(Note From Richard: Our story from two years ago with one of the most heart wrenching moments in Christmas history.)
It is that time of the year again. Nothing beats the Christmas Season. Families are all gathered by a fireplace singing Carols. Of course, there is the one family member who thinks they have the best voice in all the land when they truly sound like a beaver being torn apart by an industrial chainsaw. We don’t tell them that they suck because that is the magic of the holidays. “Spreading that Christmas cheer” is on a motivational poster I hace hanging in my office. It even has a picture of the elf on the shelf with it. I am not sure how he landed a job watching children being that he looks like someone who should have his picture hanging up in a Post Office.
Baking and all the food becomes a tradition each year. Cookies and candy, no wonder obesity is on the rise in America, wouldn’t you think that someone would leave The Big Guy a carrot once in a while instead of the traditional cookies and milk. Has anyone ever thought of the possibility that Santa may be lactose intolerant? Every year is the same, cookies…… Cookies….. Cookies. You would think after 100s of years on the job that a person would get tired of eating the same thing all the time. Not Santa. Plus, you can’t forget the fudge, or the gingerbread houses, or anything else that will raise the ole blood sugar levels to code red.
The Christmas Spirit is something special. Some people only get it once in a blue moon. Those are the type of people that no one wants to be around unless there is rum in the eggnog. Then, there are those that go above and beyond the call of duty, and eat, sleep, breathe Christmas. Those are the ones that are sitting right now with a bundle of cats in an ugly sweater trying to get your house on a Christmas Light special on ABC. But every so often there is a person that will have just the right amount of Christmas Spirit. The amount os spirit that will rub off on people. They would be the type of person that when you see them coming, a smile appears on your face. This is true Christmas Spirit. I know of one person who always had that spirit. He even rescued a kidnapped Santa three years in a row. I know what you are thinking, who gets kidnapped three years in a row? Before you ask that question, remember that you have played the 402nd Mario video game.
I want you to meet Richard! Each year this guy would get in the Christmas Spirit earlier and earlier. You would almost have to say that he was the Black Friday of Christmas Spirits. Just wait till next year boys and girls, Christmas trees will be on sale July 5th. His last few years have been really difficult. The one time of the year that would pull him out of his depression would be Christmas. He would put up his tree, with no theme. For all of you with OCD, you would freak out and have a panic attack. But it was him. Christmas has been never about having the best, or making things look better, it was about the spirit of the holiday. A sentiment that a lot of people have forgotten. However, this year was not the best. He went from a happy go lucky guy, too sad, depressed. He wasn’t the same. Something had destroyed his soul, his spirit.
This is his story, and by the time you are finished, you are going to realize that, It’s a Bizarre Life.
It was not a beautiful sight. All I would do anymore was sitting there in that recliner, not wearing any pants and drinking bottles of Kraken Rum. I am not sure what it is about being sad and not wearing pants that go together, but in this case, they are Besties. I didn’t care what was going on in the outside world. I secluded myself from everyone. There were nights I would get so drunk, I would remind you of that one person that at the holiday party would wear the lampshade on their head. I would remove my pants and shout, “Release the Kraken!!” I know what you are thinking, and that mental image should be scared in your mind for the rest of your life. You are welcome. It was a bleak time for myself. I did try to recapture the Christmas Spirit once, and on that faithful night my life would change forever.
“Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.”
“Look, George, every time a bell rings, a fat guy in his living takes a shot. Screw you, George Bailey and your perfect damn life. Every year I watch you and every year I wonder why. If you would have just jumped off that damn bridge to begin with, I could save myself the sappy ending that follows. I am so sick of this season. Why is it that every blasted Christmas moving has to have a happy ending? Just once, I want a Christmas that ends with the appropriate ending. Loneliness and a bottle of booze. Hell, next year I think I am just randomly going out and tell people that they should live their life like it would be in Empire Strikes Back. Nothing ever ends up the way it should. The happy ending is a farce unless you know a really good massage parlor.”
We do not condone the use of sex to get over any troubles that may plague you during the holiday season.
I am the guy that rescued Santa, and I couldn’t care less about Christmas anymore. The season I once loved with all of his heart; the love is no longer there. I felt my heart grow two sizes too small. My friends would try to come cheer me up. Even that was not working. I remember when my friend, Jess showed up. The gesture I guess was nice, but why would going outside cheer me up. I want to stay this pasty white for the rest of the holidays. Just in case it did snow, I would have tremendous camouflage for paintball. Needless to say, I did not make Jess very happy with what I said to her.
“Why in the hell, do I have to leave the house? What good do you think that is actually going to do for me? I don’t want to see happy people inside a Wal-Mart. I am doing just fine. I have booze; I can order pizza, and I have basic cable. If you are not going to be happy for me, you can get the hell out of my life.”
It was getting to the point that nothing was going to cheer me up, and I knew it. I know people talk about hitting rock bottom all the time and clawing their way back out of it. Maybe, just maybe, I didn’t want to claw out from the bottom. I think it was time that I just gave up. I don’t see a change happening in my life anytime soon. It was at that moment that my best friend in the world would show up. I am always grateful for seeing my best friend, but it has been months since the last time I saw him. Our friendship went down the tubes for a while. It was due to my stupidity, but patching things up has been a small help. However, I didn’t want to see him at all. All he is going to do is to tell me to stop being sad. I get that enough from my therapist, my family, George Bailey. Seriously, who set this movie on repeat? One time a year is enough, but now we are at 3 in a row. Enough is enough. The doorbell sounds. Well, here comes my intervention! I need another shot.
I answer the door and standing there was a guy who sort of looked like my friend but skinny. I knew it; Chris’s car got stuck in the snow for days and the people who were riding with him ate him. Maybe, they cut open his belly to stay warm during the stuck time.
“You know I can hear you, right dumb ass? Are you saying that I was a big as Tauntaun? Bitch please!” Chris said to me. I looked at him, puzzled. I think I was more confused that he was channeling his inner Drag Queen.
“Look, I know why you are here. Just get on with it.” I say, hoping that this will not take long at all, seeing that I had things to do. Like drinking and be depressed. Because that is what the holiday season is all about, am I right?
“First of all, I want you to know that all of us are worried about you. This is not you. I know this is not you. We are tired of seeing you like this. You are a shell of your former self. No one likes to see this. You have not been out of the house in months. You have not called anyone or checked your email. You went from someone that couldn’t shut up to someone so quiet that is scaring us. We don’t like it that you have gone silent all of a sudden…. What in the hell is this about?” Chris looks at me puzzled.
Chris was pacing when he was saying all of this to me, I knew at the beginning that I deserve him delivering the speech to me in this magnitude because of the one time I burnt my hand with a match to get my point that scars heal over time. Now that I say that, maybe he should have just went with that approach. I knew where his eyes went. I didn’t know how I was going to explain myself. I could try to lie myself out of this, but he wouldn’t buy it.
“Why do you have a bottle of hydrocodone sitting next to the bottle of liquor?” Chris exclaimed.
At that moment, I couldn’t say a word. I was froze in place, I knew Elsa would not help me right now. I just looked down at my feet and never looked up.
“Are you freaking serious man?” Chris asked. “This was your easy way out, wasn’t it? I know you have been going through a lot, but seriously. I am glad I brought someone to help me. But you need to explain yourself right now!”
All I could do is stand there in silence. I couldn’t say a word. I am not sure if it was the fact that I was ashamed or the fact this is all lining up with George Bailey. Again, making me not like the guy even more. I go to walk away for a minute because it was all I could actually think about doing that moment. Chris walks up behind me, grabs my arm….
“Please tell me why. I am your friend, no… We are like your brothers. I think you owe me an explanation as to why, you would think that this was the best solution to your problem.”
I was holding onto my glass that had rum on the rocks in it. I felt that moment where it all started to boil up over the top. The glass goes flying across the room, shattering into a thousand pieces. I slowly turn to Chris, and the burden I have been carrying started to come out in word form.
“Every year, I get all excited about Christmas. It is the most wonderful time of the year, and you know what, every year I keep getting shit on. In the past 5 years alone, I have had to deal with shit that I don’t know how to handle. I was always told that God wouldn’t put more on you than you can handle. Well, I have not been able to handle the load for over 3 years. And instead of things becoming any easier, it keeps getting worse. I am not going to be able to live a normal life, unless, I have a surgery that might leave me paralyzed. Do you know how in the hell that makes someone feel? I am not sure that at any moment I won’t go into a seizure. You know who would be there if I did? Not a damn soul. Want to know why? Cause the people who tell me they want in my life say they can deal with it, when in all honesty, they are lying out of their ass. I had to put my mother in a nursing home. I have been divorced. Homeless more times than I count. A person is always told that if you get knocked back down that you have to get back up but, how many times do you have to do try before you realize there is no getting back up? I am done letting God pile the weight on. He can pile it on someone else.”
Chris looks at me. A confused look in his eye. “Brother, we love you. It’s going to get bet…….”
“Let me stop you right there. It’s going to get better is the biggest line of bullshit anyone can feed another human being. Five years, five years of being told it is going to get better. Five damn years of the same speech and what? Has it got any better? I think it just slides down the hill even more. I don’t care anymore. Living is the burden now..…”
All of a sudden the lights started to flicker inside the house. I felt like I was in a horror movie; the only thing missing was a man in a hockey mask. A giant flash of light came from outside the front window. The door flew wide open. I am pissed that my door was opened, but it was also the first time that my lungs have tasted fresh air in months. My body was in shock. A figure appeared in the door frame. He was a bigger man, a little chunky; I take that back… A lot chunky.
“I told you I enlisted some help.”
The figure emerged from the shadows.
“HO! HO! HOLY CRAP!!!!” I exclaimed.
So where were we in this little story? If memory serves me correctly, I do believe that we are getting to the meat and potatoes. We have found out that Richard has become overly depressed and bitter towards the world. That happens when you start to get old. He has begun to snap at friends and has not left his house for months. A man that broken kind of pulls at your heart strings. His best friend just came over to make sure that he is doing somewhat okay. Chris was in for a surprise when he found out his best friend was hitting the bottle all day, every day. However, the bigger surprise is that Richard does not want to live anymore. There was a knock at the door; Chris said he brought a friend. The question that all of us have been asking is who? Grab your popcorn and the person you love, and enjoy part 2 of It’s A Bizarre Life!
In my mind, confusion started taking over. My eyes are playing tricks on me. I am not sure if I am in the middle of a dream or if it had suddenly become three years ago. Standing right in front of me was the one person that I never thought would come see me. The one person that has no business seeing me this time of the year. Usually, because this is his busiest time of the year. It is also weird not seeing he tied up either. If that is not an idea for a category on Pornhub, I am not sure what it.
“Ho! Ho! Ho! I bet I was the last person that you thought was going through that door.” Santa said to me. It seems that Santa has a bit of sarcasm in his voice. I’m not sure I remember him talking much from the past few stories. I don’t know how I am going to handle Santa having character development. He is not Tim Allen.
“Actually, the last person I thought was going to walk through that door would be Zooey Deschanel. You were a close second.” I said to Santa. I feel proud putting the words to the big guy. I know he will not one up me. Santa all of a sudden looked up at me and smiled. It was creepy. I think Buffalo Bill had the same look on his face in Silence of the Lambs. If Santa asks me to put the lotion on my skin, I am going to loose my shit.
“Oh, You mean the woman you unhealthily binge masturbate to while watching her show on Netflix? Or do you mean the woman that you named a 15-year-old tube sock after?” Santa says to me. My mouth magically hit the floor. Did he really just say that? All of a sudden out of the corner of my eye, I see Chris channel his inner drag queen again. Cause You know the snap thing that women used to do all the time on the Jerry Springer show? He just did that.
“Would you like some Aloe Vera for that burn?” Chris looked at me and said with a shit-eating grin on his face. These two are up to something, and I do not like it. “Santa is here to help me pull you out of your funk and help you find your Christmas Spirit again. We know this is not you. We want our friend back. The guy who has been there for me when no one else has.” Chris said harshly. I don’t think I have ever seen Chris so motivated for anything in my life.
“I want the guy who came to my rescue for four solid years. The person who gave up Christmas after Christmas, just to make sure that others would be enjoying theirs. Where is that guy? I know the real you is inside of you somewhere trying to get out.” Santa exclaimed in a very stern voice. I think I am going to make a new number one rule in life. Never make Santa angry. I feel the front of my pants starting to get damp.
“Hopefully that part of me is dead due to alcohol poisoning! What do you know about going through hell Santa? You have one night a year that you work. Some stress there, you have elves that do everything for you. All you do is sit around 364 days a year and eat cookies. I bet I know why no one ever sees you but one time a year. I bet you are crashing from all that sugar intake. I am not sure why you are even here. And Chris! What gives you the right to come into my home and tell me how to live my life? You are not my mother. I know you are a whiny bitch, but I did not come out of your mangina. I want the both of you to leave my house before I have to do something drastic.”
The room suddenly filled with tension. You can hear the anger start to grow in Chris and Santa. The only thing missing would be steam coming from their ears. There is an awkward silence coming over the room. It felt that someone was drunk from communion, but later found out that the church served juice and not wine. He just showed up intoxicated.
“Chris! Could I speak to you in the other room?” Santa said. Chris nodded yes, and they just went into my office without asking. I hope to god there is nothing that is playing on the computer that will make me look bad. That is all I need is for Santa to know that I watch porn. I hear a yell from the office. ‘I already knew.” Santa yelled at me. That is a tad bit embarrassing. I stand around waiting for them to come back out of the room. I am thinking they’re starting to be like women going to the bathroom in packs. Nothing will get done. I wonder what is on the television.
“Chris, I have a question and I want you to answer with a yes. I do not want you to think twice even about it. I just want you to say yes.” Santa told Chris. Chris puzzled just nodded his head yes.
“Don’t you want to hear the question first?” Santa asked Chris.
“If it is going to help my best friend in any way, why would I say no?” Chris responded. “He talked horribly to us. He put us down, and neither one of us deserves that, but I don’t like seeing him hurting either.” Chris continued.
Santa just looked at Chris; the jovial smile wiped away from his face. “Permission to bitch slap?” Santa asked Chris. Without any hesitation Chris shouted, “Permission Granted!”
All of a sudden I hear my office door slam. I grab the remote and pause New Girl. I think something crazy has happened while they were away. Who just locks themselves in a room other than a teenager mad at their parents? I hear a sound that I may not get out of my head ever. It sounded like 100 soldiers marching right at me. Chris is first, just shaking his head with a stupid look on his face. Santa right behind him comes right up to me. He is so close that his beard is starting to tickle the underside of my chin. I have never been this close to a man with a beard, well except that one time my junior year of high school and again my freshman year of college. I was lonely. Don’t judge me. Plus, I made 30 bucks. Santa takes a step back from me and starts to remove his glove. In all the years of Christmas stuff that I have enjoyed, I do not think I remember once actually seeing Santa’s bare hand. I bet he is some kind of robot. There is no mistaking it; I am dealing with the terminator. To my chagrin, Santa has a typical hand. All of a sudden, that regular hand started to come right for my face. His hand met my cheek. The two went out to dinner, became Facebook Friends, and broke up in the span of less than 5 seconds. My cheek had the imprint of the big guy’s hand. He rattled my jingle bells without a doubt.
“How does it feel to be bitched slap by jolly ole St. Nick?” I hear Chris say amidst all his laughter.
“Richard, I am sorry I had to do that, but I didn’t think eating a Snickers would stop you from being any less of a bitch.” Santa declared.
“What the hell, Santa? I didn’t think you were actually going to hit me.” I yelled at Santa while a tear started to fall from my eye.
“I keep my Elf hand strong. And you really need to lay off the Hallmark movies, I think you may start menstruating at any moment.” Santa says to me.
Somehow that slap from Santa woke me up. I am confused; I am hurt. My cheek needs a raw steak on it to cover up the swelling. I look like I have been in a fight with a UFC fighter. I think my eye is going be black from this. Would that not be one hell of a story to tell someone? “How did you get that black eye?” and I would get to tell them from Santa. I would get to tell my kids that one day. How amazing is that? Alright, that slap may get me laid. I would have to lie.
“I will know when you are lying.” Santa shouted.
“Who is telling this story? Is it you or me?” I responded back without missing a beat. However, Santa may be more intelligent than I thought. He started to remove the other glove.
“The hand you felt, was the nice list. You do not want to experience the naughty list!” Santa said back.
I began to coward in fear. Making someone angry is one thing, but making Santa angry is whole different ballgame. You do not want to go down that road. It is lined with fear for possibly every Christmas you have left on this earth.
There is a knock at the door. I really hope this isn’t another one of Chris’s friends to help me with my problem. I am not sure I can take another slapping across the face from a character that I respect. We all just look at each other. I think this tells me that no one knows who is at the door. It could be anyone at this point. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were pizza. The two of them just keep staring at me like I am going to roll over or sit.
“Alright. Jeeze. I will get the door; it’s not like the two of you are closer or anything.” I say in a gruff as I start walking to the door. The person at the door just keeps obsessively knocking like it is going out of style. I’m just happy I didn’t get a place with a door bell. I think I would have shot someone by now. I am getting pissed at the fact whoever it is will not stop knocking, so I knock back. They knock; I would knock. At one point, we knocked ‘Dueling Banjos.’ Santa and Chris had a good laugh when I knocked three times and said Penny. At least were bonding, and no one is getting slapped. I turn the knob….
Santa and Chris notice that my face turns white. The two of them just look at each other and wonder what is behind the door.
I am frozen in place and scared enough to warrant a change of pants. If a picture is worth a 1000 words, the look on my face is worth 2,000 sentences. A deep voice bellows out; a voice that could carry a thousand miles.
“I am the ghost of Christmas Present….”
Santa throws his arms in the air. “Hell No. Man, you are in the wrong story!” He exclaimed to a ghost. I think I am a little freaked out at the moment.
“This isn’t the one with A Christmas Carol bit? I could have sworn I had the right address.” The Ghost said to Santa. The Ghost of Christmas Present and Santa are having a conversation in my living room. If that is not the start of a great one liner, I am not sure what is.
“You are in the It’s a Wonderful Life themed story. The story based on A Christmas Carol is two doors down on your left….Next year.” Santa said back. Foreshadowing, you are welcome.
“Where were we before we were interrupted? Oh yes, so……” Santa starts to speak when there is another knock at the door. “This is beginning to get out of hand!” Santa exclaimed and just walked over and opened my door. Is that not rude? Where is the etiquette with this man? It was our friend Jess, Santa just huffs. He pulls Jess into the living room. “I do not care why you are here, but you are going to be part of what is about to happen.” Santa yelled at her.
“Um, Ok, I guess. Holy crap! Richard, what happened to your face?” Jess puzzled.
“I bitch slapped him.” Santa said.
“Oh My GOD! You did what?” Jess exclaimed
“Did I stutter?” Santa said in return. I think we may have a case of gimmick infringement! Someone get a lawyer on the phone.
“Now, back to what I was saying. Richard. I know you have been through a lot over the past year, but I want you to know that big things are going to be heading your way. I want you to do something for me. But, I need to know are you serious about taking your life? The greatest gift of all.” Santa asks Richard with all of his heart.
“Santa, Life has been harder than it should. I get it. It is not going to be cake and roses. However, when the negative starts to outweigh the positive, what more does a person have in life? I just feel like a burden on everyone I come in contact with. It seems that no one wants me around. Not even my own family. That is where it hurts the most. The people who are supposed to be around you in the hardest of times, are the ones the furthest away. My heart breaks every day and no one knows. I put on a happy face and a smile to show that nothing is wrong. It gets old and quickly. There are days that I wish that I had never been born.” I responded back.
“That is the phrase I have been waiting to hear. I want you to do me a favor before you make a decision that will break the heart of so many people. I want to go on a journey for me. If you do not wish to be born, I want you to see what would happen if you had never been born. If by the time that is over, if you do not regain your happiness and Christmas spirit, then I have failed and the decision of what you do with yourself is up to you. But I want you to do this, not for me, not for your friends, not for your family, but for you.”
“Sure. If you think it will help, I will do it even after you made me your bitch.” I said back to Santa with a hint of sadness in my voice.
“Richard, you know how you are going to have to travel?” Santa said to me with a slight evil grin.
I chuckled. In the past few years, we have been using a sleigh with a flux capacitor. The sleigh will take you to any Christmas Story, to the future, or to the past. There is one thing I hate about choosing this mode of transportation however. The sleigh magically appears in my living room. I am dreading this takeoff.
“You know what is about to happen? Are you ready?” Santa asked with the sound of glee in his voice.
“I guess but can you giv……..” And POOF giant blinding white light and I am gone.
“Chris and Jess are you hungry? I am pretty sure there is some leftover pizza in the fridge. We will take it with us!” Santa said.
“Take it with us?” A confused Jess asked.
Another sleigh appears in the living room. This is much different from the other sleigh. This is the one that Santa uses on his Christmas Eve run. This sleigh is complete with trucker stacks and chrome. It is nice. Just saying.
“We are going to head back to the North Pole to watch how his journey goes. Jess and Chris, please step into my sleigh. I will give you a heads up, you know the white light thing is actually something I created to disorient anyone who steals my sleigh. Funny thing about that. It can be turned off by just pushing a button. After three years, you would think someone would learn that.”
“Is there any way we can get a tour?” A wide-eyed Jess asks.
“Been here before, I even have the snow globe to prove it. You go ahead.” Chris says to an eager Jess.
“Let me call in one of my elves, to show you around.” Santa gets on the phone and one his elves appear to show Jess the workshop. A cart shows up very quickly to show Jess around.
“Hi, I am Bobbie. I will be tour guide today. If you would gladly step into the cart, and keep your hands and feet firmly planted till we get to our first stop, it would be amazing. Thank you for choosing North Pole Tours.” And the cart takes off like a rocket.
“I never get tired of coming here. I love that all the elves are female.” Chris said with a chipper sound in his voice. “There’s Richard. He made it to his destination! I can’t wait to see him happy again.”
Santa looked at the monitor. His eyes begin to well up as if he is about to cry. “I really hope this works.”
Chris turns to look at Santa as he is confused. “What do you mean Santa? Why would you say that?”
Santa takes a deep breath…..”Chris, Christmas may never happen again. The only person that can save Christmas is the man on that screen. He has a love for this holiday and for making people smile. He could bring Christmas cheer to a lot of people around this world. He is the only other person I know that could do my job.”
Chris is saddened and confused by what Santa is saying. “What are you trying to say?”
Santa with a tear in his eye, “This is going to be my last Christmas, Chris. I have been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.”
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 cancer. This statement left Chris in a very confused state of mind.
“I am so confused.” Chris said.
See, you just can’t make 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 place like home…. Damn it. I figured this wasn’t 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 holy, 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. Chris was shaken 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 and I’m set in my ways. I was not going to the doctor for anything on this earth, but I looked into the eyes of Mrs. Claus. Each time I would look into her eyes, I would see the love; I would see the spirit of Christmas. I knew it was time to break down. I went to the Doctor to make the Mrs 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 wasn’t even a hard decision for me.” Santa explained to Chris.
Chris was not sure how to take the news. Fighting back 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, just 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 a part of 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 her 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’ heart is about to pound through her chest. The doors open up, but the feeling is not normal. The elves are not working. The elves are in a very sad state. One of the elves named Amber, 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 a year. 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 gets the death penalty. Clark Griswold gets his bonus with nothing crazy 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 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 overheard 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 was 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 after 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. He did try that 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 three 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 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 don’t see that 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. From 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.
“On Dasher, on Dancer, onPrancer, and Vixen, on Comet, on Cupid, o Donner, and Blitzen…” The sleigh takes off like a rocket. In the distance we hear the last, ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!”
Hours go by before anything else happens. 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, right? 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!