When I was about 9, maybe 10, Christmas was huge. We went all out. Christmas Eve was a celebration, food, snacks, movies, family. The works. This year, though, we were up kind of late, and my mom fell asleep in her chair. We put the cookies and milk out for Santa, and went to bed.
I was so excited. Laying there, unable to sleep, thinking mom would make Santa pass our house, I went out to wake her. I was walking to the stairs, to go down and wake her. Our hallway had an area open to the living room, so you could see the whole room. Mom was sleeping, soundly in the recliner.
Before I could get to the stairs Santa appeared in front of the fire place. He dropped his bag, it hit the floor with a soft thud, almost inaudible. A soft groan escaped his lips as he placed the palm of his hands on his lower back and stretched. He looked exhausted.
He saw the cookies, arranged in a circular pattern on a hand fired, one of a kind smiling Santa plate mom had made in her ceramic class. Mom was so proud of that plate. Santa finished the milk, and went to return the empty glass to the table. Unfortunately, Santa had forgotten to test his blood sugar and the thermal mug slipped from his trembling hands, fell on the smiling Santa plate and broke it in pieces.
Mom jumped up, “what, what was that?” she asked, shocked, eyes wide open. Not sure where she was, or what had happened.
“You should go to bed, forget you ever saw me. Things don’t have to get ugly.” Santa warned, menacingly.
Mom saw the broken plate, her rage was immediate, her fury ab-solute. “You broke my plate, fat boy.” She hissed.
With preparations, travel, record keeping, and labor negotiations with the Santa Helpers union, Santa had been on short sleep for several weeks. He had not a decent meal in days. And here was a middle aged woman in a night gown calling him fat. He went into a diabetic frenzy.
Crossing the room quickly Santa threw a wild hay maker, right at moms face.
Mom was too quick for him, though, she slipped the punch, and threw two left jabs, connecting right on Santa’s jaw, and danced to the right.
Santa circled slowly, his guard held high, wary. He moved in and mom scored a left, right, left combo that staggered Santa.
Before Santa could respond she danced away to her right. Circling, moving, cautious. Santa had some size on her and she was deter-mined to use her superior speed.
She used her left jab to keep him away. Scoring with quick attacks, then moving away. Santa was getting pummeled and frustrated. He tried a frontal assault. Moving forcefully he tried to close the distance. Mom had been waiting for that, and scored with a quick jab, a right cross, and then brutal upper cut. Rocking Santa, he looked uncertain, con-fused.
Mom’s success proved to be her undoing, she was show-boating around the ring, doing the Ali shuffle, and Santa pounced. Forcing her to the ropes, he pummeled her mid-section with powerful repeated body blows. It didn’t look good for mom, but the bell sounded ending round one.
They returned to their corners, Santa’s corner men working frantically to staunch the bleeding from the cut above his right eye.
Round two and they both answered the bell with a renewed anger. For fifteen barbaric, grueling rounds these two giants of the ring fought, neither able to gain a decisive edge, nei-ther willing to give an inch. The judges ruled the bout a draw.
“Not too bad for a jolly old elf.” Mom said, patting Santa on the back.
“You did alright yourself, for a woman in a housecoat.” San-ta said, pulling a flask from the cuff of his boot. He took a long pull, handed it to mom and continued, “sorry about the plate.”
“Don’t worry, I actually bought it at Drug Mart, it was part of a set. I have 23 more.”
They laughed, and Santa was gone.
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