He swallowed the rest of his Christmas Spirits and dropped the bottle down the chimney. “That fucker better show up.”
Timmy Johnson had never said that word before; just one utterance felt like a transgression. He also couldn’t see too well, in his eleven years his vision had never been compromised to the point that necessitated glasses, but he was beginning to fuzzily take-in the effects of the bottle of Kahlua he’d swiped from his parents liquor cabinet. He’d always considered the liqueur’s chocolatey promise unintimidating. Perhaps he’d add it to Ovaltine when the day came that he needed a drink to ease his spirits.
Well, that day was today, because today, an atomic bomb had been dropped on Timmy. Today, his neighbor Lenny Greenberg said the unthinkable. He told Timmy, without any semblance of tenderness, that there was, in fact, no Santa Claus.
Timmy’s face turned hot, then cold. His tear ducts smarted, but he couldn’t let Lenny Greenberg see.
“Yeah, I know. Santa Claus is for wimps.”
At dinner, Timmy told his parents he wasn’t hungry and went to “bed” after covertly snagging the bottle. Around 10, he crept out his window to the roof and stared up at the night sky.
It was clear to point of having the kind of empyrean purity that can only be grasped on cold nights when stars coruscate like winking eyes; as though smug about their own brilliance. Timmy’s teeth would have been chattering had it not been for the warming liquor that had tinted his cheeks pink. Snow coated the landscape like icing. It looked like a goddamn storybook.
By midnight he’d had enough.
“Take your toys and shove them up your ass, motherfucker!”
That word felt great. What a gift that was.
Better than any motherfuckin’ toy.
# # #
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