The Christmas I Interned For Santa Claus

Christmas, short story, flash fiction, Modern PhilosopherIt was quiet along the river path, but not for the usual reason.

Normally, this late into December, the path was buried under snow that the city refused to plow, so no one dared to use it.

Today, however, the issue was rain and fog.  With this being Stephen King territory, the locals were always hesitant to venture out into the mist, as one never knew what could be lurking in it.

That meant that Aaron and Holly had the place to themselves.  As always, they sat on separate benches on opposite sides of the path and wore their masks.  Even with no one else around, Aaron ensured that social distancing and masking protocols were strictly enforced.  Penalties were vague, but Holly had simply assumed they were harsh.

“It doesn’t feel at all like Christmas this year,” Aaron grumbled after taking a sip of his Lemon Iced Tea Snapple.

“I know what you mean,” Holly replied solemnly.  “No one seems to be in the Christmas Spirit.  I miss seeing all the lights in the neighborhood.  It’s like people are too depressed by the pandemic to care about the holiday.”

Christmas, short story, flash fiction, Modern Philosopher“I’m sure it’s something we could blame on Trump,” he quipped with a chuckle.

Holly grinned and took a sip of her coffee.  Normally, a good dig at Trump would lift her spirits, but not today.  The lack of Christmas in the air had really taken its toll.

Aaron might be a dolt at times, but he could read his best friend like a book of Christmas short stories.

“I know what will cheer you up,” he bragged.  “There is one holiday tradition that we can still keep despite the shitty status of the world around us.”

Holly looked at him like she hadn’t a clue as to what he meant, but then her eyes lit up with excitement, and it was apparent she was smiling even with her mask on.

“You’re going to tell me the internship story!”

Her excitement was so evident that Aaron had to smile, even though it was more his nature to appear non-committal to any emotion at a given moment.

“My senior year of high school…” he began.

But she cut him off.  “At that fancy prep school on the Upper East Side, which means there was probably a character on Gossip Girl modeled after you…”

Aaron rolled his eyes as he always did when she made such preposterous comments about his high school.  He knew she did it on purpose to rile him, but the thing was, she wasn’t so far off.

Christmas, short story, flash fiction, Modern Philosopher“Again, I’m going to remind you that I went to an all boys Catholic school presided over by the Jesuits,” he gave his normal disclaimer.

“I know.  I know.  A bunch of nerds studying Religion and Latin, not Fashion and Elitism.”

“You don’t have to say that like you are majorly disappointed,” he reminded her.  “It was the best school in the city, and I got to go there for free.”

“I get it,” she assured him.  “Now tell me the story about how you pissed off the super smart priests with your internship report.”

She motioned for him to speed it up as she took a long sip of coffee.

“Senior year, right before Christmas break, it was tradition to imagine that we had spent the semester at our dream internship and write a paper about it,” he explained even though she knew the set up so well.  “The point was to see how ambitious and creative we could be.”

“They had no idea the Pandora’s Box they were opening with you,” she quipped with a delighted giggle.

“I wanted to stand out from my classmates, who I knew were going to write about interning at the White House, or for Supreme Court Justices, or for Bill Gates,” he explained with a bit of disdain in his voice.  “I wanted to be a writer, which I know disappointed the Jesuits, who hoped we would all grow up to become either the Pope or President.  Plus, I was tired of all the religious indoctrination.  It was time to rebel.”

Christmas, short story, flash fiction, Modern Philosopher“The bad boy of high school essay writing,” she teased from across the path.

“I wrote this ridiculously detailed account of my time spent at the North Pole, working directly under Santa Claus as he prepped for Christmas.  There were quotes from Santa, Mrs. Claus, and dozens of Elves.  Charts and graphs about toy production.  An overview of how the Naughty and Nice Lists were compiled and updated.  Charts and maps that showed the delivery route, accompanied by reports from scientists that explained how it was possible for Santa to visit all those homes over the course of one night.  It was epic.”

Holly rose from her bench to give Aaron a standing ovation.  He ignored it at first, but finally acknowledged it with a bow.

“Of course, that wasn’t the crowning achievement, was it?” she asked even though she damn well already knew the answer.

“In my conclusion, I explained that I went into my internship doubting the existence of the two mythical beings associated with December 25th,” Aaron informed her.  “Then I thanked Santa Claus for taking me under his wing and proving that he existed, and challenged Jesus to offer me an internship for the second semester so that he could prove the same thing.”

“Dang!” Holy hollered from across the path.  “How did they not expel you for that?”

Christmas, wear a mask, humor, Modern PhilosopherAaron shrugged.  “Apparently, the Jesuits are the rebels of the Catholic Church.  They want people to question the Bible and examine their faith.  They loved that I challenged Jesus to prove he was real.”

“Not only did I receive an A+ for the paper, but I was also asked if it could be made required reading for all future Senior classes.”

“You are a legend,” Holly told him.  “XOXO, Gossip Girl.”

They both laughed, and for that glorious moment, the pandemic lost its stranglehold on them, and some Christmas Spirit infected them instead…

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Christmas, Humor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Christmas I Interned For Santa Claus

  1. beth says:

    now, that’s an infection i’m all for!

  2. Pingback: The week gone by — Dec. 20 – A Silly Place

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