Santa’s Little Helpers


Santa Claus is a mean-spirited motherfucker.

George Herbert Randolph Richman lives in a big house on a hill. The house is surrounded by a wall. Atop the wall is a twisting length of barbed wire. A man in a blue uniform lives in a 4’x4’x8’ Plexiglass box near the only break in the wall. George Herbert Randolf’s parents call the man “Davis.” George has to call him “Mr. Davis.” When George turns eight he’ll call the man “Davis,” too.

Davis stands in his box all night and all day. When the metal gate blocking the only break in the wall opens, Davis checks the identity of the driver of whatever limousine enters the gate.

Davis never checks Santa’s ID. Santa flies over the gate and lands on the roof.

Billy and his mother live in an old house with ten other people. Billy only has one name. Billy has no father.

There is no wall around the house where Billy lives. There is no barbed wire. There is no Plexiglass box holding a uniformed man. Billy’s mother has taught him to avoid men in uniforms.

Santa doesn’t land on Billy’s roof. He lands in the front yard. Billy knows this because on Christmas morning his mother clucks about the “reindeer shit.” To Billy, the reindeer shit looks just like the dog shit and the cat shit and the people shit that usually litters the area around the house.

Santa brought Billy a bicycle.

Santa brought George Herbert Randolph Richman a 10-speed bike and an electric train and a football and lots of clothes (that George Herbert discarded in a pile under the Christmas tree) and a chemistry set and a camera and a color TV.

Billy didn’t have a tree.

Billy doesn’t have a bike, either. A man in a blue uniform came and took it away. He said it was stolen. Then he took Billy’s mother downtown in his car and many hours later she returned with ink-stained fingers after the Public Defender arranged bail. All because of the bike Santa brought.

Santa Claus is a mean-spirited motherfucker.

© 1988

About Mark Matzeder

By education a filmmaker, by trade an electrician, by avocation a writer and sometime scholar. Occasionally I wring an essay out of some observation I have made or experience I've had and share them here. Sometimes I'll share short fiction. Sometimes a poem. But mostly it's just my spin on this strange trip.
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