I think I’ve established myself as the gruff adult figure in this family partnership, in that, while Little Miss and I were observing the damage to Troubadour’s car left by some holiday shitbag, who’d grossly scuffed the front of his car as they lurched around the parking lot, presumably drunkenly, while shopping at the last minute like the procrastinating monsters they are (leaving no note, of course), I felt no compulsion to sugarcoat the atrocity.
“But why would someone do that and just drive away?” she mused.
“Some people just do bad things and don’t care,” I said, “but Santa’s watching, and you know what?”
“What?” she asked.
“Santa will probably ‘accidentally’ knock a smoldering log out of their fireplace on his way down the chimney to deliver the coal they’re getting as a reward for their disreputable behavior.”
“Won’t their house burn down?”
“No, sweet pea,” I said, with a well-practiced jolly old elf sparkle in my eye, “but it’ll do seventeen hundred dollars in damage to their house, ruin all their living room furniture, and they’ll have to spend Christmas in a Motel 6 by the interstate.”
“Really? But Santa isn’t mean!”
“Santa is obliged in his contract to balance the bottom line in cosmological terms, darlin’. Plus, the bad people will learn from their very-2020 Christmas and maybe think more about others the next time around.”
“What’s ‘cosmological’ mean, Joebie?”
“It means a universe in which others exist.”
©2020 Joe Belknap Wall