So, I’m standing at the counter, trying not to look at the clock, when I get a customer. He’s a big guy, older, wearing red clothes and a pair of Blues Brothers sunglasses. He’s also got a big white beard.
I start ringing up his stuff. A teddy bear, a toy boat, some games and puzzles, couple of superhero action figures, and some Lego kits.
“Okay,” I say, “do you have your rewards…” I stop because now I’m really looking at the guy. He looks back at me.
“Is, er, something wrong?” he says, kind of the way a kid passing a fake ID might ask a bartender.
“Are…” I can’t believe I’m about to ask the question. “Are you Santa?”
He seems sort of taken aback. “What?!” he says. “No! Of course, I’m not Santa! How ridiculous. That’s funny. Ho ho ho! I mean, er…Ha ha ha!”
“Are you sure? Cuz you look exactly like Santa.”
“No, I don’t. Santa doesn’t wear sunglasses.”
“And you’re buying a lot of toys.”
“I have a lot of nephews and nieces.”
“And isn’t that your sled parked outside?” I point out the front window at the big, red sleigh taking up a whole row of parking spaces in the lot.
“Sled? No, that’s my Civic. See?”
“Looks like someone drew the Honda logo on the back of a sled and wrote the word ‘Civic’ under it with a magic marker.”
“Don’t think so.”
“And aren’t those reindeer?”
“Reindeer? No, those are my dogs. I have a lot of dogs.”
“Yeah, it really seems to me like you’re Santa and you’re trying to cover it up.”
“I think maybe you’re confused. It’s Christmastime, you’ve got pictures of Santa everywhere, then a guy comes in with a white beard and a sled—”
“You mean a Civic?”
“Huh? Oh! Right, that!”
“So, you’re not Santa?”
“Not at all.”
“Okay, if you say so. So, do you have your rewards card? Or did you give that to Mrs. Claus?”
“No, Sarah has her own card so we can…aw, heck!”