestive issues."

"I'm fresh out of soy milk, Santa. My sincerest apologies."

"Maybe you can run out and buy me gluten-free cookies and soy milk?"

"Now?"

"Yes."

"That's an awfully bold request to make at 1:20 in the morning, isn't it?"

"Perhaps. But I did bring you all of these wonderful gifts for you and your non-existent children and spouse."

"Well, Santa, I don't think the supermarket is going to be open at this hour. I have granola bars, if you like."

"I come all this way, and all you have to offer me are granola bars?"

"I'm sorry, Santa. I thought you'd enjoy the milk and cookies. I was obviously unaware of your dietary restrictions. I assure you I will make a note of them for next year."

"OK, no need to get bent out of shape. Do you have any eggnog?"

"Eggnog? This early?"

"Sure, It's Christmas. My longest workday of the year. I am stressed out."

"I don't have any eggnog. I don't drink."

"At all?"

"No."

"No wonder you're so uptight."

"Alright, get the f--- out, Santa."

"Fine. I'll head next door to the Myers home. I bet they have gluten-free cookies!"

"Merry Christmas, Santa."

Santa leaves my home. Two minutes later, the doorbell rings. I answer the door. It's Santa.

"Does your offer of milk and cookies still stand? The reindeer said they're interested."

"Goodbye, Santa."

I close the door on Santa. I walk up the stairs and to my bed, where I fall asleep to the sounds of sleigh bells ringing. I have a smile on my face, knowing that I'll have presents waiting for me in the morning. Not to mention gluten-filled cookies and dairy milk.