Friday, December 23, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: Santa Drops the Truth Bomb

Timmy balled his hands into fists, then bawled his face into them. When the jolly fat man tried to console him, the boy wriggled from his lap and fell to the candy-cane-colored floor.

“Why?” Timmy hollered so loud all the department store elves scuttled away. They formed a wall of placation around the other kids standing in line, waiting to tell Santa their wishes.

Santa leaned from his red felt throne, extending a white glove in peace. “Here, here, Timothy. It’s not that bad.”

“You lied to me! You hate liars!”

“Well, I never give myself presents this time of year,” Santa said with a laugh, though mid-ho-ho the boy punched him in the crotch. He reeled his body, eyes pleading with his parents to tell him this wasn’t the real Santa. Yet both Mom and Dad stood stock still, eyes glazed over, expressions of adoration rigid.

“They’re robots,” said Santa, remaining on the elevated throne for now, safely out of further yam-punching range. “Your bed time is seven o’clock every night because their battery life is low.”

“They love me!”

“They look like they do. My elves are industry leaders. Whenever Mrs. Claus goes out of town, I have as robot of her to keep me from getting lonely.”

When his parents didn’t hitch to life at this absurdity, Timmy turned to face the rosy-cheeked monster.

“And Nana?”

Santa clasped his hands together. “She didn’t really die, Timothy. Your robot grandma is actually in a box in your attic. You can take her out and play with her whenever you want.”

“What about King Snuffles?”

Santa hissed and drew back as though burning his fingers on the truth. “Unfortunately, the dog was real…”

Timmy burst into a new bout of hysterics. He thrashed, the flashing lights in his sneakers kicking at Santa’s shins. The irony that Santa had brought him those sneakers last year was entirely lost on him.

“I don’t believe you!”

Santa took him by the collar, tugging him away from the more impressionable crowd. The kids beyond the helper-elves were all much younger than him.

“You’re getting older,” said Santa. “It’s time you knew that pretty much everyone you’ll ever meet is fake in one way or another. If you’re good, next year I’m giving you the complete works of Carl Jung.”

“But evolution!”

“Timothy, don’t be naughty. Which makes more sense: a bacteria becomes a fish becomes a monkey, or I built your parents? Think about it.”

“I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to think about anything.”

“You don’t even want to think about a Playstation 3?”

Timmy’s fists parted as gradually as the Red Sea, revealing the dawn of his puffy face. He hiccuped out a question.

“The slim?”

Santa’s jowls jiggled in his nod. “The three-hundred-and-twenty gigabyte model, bundled with Uncharted 3.”

“But Mom and Dad couldn’t afford that.”

“But they aren’t real, Timothy.”

Timmy’s fists fell away from his face entirely. His tears detoured around his gaping mouth. The anxiety wasn’t over, but it was the first step towards realizing that, all things considered, this was the grown-up he wanted - just like every other child.


  1. Excellent story, as usual.
    I don't know how you do it each day, it's like you're a robot or something.

  2. I knew you could do it! Brilliantly executed my friend. And I love that he's bribed with more technology. :)

  3. You never cease to amaze me. I think the kid should have held out for one of those new 3D displays for the PS3, but I guess he didn't make out too bad. :)

    I loved the truth in the line "...pretty much everyone you’ll ever meet is fake in one way or another."

  4. Children are so much fun, sometimes. I wonder when he's going to ask who else are robots.

    And the super amusing inside joke for me: my niece just this evening asked how Santa could be at all the malls at the same time. On the fly, sis-in-law says they're all robots, and they transfer the data to the North Pole for the real Santa.

  5. Another fantastic story John. made me laugh out loud.. and wake my robot family up!
    Loved "next year you're getting the complete works of Carl Jung", and the whole concept of Granny in the loft..

  6. Impressive story. Full of cool creative ideas and funny touches. I also loved the 'Jung' reference and the idea of a robot Mrs Claus and granny in the loft. Very cool.

  7. Your work never ceases to amaze, astound and create an admirer in me.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  8. Unfortunately, if we knew all the kids who go see Santa, I imagine the majority have their priorities set along the same lines Timoth does...
    Excellent, as usual!

  9. For a Playstation 3 I'd be willing to go along with anything I'm told.

    Happy Christmas John. :)

  10. Haha I wish I had thought of this idea! Everyone is fake except Santa. Maybe Timothy is fake too and he doesn't know it yet?

    "...safely out of further yam-punching range."

    Made me laugh out loud :)

  11. 'yam-punching' is such a lovely turn of phrase. yeah the PS3 slim would sway anyone.

    The premise makes total sense, can't believe that its not already a popular myth.

    Merry Xmas John

  12. So is Timothy a robot too? Is that a grand reveal to come when he's older?

    Put me down with the other bots who loved the term "yam-punching." :- D

  13. Judge, this was a lovely compliment until I realized you were making fun of fake old me. Then it was a funny compliment.

    Danni, kids love tech! Sometimes more than they do their parents.

    Chuck, I bet he would have held out if I'd known such displays existed!

    Raven, that is uncanny, and a little cooler and weirder than the tradition of saying they're just Santa's helpers.

    Tom, did you really wake up your family? My heart might grow ten times its size from pride.

    Peter and Adam, thanks so much for the kind words!

    Deanna, I'm pretty sure I knew which side I would have fallen upon. Sad stuff.

    Steve, you could certainly buy me off from several people this season.

    Craig and Anon, I tried to pepper in festive language. Glad the yams caught you.

    Larry, we'd have to leave that up to the sequel.

  14. Some truths are better left unexposed... everyone you know is dead on the inside.

    Merry Christmas.

  15. Great twist on the 'Santa isn't real' idea but I have to wonder...if Santa built Timmy's parents, then where did Timmy come from? Could be an interesting answer!

  16. Great one John and I loved the battery life line probably cos my batteries are the cheap ones, I mean I do everything I can so my kids won't notice but sometimes there are glitches, slow response times, repetitions, sometimes I wonder if they really know but just don't want to say because they keep getting those apple pies I make...

    thanks for all you great work over the year, it's always enjoyable and have a lovely Christmas. Best wishes...

  17. Love this line: pretty much everyone you’ll ever meet is fake in one way or another.

    So . . . if Timmy's parents are robots and everyone is fake, is Timmy the next Santa? And the robot parents just convenient?

  18. So Santa IS God. I should have guessed it. Loved this one.

  19. My life makes so much more sense now. This story explains everything. I loved it!!

  20. A dark world you weave. I whole-heartedly approve. Even Santa has to stoop to bribing kids.

  21. Tee - hee and there was I thinking we were all real, Santa you've be lying to me again!

    Fun story John, ah how easily he was persuaded with the promise of more super duper techno -olgy ^__^

  22. Wickedly good - this is as Twilight Zoney as you make 'em. Well done from the master - you are real aren't you?

  23. Clever premise and well written, as always. People already mentioned this, but I found myself wondering at the end whether Timmy's a robot too. Maybe too much PS3 will turn him into one, eventually?

  24. Ha, ha. Creepy way to turn the myth around.


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