Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Interviewing Santa

This piece was originally published in a similar version in Pathfinder:Guide for the Widow/er's Journey

I assumed it would be impossible to interview Santa Claus so close to Christmas. Why would he agree to talk to poor widow me? He had nothing to plug. He wasn’t starring in a movie; he hadn’t written a book and he was too lovable to run for President.

Since Santa’s toys are basic, wooden and old fashioned (similar to Melissa & Doug puzzles) I communicated the old fashioned way. I called him...from my landline. I didn’t text him because how could he text me back with those chubby fingers?

Santa, THEE Santa did call me back and not from the North Pole. He was in Macy’s Department store, THEE Macy’s on 34th Street – from THEE movie “Miracle on 34th Street.”

Santa suggested we meet in the men’s room during his bathroom break. Really Santa? That’s just creepy. He clarified. He meant the Men’s Department. He needed a new black belt. His was 150 years old. It was time. I guess elves only make toys.

Santa looked sad. I thought it was because Macy’s didn’t have a belt in his size. There was more, much more to this Christmas story.

CS: Santa, there are plenty of stores in the city. One is
    bound to have a size 92 waist with a gold buckle. Can
    you do silver?

SC: It’s not that, Sugar.

CS: You remember that my nickname was Sugar when I was a
    kid?

SC: I remember everything. Is your mother still whacky?

CS: No.

SC: That’s good.

CS: She’s dead.

SC: (Santa starts to cry)

CS: It’s okay Santa. She’s at peace now and not annoying
    everyone.

SC: No. I’m crying because Mrs. Claus is very sick. I’m   
    afraid I may lose her.

CS: Is that possible? Aren’t you guys immortal?

SC: I thought so too. Apparently, a loophole in our
    contract. Who reads the fine print?

CS: You should give coal to lawyers and the little kids who
    will grow up to be lawyers!

SC: Carol I’m Santa Claus, not Cruella Deville. Anyway,
    Doc from the seven dwarfs warned Mrs. Claus not to eat
    so many of the cookies she bakes, but the smell...she
    can’t resist. Now she’s at risk.

CS: At risk for what?

SC: Cookieitis – Deadly. She’s beginning to have symptoms.

CS: Tell me what you’re most afraid of.

SC: What if she dies? I’ll be all alone.

CS: You have the elves and Rudolph.

SC: Your husband died and you had friends and family around
    you. Did it help?

CS: Not really, but maybe if I had elves. (laughs) Sorry.
    You’re right. I was lonely and it was scary for a long
    time.

SC: I’m terrified I won’t be jolly anymore. Kids all
    over the world are counting on me to be freakin’ jolly!

CS: You won’t be jolly for a while, but little by little
    parts of your old self will peek out.

SC: You mean first I’ll shout out “Ho!” and then the next
    week the other “Ho!” and then two days later the third
    “Ho?”

CS:  And, eventually you’ll put it together again with a
     “Ho Ho Ho!” And your ho-ing will be genuine. You’ll be
      happy!

SC:  I could never be happy again without Mrs. Claus.
     Anyway, the pickings are slim up at the North Pole.

CS:  You’re a catch, Santa. You work from home at a
     seasonal business, you’re a natural with kids, and you
     drive at night!

SC:  I’m depressed. I should throw myself into my work.
     Maybe I’ll make Christmas twice a year!

CS:  Running away from life isn’t healthy, Santa...wait,
     twice a year means more presents for me! Terrific idea!

SC:  Or, I’ll close up shop.

CS:  A hasty decision. Think of the elves on Unemployment.
     Hallmark will plummet and I own stock!

SC:  I’d hate to disappoint the children, though. Don’t you
     have grandchildren?

CS:  Yes, umm, of course, the children. It’s all about the
     ummm, children. Screw Hallmark. What kind of heartless
     person worries about stock prices at a time like this?
     I was just kidding.

SC: My cheeks will never be rosy again. She pinches
    them...sometimes a little too hard, but I like it, if
    you know what I mean...

CS: I do. So it’s Mrs. Claus who puts that twinkle in your
    eye.

SC: Yes, except one December 23rd when I was up against the
    deadline. We had Chinese food delivered to the
    workshop. The girl who brought it was a doll.

CS: A doll like a toy the elves make?

SC: Not quite. Let’s just say I almost put my slinky in her
    stocking!

CS: Santa!

SC: I said “almost.” Hey, I’m only human.

CS: No you’re not.

SC: Whatever...Ohh... Mrs. Claus is Face timing me! See?

CS: (looking into the iPad and waving) Hi Mrs. Claus. Long
    time fan, here!

SC: (to Mrs. Claus) You look wonderful, honey...And,
    healthy, like the old you! You seem full of energy
    like Rudolph did right after we got his nose to stop
    blinking!

    You are healthy? You’re cured? Doc said so?

    Santa spun me around and kissed me on both cheeks.
    The store’s piped in music played “White Christmas”
    and he began to sing along.

    He winked at me as only Santa could and then he
    skipped away towards the shoe department, holding his
    iPad close to his beard. I think he was kissing the
    screen.

    Outside of Macy’s, the beauty of the season was unfolding.
    The first winter's snow was starting to stick right there 
    on 34th Street. Even the grownups were giddy; They were 
    gliding and stomping and loving the sound of the crunch under
    their boots.

    Did Santa singing “White Christmas” make it snow? How is 
    this possible with global warming? The temperature here in 
    New York is 70 something...in December! It couldn't be snow! 
    Perhaps some editor was shredding my latest submission and
    tossing it from a building above me. It wouldn't be
    the first time.

    I tasted it. Nope. It was snow all right - Magical snow conjured
    up by a relieved Santa. I was thrilled to be the first person to 
    report this story, however Santa could have warned me. I was
    wearing four inch heels.

    But, hold on, I had met Santa Claus, THEE Santa Claus
    and Mrs. Claus was going to be okay and there would be
    a jolly Santa and Christmas this year!  

    Still my shoes were ruined and my hair was wet and
    frizzy.
         Merry Freakin'Christmas!