Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans: There’s No Such Thing as Santa Claus

“Daddy, is there such thing as Santa Claus?”

Shit. Bryan knew one day he would have to answer this question, but he hoped Renee would be here to do most of the talking. She’s always been better at explaining make-believe crap like this to the kids. She complains that he can be a little too blunt sometimes.

OK, he admits, maybe saying “Mommy’s cooch,” in response to the “Where do babies come from?” question was a little inappropriate. And Renee’s answer, “the hospital,” made much more sense in hindsight, since technically speaking, from a kid’s point of view, when Mommy and Daddy leave for the hospital, they don’t have a little bundle of joy, and when they return, they do.

Still, he probably could’ve just stuck with another more logical answer—at least for a kid—“Mommy’s stomach,” since Renee was at the time pregnant with the twins when Melody asked. But Melody is one of those kids who can’t settle for just one question and just one answer. She’s forever curious, wanting to fit the entire universe into her small, still developing mind, always asking “why” this, and “why” that. “Mommy’s stomach” wouldn’t have satisfied her. She would’ve follow up with, “How did they get there?” and if by some miracle of God, he had an answer that didn’t make Renee faint, or make the girl run off to the library at school to Google that word, he would then have to deal with her next question: “How do they come out?” A question he surely wouldn’t have had a G-rated answer for.

This is his problem—one Renee is determined to fix before the year is out—His mouth has no filter, not even around the kids. Some things just slip out. If she’d ever met his grandpa, she would understand why. His grandpa was an honest man and an honest drinker. He couldn’t go twenty minutes without saying something rude, whether it was telling Bryan to stop being stupid for getting stuck on a homework question, or calling his Mom a fat ass, all while holding a bottle of Old Crow in his right hand.

Bryan was never taught the lesson: think before you speak. He was taught to say what’s on your mind, more specifically, the first thing that comes to your mind. “That usually turns out to be the truth,” his grandpa often told him.

“No,” Bryan finally answers. “There’s no such thing as Santa Claus.”

“But Mrs. Wilkinson said he has a list, and he checks it twice, and it tells whether I been naughty or nice,” Melody says.

“So do I.”

What the hell are these teachers teaching in school, anyway? What happened to the three R’s: reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic? Maybe he’ll join Renee at the next parent-teacher conference, ask Mrs. Wilkinson what the hell she’s getting at lying to his kid when she should be teaching her something that would eventually get her into a good college. The education system is enough of a mess without the added stories of Santa Claus and tooth fairies and fucking Easter bunnies.

“But he gives kids everything they ever wanted for Christmas!” Melody whines.

“Do you really want some fat-ass old white man breaking into your house in the middle of the night to give you crap you’re only gonna play with once?” Bryan says. It builds character to give a kid the opposite of what they asked for. Teach them early that they don’t always get what they want.

The donation bins at Bryan’s job are full of bikes. Because apparently a bike is the ultimate Christmas gift to a kid. Sure, make yourself feel good about turning someone else’s kid into an entitled little twerp. Why not get them something they’ll actually need, like a coat, hat, scarf, or gloves. It is winter after all. These are donations to children in need. When he was ten, he thought he needed a monster truck for Christmas. A real one, at least three stories tall, so he could run over his fifth-grade teacher’s car for giving him a C, and crush the school building while he was at it.

His mom bought him Hot-wheels.

Teach them while they’re young.

That’s was wrong with the spoiled kids today. Parents only want to appease them. They don’t train them, they don’t discipline them. He can’t count the number of times his grandpa knocked him upside his head with his cane. Today, they’d call that child abuse, but it kept Bryan from talking back, it kept him from throwing a tantrum and pouting when he didn’t get his way.

Christmas is the worst when it comes to spoiling kids rotten. It’s so commercialized now. It’s all about presents, presents, presents. “Come to our store! Buy this!” the commercials shout. Half of that shit ain’t even on sale. Even though she can be a little Christmas obsessed sometimes, at least Renee knows the true reason for the season, forcing them to dress up every year and go to the Christmas cantata at church, coming home to have their own encore of the carols and hymns, rereading the Nativity story from Matthew and Luke. No one has more CHRIST-mas spirit than Renee.

“Ooooh, you said a bad word! I’m telling Mommy!”

Shit— crap. What did he say?

“You said the A-word, Daddy.”

Dammit, that’s right. He called Santa a fat-ass. Bryan rolls his eyes, curses Renee under his breath. He can’t keep up with this shit! How can he not curse when Melody is asking him a million and one different questions? That kid doesn’t even pause to catch her breath! His head is spinning. He hears one of the twins crying upstairs over the baby monitor. “Why don’t we keep this between the two of us?” he pleads with Melody.

“What do I get out of it?”

“You’re conning your own Daddy? They teach you that in school too?”

“The last time you cooked dinner, you burnt the chicken nuggets, Daddy.”

Bryan bolts from the couch, remembering he has a pot pie in the oven. He opens the door and quickly shuts it before the rushing smoke can set off the detector. He turns to Melody, who stands by the kitchen door, her lips twisted in that half-smirk, half-grin her mother always has right before she says, “I told you so.” You should’ve know this wouldn’t go well, he says to an imaginary Renee.

“So what do I get?” Melody repeats.

“Fine. I’ll order pizza.” So much for not appeasing the kids, Bryan thinks, but his ego won’t let Melody win this battle, so he adds as he dials the number to Pizza Hut, “Santa still ain’t real.”


Part of Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans
Previous: Booze Induced
Next: Sober Reluctance

Father of the Year

2014-11-03-bw-beacham“He certainly had quite an attitude!”

The mechanic knocked on the front bumper of Dave’s pickup. “Can you blame him?”

“It was only a joke.” Dave smiled, lightly kicked the mechanic’s knee.

“I don’t know. That were my boy . . .” The mechanic lay back on the skateboard and rolled under the hood of the truck.

“The spray paint will come off. And the teeth are just cardboard.”

“You chased him five blocks!” The mechanic’s voice was muffled under the hood.

“I’d hardly call driving 1 mile an hour chasing.”

“And the way your motor pops and rattles, it already sounds like a goddamn monster’s roar.”

“So can you figure out what’s wrong with it?”

“Other than its driver being a somabitch?” The mechanic rolled from under the truck, his face smudged with oil. He tossed a gold Rolex watch at Dave’s feet.

“So that’s where it . . .”

“Looks like your boy knew it was you all along.”


Trojan Ice Cream

“Twinkle, twinkle little star!” Amanda sang as she pushed the toy ice cream truck across the carpet. Under her breath, she snickered, the bridge of her nose vibrating. It’ll be just like that big wooden horse Mrs. Pinto taught us about in school, she thought.

She crawled across the hall, pushing the truck in front of her. “How I wonder what you are!” She stopped at her twin brother’s bedroom door and knocked three times.

“Who dares to enter?” Blake said in a deep voice.

“We surrender!” Amanda squeaked.

“Muwahahahahaha! Victory is mine!” The door slowly creaked open. “Enter, puny human,” Blake said from behind the door.

“Up above the world so high,” Amanda continued as she rolled into the dark lair of her brother’s room. The lights were off, and the curtains were drawn. Lined at the base of his bed were twenty black and gray LEGO minions of Blake’s Megaforce. Blake walked his evil leader towards the truck, flapping its black cape behind it and breathing heavily as if he were wearing a mask like Darth Vader or Bane. The toy’s red eyes glowed under its helmet.

“King Peril, he who reigns dominion over the Megaforce, demands you give him an Orange Dreamsicle!” Blake said, shaking his toy in the air.

“Dream on this, sucker!” Amanda aimed the ice cream cone on top of the truck at King Peril’s head and fired a fatal laser beam between his eyes.

“Aaaaaahhhhh!” Blake yelled.

“Smell defeat, worthless scum!” Amanda shouted.

“I . . . can’t . . . feel,” Blake whispered. Then he let out a loud gasp as King Peril sank into the carpet and crocked.

“We are victorious!” Amanda screamed. She waved the truck in her brother’s face, teasing him.

From downstairs, their mother call out, “Kids, the ice cream truck is outside!”

The faint music came from below the window. Like a diamond in the sky . . .

Amanda and Blake suddenly looked at each other with wide eyes. Blake shot up and retrieved two water guns from his closet.

“We must defend the homeland!” He tossed a gun to Amanda.

“Agreed.” She nodded, and they both ran downstairs, ready to lay siege on the invading ice cream truck.


Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge for writers to create a story of approximately 100-200 words using the provided photo prompts.



Wordy Wednesday: Dinner Conversations with Toddlers

Ariana’s mother told her that eating fruits and vegetables was essential to having a balanced diet.

“But I don’t like vegetables, Mommy. They’re nasty.”

“You’re supposed to eat at least three servings of fruits and vegetables every day to stay healthy. Now eat your carrots and broccoli.”

“But this is only two vegetables, so can I have grapes instead? I only ate a banana and orange today.”

“No, you don’t need anything sweet this late.”

Ariana frowned. “That don’t make sense, Mommy. I want mac and cheese.”

“That’s not a fruit or a vegetable.”

“But it’s good,” she said with a smile.

Ariana’s mother rolled her eyes and picked up the plate full of untouched vegetables. Ariana smiled to herself, believing she had won the battle.

Her mother put a bowl of Easy Mac in the microwave, and while it cooked, she chopped the carrots and broccoli into tiny bits. When the microwave beeped, she retrieved the bowl and stirred the vegetables into the mac and cheese. “Here,” she said, sliding the bowl across the table to her daughter.

“What’s that stuff in it?” Ariana asked.

“It’s good for you. Just eat.”

Ariana licked the bowl clean without the slightest hesitation.


word count: 201


This is part of Wordy Wednesday over at Blog-A-Rhythm: Write a minimum of 100 words on the prompt. This week’s word prompt is essential.  Click the froggy icon to read more and add your own.