Get everything you wanted for Christmas? Yes? I feel sorry for you . . .

SANTA 4270
by Elan Mudrow ©2016

I brought Hilda to Santa #4270.

Why?

He had been my Santa.

But, this was not the only reason.

Let me explain. When I sat on 4270's lap, I knew I was going to get everything I asked for. The trick, I later found out, was that I had to look 4270 directly in his eyes. I brought Hilda to him, because I wanted the same for her. She would have the life I had where everything was acquired by way of a Christmas gift.

First, I'll tell you how it all started.

I can remember the first Christmas 4270 gave me everything I asked for. I was seven. I'm sure my shit brown eyes must have fell out of my head, when on that Christmas morning, I awoke to find the living room floor completely covered in presents. It would have been explainable if the presents were equally distributed. But, all the presents had one name on their tags, Scott. At first, I thought my parents really loved me a hell of a lot, but after opening the 20th present while they and my older sister sat and watched, I began to know it was 4270. Odd to say the least and my parents interrogated me. I thought that if I revealed the source that 4270 would stop, so I responded by saying "4270", nothing more.

My parents took me to councilors, attempting to find out how I did it. They thought it was me, that somehow I was buying, or even worse, stealing the presents. I paid the councilors off with presents. Most of them loved solid gold Hot Wheels. No big deal. I had a few extra to go around.

For the next few Christmas Eves, my parents stayed up all night to catch me in the act. Something would always distract them, like the sound of hooves on the roof or falling specks in the fireplace. These distractions would turn out to be household disasters, broken pipes, electrical outages, enough time for the presents to make their way to the living room.

Obviously I wasn't smart with my relationship to 4270. Hey, I was only a kid. By the time I was twelve, I decided to cut down on the amount of presents I received, increasing their quality. For instance, I asked for a new pair of snow boots stuffed with $5000 dollars. My family saw the boots, not the money. I needed to exercise a bit of diplomacy. I threw in fashionable clothes for my sister, golf clubs for dad, and a diamond ring for mom. They all thought they were buying the presents for each another. My family life became much more comfortable. Still, they would look over at me with curiosity, to which I would respond with a resounding "4270". They laughed. 4270 was the ghost that kept on giving.

As I got older, I still went to see him. Instead of sitting on his lap, I would bring a chair and sit in front of him, never breaking eye contact. It seemed weird and out of place and I started to question the powers of 4270. How did he do it? Why?

One year, when I was about fourteen, I conducted a test.

I asked for gifts that didn't exist. There were three, a time machine, a hovercraft, and a three-dollar bill. I received a clock, a skateboard, and two-dollar bill printed on the front of a one-dollar bill. The bill was one of a kind and worth thousands of dollars.

It was only by accident that I found the key to 4270. I was mad on some year around the age of sixteen and turned my back on him the entire time I recited my list. That Christmas there were zero presents, just a tree stuck in a stand. My parents would have called the police, but they were still enjoying the presents they received last year.

Next Christmas, I asked for a spirit board, a powerful version of an Ouija Board with a solid silver planchette. I made sure to look 4270 in the eyes and have never forgot to do so. That Christmas night, my sister helped me conjure up a connection to 4270. I asked him what is it he wanted. The board spelled out "your loving absorption". I was confused, but understood at the same time

4270 wanted attention. He dealt with brats who didn't care, who just wanted their photo taken with him, pulling on his beard, peeing on his lap, leaving gum on his pants. You could see the rage in his eyes. They were hollowed out, as if he had no pupils. His eyes matched his beard in a ball of wrinkles, whiskers, and resentment. I made an extra effort to make eye contact with him, even when not reciting my Christmas list. My eyes were full of empathy, love, and thankfulness. I thought he would smile at me, make some sort of sign, an acknowledgment of my concern. He must have known that I cared about him. He showed no response.

When I reached the spoiled age of eighteen, I moved out of my parent's house. I kept on seeing 4270, but our relationship took on new meaning. It felt like a duty, something I owed him, a gift to be given. It was my duty to want things and receive them. I had a couple of cars, an RV, and a swimming pool right outside my condo. I got A's in college, not because I did my homework, but because they were on my Christmas list. I entered my adult years wealthy and content. That?s when things began to change.

At the age of 26, I received the best gift ever, Hilda. And the odd thing about my daughter was that I never asked 4270 for her. Her mother and I only lasted a year. Apparently, I'm selfish, only concerned about obtaining gifts for myself. But, as soon as Hilda was old enough to think about what she wanted for Christmas, I knew what I had to do.

This was my chance to pass 4270 on to my beloved child. She would never live without. I could feel safe about her and know that she would never want for anything. All I had to do was to make sure she looked him straight in the eye. But, she refused to look at him. I swear, it seemed as if she turned her head away from him on purpose, distancing herself from the stare that would bring her happiness. That year, she received no presents.

As Hilda grew, I spent many hours trying to convince her to look at 4270, just to give him a little recognition. She began to resent my advice, becoming angry, and by the time she reached nine years old, she refused to even go and visit him. Up to this time, I had done all the work, bringing 4270 Christmas lists filled with Barbie Dolls and Easy Bake Ovens. Otherwise, my little loving brat wouldn't get anything.

Hilda's anger grew. I swear she hated me. My friends told me it was just a phase she was going through. She was twelve and her eyes began to look empty, void of life, and hopeless. Hilda spent hours alone in her room, refusing to speak with me. I became sick to my stomach with worry. For all my life, I had depended on one thing and that one thing only, 4270. My whole life was built upon receiving Christmas gifts. I asked 4270 for Hilda to speak to me. On Christmas, she told me to fuck off. I asked 4270 to let Hilda show me a sign that she loved me. On Christmas, I received a bill from her psychiatrist. There was only one move to make.

I tricked her into going and seeing him and I'm so glad I did. For she went right up to 4270, staring him down, unraveling a crumpled piece of paper that she had pulled our of her blue jeans. I saw her ask him what she wanted for Christmas. He smiled and I swear I saw his pupils for the first time. She kissed him on the cheek.

She is so beautiful. Her eyes are full of color, looking like life, a rosy glow on her cheeks, a sign of future happiness. She now understands she can ask 4270 for anything. He will provide as long as she gives him her full awareness. We communicate via the silver planchette. She presses her fingers upon it and I move it across the board to true.

x x x

According to Peter Straub (one of my favorites), scary stories used to be a staple at Christmas. If so, this one qualifies. The author seems to be saying that turning an innocent Christmas figure into an enabler is less a stretch than one might think. Or not. I dunno. Maybe I've had too much egg nog. What do you think, dear readers? Tell me on our BBS. -GM



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