A disconcerting lie from my childhood was the belief that Santa Claus was always watching over me; judging every move and keeping thorough and organized lists. Even more disturbing is when your father calls his rotund friend who happens to own a Santa Claus costume and invites him over to teach me a lesson after I had misbehaved.
I do not recall the circumstances that led to such an event, but when I saw a brownish 1984 Buick Park Avenue pull into the driveway I knew something was awry. When jolly old St. Nick emerged from the driver’s seat, I panicked and ran straight into my bedroom; immediately hiding under the bed while tightly clutching a Teddy Ruxpin doll - hoping and praying for anything to get me out of this situation.
I could hear Santa talking to my parents through the walls and they led him directly into my room. Moments later, I saw his black boots and red velvet pants standing next to my bed; inches from my face. I could feel my heart racing and convinced myself Santa could hear the thunderous beating of my heart.
He pretended he did not know where I was and for a moment I actually thought I was safe. However, I began to feel my world crumble beneath me when I watched him slowly crouch his way to the floor. Seconds later, I met the sight of his blotchy red face, devilish eyes, and crooked beard; a faint scent of alcohol blew from his breath as he began to speak to me.
“Why hello young Patrick, I hear you have been naughty,” he muttered. “Do you know what happens to naughty young boys?” he asked in that pretend sinister voice adults use sometimes as he pulled a small notepad out of his pocket.
If I had only been a year or two older, I may have possessed the skills to call his bluff, but instead I shook my head yes and secretly prayed that my life would meet a sudden end.
“According to this list here, you had asked for a Nintendo Entertainment System. It looks like I may have to ask my elves to take it off my sleigh.”
I continued to stare at his eyes, afraid to utter a sound.
“I’ll give you one more chance young boy, but you have to promise me you will listen to your mommy and daddy.”
I gave Santa an agreeing nod and watched him disappear from my room. I remained under my bed for another hour while I listened to my parents and Santa Claus laugh and joke around in the kitchen. I felt betrayed by parents that they allowed this menacing beast into our home and were now laughing as if I no longer existed.
Upon Santa’s departure from our household, my younger brother came running into my room excited to share his own meeting with Santa Claus; a vast counterpart to my experience. He innocently began to describe that he saw Santa drinking a beer with my father and that he is able to take his beard off; and when removed he looks exactly like Chunk, our dad’s token fat friend.
At that moment, my fear subsided and I slowly began to piece together what had actually happened the last few hours. My fear quickly turned into rage, and I retaliated by writing “Fuck You” on my bedroom wall in red crayon.
I still got presents that year.