#FastFiction - Dec 22... Countdown to 100

Say what? 1 more story to go and I hit lucky number 100. Or as the french say, Cent, which makes it sound like alot less. Well, I was asked to write a Christmas type story, and this came to me after watching the Holiday Classic, 'Christmas Evil'. Nothing like this happens in it, but you get to wonder about all the things Santa must see during that long night. Well, I did, anyway. So, yeah, tomorrow will be the big One-Oh-Oh. Then in the New Year I edit, slap, tickle, hug, and digitally bind them all into a Kindle book. Neat. Working Title, 'Short Stories got no reason to live: The James Cochrane story'

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Been doing this Christmas gig since the early 1600’s; when the Dutch landed in what was later called North America. As Sinter Klaas, and then they loaned me to the Americans in the 1700s at Santa Claus. Moved Christmas day around, and I went from sticking candy or coal in shoes, to having to lug millions of dollars in merchandise to all the kids, regardless of whether they were good or not. It’s a living. I got my own place. No- no Mrs. Claus. That was a publicity thing in the 1930s Macy’s created to bring renewed interest in the spending of money during the holiday season. Like New Coke, but better. In the beginning I was desperate for a Mrs. Claus- or even a Painted Claus, if you know what I mean, but the bar in the North Pole is pretty dead, and Lolita and I haven’t talked since 1889 when I got drunk, slid down her chimney, and peed on her Poinsettia. I apologized, but she stays at her side of the Pole (pardon the expression) and I stay on mine. Yeah, I got all these magic powers, and things so it isn’t like the job is hard. Whatever a kid asks for I just think it up and it appears in my bag when I’m by their tree. I got this thing that can pause time so I get to all the houses, Canada, United States; I used to do Mexico, but my Spanish is so bad I kept giving everyone piñatas, and skeletons- it was a mess- now they do this Posada thing, and that’s cool. Don’t get me wrong, I love the kids- not in that way, sheesh- I just really get a kick out of making them happy. That sparkle in their eyes, their laughter. I can hear that laughter all the way up here. It’s wonderful. My big problem these days is when I arrive and the parents are home, and their squabbling. Not just the usual, huffy, you forgot our anniversary stuff, no, I’m talking about the domestic abuse, stuff. You pop in the room- I can’t tell you how many times- and someone is hauling off and striking someone else. Then I gotta get involved. And fighting in this fat suit is not easy, I’ve taken to carrying a Blackjack with me- since Reagan left office; all those promises, everyone's been uneasy. So, now my night is ruined cuz some jerk decided to hit his wife… or the other way around, it happens more than you think. After I club them I pause time and get the hell out of there. I have been in too many police drunk tanks to remember, on Christmas Eve, because they thought I was impersonating Santa. Then I gotta do the time thing, and anyway, I’m not trying to scared you, but this job can be tough. You need to have your wits about you, you have to enjoy the solitude, and especially love those kids- again, not in that way.

James C.