The story is finally coming to a close, but we still have a long way to go. If you missed Parts 1 and 2, you are missing out on something special. An event that only happens every 80-100 years. I bet you have no idea what I am talking about. Well, that is a good thing because soon enough you will. Let me break it down for those who are just now showing up fashionably late to the party. Stop treating this story like it is an LA Lakers game. The earlier you show up, the better. Richard told Santa that he wished that he would have never been born; ala It’s a Wonderful Life. The big man in a red suit is making that happen as we speak. He is showing Richard what would be Christmas had he never been born. Something tells me; we are going to experience a lot in the feels department. If you have not invested in tissue, it might be a good time to do so. Jess is getting the grand tour of Santa’s workshop. Nothing bad can come from that, right? Finally, Santa just told Chris about having stage four lung cancer. This statement left Chris in a very confused state of mind.
“I am so confused.” Chris said.
See I am not making this up. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the final part of It’s a Bizarre Life.
I have no clue where this damn sleigh has taken me. I am not sure I am ready embark on another journey like this. Each year it seems that something crazy happens, and I have no way to explain what is going on here to anyone. I am looking around. This does not look like any Christmas story that I remember. There is no snow, no sign of life at all. I feel like Global Warming might have thrown up on this place. There is nothing as far as the eye can see. Chances are that I am in the desert or western Kansas. Either way, there is no place like home…There is no place like home…..There is no. Damn it. I figured this was not going to work in a pair of converse.
“RICHARD!!!” A booming voice comes from the heavens. You ever get that moment in your life where you wish you had the Mickey Mouse night light you had as a kid, the one that protected you from all the evil. Yeah, I am having that moment.
“Richard!!!” The voice says again. My teeth are now chattering. I am scared for my life. I am not sure if I like this feeling or not. This is something that I am not comfortable with.
“Richard!!! For the love of everything, turn around.” The voice said to me. I am not going to turn around. I am not going to turn around. I am not going to turn around.
In Santa’s control room, Chris was trying to process the words that came out of Santa’s mouth. The words said shook Chris down to his very core.
“Santa, is what you are saying true? Are you really dying?” Chris asked with a hint of sadness coming from behind that statement.
“Yes, Chris. About six months ago, Mrs. Claus noticed my health declining. She begged and pleaded with me to go see a doctor as soon as possible. I am almost 100 years old. I am, how you say, set in my ways. I was not going to the doctor for anything in the world, but I looked into the eyes of Mrs. Claus. Each time I would look into her eyes, I would see the feeling of love. I would see the spirit of Christmas. I knew it was time to break down. I went to the Doctor to make Mrs. Claus happy. The doctor did his regular routine. Once he listened to me breathing, he knew something was off. They sent me for tests. That is when they found out about the cancer. Once the doctors told me it was stage 4, I knew it was just a matter of time before it all ended. I knew that the wheels needed to be set in motion to find my replacement. It was not even a hard decision for me.” Santa replied to Chris.
Chris was not sure how to take the news. The fighting of tears is one thing, but he was going to break down. He could feel the emotion bottling up inside him listening to what Santa had to say. “Santa, I know this is a really weird question to ask, but what happens to you when you do pass away?” Chris hesitantly asked Santa.
“I just fade away. There will be no physical body, but my spirit. It will always live on. No matter who is next in line? I am not the first Santa, nor will I be the last man to put on a suit and grow a beard. I will become the Christmas spirit. Once you start hearing the music, and feel a nip in the air, that will just be me saying high again.” Santa responds.
“Santa, what about Mrs. Claus? What will happen to her?” Chris asks inquisitively.
At that very second, Santa’s head starts to droop a little bit. You could see the old man go from just talking to being depressed. Santa starts sobbing. The tears are sliding down upon his beard. The heartache Santa is feeling is consuming him from the inside.
“Chris, Mrs. Claus, will still be alive, but she will return to her normal life. She will forget everything that has happened here at The North Pole including here love for me.”
Jess’s eyes are as wide as a kid on Christmas morning opening presents. Bobbie is showing her around and giving her the grand tour. The two are about to enter the room that everyone wants to see but few have. The workshop. Jess wants to see where the magic happens for each boy and girl. Bobbie puts in the magic key. Jess’s heart is about to pound through her chest. You could tell that she is healthy and a little excited as she is registering 88 beats a minute. The doors open up, but the feeling is not normal. The elves are not working. The elves are more in a sad state of mine. One of the elves, her name is Amber, she comes running up to Bobbie and Jess.
“Bobbie, we need to talk to you right now.” Amber says to Bobbie. Jess wonders what is going on and tries to follow Bobbie and Amber to the group of elves. “Alone.” Amber says looking at Jess with a small bit of anger behind her eyes. Jess gets outraged but instead of stating her vocal opinion like she normally does. She just stomps her foot and pouts. “I know someone who may have just earned a place on the naughty list.” Amber says.
So…. I turned around. I am not sure whatever persuaded me to turn around, but it may have something to do with a voice that sounds like God. At least that is what I would think that is what God’s voice would sounds like. I slowly turn around, and I am met with a face that I have not seen in years. It was TV’s Alan Thicke. Yes, that Alan Thicke. Apparently, if you wish that you are never born the person that is going to enlighten you, is the same man who was dad on Growing Pains.
“Richard. How are you old pal? I bet you are wondering where we are at. Go ahead take a guess, chances are that you will be wrong anyway at least that is the bet at the office.” Alan said to me.
“I am not sure; I am almost sure that I am on some planet from a Star Wars movie, or somewhere in Firefly.” I said back to Alan.
“Well, Richard you are wrong on both accounts. See, if you were not born, you would not be able to help Santa when he was kidnapped. This area would have started to run a muck. This opens a lot of opportunities that were once not there. This is going to be the home to an important grocery store chain. I would tell you what the name is, but we are not at liberty to discuss that.” Alan says to me.
“Where are we then? This is not from a Christmas special or movie?” I say to Alan.
“Actually, you are wrong. This is Frosty the Snowman.” Alan replies.
“Are you serious?” I asked.
“Yeah, see without you being born, Santa was not able to stay in his environment. This allowed the area to be bought by fatcats.” Thicke said to me.
The news was very heartbreaking to me. There is no way that this one thing happened because of me. He is just telling me that to make feel crazy. That is the only explanation. I think that is the only way any of that will make any sense to anyone, including myself.
“Richard without you being born, Ralphie doesn’t shoot his glasses off. George Bailey is taken to jail and get the death penalty. Clark Griswold gets his bonus with nothing happening to him. Rudolph never gets to leads Santa’s sleigh. Jack Skellington kidnaps Santa and nothing happens to him. But there is one thing so vile, so heinous…. You know what instead of telling you. Let me show you.” Alan Thicke says.
Maybe I am wrong but being led by a man that was a role model tv Dad kind of scares me. I know what I normally do in these situations. I always ask myself one thing. What Would Alan Thicke Do? And he would say show me that smile again. I am going to follow Alan to whatever this terrible thing is and hope for the best.
The elves were all gathered around listening to a device that just happened to be working correctly. It was a one-way communicator. The elves knew something was wrong with Santa, but they were just not sure what it was. The group installed a baby monitor inside Santa’s watch room. It was then that they were overhearing the conversation between Chris and Santa. At this time, with it only being hours before the takeoff of Santa’s last flight, the work for this year’s toys were finished. It was time to start on next year’s work. However, it was not going to happen. All the elves were down in the dumps and depressed about hearing the news. Jess was starting to pick up that something was not right in the air. She kept inching closer and closer to the huddle of elves. An idea that is quite genius knowing that she was going to fit in very well. It helps that she has the proper physical attributes. Remember all the elves are women. Bobbie turns up the monitor so the group could hear the conversation better.
I am at a children’s pageant. I swear to God if the mother from Honey Boo comes in, I am done. There is a weird vibe in the air. I can’t put my finger on it. The lights flicker and a voice tells us we can take our seats. I am up for a play or something cute in time for Christmas.
A kid takes the stage and starts singing Jingle Bells. It was the cutest thing I think I have ever witnessed. Alan Thicke just sits there, nodding his head up and down. He is putting off that really creepy vibe. I am not sure that one could handle this.
“Richard, the time is approaching. Remember, I warned you.” Alan Thicke leaves. He just leaves me there. A choir takes the stage. Fake snow is falling all over the auditorium. It is like a winter wonderland up in here. I love it. There is part of me that never wants to leave. They are bringing around gingerbread cookies. How is this the world thing in the world? Then the choir starts singing. I was excited that were going to be doing the classic ‘Santa Claus is Coming Town.” But it wasn’t about Santa. It was about another person. A person that has no reason to have a song about them. A person that honestly makes me appreciate Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Santa Claus was replaced by Kirk Cameron. Fuck this, there is no way in the world I am letting this happen. Everywhere I turn there is something with Kirk Cameron. His face is on the tree, on stockings, they even have a life-size cutout that sings the theme of Growing Pains that wears a damn red hat. I am never going to make this wish again. I drop to my knees and channeling my inner Captain Kirk; I let out a primal yell that would rival Kirk yelling at Kahn. All of a sudden, the giant white light of the sleigh and poof.
“The time has come Chris. I need to tell Richard the plan. He is going to be here in 3…..2….1….” Santa says and gets interrupted.
‘Are you kidding me? If I didn’t save you, Kirk Cameron would be Santa. That is not a world that I would wish my worst enemy to live in. My ex-wife is a different story altogether.” I yelled as I was dusting myself off.
“Richard, I feel that we need to talk. I think you may want to know what is happening.” Santa says to me. Chris decides to be a gentleman and leave the room. A decision that we will soon come to regret or be very excited over. That was a bit of foreshadowing, and you are welcome.
“Santa, I know what you were trying to do is cheer me up. I am not sure if anything is going to pull me out of a funk, or out of the hole that I am in. I am not even sure if I am ready to be truly 100% me again, but I know over time, thanks to you, I will be able to grow. I am going to be back to normal very soon.” I tell Santa.
“I want to ask you a question. If you could pick anywhere in the world to live, where would it be?” Santa asked.
I am puzzled by this question. I am not sure if Santa is legit wondering something here or this is a bait to get me to go in with him for a time share. That did try to happen after the 2011 story.
“I would love to live in London or Portland Oregon. I love both of those areas. I think I would fit in better in London, because of my love for the Doctor.” I tell Santa.
“Seriously, Richard. Let me read something to you that a 6-year-old wrote me in 1990.
I hope you like fudge. I am making sure that mom leaves you the plain, no nuts. For Christmas, I want some toy wrestlers. Also, when I get older could I live at the North Pole?
What if I could give it to you?” Santa reads to me.
“Give what to me? I am not sure if I am following you here Santa.” I say back to the man in a red suit.
‘The North Pole. Richard, over the past four years, you have been a friend to me. You have rescued me two times, saved me from trial, and saved Christmas as we know it. There is something about what you did that a man could not forget. I have been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. Tonight is my last night as Santa. Once the run is done, I will fade into a memory. My life may be coming to an end, but the name of Santa has to live on. I am able to pick the person that is going to take over for me, and I could only think of one person. You.”
“Santa, emotionally I am not in the place for…..” I am cut off before I am able to get a sentence out.
“Look, the one reason I have been so firm with you was because I know you can do it. I need the real you and seeing how you handled the Kirk Cameron situation was entirely worth it. Once my final present is delivered, the sleigh, the suit, and the reindeer will come back here, and you are the man in charge.” Santa responds back.
“I am not sure what to say!” Once I say those words to Santa, I start crying. I need some ice cream and a show to binge watch on Netflix. Can we make that happen? Maybe Gossip Girl.
“You say yes. Mrs. Claus will help you through your transition until you find your Mrs. Claus as I fade, her memory for me will begin to fade too. Please just say yes. You are the man for the job. Nobody cares as much about people and the Christmas spirit as much as you. I need an answer.” Santa says
I stand there in complete silence not sure what to do. Could I do this? Out of the corner of my eye I see Jess run by the window in a full sprint with a pack of elves right behind her. The hoard of beauty ran Chris over. You would think it was touch a titty Tuesday the way that man was excited.
All of them were huddled at the window waiting for an answer.
I am freaking out. On one hand, this is an enormous responsibility. I have to deliver to each boy and girl to make Christmas happen. I have to do it within a certain amount of time. On the other hand, I would always get to make people smile. I have a life motto that I just want to make one person smile a day to feel accomplished. I would get to do that to millions, and I could fly.
“Yes. I will do it on one condition.” I say
A collective groan from the audience happens at this exact moment.
Chris jumps up after his dream of being trampled by beautiful women has happened. I bet he wishes they were wearing high heels. “What is the condition?”
“Santa, I want Chris as my #2. We are a team; we are like Abbot and Costello but both of us are fat.”
“I do not see this being a problem.” Santa says to me and instead of a handshake to seal the deal; we have a huge hug. Santa looks down at his watch. “It’s time.”
Santa gets ready for his last flight. The reindeer have been checked, and double checked to see if they are willing to go for the final flight. We are standing at the takeoff gate. A sad silence is passing through the air. No one is actually saying a word. This is the end of an era. This is goodbye to someone that I have grown to love as the time has passed. I frequently do not get say this, but the few years have been exceptional. Rescuing Santa, to stealing his hat, those memories I will take forever with me. Mrs. Claus comes down the stairs. My heart is about to beat out of my chest. I am not able to catch my breath.
Santa opens the door one last time. Slowly making his way down the stairs. Shaking hands, hugging and even twerking with the elves that have become part of his family.
“Richard, I know you will make a great Santa. Make them believe in the power of Christmas every year.” Santa says to me.
“I will big guy. Make this the best Christmas ever.” I say to him as emotion overcomes me.
Santa says a few more goodbyes and his head turned to the woman he loves. His best friend. She hands him a cookie that is in the shape of a heart. The two embrace in a hug that could have stopped time itself.
“Baby, don’t eat too many cookies, you will spoil your appetite.” She says to him.
Santa with a heavy heart brings his wife close for one last kiss. “This time, don’t wait up. I love you.”
Mrs. Claus stepped away with tears in her eyes. The elves had to keep her propped up so she wouldn’t fall from heartache.
Hours had gone by before anything else happened. It was complete silence for the rest of the night. Mrs. Claus locked herself in their bedroom to not be seen all night. The three of us had no clue what to say to each other.
It was the crack of dawn on Christmas morning; we heard a commotion. The sleigh had returned. I wanted to be the first one to go look around. Santa was no longer with us, but in the seat on top of the suit was note.
Funny how things have a way of going 180. I left you one last surprise for Christmas. I know what you and Chris want to do. All you have to do is hit the orange button.
Make them believe,
Chris and Jess come down the stairs to join me.
“What is that, brother?” Chris asked me.
I just handed the note to Chris and let him read it for himself. He looked up at me with a grin that only a character from Alice in Wonderland could love. He hopped in that sleigh faster than a dog wanting to get in a car. Jess looked all sad, as she never experienced any of the Christmas magic.
“Jess hop in. You may enjoy this just as much.” I said to Jess. “Are you guys ready?”
At the same time, they both yelled “yes!” and the orange button was pushed.
“What’s this? What’s this? There is magic everywhere. What’s Thhfkhjkfhzdlkgbzlgkbzldgknlkzd”
“It just wouldn’t be Christmas unless we killed Jack.” Chris says to me. You know what this means, you are going to have to find a Mrs. Claus.”
And thus Richard took over the job as jolly ole St. Nick. I bet you are wondering how I came to know this story. Well, let me give you a little hint. All you have to do is have a little Christmas spirit. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. Ho! Ho! Ho!
Thank you for joining us for the 13 Days of Christmas