Friday, 6 January 2012

Ho Bloody Ho

Ho Bloody Ho a Tweeted Christmas Tale
Selfish mums, saucy elves, hoodies, and abused children. All in a day's work for a Santa. Moral? Well, it is a Christmas story. —Running Dec 15th-24th.
Prologue Tweets
Tuesday 6th Dec
Had the kids over today. I’d do anything to make em both happy, but God knows how I can afford the presents they want for Christmas.
Thursday 8th Dec
Six months without work is teaching me more about the value of stuff than twenty-five years as a retail supervisor ever did.
Friday 9th Dec
Things could be looking up: call from my friend Gordon, who works for the Council, might be some seasonal work going next week. 
Monday 12th Dec 

Great, they want me to work as Father Christmas down at the shopping arcade. 
I’m only fifty. Sure, the divorce aged me about twenty years, but Santa? Told Gordon I’d think about it.
I’ve been down  the toy shop, the Hobby Console that Jin wants is 129. quid and the 
computer games for Robby almost as much.
Main Story
Thursday 15th Dec
Started at the Grotto yesterday. Seems the guy doing it before me caught ringworm from one of the kids. #HoNo
Got a white wig and false beard, but the crinkly blue eyes are all mine. Still working on the Ho Ho Hos —it’s harder than it seems.
Grotto is such an appropriate word; it's made of dirty green canvas, painted card, and tinsel, all lit by dodgy fairy lights.
I'm assisted by Keiley the red haired elf. She's young but good with the little odious brats (LOBs). 

'Have you been good this year?'  Surprise, surprise they all have. Still it's not like I'm a priest at confession. This is my penance.
#HoHo, that one was easy. I like the tiny ones that just freeze up –you can run through the whole spiel and all they do is stare in awe.
I remember taking my own kids to see Santa , Robby was good as gold, but Jinny screamed the place down. She was only two.
Just got a load of abuse from some teenage mum about the gifts we give out. Christmas spirit my arse! That's a fine example to give her kid.
Keiley told me she's only 18 and studying for her A levels. I’ve got to stop studying her cleavage.
Home at last. Might thaw out in a minute; it's bloody cold in the grotto, even with the Santa clobber on —it’s sitting still that does it.
Both my kids were out when I rang. The ex didn't even know where. 

Friday 16 Dec
Some fools must have messed with the sign over the grotto last night. It now reads: SATANS GROTTO. 
Have you been bad this year little Johnny? Oh yes Satan! Ho Bloody Ho.
I liked the new sign, but Keiley’s put it back to how it should be. There’s no convincing some elves.
In the cafe at lunch a kid told me off for not wearing my beard –I told him I suck the hairs back in when I’m eating –and he believed me.
Oh great! One of the little SOBs just peed on my lap, I don't have spare trousers for crap like this .
A quick rinse under the tap in the gents and a towel on loan from the elf and I'm back in business. Trousers are still wet though.
Keiley does all the wrong things for me. It's the elf outfit, it doesn’t spare her bumps.
I’m not looking forward to the journey home tonight –it’s perishing out and my trousers are still on the damp side. #HoNo
Not so bad after all. I got a free bus ride from the lady driver. She probably thinks I’m a bloody pensioner.
Home: in boxers and looking in mirror. I’m not so bad. If I suck my paunch in.
Called the kids: Robby was out again, but Jin was in –she spoke for exactly forty seconds before dashing off to watch some TV programme.
Ignored by my own kids and pissed on by the rest. I thought all this Christmas stuff was supposed to be for their benefit?
Saturday 17th Dec 
The sign on the Grotto’s been rearranged again this morning. The yobs are getting creative; it now reads: GRANT ASS TOOT. #HoHo
Keiley wants me to to hold the stepladder steady while she sorts out the sign. Not sure I’ll be able to cope with the view from that angle.
She kept asking me to look up to see if it was straight. Something was straight alright. 
Still had to hand a present over to an LOB earlier who’d pulled my beard off, and screamed: ‘You’re not the real fucking Santa!’ Hohum.
I counted them: eight hoodies lurking around the arcade like the undead. When I was their age it was platform shoes and flowery shirts.
Hoodies were still there when I got back from lunch. I told them to clear off. I bet they’re the little buggers who keep changing the sign.
A little girl asked me if her Mummy would get a present, I asked her if her Mummy had been good? She showed me the burns on her back.
The mother was outside having a smoke. I couldn’t say anything; I'm a shopping arcade Santa, not a social worker.
 It’s bothering me about that kid. I’ve written it down on a piece of paper, but what can I do?
It’s bothering me about that kid –she can't have been more than four. Should write it down on a piece of paper, but what can I do?

18.33 23.33
Got another free ride today. I think I’ve made an impression on the bus driver.
Not going to try calling the kids tonight, I’ve got them all day tomorrow.
Amber, Amber Hewlett, that was the name of that kid today. She asked for a Felicity doll for Christmas.

Sunday 18th Dec 
Sunday, my one day off. Taking Robbie and Jin to the cinema later, then out for food.
I can barely afford our tickets to the film, let alone snacks and drinks. They’re not happy about it –feels like I’m letting them down.
Robby’s barely said two words –other than moaning that the film was for kids. Pizza Place for dinner, that’ll be fun.
Caught Jin sneaking a sip from my beer at the restaurant. She said all her mates drink. Can't believe it, both my kids are turning bad.
Standing in the rain, in the bus queue with two monosyllabic teenagers. I can think of nothing I’d rather be doing.

Monday 19th Dec 
The grotto sign hasn't been touched this morning. Maybe they've run out of anagrams, or perhaps yobs have Sundays off. 
I've been thinking about that little girl, Amber –maybe I should do something?
More kids were in the cafe at lunchtime today, all watching me eat, following every movement of my sandwich to my mouth like puppies.
That saucy elf asked me, if she sat on my lap would she get a present? I told her she'd get more than a lump of coal in her stocking! #HoHo
Hit the doubters with Christmas logic. Yes, every Santa is the real Santa; how else can I deliver presents around the world in one night? 
I called social services earlier and told them about Amber Hewlett. They said I'd done the right thing and that they’d look into it.
On the bus home I told the driver lady I wasn't a pensioner, she said she knew, but Santa rides her bus for free. Ho Ho Ho.
Text from the ex: she's going out on a date on Thursday night and wants me to look after the kids. That’s nice. For her.
Tuesday 20th Dec 
The yobs have been at it again. The sign this morning is proudly advertising GRANS TATTOOS.
Most of the mums are looking kind of frazzled. I think the last-minute Christmas shopping is taking its toll.
Lunchtime: the cafe is full of oggling children. I think I'll order a sandwich to take away. I can eat it in the Grotto out of sight.
Gordon just popped by with my pay for the last week’s work. Cash, HO yeah!
Keiley asked me if I'd like to come out for a drink tomorrow evening with some friends of hers. Yes, but gawd...they'll all be 18.
Amazing! most of the children we’ve had in this afternoon have been Okay, some of them were quite sweet. Even if their mums weren't.
I wonder if they’ve tracked down Amber yet?
The bus driver said I had kind eyes. She asked me if they called me anything other than Santa. If only she knew. 
Better get my kids’ presents tomorrow, or I’ll end up spending more than I should out with Keiley and her fellow elves.

Wednesday 21st Dec 
Today's anagram: A TART TONGS SO. Not perfect spelling, but effective. I'm getting to enjoy our morning stepladder sessions.
More Dads in this morning, I think they must be getting dumped with the kids while the Mums are off hunting down last minute bargains.
Spoke to a guy called Andy at social services —seems Amber was already known to them, and she’s now safe in care. 
I’m sure I did the right thing with Amber. But being taken into care at Christmas? Poor little mite.
Keiley was funny at lunch; we sat and thought up names for extra reindeer. Her favourites were: Masher, Honker, Oodolf and Jeff. 
Oops, meant to get my kids’ Christmas presents at lunch. Have to go as soon as we finish for the day.
It’s been a good day so far. Getting to enjoy this job. Ho Ho Ho
Keiley said she'd meet me at 8.00pm at the King and Queen. I’m looking forward to it.
Those bloody hoodies were hanging round the grotto again, I told them to clear off, but I bet they come back to do the sign.
Okay, time Santa did some serious shopping.
Those little !@£${++ toe-rags! I’m waiting for the police and dripping crimson on the pavement.
I can’t believe it. Shit! 
Sorry, but shit! Those little rats followed me out to the bus stop, hurled a load of abuse, then mugged me.
Got a punch in the stomach and a knee in the face for my trouble. They nicked the presents, even swiped my Santa hat.
Waiting to give a statement down at the Police Station. My nose has stopped bleeding. I don’t think it’s broken.
I can’t believe I’ve just lost all that stuff! Bought with the money I’d spent all week Ho Bloody Hoing for snot-nosed kids.
Oh Gawd, Keiley...I don’t even have her number.
Thurs 22nd Dec 
Not sure I want to go in to the grotto today.
There’s a big bruise on the side of my face to show for last night’s beating. The beard covers most of it.
The sign reads SNOT RAG TOAST this morning. Not amusing. If I catch those snot rags they will be toast.
Keiley didn’t want help sorting out the sign. Tried explaining why I didn’t show up last night. It sounded like a made-up excuse. 
No more time now —big queues of Kiddies.
Lunch break. Showed Keiley the lovely purple bruise on my face and the nose blood stains on the pavement outside. She believes me now.
Keiley has put some concealer over the bruises for me. She also used some rouge to jolly my cheeks. Why didn’t we think of that before?
My adoring public awaits.
Keiley told me she’d had trouble with those hoodies a few nights ago. She reckons they aren’t even that old —that makes me feel even worse.
Got to get back home to change, then off to babysit the kids while the ex goes out for her Christmas drink with ‘friends’. 
The bus driver asked how I was; she’d heard about the incident last night. She’s called Grace. Nice lady.
At the ex’s house (used to be mine). Robby’s gone out, Jin is glued to the TV.
Explaining to Jin the Hobby Console I bought’s been stolen. She’s acting like one of the petulent three-year-old’s I get at the Grotto.
Apparently she already has one and wants something else now. Where’d she get something like that?
 She had the bag and receipt –the same shop I bought mine from! Suspicious, me?
Just perused Robby’s room, found what looks like my missing Santa hat on the floor. 
I can’t believe this...
Do I dob my own son in to the police or beat a confession out of the little sod?
Friday 23rd Dec
Helping Keiley to change the sign, she’s laughing so much her bum is wobbling; it says: TO START A SNOG. 
I’m going to miss working with my little helper after tomorrow; she’s certainly made this Santa lark bearable.
Gordon (the boss) has popped in. Been told we’ve been doing a great job and visitors were up on last year.
I’m a natural Santa. Who’d have thought it. #HoHoHo
The first ten kids on Christmas Eve are going to get special prezzies —courtesy of the retailers association. That should shut the mums up.

Keiley says she just saw the gang of hoodies over by the benches —time to tackle these cockroaches. I’ve called security.
So many people about they haven’t spotted me. Time for some Christmas sleuthing.
Thought so, Robby was with them before the security guys split them up; he’s ducked into a newsagent’s.
Caught him trying to buy cigarettes! I took the beard off, he went white as a sheet. I’m taking him back to the grotto for a word.
Confronted Robby about him and his hoody mates attacking me. He’s denying it, but the hat and the Hobby Console are pretty damning.
Got to start Grottoing, Keiley can’t hold back the ravening mothers forever. I’ve had to let Robbie go.
I did manage to point out he’d nicked his own presents. He left with a ‘Fuck off Dad’. So much for respect.
Those hoodies are making him into a criminal. Still, having to share all his presents with his toe-rag mates might teach him something.
My son is a thug, and my daughter is a selfish, booze swilling brat. I blame the parents.
I’ve tried calling the ex, but I’m only getting her voicemail. No wonder Robby the rat is running feral.
I’ve changed the sign over the grotto to: RATS GOT AT SON. —wonder if Robby will get it.
Chatting to Grace on the bus about my kids. She’s a good listener.
Thinking about Grace’s reply: kindness is a finite resource, even for those playing St Nicholas. I ought to give it to those that need it.
Only Christmas Eve to do now. #HoHoHo
Saturday 24th Dec
There is no more Grotto —just a smouldering heap of bent poles and ashes! I can’t quite believe it. I’m at a loss.
The police want to speak to me. Did Robbie do this? What do I tell them?
I took Keiley to the cafe in tears. The kids don’t need to see Santa’s elf streaked with mascara like something from a gothic horror set.
I’m calling the ex and telling her everything, we have to work together to sort this out. Robby has to learn about repercussions.
Called her. Can’t see Christmas being much fun in that household. HoHum
Gordon has just turned up with the sack of special presents, bit late now. Ho Bloody Ho.
Seems the fire service think it was electrical, not arson. There’s nothing more to do, no more Grotto. Gordon said we should just go home.
At least Robby’s off the hook for the fire, but he’s still in deep reindeer poo for mugging Santa.
Asked Gordon what he was going to do with the presents. Told me I can have them for my own kids if I want.
I’ve got a better idea and Keiley is happy to help as my elf. I need to make a phone call then drop by the toy shop. 
Called social services and arranged for us to visit the foster home. There are ten kids who’d all love a visit from Santa.
We’re here, having a cracking time, mince pies and HoHoHoing: it’s great to see all the kids so happy. 
Gave out the presents and a special one for Amber (the Felicity doll she’d asked for), but they can’t open them until Christmas morning.
Given Keiley a bottle of Cava for all her help. She had a little prezzie for me and a big kiss under the mistletoe. I’ll miss her flirting.
Goodbyes have been said. Keiley has promised to stay in touch, she said I could be her sugar daddy on New Years Eve –HoHo.
Grace was driving the bus —told her the day’s events. She’s asked me to come to the Railway Arms for a Christmas drink later. Could be fun.
Been to the ex’s. Left each of my kids a giftwrapped piece of coal with a note saying: Love is unbounded, but kindness is finite.
Home now and changed, that’s Santa put away till next Christmas. Time to head off to the pub, I hope Grace recognises me in normal clothes.
Ho Ho yes, Happy Christmas! 

The End

HoBloodyHo was written by Simon Cornish @UnforgivingMuse
Story Edited by Gordon O’Sullivan @Gorshell

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