Regular Splice Today readers may recall my revelations from last Christmas after exposing the North Pole terrorist organization known as, “Santifa.” Since that time my life’s turned upside down. I immediately started experiencing personal attacks on social media. Most were nothing I’d describe as concerning. One read, “I hope Santa comes to your house and sits on your stupid head! #bigidiot!” Another, “Hey Josh! I hope you accidentally eat a crusty reindeer turd thinking it’s a piece of fudge and then you choke on it! Elfcist creeper!” Most of them smacked of the sort insult you’d see leveled against provocateurs like Donald Trump, Elon Musk or Wile E. Coyote. I ignored them.
I figured it was jealousy; crabby Atlantic contributors attempting to derail my bullet-train to the top of the think-piece world. As a seasoned artisté I was familiar with these sorry, emotional saboteurs. This time, however, the joke was on them. Instead of crushing my resolve these anonymous attacks served to fuel my determination. I set out to enforce a new routine. I was fascinated by the work habits of well-known writers like Graham Greene who claimed a strict discipline of penning 500 words a day. This was also the perfect opportunity to give meaning to a term I invented earlier that year, “Quantum Journalism.” I’d start writing 25 words a day and the results would be almost sub-atomic. It made sense to me. I calculated in 18 years I’d have 150,000 words. I’d send it out to a handful of post-apocalyptic literary agents and start shopping for yachts. But I forgot about it and instead watched Hogan’s Heroes for seven months.
Then things started getting weird. Tiny letters began appearing in my freezer. For days I assumed I’d put them there absent-mindedly. On hot summer days you know what I’d do? I’d keep my shorts in the freezer! I could never make sense of that but freezing letters was even more odd. Unfazed I put the envelopes on my dresser to examine later and forgot about them. Several days passed and I realized there were no letters on my desk. This seemed off. I looked around… nothing. So the next time it happened I immediately took the envelope to my desk to open. Surely I could recall why I’d done such a thing. I gazed at the envelope in contemplation. Suddenly it began to vibrate! Squeaky sounds emitted and then, poof! It turned into a tiny snowflake. Shocked, I looked closer. I took a sharp breath and the damn thing went right up my nose. I shrugged and forgot about it.
Immediately after waking the next morning I went straight to freezer. There it was! Another envelope! “What in the heck?” I mused. This time I opened it right away and read,
Dear Mr. France,
Loved your Santifa piece, HO! HO! HOMG! Sadly, you got some
things wrong. I must insist on setting a few things straight. If you’re available,
and I know you are, I’d like to grant you an interview. Merry Christmas!
All my Best,
I couldn’t believe what I was reading! Again, squeaks, then poof, deep breath and up my nose it went! Feeling dizzy I lay in my bed and looked at my spinning ceiling entertaining giddy, self-indulgent thoughts of Christmas glory. I said to my cat, “Wow. Finally babe! My big break! I finally hit the big time! Overnight! You picked the right guy after all!” She quickly ran off. I continued, to myself, “Of course I’d interview Santa! I’m gonna be the Sy Hersh of Christmas!” I was bursting with excitement. Then I passed out.
Two days later I got the call. I answered and heard a squeaky voice say, “Check your mailbox!” There was strange giggling, then silence and then a click. “Whoa, this is so great!” I thought. It was a Sunday. I’d already checked the night before but I checked again. To my surprise there was a package! I hurried back to my flat and opened it. Inside was a box containing a tiny ball of what smelled like green tea and a tiny scroll with instructions for brewing. “When you’re ready to interview Santa, add tea to clear pot, boil fresh water to 178 degrees Fahrenheit and steep for two minutes.” I complied. As I waited I watched in awe as the sphere of tea opened to become what looked like a blueish, lotus blossom. I waited, then poured the tea. I took a sip and sat down. It was delicious. I started feeling dizzy and then passed out. The next thing I knew someone was tapping my head. To my astonishment, there they were! In person! Santa and what I assumed to be Mrs. Santa! It was pretty obvious.
We talked for hours; at one point flying all the way back to Omaha in his sleigh. We got some lunch and I was seen with Santa. It was pretty cool. After all, I needed some kind of record or proof of our meeting.
I have reams of the transcript of our conversations to organize and terabytes of data to examine. This year I’ve decided to prioritize a segment from near the end of our meeting to set the tone. There will be many releases with the help of North Pole verified writers like Russ Smith, Oliver Bateman, the legendary Bill Asher and likely a collaborative book. This new info will serve to redefine and articulate the true meaning of Christmas for all of mankind, not just Hallmark Channel subscribers. For now, behold, the wisdom of The Father of Christmas!
I ask him, “In just a few months you’re going to be very busy? I must know! The people want to know! How do you deliver presents to everyone in 24 hours?“
Santa: “Well kid, I don’t actually do that anymore. Not since 394. Mostly I ski and hang out with Gertrude, ahem, I mean Mrs. Claus, and the elves. On Christmas Day I watch a few games, have dinner, that’s it!”
I was confused, “Okay wait, what? You don’t deliver presents?”
Santa looks to the side and nods to Gertrude. “No.” she says, “That kinda takes care of itself. We started a trend. It just took off.” Then she stands, “I’ll be right back. You guys have fun.”
I looked at Santa, and pressed further, delicately, like a pro, “We started a trend? I don’t get it? Took off?”
Santa replied, “Well now, think about it. When Marilyn Monroe said she put her panties in the freezer when it was hot outside do you think she expected every woman on Earth would start doing the same?”
I shook my head, puzzled, “Never thought about it. I guess not.”
Santa continued, “Right. You haven’t. That’s my point. But that’s how it worked out.”
“Wow!” I said, “So like, what did you do? How did you get that going?”
“Well, okay, we need to get to this Santifa stuff but I suppose you should hear this. It’s also a story of how I met Gertrude, Mrs. Claus. It was way, way back; December of 394.”
“Whoa, 394?” I said softly “Wow, way before Coca-Cola.”
“Yes, ho ho ho! Whoa is right! It’s been that long even though it feels like just a few years.”
“Oh man, this is great stuff!” I said, “My editor is going to love this! Do tell!”
He continued, “I’ll try and make it short. We have to get to this Santifa stuff.”
“Yes, of course.” I agreed.
He went on, “Ho ho ho! Well, I was out for a walk along the beach in Pantera.”
I interjected, “Okay wait, Pantera? Sorry, where’s that?”
Santa’s face scrunched and he elaborated, “Well, ho ho ho, Pantera is a village on the coast of what’s now known as Turkey. Amazing beaches. Anyway, I was walking along the beach, thinking about where to get lunch and wham! I looked away from the waves on the ocean and saw the most beautiful, radiant face I’d ever laid eyes on. A woman dressed so beautifully; set off by a huge crowd of screeching, mangy children and handing out presents from a big, red, velvet bag. I was suddenly breathless and had to sit down. Seeing such a vision of loveliness was like a real kick in the gut, ya know? You know what I mean, I know you do.”
“Oh definitely.” I replied.
He went on, “Yeah, you know. Anyway, as hundreds of dirty kids gathered around her I walked closer, just behind her, to get a better look. I could see these dirty little faces, arms raised in abandon, but the brightest eyes you can imagine all of fixed on her radiant smile. Such beauty, but also such kindness and patience, with such a clamoring mass of hooligans. I was smitten. I decided at that moment that she had to be my wife.”
“Whoa! Romantic!” I said, “I know how that feels.”
“Yes,” He lowered his gaze at me. “I know you do.”
“Oh man.” I said, “This is great. So what did you do?”
“Well, I later found out her dad was broke. She was likely going to be made a slave because her father couldn’t pay for a wedding or provide a dowry. But she still looked like a princess I tell ya. She didn’t hold back. Ya know?”
“Gosh,” I said, “Slavery?”
Santa replied with a somber tone. “Yeah. It was a bad situation. This is tough stuff. You okay with this?”
I affirmed with gusto, “Of course! You’re Santa! The world must know! So, what then?”
He continued, “Well, I wasn’t poor. My uncle was pretty well-off. But Gertrude’s dad, obnoxiously proud, would never accept charity. So, about three days later I snuck into their house in the middle of the night and put enough gold coins for his debts and enough for dowries for Gertrude and her sisters.”
“Wow. That’s ballsy” I said.
He went on, “Ho ho ho! Yeah I guess. But I didn’t give a fuck! Excuse my French. But you know what I mean. I know you do.”
“Duh!” I nodded quickly to assure him.
Santa went on, “I couldn’t let her go. The next day as they all woke up to find the gold I’d left. Next, I made sure to be in the right place at the right time. I took a bath, waxed my beard and when she saw me at the beach next that old mojo kicked in like a donkey on DMT. After some charm I asked her to have dinner. She agreed. I had her constantly laughing that night over oysters and baklava. I was killing it. I wasn’t the best looking guy but I was pretty funny.”
He went on, “So, we kept seeing each other. Then after 10 days or so and lots of dancing I asked Gertrude to marry me.”
I was confused, “Okay wait, what about the whole presents thing?”
He shook his head, “Oh, right. Sorry.”
“No, don’t be sorry.” I said, “That story is sweet as heck but I have to know. How this whole Santa coming through the chimney thing start? I’m all ears Maestro. Please tell…”
“Well” he says, “People heard about what I did and other men tried to out-do me. Simple as that.”
Just then Mrs. Claus yelled, “You boys want some cake?” We took a break and now this series shall also take a break. See you next year for, “Interview with Santa Part 2, 2023.” Thanks for reading! Merry Christmas!