The only thing colder than the weather
outside is the Bud Light I'm drinking. You could say the same
for the last five Bud Lights I've had in less than two hours.
It's not snowing, but the temperature is hovering just above
freezing and there's a frigid rain, cold as ice, followed by
a brisk breeze straight from Canada. The weather alone is enough
to kill you.
I had just finished work and was still
wearing my Santa suit. The more drinks I consumed, the heavier
my beard became. My red hat sat on the bar in front of me. I
looked back, through the windows onto Rivington Street, watching
the hipsters walk by as non-holiday indie rock played in the
background. Turning back, I stared at the twelve-inch decorated
Christmas tree resting on the shelf above the register. Each
season, the item is switched out. For Easter there was a bunny
missing an eye, Halloween a smelly looking jack o'lantern. Thanksgiving,
a straw weaved horn of plenty filled with wine corks. For those
without calendars, it was a place to know what time of the year
it was. That, and me sitting at the bar in my Santa Claus outfit,
the same outfit I am supposed to wear for the next two weeks
at Tom's Toy Store on Ludlow Street. The same beard mixed with
sweat, alcohol, and tears.
Today the line was non-stop with children,
mostly from New Jersey, telling me what they wanted and how
they had been good children this year and deserve among other
items: train sets, bicycles, cell phones, hunting rifles. I
had three different flavors of juice spilled on me today. A
woman told me I was a bitter man (to be fair, this was after
I said her son stinks), and my beard was pulled off by a girl
named Laura who screamed I was a phony. My supervisor, a pale
gentleman named Guy of all names was reducing my pay due to
lack of business. It was two hours ago that I decided I would
not go back to this job, or any job, for that matter. If you
could get away with one action and not have repercussions, I'm
guessing most people would deeply consider murdering their boss.
Six months ago I lost a lucrative construction
job due a lawsuit my company lost. Then, my sister, my only
family left, passed away in a tragic chainsaw incident. Now,
the holidays had arrived and I was miserable. Behind the bar,
a row of liquor bottles leaning up against a mirror, I catch
a glimpse of myself in my suit, half drunk. Nowhere to go. A
holiday cliché. I motion with my bottle to the bartender
for another beer, lifting a shot glass for another shot of Jameson.
To my right is a table of aspiring authors.
Years ago, I had sat down to write a novel about what Christmas
meant to me as a child. Now, I couldn't care less. The dream
is dead. Is the dream of writing a novel or the dream of Christmas
One of the aspiring authors is discussing
his blog on the war and product commercialization and the ruin
of the true meaning of Christmas. I chuckle to myself, thinking
I should hand him my Santa hat because he'll be needing it in
a few years. Little does he know that right now he's got life
by the short and curly ones. A couple of years from now it will
all be shit. Behind this group is two finance guys who probably
read about this bar in Time Out and figure it's a good place
to unwind after a few lines of blow. I bend over and pull my
bag closer to the bar stool. The gun inside makes a small clank
as it hits the bottom of the bar.
At the end of the bar two girls drinking
white wine and looking very cool (even for the Lower East Side)
giggle as they look over at me. I notice and stare at both until
it becomes uncomfortable, thinking which one may be the lucky
one. In one motion I drink my shot of Jameson, and then chase
it with a gulp of beer. Two of the aspiring authors place napkins
on their drinks and go outside to smoke. As they leave, a woman
wearing green tights walks in and sits next to me.
Two weeks ago, I was offered a job in
Human Resources at EEG, a large finance company, only to have
the offer retracted after they performed a background check
and found two misdemeanors from over ten years ago. It had been
a week since I decided that would be the last interview. The
last time I would be rejected.
After closer examination, the woman in
green tights was wearing an Elf costume. She had a sweatshirt
over the top half and had clearly changed her shoes, but being
in my current line of work I know when I spot Elf tights. Not
to mention the tights were very flattering, accentuating her
long legs. I asked her where she was working, but she didn't
answer, only showing a card that read Jerry's Appliance Store.
I ask if I can buy her a drink, but she ignores me.
"Listen, lady, the least you can
do is say no thanks," I say, but she continues to say nothing,
only looking forward. Out of frustration I kick my bag. The
gun, containing two bullets, rattles against the leg of the
barstool. The woman looks down at the bag, and then gives me
a half smile as she motions to the bartender for a tap of Brooklyn
"Good choice," I say.
No response from the woman. I bend down
to grab my bag, but am interrupted when a group of eight walk
in the door. The five guys are all wearing glasses with thick
black rims, the three girls appear drunk. The all reek of freshly
"Eleven dollars," the bartender
says to me.
I dig out a ten and one and place it
on the bar. The bartender, wearing a shirt that reads LES is
MORE, nods and shakes his head at the lack of tip. Looking back
over at the woman in Elf tights, I notice a bulge in her side
that appears to be a gun. Great, I can read the headline now:
A disgruntled Santa and Elf shoot-up a bar two weeks before
Christmas. A holiday cliché.
She finishes her Brooklyn Lager and then
quickly stands and reaches at her side to pull out her gun.
I grab my bag and begin to open it when I realize it's not a
gun, but rather a narrow leather journal. She writes down something,
rips out the page and hands it to me, and leaves without saying
I HAVE DECIDED NEVER TO BE REJECTED AGAIN
SO PLEASE EXCUSE ME FOR NOT ENGAGING IN CONVERSATION WITH YOU.
IF YOU WANT TO MEET ME COME TO MY APPARTMENT, 112 ESSEX STREET,
P.S. KEEP THE BEARD ON.
I grab my shot glass and motion for one
more for the road, drink the Jameson down, and grab my bag.
On my way out the door I laugh. I'm a
drunken Santa, walking in the rain, and carrying a bag with
a loaded gun, on my way to get laid. Such a holiday cliché.