“Don’t shoot,” I said to the masked group pointing assault rifles at us. “Whoever you are, we can figure this out without anyone having to die.”
“You wouldn’t be trying to stop us if you knew what these people did to us in that factory, Classy,” the head masked man said. “We all know you’re a good person. And the only reason we haven’t opened fire already is that we don’t want you to get caught in the middle. But this only ends one way. So pick your side carefully.”
“You’re all a bunch of fucking cowards!” Santa yelled out. “You hide behind your masks pointing my own guns at me when I did all of you a favor. You would’ve starved without me coming here to hire you. This whole town was heading down the drain until I brought my business here!”
“Santa, you need to stop!” I said. “I’m trying to get them to spare your life but you’re making me lose reasons why I should. Also, are those really all your guns they’re holding? That’s like, fifteen rifles. Why the hell do you need to carry fifteen rifles in your goddamn sled, SANTA?”
“Freedom isn’t a compromise to-”
“Okay, never mind, shut up. Just…shut the fuck up dude.”
The man leading the group pulled down his hood and took off his mask.
“We’re not here to hide. My name is Eduardo. Our faces are only covered up because of the cold. Most of us don’t have any heat in our homes this winter. Also we’re wearing masks because there’s still a pandemic going on no matter how much assholes like you want to deny it but whatever, that’s not the point. We’re all residents of this community who were desperate for work. And you took advantage of that. We worked insane hours for slave wages because we thought we couldn’t do better. But we’re done. And you’re going to pay for how you treated us.”
I was literally the only thing stopping the workers from firing into the warehouse and killing the Clauses. But they were so angry and in need of justice for their abuses that they were gonna sacrifice me too if I didn’t think of something quickly. Part of me couldn’t really blame them if they did. I decided a long time ago that The Classy Alcoholic would follow Batman rules: no guns, no killing, and banging tons of babes that I ghosted as soon as they discovered my secret identity. But I also followed ACAB rules so I wasn’t exactly going to call the police on Santa Claus when I knew he’d just walk away from this without any consequences because he was rich and white.
And then there was Mrs. Claus. I wasn’t even sure if I believed her when she said she didn’t know anything about her husband’s operation. I wanted to…but I had to admit that I didn’t really know her at all. I looked over and saw her crying. There was something familiar in her eyes. It was the look of a person who felt betrayed and left completely alone with nowhere to turn. No one understood that better than me. So I decided to take a leap of faith. ‘Twas the season after all.
“Okay, you can have Santa and do whatever you need to do. But Mrs. Claus isn’t part of this. Please let her go. Oh, and me. Please also let me go, if you don’t mind.”
Eduardo had all of the workers lower their guns.
“You’re really going to walk away from me right now?” Santa asked his wife. “After everything I’ve sacrificed for you? Well fine, you can fuck right off!”
Santa grabbed Mrs. Claus by the waist and shoved her into the crowd of armed workers. Most of them fell to the ground while he took advantage of the distraction and jumped into his sled. He pulled out a whip and started hitting the reindeer really fucking hard with it to get them to fly. I heard Rudolph crying out in pain while his bright red nose flickered. His frail old legs shook but he was somehow still able to get off the ground. The masked workers pointed their guns at Santa again.
“No, don’t shoot, you’ll hit the reindeer!”
Everyone put their guns back down. No matter how enraged they were, they weren’t going to murder the innocent animals that were also clearly being abused by that motherfucker. The sled was flying out of the warehouse doors when I decided to do something stupid, as per usual.
I jumped into the backseat as the reindeer hit max velocity. I felt the familiar sinking feeling I got when airplanes took off but with some added terror because I was afraid of heights and the goddamn sled didn’t have any real safety features. I tried to look around for a weapon but I only saw one giant bag full of harmless toys and another bag full of a bunch of grenades because Santa Claus was a fucking asshole. He didn’t even know I was in the sled with him. I watched him continue to whip his reindeer to get them to go faster. I punched him in the back of the head as hard as I could and my knuckles felt like they almost broke. He was a tough bastard.
“You’re really starting to piss me off, Classy,” Santa said as he turned around to look at me. “You’ve robbed me of my Christmas spirit and I’m gonna get it the fuck back from you one way or another, HO HO HO!”
Santa Claus leapt onto me and put his hands around my neck. I tried to pull him off but his fat sausage fingers were too strong for me to handle. I knew I wouldn’t last long so I used every last bit of breath I had to yell as loud as I could.
“RUDOLPH!” The head reindeer looked back at me when he heard his name. “MERRY-GO-ROUND!”
Rudolph may have been dumb as shit but he knew his name and what a merry-go-round was. He started spinning the sled into a circular flight pattern fast enough to knock Santa off balance. I pushed him off of me and moved toward the front. I needed to get to Rudolph but there were eight reindeer with stupid names I couldn’t remember between him and me. I made the mistake of looking down and almost shit my pants. We were really high above South Tucson and my fear of heights was about to make my heart explode. But I couldn’t let that stop me.
I jumped onto the back of the first reindeer that I think was named Daggle, then onto the next one that was maybe named Dimble. I then jumped onto Pringle, then Venkman, on Cooper, on Cutty, on Dino and Bixby. Then there was my boy Rudolph. I jumped on his saddle and held on tight. He smiled and let his tongue flap in the wind.
“I missed you too, boy.”
I felt a painful sting on my right shoulder. I looked back to see that Santa had grabbed his whip again. He caught me a few times in the back. I could hear Rudolph crying even through the heavy winds. He pointed his nose, so bright, onto the leather straps that tied him and the other reindeer to the sled. There was a buckle that I could easily unhook. Santa kept whipping at me and was hitting some of the reindeer when he missed.
“Hey Santa!” I yelled. “I banged your wife, you fat motherfucker!”
I unbuckled the straps and freed all nine reindeer. The sled fell back down toward the South Tucson streets. There was a giant explosion when it hit the ground, probably because of the grenades that Santa carried, because he was a fucking asshole.
I had Rudolph guide me back down to the wreckage. When we landed I looked up and saw the other reindeer flying off into the night sky. I had no idea where they were going but I was just happy they were free. The flame grew larger in the middle of the road from all the toys that also caught fire. I saw the crowd of masked workers from the factory gathering around the impromptu bonfire. Several children ran out toward it too and put their hands out to warm themselves up. I found Mrs. Claus watching the group of people converge. I put my hand on her shoulder to get her attention.
“I’m sorry about everything.” I said to her. “I didn’t know what else to do.”
“I know. I’m not sure how I feel about this at all. On the one hand, Santa was clearly a terrible person. But also…I really did love him.”
She gave me a hug and cried on my shoulder. And I could feel my penis grow three sizes that day.
“Oh my god, did you really just get a boner right now, you fucking pig?!?” she asked.
“I’m sorry! But you look really hot in that dress. Also you’re officially single and we’re both in need of some Christmas spirit, right?”
Mrs. Claus slapped me across the face and walked away. I couldn’t help but feel sad as I watched her disappear through the smoke cloud created by her husband’s crispy corpse.
“Muchas gracias por tu ayuda, Classy.” Eduardo walked up to me while holding a small child in his arms. “The families without heaters are going to use that fire to make it through the night. And don’t worry, we’ll tell the cops that Santa fell out of the sky because of some freak accident with his sled.”
“If I had known what he was doing to everyone here for all these years I would’ve intervened sooner. I’m glad y’all stood up to him. And I’m sorry about blowing up all the toys in his bag. I know your kids would’ve loved to have a few of those.”
“It’s not even a problem. We’re just gonna have to teach our kids that toys aren’t important. What really matters is our time together and our dignity. And we took back both tonight. If you’d like to join us for Christmas dinner you’re welcome. We can cook carne asada with that huge fire back there.”
I looked over at Rudolph and saw his nose flickering again.
“No thanks, Eduardo. I appreciate the invite but I think I’ll just do what I normally do around this time and get shithouse drunk on tequila at home. But now I have an old friend to hang out with.”
I hopped onto Rudolph’s back and gave him some more neck scratches and belly rubs.
“Good boy. Let’s go get drunk together.”
His nose lit up brighter than I had ever seen before. Rudolph shot up toward the starry, night sky with me onboard. He smiled and let his tongue flap in the wind.