The following is a true story.
Well, parts of it are. Santarchy, or Santacon is actually a real event, run by an organization called the "Cacophony Society," who raise a ruckus at Christmastime, allegedly to protest the holiday's over-commercialization, although one suspects it to just be an excuse to riot and cause mischief. Most of the people involved in this organization don't really protest anything, they just dress up as Santa and have a good time. Generally it is a peaceful event that simply entails a bunch of people dressed up as Santa in many major cities across the world.
However, in 2005 in Auckland, that year's Santarchy took a turn from its usually peaceful protesting event, or simply fun party, and got way out of hand. Some drunken Santas actually committed some of the acts described in my story. You can read the news story from 2005 here: https://www.smh.com.au/world/bad-santas-rampage-in-auckland-20051219-gdmnfy.html
Learning of this event on an archived page of Neil Gaiman's blog (of course) and finding an expired link to a CNN story that no longer existed, and down the internet rabbit hole I went! After much searching I finally found the full story on the Sydney Morning Herald, and was (of course!) inspired. I got to thinking, what if something more was going on in this story? What if there was something deeper happening behind the scenes? What if the REAL Santa was in some way involved? Adding a SciFi element of cloning and the Fantasy element of magic, and making it as Christmas-ey and heartwarming as possible by its end, writing essentially 2 stories and suturing them together, all the while taking care to add/embellish elements in each to keep them consistent and part of one overall narrative coming from two different perspectives, and eventually I had this story.
Christmas is in and of itself a good thing. It is a positive outlet to remedy stress for the work force, a day off to look forward to, a time to be with family. It is a time full of cheer, excitement, and elevated, hopeful feelings. It is a day we set aside our usual earthly cares to focus instead on goodness and giving, helping each other, thinking of others, and going out of our way to be helpful our fellow human beings. It is a time of forgiveness and a designated season for focusing on the more important things in life, even if it has become incredibly commercialized. Behind the facade of commercialism and the rampant stampede to buy things, the more important, deeper aspect of the holidays are still there, and they always will be. Goodness, goodwill to man, love for one another, and giving will never go out of style. They will stand the test of time.
Christmas will come no matter what. It will continue and go on and on each year. The Yuletide Spirit will not, cannot, and has not been conquered, regardless of even the most violent of Santarchys, or vilest of plots by Krampus.
This story is my gift to you, the reader. As always I sincerely hope you enjoy it, and I sincerely wish you a
December is here, and with it the Yuletide spirit has come rushing in.
Today, December 6th, is St. Nicholas Day, recognized by Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, and other Christian denominations worldwide. The historical saint's image has been preserved and passed down through the ages and morphed and changed in the cultures, mythos, and legends of the peoples of the world. In America, today the Saint is best recognized as the chubby, rosy-cheeked, white bearded man adorned in a fluffy red coat, an image spawned and popularized by the Coca-Cola company in the 20th century, and re-dubbed "Santa Claus." The group of ideas associated with that name is now inseparable from the historical saint whenever you bring up his name. The real, historical figure who lived in the 3rd century in Asia Minor was likely vested in Christian clerical bishops' robes for most of his day, and the black cassock/tunic he would have worn underneath for the rest of it. He would have been olive-skinned, and emaciated due to the fasting that came along with his clerical and monastic vows. By all accounts he really, truly cared for people, and went out of his way to help them, putting their physical and spiritual needs before his own. He did this daily, and year round, caring for people's real needs, not just giving them things they want in one magical night before the morning of the nativity.
Regardless of the transmogrification that his appearance and character have undergone in the modern public eye, St. Nicholas has stood the test of time and remains today a figurehead of the holiday season and its spirit of good will toward mankind, giving, forgiving, and seeking to serve and help others who are less fortunate than ourselves. In that regard he is still very much here and among us, and I like to think he meets us where we are, taking a form now in our postmodern, consumerist society, that we all can understand and identify as a good and saintly type of person. In that spirit, I'm posting a story that's (sort of) about the Saint, in a way. There is a famous legend about St. Nicholas of Myra dropping gold coins into the drying socks hanging outside on the windowsill of a man and his three daughters under the cover of night so that the destitute widower would not have to sell his children into slavery. And that is how the tradition of hanging Christmas stockings began. (Or in many cases, setting your shoes out for St. Nicholas on the evening of Dec. 5th, to find him having filled them with goodies the next morning!)
This story is quite loosely based on that legend- it is a humorous tale, both a ridiculous and absurd one, lighthearted and meant to make you laugh. It reads to me like a skit from "Tim and Eric's Awesome Show, Great Job!" on Adult Swim, one of my favorite, most bizarre comedies I've ever seen. It is really silly, but like all my stories, (at least I like to think so and strive for this in my writing) there is something for everyone who reads it, and while it is funny and not meant to be taken seriously, there is still an underlying dimension of depth beneath the surface of even the seemingly silliest story, for those willing to dig deep enough to find it. I wrote this 2 years ago in July 2017, thinking of a vague notion of Christmas in July, and have gone back since and touched it up and embellished here and there to present it here to you tonight. The name of the man's best friend in the story went through several changes from the rough to final draft, starting as simply "Ted," then transforming to "Kris," and finally, and I think most appropriately, "Nick."
Well, without further ado, here is the story. As always, I hope you read and enjoy it. I hope you laugh and it warms your heart, and brings you good cheer as the holiday season begins.
We could all use a little more absurdity, the kind that makes us smile and/or laugh in our lives, after all.
-St. Nicholas Day, 2019