He never told my co-Elf, Pebbles, and me how he been chosen to be Santa. He was long and lean and certainly didn’t come off as a person who would get along with children, but somehow, he did.
When Happy Santa first came up to the workshop in his street clothes, Pebbles gave me a side-eye, the prototype of many side-eyes to come. Happy was wearing Lee jeans and biker boots and one of those chains that attach to your belt loop. He loped like a cowboy and slouched like a bored debutante.
“Yeah, hi. I am going to be your Santa. Either of you gals wanna go get stoned?”
“Yeah, no.” Pebbles asserted, “We are elves, like we can’t do stuff like that.”
I nodded in agreement. “We elves have to do math; I have a hard enough time with that.”
He nodded his head gently and moved off, “Well time to get dressed and feed the reindeer, I guess.”
And so passed the weeks of Advent and on Christmas Eve, we said good-bye to one another and I thought that was that.
I never did see Pebbles again, but Santa? I kept running in to him: banks, hair salons, second hand shops, book stores, fast food joints. He always smelled of pot.
I was at the salad bar at Wendy’s with my mom, when Santa came up behind me.
“Hello, Elf Mary! How are things?”
“Great Santa! How’s it going?”
“Great, great, can’t complain.” He raised his half-eaten burger high, almost hitting the plastic faux Tiffany lights and waved.
“….and to all a good night, right?” I asked.
“You got it! Later.” Santa moseyed off.
My mom looked at me.
“Nice guy. His cologne is bit overwhelming, though, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, mama, they never know when enough is enough,” and I put some bacon bits on my salad.