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Five Christmas Stories in Five Days: Story 2

The fun continues with another original Christmas story.  Deck the halls, everybody!

There’s Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself.  And Santa.  You Should Fear Santa.

“Billy”

Little Billy Watson of 1113 Honey Oak Drive bolted upright in bed.  He’d been sound asleep in his Batman pjs when the sound of his name brought him out of dreamland.  And what a dream it had been, soaring over his friends’ houses in his new bright, silver jetpack.  That was the only thing he’d asked Santa for: a real, working jetpack.  But now Billy had been wrenched back to reality, wide awake, his listening ears on and tuned to the sounds of the night.  With intense concentration, he worked to separate ordinary sounds from those of weirdos calling his name.

“Hey Billy,” the voice called again, the words bringing forth goosebumps from Billy’s arms.  “I’m watching you.”

“G – go away,” Billy stammered, pulling his covers up to his eyes.

“I can always see you.  I see everything.  You’d better watch yourself, Billy.”

That did it, Billy had reached his limit.  “Mom, Dad, come quick,” he screamed.  “Help, help help.”

In the span of two gasping breathes, Billy’s mom and dad burst in through the bedroom door, eyes wide and ready for battle.  Mom wearing a teal nighty and carrying a pair of scissors in her right hand; dad in his boxers and a white t-shirt, a lamp wielded as a weapon.  Dad looked around the room and, seeing nothing, lowered his combination reading light/club.  Mom kept her scissors at the ready.

“Billy, what is it?” Mom asked, her voice anxious.

“Mom, mom, there’s a man outside my window.  I heard his voice.  He said he was watching me. Mommy, there’s a monster after me.”

Mom and Dad exchanged knowing smiles; Mom’s mouth a bow, Dad’s eyebrows arched.  Dad walked over to by Billy’s bed and crouched to his level.  Mom lowered her scissors, relaxing.  “No son,” Dad said, “that wasn’t a monster.  That was Santa!”

“Santa?  The same Santa that brings me presents and stuff?”

“The very same.  He’s just keeping an eye on you, checking to see if you’ve been naughty or nice.  You know the songs, silly.”

“He comes to my bedroom?”

“Sometimes, yes.  Probably you’ve been a little naughty this year,” Dad said, tilting a crooked eyebrow in Billy’s direction. “He keeps an extra eye on anyone who’s been naughty.”

“But Daddy, I’m scared.”

Mom came over from the doorway and put her arm around her husband and together they pulled the covers up snugly around their sons chin.  “There’s nothing to be scared of,” Mom said.  “Just be good and he’ll eventually stop watching you.  You still have four more days to make the nice list. Now let’s turn out the lights and get some sleep.”

As Billy’s Mom and Dad retreated from his room, Billy lay back down, clutching his covers up around his collarbone, eyes on his window.

.   .   .

Ester and George Franklin sat on their worn, plaid couch; Ester drinking a frothy glass of Ovaltine, George a Busch Lite.  Each had their eyes on the TV, watching as Billy whimpered softly in the dark.  At the bottom of the screen was a phone number and at the top a company name: The American Behavioral Center.  A man walked into Billy’s room as the lights came up, addressing the audience directly.

“Has your child been on the naughty list this year?” the perfectly coiffed man asked in a rich, deep voice.  “Are you at your wits end?  If so, call The American Behavioral Center and we’ll send over one of our trained Santa’s to scare your kid straight onto the nice list.  Call now; elves are standing by.”

George belched loudly, crushing his now-empty beer can in his hand. “What a load of crap,” he said.  “You know what we needed for behavior fixing in my day?  A foot up the ass.  God damn soft kids these days.”

Ester sipped her Ovaltine in silence.

Copyright Jason Rieger 2011

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