Had a Few Beers: This is Part Two of a three-part series. Part One is available here
Santa flies high in the sky Christmas night
“You goddamn sonofabitch,” Mrs. Claus’ screeched in the voicemail. “Why the hell aren’t you home yet? You had three goddamned deliveries! And Legolas just came to the door looking for the Christmas bonuses. I told him that you were a no-good sonofabitch and guess what — it wasn’t news to him.
“You have to work ONE DAY, Kris! One day of the year, for gawd sake! Call me!”
Santa cringed. She can be such a bitch sometimes, he thought gulping his beer. This beer is delicious, he thought as his sleigh flew over the Appalachians. Does a red nose up your ass feels good, he wondered as the malt and barley soothed his mood.
“Hey honey, two more deliveries to go,” Santa slurred in the return phone call.
“Are you drunk,” Mrs. Claus demanded.
“No,” Santa scoffed. “That’s ridiculous! Who dets grunk when they’ve got presents to deliver. You’re so silly.”
“Who dets grunk?” Mrs. Claus repeated.
“Huh? Are you drunk,” Santa laughed heartily. “Sweetie, are you drunk?”
“You said, ‘dets grunk’ Kris, I’m not stupid,” she hissed.
“What I said was, I love you. Listen, I’m ahh flying over Lake Michigan and we might lose the signal here. Gotta go!” He slammed the phone down.
Following the debacle in Minnesota, Santa was relieved when at last his sleigh finally touched down outside the Jackson home in North Carolina. This time fewer tree tops fell victim to the sleigh and he only sideswiped a couple cars as he skidded to a halt outside the rural home.
Santa was relieved the night was nearly half over. Just this delivery and one more and he was finished for the year.
He surveyed the damage he left in his wake before shrugging and grabbing the ever-shrinking bag of gifts.
Wiggling his nose, he was about to walk through the front door when a noise caught his attention. It was faint at first, but grew increasingly louder by the second. Within moments it became almost deafening.
Something swooped past Santa’s head. He swatted at it wondering what kind of insane rabid bat was attacking him. Something else flew past the other side of his head. He spun around trying to locate it.
Suddenly the air was thick with giant bugs carrying what he assumed were bombs. They were everywhere in an instant. He could barely see the sleigh from the doorstep there were so many.
Santa screamed and thrashed about. He batted at them with his sack managing to kill one and send another careening wildly off into the darkness. In an attempt to escape the assault, he rushed inside and slammed the door behind him. But the gnats were also inside. As he ran toward a door across the room, his foot became tangled in the tree lights and he dragged the tannenbaum behind him as he crawled into a closet.
Panting and panicked in the darkness, he was just getting his bearings when he heard that familiar buzz. Sonofabitch! One of the foul creatures was in there too! Assuming his usual fighting posture, Santa peed a little then thrashed about. The beast was formidable. Its flesh wasn’t like a bug’s at all. It had cold metallic limbs and instead of wings, it had rotors. The cramped quarters were to Santa’s advantage, however. No matter what part of his body he moved, he was able to harm the assailant. In the end, the bug was too small to defeat the hefty Claus and he managed to kill it.
Running his hand along the wall, he found a switch. Light poured into the closet.
The bug wasn’t a bug at all, but a miniature helicopter with the word “Amazon” emblazoned on its side. In a claw it clutched, of all things, a Christmas present.
Santa ticked off the list of Christmas enemies he’d defeated in the past: the Grinch, the Abominable snowman and some asshole named Scrooge. None of them were ingenious enough to make one, let alone millions of these things.
Whoever this Amazon was he was a sonofabitch that was for sure.
“I’ll have to ask the NSA about this,” Santa whispered to himself, his tongue thick with hops and cottonmouth.
The buzzing outside the door hadn’t fully abated when he heard a voice from outside the closet.
“Holy shit, Sue Ellen, the gubbermints finally come after us!”
The words were punctuated by what sounded like a volley of gunshots.
“Yee haw,” the man yelled. “Wake up junior, he’s going wanna get some of dis here action …” which was again followed by several gunshots.
Santa put his hand on the closet’s door knob and slowly counted to three. On three he took a deep breath and rushed out into the living room turned war zone. Besides the toppled tree and crushed decorations, the room was now filled with a thin layer of smoke. The floor was littered with Amazon corpses, some of them still struggling to fly despite their bullet-riddled bodies.
“There’s one of them now, Paw!” called a boy from atop the upstairs.
Santa looked up and saw 8-year-old Junior leveling, what looked to be a Red Ryder carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle at him.
Santa ran desperately toward the front door of the house knowing full well that he would be lucky if he was only hit by a BB. A stinging pain on his left butt cheek forced him to jump a little as he heard the boy cry out, “I got him paw, I got him!”
Santa was barely outside the door when a large chunk of the door’s frame exploded by his head from as another round of the shotgun.
“Come back here mister Ffff Beee Eye man!” called out the father.
There was no time to think. In an instant Santa was in the sleigh, gaining altitude and taking evasive maneuvers. In the process of a terribly sharp bank to the right Santa’s cooler and his uneaten sandwiches disappeared over the side and, with any luck, Santa hoped, fell onto the Jackson’s roof.
Once the sleigh had righted itself and was free of any danger, Santa pointed the navigation system toward the last stop of the night, Sacramento, Calif.
He briefly considered stopping for more beer and a bite to eat, but decided it would be easier to just finish the delivery and call it a night.
Santa gripped the reigns firmly, steeled his face against the cold night wind and raced for California.
Outside a quiet suburban home in Sacramento, Santa had his first flawless landing of the night. Not a single tree top was trimmed, nor were any of the numerous Priuses along the street scratched, dinged or damaged.
The woefully empty toy sack lifted out of the sleigh with ease. Tired, famished and with a sore left ass cheek, Santa strode confidently to the front door, failing to notice a small sign on the curb that read: “Sacramento Medical Marijuana Dispensary, Please inquire within.”
Santa, partly out of exhaustion and partly out of frustration, wasted no time wiggling his nose and opening the front door.
Everything inside was quiet and peaceful. A fire flickered lazily in the fireplace, the lights on the Christmas tree blinked softly and the whole house smelled wonderfully of freshly baked cookies.
“I wonder if…,” before Santa could finish the thought he saw them — an awaiting plate of cookies and a full glass of milk glistened on the mantel. There was even a small note written in crayon by a child. “For Santa, thank you. From, Tyler.”
Santa could’ve cried. Could’ve, but didn’t. He gobbled down the cookies like a half-starved madman and then gulped the milk just as quickly.
The snack did the trick, taking Santa’s mind off his hunger for a moment as he reflected on the disastrous evening. The Miller and the Jackson deliveries were botched abortions, yet here, finally, Santa had been handed what looked to be a normal house.
There was mistletoe hung above the door to the kitchen. On the fireplace four stockings were lovingly embroidered with names: Mom, Dad, Raymond and Isabelle.
Beneath the trees were presents from Mom, Dad, the kids, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends. Santa took a moment, drinking it all in, even surveying the family photos adorning the walls.
As he became lost in the Norman Rockwell-look of the Garcia home, a beautiful golden retriever came down stairs.
At first glance the dog startled Santa, but he’d long since become accustomed to family dogs and they’d become used to him. The dog wagged her tail and Santa bent down to give her a good thorough scratching behind the ears and on her belly.
The house was just perfect, he thought. This, he knew, would be his moment, his chance to make amends for the mishaps of the last two deliveries.
This house, he told himself, would end perfectly.
Free to conduct the task at hand, Santa knelt down and reached into his bag.
The first gift he pulled out was addressed to the father, and he set it lovingly under the tree. The next was for the mother and he treated that present in a similar fashion. The kid’s gifts were next and he placed each with loving care at the front of the pile of gifts so that they might be seen first.
Gifts in place, Santa stood up and admired his work. It was odd, he’d been doing this sort of thing for countless years, but this particular set of gifts almost brought tears to his eyes.
As he looked at the picturesque scene, oblivious to the world around him, Mr. Garcia, dressed in pajamas came downstairs in search of a midnight snack.
“Whoa, dude, you are real,” Garcia’s voice rang out from behind Santa.
Santa jumped, but not so much. The serenity of the house had, for once this night, soothed him.
Typically in this sort of situation Santa would have activated his invisibility shield the moment anyone walked into the room, but, for reasons he couldn’t explain, he didn’t.
Instead he giggled.
Santa giggled, and giggled and giggled some more. Garcia giggled too.
“Dude,” Santa finally managed to say, “I’ve always been real, man.”
“I knew it,” Garcia said in hushed tones, “You’re like awesome and stuff. Man, my kids love you. Hell, I love you.”
Yeah,” Santa replied with wide grin and an upnod. “Shit, man I just do …stuff. It’s cool.”
“I totally know you do, bro!,” Garcia said. “You have like THE best job in the world. No doubt.”
Then he paused for a moment to rethink that statement.
“Well, actually,” Garcia snickered. “I have the BEST job in the world.”
It was about this time that Santa realized something was amiss. He suddenly craved Cheetos and had an unbelievable case of cottonmouth.
“Hey,” Santa said, moving in slow motion across the room. “Ya got something to drink?”
“Ohhhh,” Garcia said gleefully bouncing up and down and pointing at Santa, “How you feelin’, vato?”
“I feel funny,” Santa remarked
“Yeah ya do, man, those cookies had some of the dankest bud in Cali in them,” Garcia said, before adding, to no one in particular, “Man, I got Santa stoned!”
Seeing the panic cross Santa’s face, Garcia walked over and put a hand on his shoulder.
“Don’t worry, yo. I won’t let anything happen to you. I’m not gonna be the guy who killed Santy Clogs,” he said.
The next few hours were hazy for Santa. They talked about life, sports, women, toys. They solved countless world ills and brainstormed numerous life-improving inventions. Santa learned what Carne Asada was and Garcia tried, but failed, to open doors with a nose wiggle.
After some time Santa felt good enough to leave and his hunger was a thing of the past, two bags of Doritos and half a cold pizza had seen to that. After promising to stay in touch, the two men parted ways.
Outside, back in his sleigh, Santa took off into the cool morning air.
He wanted a drink, a beer before going home. His mouth felt like it was stuffed with cotton and he wanted just 15 minutes to clear his head of all the night’s activities. The onboard GPS told him there was one bar, just outside of Portland, that was open at this hour on Christmas Day.
“Billy Ray’s it will have to be,” Santa said to the reindeer as he piloted the sleigh north.
(Had a Few Beers: This is the special Christmas update, the second of a three-part series. Be sure to check back soon for the conclusion, or to receive notifications of when this and other updates are published, you can always subscribe using the button on the right.)