Sunday, April 6, 2008

Little Danny Walsh Meets Santa Claus

He heard it. There wasn’t a doubt in his mind. Little Danny Walsh’s patience and uncanny ability to wrestle fatigue induced by staying up well past midnight were paying off. He would see Santa.

The rustling grew louder as Danny deftly maneuvered down the stairs, stepping along the wall to prevent any telltale creaking. He could hear faint moaning accompanied by heavy nose breathing. He cautiously peeked around the corner.

Santa stood hunched over the dining room table where Danny had left cookies and milk for him before going to bed. Not even the ferocity with which the fat man attacked the cookies could overpower the surreal wonder of a six-year-old actually seeing Santa in the flesh. Danny gleamed. He nearly said something to get Santa’s attention, but decided to hang back and study.

After finishing the plate of Christmas tree-shaped cookies and downing the tall glass of milk, Santa stopped for a moment to think. He then waddled into the kitchen. Danny scrambled as quietly as he could to the edge of the door to peek around. Santa had his head in the refrigerator. There was some clinking, then he emerged with a plate of leftover turkey and a couple of Tupperware containers. He opened the microwave and sat the turkey inside. He stopped.

“What the Hell am I thinking?” He took the turkey back out of the microwave.

What followed stood to be both the most amazing and traumatizing moment of little Danny’s life. He watched, silently, as Santa Claus devoured the majority of the contents of the Walsh family refrigerator in four-and-a-half minutes. He wondered what was happening and, more importantly, when the presents would come into play.

Santa leaned against the counter and picked pieces of food out of his beard. He rubbed his belly and groaned, then looked around. He went into the bathroom, flipping the light on and closing the door slowly.

Danny couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t wait to tell all of his friends the real Santa Claus used his bathroom. After a short moment, he heard violent grunting and heaving. He tiptoed through the kitchen and stood just outside the bathroom door, braced to run at the very moment he heard any kind of movement. The guttural sounds of agony continued. Danny began to worry about Santa Claus. He prayed Santa didn’t have any serious problems. On the other hand, he couldn’t wait to tell all of his friends the real Santa Claus died in his bathroom.

The sounds continued for another minute before Danny resolved that he would go into the bathroom and check on Santa. He opened the door slightly and stuck his head in. Santa was on his knees with his head resting against his arm on the toilet.

“Santa?” Danny said timidly.

Santa Claus scrambled to attention, wiping at his beard furiously. “Oh! Ahem! Hello there … uh … Danny. How are you, son?”

Danny opened the door and stepped into the bathroom. “Santa, are you okay?”

“Oh, sure, Danny. Santa’s just fine. Come on, let’s go get your presents.”

The boy’s face glowed with excitement. “Awesome! But are you sure you’re okay? I mean, you ate all of that food, and now you’re throwing up. Are you sick?”

Santa sighed. “Oh boy, sounds like we need to have a little talk.” He put the lid down on the toilet and took a seat with a grunt. “Come sit on Santa’s lap, little Danny Walsh.”

Danny happily did so. The smell of vomit was a little off-putting, but it still beat the odor of rum and sweat that emanates from the Santas at the mall.

“Danny, lately Santa’s weight has come under a little scrutiny with some parents. They feel I romanticize the concept of being what they call ‘dangerously obese‘.”

“What’s scrutiny, Santa?”

“It means that some uppity yuppie soccer moms who have nothing better to do than decide how to dictate the behavior of others to make their own meager existence feel more meaningful are trying to tell Santa how to live.” He shook his fist and furrowed his brow, then cleared his throat and regained composure. “Smothered by the pressure, Santa’s fallen into the dark abyss that is bulimia.”

“What’s bulimia?”

“That’s when someone can’t help but eat massive quantities of food, only to be hit by a freight train of crushing guilt that leads them to throw it back up.”


“I’ll tell you what. Let’s make a little deal, Danny. You can’t let people know that you’ve met me or about my little … uh … problem. It has to be our little secret. And for keeping such a special secret, I’ll let you pick any two toys you want out of Santa’s sack. Do we have a deal?”

Danny jumped up and clapped his hands. “Sure!”

In the glow of the lights on the Christmas tree, Danny meticulously sorted through Santa’s sack until he found the perfect two toys. He sat them aside and ran over to Santa, colliding and wrapping his arms around him. Santa’s cheeks puffed as he fought the urge to vomit again.

“Thank you so much, Santa!” Danny shouted with glee.

“No, thank you, little Danny Walsh. And don’t forget the deal about our little secret.” Santa grabbed his sack and backed toward the fireplace.

“I won’t. I promise.”

“It was nice to meet you, Danny.”

“You too, Santa.”

Santa grunted as he got on all fours and crawled into the fireplace. He coughed, then turned to look at Danny one last time. “Merry Christmas! Hoho ho ho ho ho.” With that, he floated up the chimney. As he ascended, Danny could hear one last muffled thing. “Little fucker.”

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