SL: Thanks for agreeing to this interview, Santa. This is quite an honor. Your reputation is legendary. So, tell us—how long have you been delivering toys to kids?
SC: Um, forever, I guess.
SL: I'm sure we can all remember some of your more spectacular moments. Delivering toys during the blizzard of 2010, one-upping Burgermeister Meisterburger . . . for me, I think Christmas 1983 was a shining moment. Thanks for the Cabbage Patch doll, by the way.
SC: 1983? Oh, right. As I recall, that was the last year you actually made the nice list.
SL: Wait—what? I thought you just stopped showing up because my sister and I were getting too old.
SC: Nope. 1984 was the year you hit your sister with a tap shoe. 1985, you shoplifted a pack of gum; 1986, you used the "f" word 121 times . . . the next year, you doubled your record . . .
SL: Shh. My mother reads this blog. Let's move on. I'm sure we're all wondering: how are the elves?
SC: Heck if I know.
SL: Wait. What?
SC: Haven't seen them in years. When they tried to unionize in the mid '90s, I fired them all.
SL: Santa! How could you?
SC: Oh, stop your boo-hooing. They're fine. They all got jobs as elves on shelves. Heck, they're doing better than I am these days. Cookies every day of December, Barbie at their beck and call . . . they should be thanking me.
SL: So who's making the toys these days?
SC: Well, the North Pole is just as in tune with the times as everywhere else. We've automated things.
SL: Really? Like, drones and stuff?
SC: Not quite. We have terminators.
SC: Yup. Once Kyle Reese traveled back in time and destroyed Cyberdyne for good, there were a whole lot of T-850s looking for jobs. I was happy to take 'em in. They work for free, and they're stronger than reindeer urine. Couldn't run things without them.
SL: T-850s? Kind of outdated, aren't they? I mean, they're not even liquid metal. Sounds like you're working with Ataris in an X-Box age, Santa.
SC: The T-1000s kept freezing in the sub-zero temperatures.
SL: Oh. Makes sense.
SC: And I don't appreciate your tone, young lady. That's the kind of thing that keeps you on the naughty list every year. It's also why you didn't get an Atari back in 1984.
SL: Hey, yeah, thanks so much for that. My best friend Carrie got one and I never heard the end of it. I got a hairball in my stocking.
SC: You hit your sister with a tap shoe.
SL: She called me a bad name!
SC: She called you Scrooge. Which, by the way, you are.
SL: That's not true! Why, just this morning, the radio was playing "Jingle Bell Rock," and I didn't change the station until two lines in. I'm not a Scrooge, dammit!
SL: Sorry. But hey, give me some credit. I wear a stupid festive holiday hat every Christmas, I put up a tree, and I even mail out at least eight holiday cards. Every single year. I have Christmas spirit, dam—er, darn it!
SC: Really? Where'd you put up your tree this year?
SL: It's at my mom's house. That still counts, right?
SC: Yeah, you know what? Little Mae Murphy over there has been waiting twenty minutes to sit on my lap. How about we wrap this up so I can talk to some children that might actually stand a chance of getting a visit from me this year?
SL: You know, for a holiday icon, you're kind of grumpy, fat boy.
SC: Yup. We're done.
There you go. Overall, I found Santa grouchier than I'd expected. I'm not sure what his problem was. Also, sitting with him got darn uncomfortable after a while. You'd think he would've been more considerate and put down a cushion on his lap or something.
This week on The Storyside:
Writing advice: "A Tip to Terrify" by Vlad V.
Fabulous free fiction: "Google F-U" by Rob Smales (Note to Santa: that's the title of Rob's story. Wasn't me.)