Santa Suit" - By Jim DeBellis (Exclusive to Santa.CC)
Seven Santa suits were folded neatly and laid out along the table
in the corridor outside of Sarah Bengsten's lower level office.
a suit." She looked at the lean man's hospital-style wrist bracelet
that he was given by HR, ".Mallory. One size fits all." The
fast-walking, all-business executive rolled her eyes and shook
her head as she walked into her office. The man could hear her
mumble aloud, "They send us worse Santas every year."
Edwin Mallory was a gaunt, unassuming and quiet man, standing
a bit less than six feet tall. He was the last of a group sent
over from the homeless shelter to ring bells for charity at Layton's
Department store downtown. Edwin eyeballed the somewhat tattered
and faded suits, when he was surprised by a small elfin creature.
"Here, Eddy. Take this one," the small man said, in something
resembling a British accent. The Christmas elf handed Edwin a
plush crimson red Santa suit in pristine condition with bright
white trim. "Well, go ahead now. Put it on."
Edwin obeyed. He stepped into the huge pants and threw on the
bright festive coat.
"Looking good, Eddy. Your boots are under the table. By the
way, I'm Festus, the head pixie around here."
Edwin grabbed a beard from the table and was about to grab a
Santa hat when Festus stopped him.
"No, not that one, Eddy." Festus looked anxiously to his left
and then to his right, as if to make sure no one would see. "Take
He handed Edwin a magnificent and luxurious Santa hat that almost
seemed to sparkle, and then he gave Edwin Mallory a curious wink.
"Ms. Bengsten," Festus said loudly as he knocked and opened her
door, "Frankie is sick today and Eddy Mallory here is going to
take his place in Santa Land with the kids."
"Whaaaat?!" was the panicked response. Papers could be heard
flying, and it sounded like a fist banging on her desk. "No,
no, NO, NOOOO! This can't be happening. Festus! Not
Mallory!" Edwin could hear her approaching."
"Put on the hat now, Eddy," Festus whispered.
"Edwin Mallory is not the stuff that a Layton's Santa Claus is
made of!" exclaimed Ms. Bengsten. "You can't."
"Ho, ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas, Sarah! Merry Christmas, Festus!"
Something had come over the mild-mannered Edwin Mallory. He suddenly
filled out the Santa suit like it was tailored just for him.
His face was jolly, his eyes sparkled with the spirit of the season,
and his animated demeanor made him seem to be the real St. Nick
Sarah Bengsten stood dumbfounded as she gazed upon the man in
the magnificent Santa suit. Her jaw slowly rose back into position,
and she turned toward her office. "Carry on," she said, and went
back to work.
Festus turned to Edwin. "Okay, Eddy, you've got a bout 20 minutes.
Just come on out through that red door over there, and the kids
and I will be waiting. They've got donuts set up down the hall
that way, so get a hot cup of coffee, and I'll see you soon."
As quickly as he appeared, Festus was gone.
Edwin made his way to the employee cantina for coffee. The place
was buzzing with mail clerks, sales staff, and even a few executives
getting ready for the doors to open and the holiday shoppers to
come barging through their departments. Edwin's jolly presence
in the festive Santa suit had heads turning towards him with beaming
smiles as his infectious spirit lifted the mood of the other workers.
One young woman, however, did not seem so happy. She was standing
near the delivery entrance with her cell phone clenched in her
fist, pacing and muttering.
"Good morning, Karin! Merry Christmas! What seems to be your
problem today?" She turned toward Edwin, a little stunned, and
he could now see her nametag. "Karin Evanston, Service Director,"
the badge announced.
She smiled, sheepishly. "Santa? Oh.well, my boss has a board
meeting upstairs in 15 minutes, and the catering truck just called
to tell me that they will be hung up in traffic for another hour.
It was my first big assignment, and I'm just going to be humiliated."
"Oh, nonsense, now Karin. I know that you've been very good
and you work very hard, so everything will be fine. Just rub
the tassel on my cap and think of what you want most."
Karin faked a smile and said, "You're very sweet, but nothing
can help me now." She grabbed the big white ball on the point
of his cap to humor the well-intentioned stranger, and it did
make her feel a little better somehow.
"Just believe," said Santa. "They're arriving right now!" And
Edwin was off, with a jolly "Ho, ho, ho."
The double delivery doors opened as Edwin walked away, and he
could hear a man say to Karin, "I've never seen anything like
it! All the cars pulled over to the side, and the police waved
us through every intersection, and.and.well, here we are!"
Karin tuned and looked toward Edwin, with a puzzled look and
a bit of wonder, and watched as the bright red Santa suit disappeared
around the corner.
The never-ending line of little tykes continued to bring their
Christmas requests to Santa's lap.
"And you must be Molly!" said Edwin, as a sweet 9-year-old girl
in pigtails climbed onto his lap. "How is Fluffy doing today?"
"He's real good, 'cept he chewed up mama's shoes real good last
Edwin looked up and saw her mother, in tattered clothes and with
a melancholy expression.
"Santa," said Molly, "I just saw a real pretty dress upstairs,
and I was wondering if you could bring it to me on Christmas so
I can wear it to church on Christmas morning. I've been real
Molly's mother was shaking her head with an almost fearful look
on her face. She obviously couldn't afford to fulfill her daughter's
Christmas wish, and didn't want Santa to get her hopes up, only
to have her be disappointed later.
"Now, why on earth would you ask for something you already have,
Molly?" She giggled as Santa let his white tassel tickle her
face. "Just step down and unbutton your coat, Molly. You'll
see what I mean. And give this claim check to your mother. Tell
her that her shoes are ready to be picked up."
Molly was already unbuttoning her coat as she jumped down from
the lap of the wonderful man in the Santa suit.
"Cool, Santa. Thanks!" she said as she saw herself already attired
in her dream dress.
"It's quittin' time," said Festus. "Great job today, Santa.
Just fold the Santa suit and leave it on Santa's throne, and I'll
let you know if Frank is still sick tomorrow. Oh-and I'll take
Edwin Mallory laid the Santa suit on the chair and sauntered
out the door, back to his quiet and unassuming life.
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