The day before the night before Christmas
Jolly Old St. Nick was surprised when the nice men in suits came all the way to the North Pole from Washington D.C. for a visit. The initials on their business card read “NSA,” which they assured him stood for “National Santa Assistance.”
And what assistance it was! In exchange for unlimited access to his naughty and nice list they agreed to take care of all the Christmas Eve deliveries, even the naughty ones. The way they laughed when they promised “to shoot some coal to all the naughty boys and girls,” struck Santa as a bit odd, but otherwise their offer was a blessing.
Mrs. Claus had been on Santa’s ass for years. She incessantly nagged him to slow down, take it easy and to outsource the delivery of the toys. But if he gave up all the deliveries he’d never get to leave the house. Christmas Eve was his one night of freedom.
“Why can’t you get those lazy elves to take care of the delivery,” she complained as Santa tried to tune her out in front of the TV. “In case you haven’t noticed they haven’t built a goddamn thing in years. Have you seen all the UPS and FEDEX trucks outside their ‘factory?'”
It never ended with her. Just when he was hoping to unwind after a long day of cleaning out the reindeer stalls (and what filthy animals they were!) she’d start in.
It was always the same old shit, at least until the good men from the National Santa Assistance program showed up. This year was going to be different. With the NSA’s help, Santa only had to make three deliveries this Christmas Eve. With any luck he could have those wrapped up by midnight and be back home drinking a cold one before sunrise in Australia.
“You shouldn’t be flying around all night at your age anyway,” Mrs. Claus droned on. “Remember the Christmas you smashed the sleigh into good Mr. Washington’s face on Mt. Rushmore?”
Of course he remembered. A few too many fathers in the Pacific Northwest decided old Santa would appreciate a micro brew instead of milk with his cookies. By the time he was piloting his eight “tiny” reindeer over South Dakota, he was good and drunk — not that he’d ever let the misses know, of course.
Sadly, Rudolf had taken the brunt of the accident and the poor bastard was never the same. While none of the reindeer were exactly bright, Rudolf these days was positively brain damaged. When he wasn’t licking his own poop or drooling on himself, he was constantly trying to shove his glowing nose up Blitzen’s ass and Blitzen didn’t even seem to mind. Jesus, all the damned reindeer sort of freaked Santa out sometimes. Maybe next year he’d skip deliveries all together and butcher the lot of them. Grilling reindeer steaks with a cold one during the summer months had a certain charm.
“…and furthermore, I’ve been asking your for at least six months to clean out the attic,” Mrs. Claus’ shrill voice interrupted Santa’s train of thought. “Kris, are you even listening to me!”
In response, Santa kicked back the recliner and let one rip. Mrs. Claus stormed upstairs.
At least now he’d be able to watch Duck Dynasty in peace before embarking on his “big” deliveries.
One thing Santa was sure of — loading the sleigh for just three families was a lot easier than packing up gifts for 2.18 billion. He even had ample room for a cooler of beer and sandwiches. Normally Mrs. Claus would have made the sandwiches, but she was mad as usual. Seemed every year her attitude became as bad as her ass was wide.
Oh well, he thought. He wasn’t a spring chicken anymore anyway, what with his beer belly, pack-a-day smoking habit and love of anything pork.
Santa had just chain lit a cigarette and cracked open a can of Milwaukee’s Worst when elf Bill sauntered into the barn with a clipboard.
“What’s up, Bill,” Santa asked in as jolly a voice as he could muster.
“I’ve asked you not to call me that,” Bill growled. “My name is Legolas.”
Santa rolled his eyes. None of the elves had been the same since those fucking movies came out. Ever since watching “Lord of the Rings,” each and every one insisted on being called some variation of Legolas. It annoyed Santa to no end.
“Whatever,” Santa said.
“Your refusal to treat our heritage, history and ancestry with the proper respect is very troublesome Mr. Claus. I hope I won’t have to bring it up again to the union?”
Santa hoped not to. The last time that happened it cost him a couple million dollars and — in an agreement he still couldn’t believe was legally binding — he was required to change his name to Golem for a year.
“Fine, Legolas,” he said, stretching the name out as he said it. “Do you want a beer? It’s totally cool because I only have three deliveries this year.”
“I most certainly will not be having a beer, and neither should you,” Bill said. “I’m here to conduct the Christmas Eve pre-flight safety and quality assurance checks as required by the St. Nicholas/Elf Workers Overseas Contract agreement.”
“I know, I know, every time I turn around you Ewocs kick me in the balls.”
Bill missed the Stars Wars reference, thank god. Had he caught it and complained to the union, god knows what it might have cost.
“Knock yourself out, Legolas,” Santa said, tossing an empty can over his shoulder and cracking open a fresh one. Just as he was thinking he could get in a good half-hour nap before taking off, he noticed Rudolf again shoving his shiny red nose up Blitzen’s ass.
An hour later, Santa was literally and figuratively “flying high” somewhere over southern Canada on his way to make his three deliveries. The sleigh’s heater was on full-blast and he’d long since stripped down to a slightly stained wife-beater T-shirt. He had headphones on attached to an iPod he “acquired” when he spilled beer on some packages, and 2 Chainz was serenading him with some business about “putting a fat rabbit on a Craftmatic.”
Santa looked at the tag: Too, Johnny. From, Santa.
“Looks like Johnny just made the naughty list,” Santa joked to himself, before flicking the tag out of the sleigh.
Almost immediately, the sleigh’s intercontinental radio crackled.
“Mr. Claus, this is Agent Smith with the National Secur … uh, the National Santa Assistance program. We’ve received information that you’d like to add Johnny Miller to the naughty list? Can you confirm that for us, sir?”
Santa was startled by the question. How the hell did they know that? Man, the Santa Assistance program was on the ball.
“Um yeah, definitely on the naughty list,” he said, taking a swig of beer. “Naughty, naughty, naughty.”
“Understood Mr. Claus, we’ll take care of Johnny immediately. Thank you. You’re a great American. Over and out.”
The radio went dead before Santa could explain he was only joking (and that he was in fact Canadian), but it wasn’t really important. No need to bring down the sweet vibes of 2 Chainz.
As Santa softly banked the sleigh to the right, empty beer cans rolled around in the back. Santa leaned back in the seat, put his feet up on the dash and sang along, “I put it straight in her belly!”
Some minutes later, a dashboard light came on indicating the sleigh was about to start its decent into the northern United States. Not noticing the light, Santa blissfully sipped on his beer while vaguely wondering how many cans he could fill with pee if he had to go badly enough.
It wasn’t until the sleigh almost clipped a light pole that he realized what was happening and by that point it was tragically too late. The sleigh crash landed atop a restored ’57 Chevy wrapped in a bow.
Beer cans spilled onto the street as Santa clumsily disembarked and stumbled into the shadows in case anyone heard the racket. When the coast was clear, he crept out from his hiding spot and grabbed a sack of gifts. He flung the oddly lightweight bounty over his shoulder with such force that it flew out of his hand. On unsteady feet he climbed into a holly bush to retrieve it.
“What the fuck,” Santa simultaneously hiccuped and giggled.
As he surveyed how to get into the house since the chimney was on the roof and his drunk ass was on the ground, he was too preoccupied to notice an ominous-looking black van outside the Millers or to see three armed men dragging a wriggling boy.
Just moments before Santa’s arrival, the three Miller children had been assembled in their family’s living room four houses away. There was the youngest, Stephanie, 4, and the apple of her father’s eye; the middle child, a bookish, but adorable Mary, 10; and finally the athletic and zealous 16-year-old Johnny.
Their parents, Craig and Kim, were trying to coax the kids to bed.
Craig thought Kim had a little too much wine at this point, nearly three glasses, but said nothing. It was Christmas Eve after all and it had been a good year for him as an investment banker. Still, it wasn’t as good a year as his neighbor Mark Markson’s. A cherry ’57 Chevy sat in that driveway.
“Now children,” Craig said slowly, enjoying the moment, “do you know what happens if Santa gets here and you’re awake?”
“No Santa,” Stephanie said.
Craig was about to answer when everything went wrong — very, very wrong.
Through the front door stormed shouting armed men in black uniforms.
“Freeze motherfuckers,” someone yelled. “On the fucking ground right now, you fucking douche bags,” yelled another.
Five more, assault rifles in hand, pushed past Craig chasing after Johnny who fled up the stairs.
“I said get on the ground motherfuckers” another officer yelled, the bead of his laser-sighted rifle catching Stephanie betwixt the eyes.
The frightened family complied.
“OK, which one of these assholes is Johnny,” one of the officers asked another. The two then stared at a grainy cell phone surveillance photo showing Johnny with Stephanie in line to see Santa at the mall.
“We got him,” a man atop the stairs declared as Johnny struggled under his grip. “The dirtbag’s right there.”
The chaos in the house was so loud, that no one heard as Santa missed his landing outside.
A sober or slightly less drunk Santa would have realized he was at the wrong house, but a sauced Santa thought nothing of it as he futzed around with the door lock at the Marksons. It was a solid 15 minutes before he remembered all he needed to do was twitch his nose and the door would open.
“Jesus Christ, Kris,” he muttered to himself, then laughed and repeated, “Christ Kris, Christ Kris, Christ Kris.”
After taking a leak in a dormant bouganvilla bush he was making his way inside when he heard the screams from the Miller house.
“Why are you taking him,” Kim Miller pleaded as two men ushered her crying son to the van. “He hasn’t done anything.”
Santa quickly slammed the door and rushed to peek out the blinds. He could see a crush of men emerge from the Millers. Then the van sped away.
“I gotta get the fuck out of Dodge,” he whispered as he reached into his bag and flung presents at the tree.
Once the Millers were back inside, Santa stumbled off the porch and commenced to yanking the sleigh off the Chevy. Rudolf’s propensity toward tossing Blitzen’s salad made the task a bit more difficult.
As he prepared for takeoff he noticed the voicemail light on his dashboard blinking.
“Christ,” he thought ripping open a new beer and hitting “play” as the sleigh ascended into the black sky.
(Had a Few Beers: This is the special Christmas update, the first of a three-part series. Be sure to check back this later this week for part two, or to receive notifications of when this and other updates are published you can always subscribe using the button on the right.)