The Presents of Evil

He knows who has been naughty and nice. He sees when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. Pretty scary stuff, huh? This could be taken to be one of your parents. But in Christian popular culture, we know it is someone else; it is someone whose name is an anagram of Satan. The two could not be more opposite. One is kind with a goal of rewarding everyone who has exhibited correct behavior. The other is evil with a goal of rewarding everyone who has exhibited correct behavior. Further study may be necessary here.

In the short story, Better Watch Out by Willow Rose protagonist Sara tries to explain to her doctor why a fear of Santa should be considered more serious than fear of clowns. Maybe it was the long pointy brown fingernails that Santa showed Sara when Sara was visiting him in the Meridian Mall. Even at eight years old she knew that was wrong. The fingernails, the red eyes, and what looked like blood in his beard made Sara fearful every year around Christmas time. Her fear soon combined with frustration when nobody believed her about Santa killing her brother one year on Christmas Eve. Everyone believed she was the murderer despite her eyewitness report of Santa’s misdeed.

It was on 15 December when Santa killed Rob Wilson, her boyfriend. It seems that Santa was expanding the time when he was most active. Again no one believed her. Again she was a suspect. Her parents had her committed for a few years but Sara knew she was innocent and eventually she convinced doctors enough to secure her release. She turned her life around. She got a job, met and married John, and gave birth to Molly. As Molly grew up, John wanted Molly to have a “normal” life and that included Santa Claus. All Molly’s friends knew of Santa Claus and Molly wanted to participate. Sara, of course, objected.

Sara was really upset when she saw John at the Mall with Molly. Sara noticed the same Santa Claus from her youth, the one with long fingernails and pointy teeth. Sara had put up with enough. She would not let Santa have Molly; this time John could not have his way.

This is a tightly constructed fast-paced short story that could be amusing to some. If you long for the season of good cheer from your youth, if you long for a world of presents per annum from a benevolent large person in a red suit, this might not be the story for you.

You might not believe the story Sara told Dr. Hahn. He was to evaluate Sara. Based on his long experience he found it easy to dismiss her stories as self-serving. How were her stories of a brother’s death and a boyfriend’s murder self-serving? Dr. Hahn should have listened closer.

This is a fun coffee break read. Short stories are good for motivating folks to read. My son* read this one while on a doctor visit.

*son = He is fifteen years old. The idea of a malevolent Santa Claus amuses him.

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