Ooooh!Dark 30

Sex and War. Put 'em together, you get Marriage.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Hey, It's Christmas!

And of course, I have a Christmas Special for you all to take in. Whoo-hoo! This one's special because it's inspired by an Actual Santa Claus. Before you throw up on yourselves, he actually was a handsome fellow under the fake belly and grey hair. I'm sure you'll be able to see him in this story....and probably out your window too. Of course, this is but part one.


All I want for Christmas

I’m not big on company parties. Really, I’m not. I don’t enjoy socializing with these people when I’m on the clock, why should I inflict them on myself when I’m not getting paid for it? But, dammit, I don’t wanna stay home, so I dragged my happy ass out of bed, took a shower and shaved and stood in front of my closer for half an hour to decide what to wear to the 15th annual Christmas Party of Hazelwood & Associates. I didn’t want to look “fuck-me-good”, but I did want to look. . .nice. So, I picked out a simple red dress. Well, it only looks simple. It’s retro, knee length, and it doesn’t need ironing. Whoo-hoo. Since the dress was simple, the makeup would be too. No blush. I hate blush, it gets kissed off, and that’s messy. Just lipstick and eye shadow. So, with my face all made up, my hair held back with a clip, and a matching stole and purse, I drove my late-model BMW to the east side of town.

Every time I go to Mr. Hazelwood’s house for a company function, I’m impressed by the sheer size of the place. How can such a huge house be supported by such a tiny slip of land? I toss my keys to the valet (“Be gentle with her, she’s an heirloom”) and walk in. Mr. Hazelwood goes all out for his people when it comes to his Christmas party. Almost all the upper staff is invited, right down to me, the rookie accountant. The house is ablaze with candles, and every breath is laced with pine and mint. Ok, maybe coming wasn’t such a bad idea after all. I pick up a flute of champagne and wander about the house. The crowd is thin right now, mainly the married partners and their children. I’m roped into a conversation with Kevin from Research. He’s had wandering eyes before he met his wife, and has tried to bed me since.

“Hey, Karen. Nice to see you here. Did you come with anyone else?”

Oh, Jesus. Janet isn’t five feet from him and he’s trying to make a pickup. “Well, my mom is in town. She was going to come with me tonight, but she has some baking she wants to do and she says I get in the way.” I smile. No, you can’t have a quickie in my car OR house, you letch. He places his hand on my shoulder, the tiniest flash of disappointment apparent in his eyes.

“Well, maybe Janet and I can come over for cocktails one day.”

“Yea, sure. One day.” Ok, I think I may just head over to the country club and drink instead. At least I can pretend they’re single there. I’m alone on the deck, and while it is cool, it is not prohibitively cold outside. A couple kids are lined up outside the gazebo on the back lawn. Oh, my god - -this guy’s plunked down money to hire a Santa! This may be pretty fun to watch. I find one of the covered chairs on the deck and watch, reliving my childhood for a bit.

I did believe in Santa as a little girl. My parents didn’t discourage it, but didn’t really comfort me with Tommy Shelley told me Santa didn’t exist. I was crying on the playground in 1st grade when he laughed and said, “You STILL believe in Santa? What a baby!” I still visited the Mall Santas with friends’ kids, but this one was different. He looked like he was actually listening to the kids and asked whether they wanted a peppermint or fruity candy cane. Usually the kids are handed a cane and sent on their way. This one smiled stroked hair like they were his own. But the most compelling thing about him was his eyes. They were the most peculiar, kind shade of blue. I decided to get a closer look.

As if on cue, one of the servants brought out a tray of cookies and the kids swarmed like sharks on chum. I wanted to pig out too, but I figured I’d reconnect with old Santy Claus.

I walked down the steps across the lawn. Santa, who took a drink of water from a bottle didn’t notice me readily, but he stopped before sitting up fully. “My God, children grow up quickly.”

“I’m not a kid anymore, Santa. But there are still some things I want for Christmas that I can’t get from a store.” I smiled at him, a plain sober smile. He smiled back. God, what a smile that old dude had.

“So, what do you want, my dear? You can sit on my lap if you wish.” Ha. He may be Santa, I thought, but under that suit, he’s still a guy.

“I’ll stand for now, Santa.” He leaned forward as I sipped my champagne thoughtfully.

“So, what do you want for Christmas?”

“Uhm--” Wow, I had something prepared, but I totally lost my train of thought. It was those eyes. I smiled. “I knew I wanted to say something, Santa. I just can’t remember.”

He took my hand in his. I breathed in the bracing scent of coffee and mint. I felt relaxed and warm as I took it in. The lack of wrinkles told me that he probably was a lot younger than those grey hairs. The warmth of his hand made my hand feel a little moist and clammy. “Now, Karen, try to remember.”

I wasn’t sure of my own name anymore and how he knew it. Oh, yea . . . he’s Santa. He knows these things. “Well, my life is boring. I’m a CPA at a great firm. I’m single; I go to Fiddler’s Green on Saturdays for swing dancing. I guess I just want a little excitement for Christmas, Santa. I don’t want diamonds or anything expensive like that. All I want is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

Santa nodded. “Well, Karen, I’ll see what I can do. But I will say this. Sometimes all you can do is make your own excitement.” He winked. Yep, Santa was right. But, I had faith. As I walked away, I was struck with a question.

“Santa, anyone ever asked what YOU want for Christmas?” My back was to him, and I really didn’t expect an answer. Would I get a canned answer, or the thoughts of the person underneath the suit?

“You know, no one ever asked me that.” The voice wasn’t the resonant, deep voice of Santa. This was the ragged, but gentle voice of a tired man. “I guess all I want is a baby sitter for my son and a night out. Nothing has to happen. Just, I guess for a single dad not to be seen as a man.” My heart went out to him. I wanted to tell him to blow this joint, hit a couple bars and have a little fun with me. But, he was still Santa. I wasn’t gonna mess up his gig. I walked away without looking back, hoping in my heart I’d meet him again, without the worries he’d mentioned, and the ones I had thought about. After that, I actually felt a little ready to party.




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