"Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus. Right down Santa Claus Lane. He's got a bag that is filled with toys. For the boys and girls again. Hear those sleigh bells. . ."
"Lloyd!" Santa stands behind the Elf foreman.
Lloyd turned quickly, dropping his pine tree flavored latte on the floor, creating a puddle crackling snow and ceramic. "Santa. What are you doing here? You're supposed to be resting."
"I was. Some of the elves were making too much noise. They're having some kind of celebration. I came out to see what the commotion was about." Santa strokes his white beard.
"Oh. Sorry about. They needed a break from all their hard work."
"I see that. I believe that we're ahead of schedule. All the toys are made and gift wrapped. I came to congratulate you on your managing skills."
"Thank you. We worked really hard. A lot of children deserve more than one toy. So I upped the production." Lloyd smiled with pride.
Santa squints one eye and raises an eyebrow. "However. I did find something odd."
Lloyd swallows hard. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Really? I found a tired and sleepy human boy crying by the fire, wishing to be home. His name is Johnny. He smells and claims that he's too tired to help with the decoration."
Lloyd's forehead beads with sweat. "How did he get here?" He trembles.
"You don't know? I don't believe you. I peeked in the workshop and guess what I found."
"Toys?" Lloyd looks down at the puddle.
"Yeah. You can say that. They're hundreds of children working as if their lives depended on it. If my memory serves, elves are who do that work. Can you explain that?"
"They’re volunteers. They wanted to work at the North Pole.”
Santa’s face turns red. His voice raises a few octaves. “Lloyd! What have you done?” Steam comes out of his ears.
Lloyd raises his head. He states with a steady and firm voice, “Those children were naughty this year. We give and give, and we compensate for their naughty behavior.” He slams his hand on the counter, causing the elk milk to spill and the gingerbread cookies to break. “Why can’t they be nice and not naughty?”
Santa takes a deep breath. Calmly he slicks back his receding hairline. “Some of those kids are only three. What were you thinking?”
“They deserve to be punished. We need a break. Those kids don’t listen. They want immediate gratification. They have this. . . This belief is that everything belongs to them. They don’t respect their parents.” Tears roll down Lloyd’s cheeks.
“Stop with your illusions of grandeur. They’re children. That’s what they do. They will learn to be strong and respectful adults. Don’t you understand that?”
Lloyd lowers his head. “I’m sorry. I just wanted to teach them a lesson.”
“Son. Get those children home to their families as soon as possible. Before the preteens start a coup d'état!”
Here Comes Santa Claus
2017 Holiday Anthology: Spooky Story Night and Winter Holiday Stories – Henderson Writers Group
January 15, 2018
Word Count: 499