I See You, Santa Claus by
Competition: Flash Fiction Challenge 2011, Final Round
Genre: Open Location: A
secret hideout Object: A framed newspaper article
Original Illustration by
you are. Slurping split-pea soup from a can that cuts your
Itís Christmas Eve. No one knows youíre
here. But I do. And Iím watching.
You slump in the corner of your faux North Pole
cottage, a rickety plywood room built by the drama class of Hillburn
High to add some dimension to the Santa Claus photo setup in the middle
of Hillburn Mall, just midway between the food court, Victoriaís Secret
and JC Pennyís.
You think youíre clever. Hiding here.
In the afterhours of chaos.
It began as a place to escape sticky fingers and
sugared breath. A place to hide from the stench of rotten, greedy
But it became a place to take your spoils of the
day Ė the single mothers, the lonely wives who got moist at the very
sight of men like you. A man with jolly guts and a grisly white
beard and rosy cheeks, whoíd ask them, in a hot cocoa voice, if they had
been good girls this year.
Apparently, this is a thing.
They had been bad, of course. All of them.
You knew that because youíre Santa Claus. Itís Santa Clausís job
to know these things.
Your suspenders pinch your bare shoulders and
chafe at your nipples, your fat spills over the red faux velvet pants,
and I gag. Or I would if I could.
You remember your first lay in here.
Youíre remembering her because Iím making you. Iím in your head
and Iím digging through shit and you need to see this one. See
Her child was on your lap, a girl with thinning
mousey brown hair and a sickly complexion, with bits of lollipop still
clinging to her lips, and the mother stood in your eye-line, running her
finger along the crease of her cleavage, adjusting her bra, pulling at
the waist of her jeans two sizes too small.
You had to adjust the girl on your knee, so she
wouldnít feel the bulge forming in your pants.
You are ashamed of that. I know because I
see the emotion skipping across your mind, like a pebble over a lake.
Can you feel me inside you? Can you feel
me running my tongue over your thoughts? I see every damning,
dirty thing youíve ever done. Iím throwing them against your mind
and letting them shatter and bleed into you.
She had insisted on it. Being in this room
with you. She was a bad girl, she said.
You almost feel it. Me. A chill
around your throat and ears, a cold coming on. Thatís what I am
now. Iím the mucus in your throat, the acid in your stomach.
Can you feel me gnawing at your organs?
They made it so easy. The women.
Made it so clear what they wanted. And you were more than willing
to give it to them, werenít you? Eager even. I make
them march across your vision.
Youíve made a bed of faux snow, a pillow of
stuffing from the lining of the faux sleigh, attached to those goddamn
faux reindeer that seem to see into your soul.
Forget the reindeer. You should worry
Look, Iím not judging. Most men in your
position would take advantage of a prime opportunity while it lasts.
Because it doesnít last long. Only from Thanksgiving until
tonight. Christmas Eve is the end of your fun.
You know Iím here, but you donít. You
begin to sweat. Thick gummy sweat that crawls down your face, into your
real beard. They really loved that it wasnít a strap-on. The
women. They loved that there was no padding under your costume.
You lean back on your soiled bed, rub your
belly, and your eyes fall to a single dusty frame, a photo of you as a
little boy on Santaís lap. And next to it, behind the same chipped
yellow glass, is a fresh newspaper clipping from this morning. A
body of a woman was found in the mall dumpsters. Chopped to bits.
You thought you were clever. This time of
year, no one notices these kinds of things. Trash bags filled with
wrapping paper and candy wrappers and body parts.
You circled the girlís name in red marker.
Cassie Brown. You never asked her name.
She was a college girl. She and a few
friends thought it would be cute to sit on your lap and whisper their
desires to you. You saw that twinkle in her eye.
She had daddy issues but hadnít yet translated them into a loveless
marriage. Maybe she was a good girl, a virgin even. That
would really top off your year. Something to keep you warm until
Thatís why you took her wallet.
She came looking for it at the end of the
evening. The elves had left. You lingered, like you always
You said you kept the lost and found in your
dressing room. Come on in. You shut the door behind her. You
wrapped your arm around her waist. She tried to scream but you
wrapped your plump hand over her mouth. You forced yourself inside
her, keeping your hand in place over her mouth. These things had
to be quiet, you thought. This is probably how she likes it, you
I make you relive it. You see yourself
suffocating her. You were greedy. Naughty.
I keep a list too, you know.
Can you feel me here? Breathe a little
deeper. Feel how it catches in your lungs? Feel how
your throat constricts? Try again.
Thatís me youíre feeling.
You feel me inside you. Tell me you can,
because I love how it sounds.
We can spend all evening like this, you and I.
You can look at that newsprint photo of me in that frame and Iíll share
with you all those little violating pains you made me feel. And I
wonít be greedy about it.
Christmas is about giving, after all.