“I don’t like kids,” said the jolly fat man, dressed in the red suit. “They’re always sticky and they look at me as if I can make all their dreams come true.”
“Well, can’t you?” asked his wife, her foot on his stomach, trying to buckle his belt. “You’ve gained a few more pounds.”
“It’s all those cookies everyone puts out for me, not to mention the ones you make for the elves and the reindeer.”
“No one is making you EAT ALL OF THEM,” she said, pushing harder. “Breath in, will you.”
He took a deep breath and she managed to get the belt bucked on the last hole. “If you let go of your breath, the belt might break,” she snickered.
“Not funny. Not funny at all.”
“I’ve been thinking,” she said. “We need to talk.”
“Well, that can’t be good,” he grumbled, looking for his other boot.
“It’s under the chair,” she said, pointing at it.
“Just tell me what you have to say and get it over with.”
“I met someone.”
“How could you possibly have met someone? There isn’t a single person who lives where we do, unless it’s an elf. That was one of the reasons I took this job.”
“We met on line.”
“So, you never actually met him?”
“I have met him. Several times. Dancer took me.”
“She felt sorry for me. Locked away in this frozen NOWHERE!”
“Why didn’t you say something?”
“I have said little ELSE for years. Anyway, I won’t be here when you get back from your Christmas run. I’m packed and ready to go. And there’s nothing you can do to stop me. It’s far to late for that.”
“Find someone else to get you into the suit. I’ll keep in touch with the reindeer. Be sure you pet them and get someone to sing to them. Give them cookies as well.”
“I’m finally going to be happy,” she said, turning in a circle.
“I thought you were happy with me,” he stammered.
“Exactly. You never once noticed how terribly unhappy I’ve been. Now I’ll be able to see other people, go into stores. I’ll even be able to buy bread, go to the theater and spend time in bookstores. And I’ll never wear red again.”
He sat down and put his face in his hands. “I’m sorry.”
“Not as sorry as I am, that I stayed this long.”
“What about the elves?”
“They’ve known for months.”
“Where will you go?”
“Anywhere there’s sun and Brad.”
“That’s his name?”
“It is. And he can buckle his own belt,” she said cheerfully. “I might learn how to surf.”
“I won’t make it without you,” he said, softly.
“Sure you will. Just hire someone to clean up and do your bidding. That way, you won’t even know I’m gone.” And with that, she left the room, humming a Beach Boys song and doing a few dance steps.
Life’s like that. Sometimes even Santa doesn’t have a Merry Christmas.