As I lapped up a bowl of Frosted Flakes, my eyes remaining fixated on the debatably-racist cartoon rooster promenading across the television screen. A bit of anxiety festered about a mandatory shoe-shopping excursion supposedly transpiring later, but, for the most part, this was just a normal, delightfully-lethargic Saturday morning for this six-year-old.
With a slap at the front door I jumped. My weekly slothful ritual had been disrupted. My parents were still asleep and so, ever-cautions for lurking pedophiles with creepy mustache smiles, I peered out the window next to the door.
I couldn’t believe it. There, standing on my stoop in full suit, beard, and hat, was Santa Claus. My breath quickened. It was only late January, but maybe I’d just been so good, so well-behaved, [so unable to tease that fat kid in class who was currently home on bed rest after his Cheeto-induced heart attack] that Santa had noticed and was now rewarding me with a bonus Christmas.
Thoughts raced. My hands trembled as I fumbled with the lock and doorknob. “Lemmme in, Jess-tin!” Santa barked.
Gah, he knew my name!
As I threw the door open, I charged at him, wrapping my arms around his waist and narrowly missing the White Castle satchel clutched in his hand. He was much dirtier and slimmer than he was last month at the mall, and from the hug alone, my hands had become covered in this filth-gristle that had been caked onto his coat.
He stepped inside and used the walls for balance, chattering too fast to be discernible. I pranced ahead, leading him into the living room where he swiftly collapsed on the floor after asking if I had any money he could borrow…
Everything was happening so fast.
“Crim-mass,” he muttered as he pulled out a bottle with a black crow on it out from his bag and took a sip. I smiled.
I hoped he’d get to my presents soon because I knew they’d be something amazing, like a robot or a remote-controlled car. I had to be patient and wait though. With no giant sack of toys or a sleigh, I knew that the large White Castle bag had to contain my gifts – despite that it was leaking grease and smelled like a carnival toilet.
How had I forgotten to bring Santa cookies?
Instinctively, I dashed to the pantry and snatched up a handful of Dad’s sugar-free cookies and brought them back out to Santa. He snapped up two and smashed them into his rosy mouth, but his face soon soured.
A mist of crumbs erupted from his craw before he grabbed the candy dish off the coffee table and promptly regurgitated the moist wad of post-cookie into it. He gagged, revolted, and subsequently slapped the remaining Diabetic Delightz out of my hand and onto the floor.
Santa then nestled into the couch and closed his eyes. I was a little discouraged, but this was my first Bonus Christmas—presents must work differently — naps and horrible smells must just be the tradition.
I went to grab my bowl of Frosted Flakes when Mom came down the stairs in her bathrobe. “Oh, Jesus Christ, Marty, you’re fucking drunk again,” she said as she saw the sleeping Santa. “Honey,” she yelled up the stairs, “wake up and get down here; your idiot brother’s here in his Santa outfit and passed out again, can you please drive him home or just get him out?”
Another childhood-tarnishing moment in the books…