“He is DEAD,” I dramatically proclaimed to my little sister, the morbid evidence clutched tightly in my hand.
J. sobbed, took one last look at the irrefutable evidence, and did what she still does best (40 years later)…she went crying to Mom to tattle.
The proof is not only in the pudding: a proper P.I. – however young – knows that a glaring absence portends as much doom as uncovering the actual Corpus Delecti.
I’m talkin’ reality, folks: as in the abandoned Santa suit hastily cast into an upper garage loft corner by a Santa hell-bent on a Superman costume change, yet lacking the super-reflexes of our aforementioned hero. Likely liquor has something to do with super-speed.
In retrospect the sad suit remains only confirmed what my 9-year-old self had LONG suspected: that Santa was not only NOT real, but physically resided in the body of one Dad; to emerge once a year much like a Phoenix from his inebriated ashes.
ALSO in retrospect – my actions towards my little sister (who definitely STILL BELIEVED – up to that point) “more than placed me on next year’s Naughty List.” And I quote, from the Book of Momisms.
A daunting thought: for 9-year-old to have failed the next cut before THIS YEAR’s festivities had even arrived.
Still – the impulse towards sadism was simply irresistible. That’s what younger siblings are for; right??
And was it MY FAULT that informing J. of the truth that her holiday hero had (and I quote) “Grown too fat for his britches and EXPLODED in a grim and untimely manner – but luckily after this season’s gifts have been delivered” was considered a bad take on the matter? There’s a fine line, in my book, between ‘naughty’ and ‘funny’…
Mom duly informed Dad of my latest indiscretion when he arrived home exhausted from another day of hard work, likely with Disciplinary Action far from the forefront of his mind (…more likely a Hot Meal, a Barkolounger and TV viewing occupied the frontal lobes).
I am sure Mom’s usual greeting (“Charlie, you’ll never guess what YOUR daughter did TODAY….”) provoked the usual impulse to hit ‘close’ on the newly-acquired automatic garage door opener and set the family car’s autopilot to ‘NEAREST BAR’.\
And with J. still howling in horror in the background, our Xmas was anything BUT a scene outta Norman Rockwell.
Even if I did seem to observe my father futilely trying to stifle raucous laughter.
Merry Xmas from the Exploding Santa of Sweeney Street.
And…. HO HO HO!