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Magendie is a writer and freelance editor, and Co-managing Editor/Senior Newsletter Editor of The Rose &
. Her short stories, essays, poetry, and photography have been published and are forthcoming in both
print and online magazines. She has two novels in the query process, and is working on a third. And on every
Christmas Eve, she waits for Santy to return, but Ms. Claus's restraining order has alas thus far kept Santy
and Kathryn apart; she remains ever hopeful despite Santy's drinking problem and that pesky tattletale,
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Moonshine and Santy Clause

Old Moon shone over the mountains, over the valley and hollows, and over my little log house. Snow drifted willy-nilly, until a sharp
wind blew flakes around in an Appalachian clog dance. And on that splendorious Christmas Eve night, I tossed and sweated in my
merry old bed. That night, something wasn't right. I sensed it. Women my age
Know Things. I got up and sneaked down the hall to
the living room. And there he was. And that red-suited, white-bearded, jolly son of a fat bastard was eating the chocolate-chocolate
chip cookies -- the ones my spouse in residence baked for his theater friends.

I exclamated, "Santy, what the hell?"

He stuck his finger upside his nose and twinkled his eyes, but that stuff won't work on women who
Know Things. We've seen men
try everything under the Moon and we aren't tricked one speck. I tapped my foot and glared. He tried the old, "Ho Ho Ho!"

"Don't get tricky with me, Santy."

Santy shook crumbs from his beard. "Well, Kitty Kat, most people leave out cookies for me."

"Not these cookies, buster. Yours are over there." I pointed to the sad-looking cookies resting on a paper plate I'd baked out of a
mix. They were supposed to be reindeer-shaped, but looked like horned elephants without trunks.

Santy looked at me as if I were a bit Grinchy.

I grabbed the cookie tin. "Okay, come on, have another cookie. Maybe Roger won't notice. I'll make coffee, too."

"I have rounds to make, you know." But Santy sat at my table and helped himself to another cookie while I brewed the Deep Creek

Santy and I chatted about commercialism, and when the coffee was ready, I also added a bit of homebrew in our cups. I sat across
from him and asked the same old same, "Santy, I don't get it. How can you go all over the world in one night? And don't give me
that pixie dust crap. I'm of an age. I
Know Things. I'm not easily fooled."

Santy held out his mug for more, and I filled it with more hooch than coffee. Well, how'd I know about the Santy Claus Handbook
(of which I received a copy from Mrs. Santy the very next week -- she sure was hornet-mad at me). It reads,
"Warning! Never mix
alcohol with Santy Claus. If accidental ingestion occurs, please administer the anecdote of two parts elves' tears to one part syrup
of ipecac and then stand back."

We ate more cookies. We drank more white fire lightning. Santy giggled. Now folks, when a grown man, even Santy, giggles, it
sounds sticky, gooey, weird. But I was all full up with how I got Santy to sit down and drink a few with me.

Santy finally answered me. "Ther'sh lotsh of Shanties. I got cou-shins."

"Wha' y'all mean?" I splashed us both another dollop.

"An American Shanta, an Italian Shanta
(hic) a Frenchsh Shanta (hic)." (You all get the idea with the boozed-up dialect, so I will
translate both mine and Santy's slurs from here on out into regular language). Santy burped and said, "They're my cousins, twice

"Y'allses all cousins? You shittin' me?"

Santy nodded, grabbed the jar, swigged right from it, held it out to me, and I did the same. I was feeling gigglied up myself by then.
I moon-shined my eyes at Santy. His beard had more sweet crumbs in it, and his eyes were toddy-warm.

Santy was strangely handsome in a red-suit-white-beard-I've-had-too-much-booze kind of way. I'd also forgotten something
important: the Woman of Age Handbook reads,
"Consumption of alcohol by a smart, savvy, intelligent, perceptive, all-knowing
woman will render her completely idiotic, and worse, she loses all her powers gained from the ages. Plus, it rips through the retina
to where even Santy looks hot."

I asked, "Well, how you allses do it then?"

"It's the big secret in Santa Land. But, pixie dust?" He brayed and snorted. "How bi-

"Well, you got those reindeers flying around, don't you? Huh?" I grabbed the jar from him and took a good-sized glub. It burned
fire down my throat and I began to feel invincible. And by God, if I didn't feel prettier, smarter, sexier, and to top it off, full of
know-it-allism (but I didn't know it was an 'ism' then). "Tell me, what's that about, Scanty Pause, as if I don't wanna know."

Well, Santy fell out laughing. He slapped his knee and his belly really did shake like a bowl of jelly. It was flopping and a-going and
looked so cute I had to pinch it, which I did. He said, "Mrs. Santy wouldn't like that!" But I knew he wouldn't tell her. They never do,
do they? He said, "The reindeer come from Canada!" Then he rolled his eyes as if I should know what all that meant.

And, golly gee, it did make sense. I nodded my head and said, "Oh yeah, Canadian Reindeer!"

He slugged back more and banged the empty jar on the table. Then he let out a big whistle. Next I know, there's clattering and
thumping and all sorts of racket, and I'll be-damned if his eight not-so-tiny Canadian Reindeer didn't come tromping into my living
room. They knocked over things and sniffed around. Santy said, "There's Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and
Cupid and Donner and Blitzen."

And I sang, "But do you re-calll? Where the hell's the most famous Canadian Reindeeerr of allll?"

Santy just looked at me as if I was stupider than a worm. Then he snapped his fingers and the Canadian Reindeer tromped on out.
Now, listen, I know those of you who are still around are thinking, "How come Roger hasn't woken up with all this noise." And I'll
answer by saying, "Well, hell if I know. I'm shrugging." Anyway...

I got another jar and Santy grabbed it right out of my hands and drank it with throat-glubbing sounds to the tune of
Deck the
. It was pretty cool. I asked, "Hon, how come you and your cousins don't visit everywhere. Some kids don't get presents." I
mean, there we were all comfy-cozy sweet, but there was that problem there. It brought a dark old nasty cloud in the room that
wasn't the Canadian Reindeer's fault.

Santy mumbled, "Some of the international Santy's never made it big. What can you do?" Santy shrugged, I shrugged. He went on,
"And I had a hundred and fifty-two elves move from the North Pole to New Jersey and then from New Jersey to Florida and then
from Florida to North Carolina. Half-backs." He shook his wooly bully head, grinned kind of sly-like, then whispered, "Besides, a
precedent was set long ago, and, well... " He hitched up a sigh and let loose a tear that rolled down into this moonglow white beard.
"People don't love me no more."

I patted his hand, and changed the subject. "How do you get all those toys in one bag, Santy-bo-fanty?" I pulled on his beard, he
was so cute.

"What toys? I just come in and re-arrange all the stuff the parents buy. Then I sprinkle-tinkle pixie dust on the presents to make
them better than the average bear." He slobbed down a bit of hoochy-cooh, then said, "That's a lot easier to do now that parents
give their kids 'bout everything they ask for." He winked.

Wait a minute. Wait. Just. A. Durn. Minute. "You said you didn't use pixie dust." I grabbed the jar and tried to gurgle out Silent
Night, but it came out sounding like,
"Glug, glorp, gloop, glug, glorp, gloop."

"I did?" Santy looked confused.

"Yeah, when I asked you about pixie dust, you laughed like I was stoopid." Santy was a big, fat liar. Why did I even think he was

"Say, these cookies are good. Can I have another?"

I think I handed him a cookie, but I was distracted by weird sparklies floating around my head. I sneezed and blinked and everything
looked so beautiful! The colors! The colors! I've never seen such colors. I hummed songs from the Sixties.

Santy touched the tip of my nose. "Have you been a good girl or a naughty girl?"

"Aw, Santy, you already know that, don't you?"

He knew. He grinned. I blushed.

Well, after that, things were a bit blurry around the edges. Santy put on some Christmas music and he began dancing around the
living room. He swung his bulging sack around and kept howling, "Whoopeeeeeee!"

Wait. Just another. Da-gum. Minute. Bulging sack. What was in the sack if there were no toys? I was about to ask, but then Santy
grabbed me up and we did The Mashed Potato to those squeaky chipmunk singers and I forgot all about his sack of goodies.

Then we did The Tango, Waltz, and Cha-Cha to A Skaggs Family Christmas. Magical! I asked, "Oh, Santy? How does Mrs. Santy
manage with you 'round all year? I mean, only out one night the entire three-hundred-sixty-five days, and the rest of the time,
you'ses under her feet. And, about fifty-gazillion elves and eight not-so-tiny Canadian Reindeer? Don'tchoo get tired of each other?"

Santy stopped dancing; we'd just done a Jittery Bug to the Doo Whop Boys singing Swingle Bells. He said, "Why, it's obvious. Mrs.
Santy loves her some Mr. Santy." He tongue-swaggered, "And after six-hundred-years of marriage, I don't need me any Viagra. Me
and Mrs. Santy got it going on nat-ur-al-ly."

I raised my brows. "Six hundred years?" I grabbed the jar of whoop-dee-doo sauce from the table, and slugged-a-lugged.

He pondefecated, "Ho-dy, Ho, Ho, Yo!"

I was having enough of Santy all sudden. "Don't you think you need to get to visiting all the children about now?"

"Oh pish posh. One year without Santy won't hurt them. Greedy little bastards." Santy flopped on my couch and propped his
black-booted feet up. Those boots where shined to within an inch of their leather and that got on my nerves, too.

I wanted some dirt somewhere on Santy. I mean, I don't trust perfect men, do you? No-siree-Betty. I said, "Santy," I said, "Little
kids look up to you. Now take that back!"

He looked sorry, then pouted out, "I'm just going to take a little nappy and then I'll be going." And like that, he was out. I shook
him and throttled him and jerked on his beard -- nothing. I slapped him silly; I put ice cubes down his pants -- nothing. I sure didn't
want millions of kids rapping down my door because I'd gotten Santy drunk and he missed his Big Night. I whistled for the Canadian
Reindeer, but they didn't hear, or didn't listen. Slipping outside, I called up to them, "Hey! Come down here. I need all yallses help."
Nothing. I tried again, "Come Prancer, and Chancer and Dasher and Blonder and Bitchen, um, Comet and Stupid, and um, Victim,
uh, and... come dash him away, dash him away! Damn dash his ass away all!"

Prancer finally tippy-toed into my living room again, snuffling through his nostrils in a way I knew was smart-alecky. He stuck his
sloppy reindeer tongue in Santy's ear. Nothing. If reindeer, even Canadian ones, could shrug and then give a "You sure are in
trouble, stupid" look to humans, I'd say that's what that Prancer gave me. He turned his swishy tail to me and pranced out.

I'd had enough. I was tired, folks. So, I went on back to bed and left Santy on the couch snoring. I slipped back between my
cranberry-red, 800 count sheets from overspentdotcom, lay my head on my down pillow from Tar-ge', and with a dog on the porch
sigh, I fell right off to sleep. Which reminds me. I bet some of you are thinking, "Now, why didn't her dogs bark at all that noise?"
And all I have to say is, "Beats hellouta me."

Next morning, I awoke and Roger was already up and in the bathroom gargling away. I never could figure out why some people
brush their teeth before coffee. Seems coffee and toothpaste don't mix. But, I deviate. Anyway...

I grinned to myself thinking about Roger finding a hung-over Santy on the couch. Maybe we could take some pictures. Maybe we'd
be famous with Santy as my marketing glory ride to the New York Times Best Seller List (hallelujah music here). I had visions of
green-backed sugar pops dancing upside my head. I got up and sashayed myself into the living room.

And Santy was gone. Everything looked normal. Except, all but two of Roger's cookies were gone, and the empty party-in-a-jars set
on the table. When Roger came in, I told him what happened.

He said, "You are so cute." Then asked, "Where's my cookies?"

"I told you. Santy ate them."

"Oh, you." He right-arm hugged me while his left hand made coffee, prepared breakfast, read the paper, whipped up another batch
of cookies, wrote an aria, translated the Dead Sea Scrolls, and waved to someone walking by on the mountain.

I used both hands to gesture in the air, pantomiming chaos. "No, really, it happened. As if I could eat that many cookies and drink
that much lightning all by myself in the middle of the night. I mean, really. As if I could do that."

More smiling indulgently at me as he created world peace and won the Nobel Peace Prize while figuring out what a gazillion times five
squared is.

I hurried to the tree. There was a sparkly bag! I grabbed it and danced around. "Here it is! Here's Santy's gift. He takes a gift you
leave and makes it better. Uh, I mean, anyway... " I petted the bag, which felt awfully light.

Roger didn't even turn around as he alphabetized the spice rack. "Uh huh."

I opened the top of the bag, my hands shaking with joy and the night's alcohol. Inside, was a rolled up piece of paper. I unrolled it
and read, "Merry Kissmyass to all! Thanks for the Party. I'm off to visit my cousin in Italy. Ciao."

I knew I'd never show that to anyone. Instead, I stuck it in my pocket and would later flush it down the toilet. But the sad thing is,
seems no one even noticed if they didn't get everything they wanted that year for Christmas. Oh, maybe a few kids cried here and
there, and maybe some of the parents had to run in and eat all the cookies and milk before their kids found them untouched.

I suppose some made excuses for Santy, like "Oh, little darling, Santy accidentally left your Omega Three Double Duty Fancy Go
Shmancy Dooglejiggie at Daddy's office! Daddy will fetch it tomorrow when there's a seventy-five percent off sale at Toys B Yours!
That silly Santy."

Maybe there were little things here and there and yonder that caused someone to think, "Something just wasn't right that one
Christmas. Remember, Sweetieums? We got into that huuuge fight in front of your parents and you threw the roast out the

Something just wasn't the same that year. Huh? Am I right? That's my proof. It's all I got. If people can believe we went to the
moon and then never, ever returned there, with all the stuff we know now that we didn't know then, well then why not my story?
I'm just saying.

You can thank your lucky moon in the sky that Mrs. Santy won't ever let Mr. Claus darken my door again. I'll have to be happy with
whatever gifts I get from Roger every Christmas -- which of course I would never ever complain about in a ma-ill-ion years.

As a postscript, I know lots of you are remembering how I said Mrs. Santy sent me the Santy Claus Handbook, and you're thinking,
"Why doesn't she use that as proof, huh?"

Well, I say to that, I say, why not use that suspended belief thing? Like everybody did in the Fifties and Sixties? But, if you must
know, this is what happened. As soon as I read that handbook, "Poof!" It disintegrated into air, a kaleidoscope of multi-colored
confetti sparkly stars that whooshed right out the window and into the night sky and spelled out:

A Merry Godammed Christmas to All! Greedy Bastards!
Kathryn Magendie