A Christmas Calamity

’Twas the night before Christmas, just after dark,
And a homeless guy was taking a large dump in the park.
Shards of glass lay fresh around the wheels of a car,
While some drunkard was being thrown out of a bar.

Santa watched with disdain, dressed in only a robe,
These events in his giant, magical snow-globe.
He tsked and he tutted then, after a bit,
yelled “You know what, Mary? This world’s gone to shit!”

“And you know something else? Why, I think I ought
To teach them a lesson they ought to be taught!
Perhaps, just maybe, I might have the gall
To give them no presents this year at all!”

“And not only is that a thing I may do,
I might rescind all of last year’s presents too!
Why, that’ll surely make these people think twice
Before they do something that’s naughty, not nice.”

“Are you moaning again?” her sweet voice did chime, 
“Don’t be a grump, you green Grinch, for it’s Christmas time!”
“I’ve baked mince pies…” she said, stepping through the door,
but her baked goods clattered with a clunk to the floor.

“Jesus, Nick! I thought you were dressed!”
“What? Why? I just showered! You know I like to shower before I hit the sleigh.”
His large, naked, Christmassy mass stood before her, having recently disrobed. She did her best to look anywhere else.
“I, just… I don’t know, okay? I thought you’d be dressed. Can you put something on, please?”
“Okay, just hang on, I’m trying to sort this velcro out.”

Her fragile eyes she had to avert
While he struggled to slip on a massive white shirt.
Then pants, a coat, boots and a hat
Before loudly exclaiming, “Now, let’s forget all of that!”

Mary busied herself with her pastries on the floor.
“Surely not…?” Santa started,
“No, I’ll have to make more.”
“I’ll go down to the workshop and give these to the elves.
You really think I’d keep spoiled goods for ourselves?”

“I’d walk to the stables, but I’m just not in the mood.
Besides, those elves line their shelves with dirty floor food.”
Santa chuckled at this, but it was more with relief,
Then with a glance at his pocket watch, he cried out, “Good grief!”

“It’s getting quite late, and heavily snowing,
If I’m to do this, then I should probably get going.
Placing gifts under a tree is tricky enough,
But retracing presents that were gifted last year? Now that’s tough!”

“You’re not serious?” asked Mary.
“Oh, but I am.”
“This is unheard of!” she countered.
“I don’t give a damn!”

She stood in the door frame, blocking his way,
“But they’ll have nothing to unwrap on Christmas day!”
Her small form was no match for his lumbering frame,
but she tugged at the back of his coat, all the same.

“Nicholas,” she pleaded, “you’ll ruin years of tradition!”
“Unhand me, you harridan! I’ve made my decision.”
He hopped into his sleigh, took the reigns and yelled “FLY!”
And with that, he and his reindeer quickly took to the sky.

In the small town of Harth, all was peaceful and quiet,
Not a honk nor a hoot, but Santa didn’t buy it.
He knew behind closed doors, that adults and seniors
Callously partook in heinous misdemeanors.

He parted the clouds, plummeting through the air,
Then crashed into a rooftop without a modicum of care.
He slipped out from his sleigh with a large burlap sack,
“Now don’t you go flying off without me, I’ll be back.”

He approached the brick chimney, bracing for the soot,
Not seeing the fresh patch of ice by his foot.
Face-first down the shingles he suddenly slid,
Landing on the sidewalk in front of some kid.

He groaned and he moaned, laying plainly in pain,
Then gradually climbed to his feet once again.
From his suit he brushed snow and the odd broken icicle,
As he noticed the child stood with a beaten-up bicycle.

“Santa?” the kid asked earnestly.
“Oh… hey kid.”
“Timmy at school says you’re not real.”
“Well, surprise!” Santa said, shaking his hands sarcastically. “Tell Timmy he’s an idiot. That bike… Get it for your birthday?”
“Nah, last Christmas.”
“Give me that!” Santa said, snatching it from the boy’s hands.

He turned on his heels and made for the backyard,
Having had the boy’s opinion of him mostly marred,
But the young man stuck with him as he traipsed through the snow,
Until he found that he now had quite nowhere to go.

“Hey!” The boy cried in protest, “that bike’s mine!”
“Nothing personal, kid. They’re all going back. You’ll be fine.
What are you doing out anyway at this time of night?”
“I usually come ride my bike when my parents fight.”

“Oh geez…” Santa muttered as he felt his heart sink,
A lone tear sprang up, threatening to spill on a blink.
He should have known that this plan was to fail from the start — 
To pry gifts from a child would tear apart any heart.

“Alright, fine,” Santa said with a sigh, “here you go…
Your parents love you, and each other, more than you’ll ever know.”
Then, to change the subject before things could get sadder,
“While they’re busy, do you know where they might keep a ladder?”

Mary watched him sail in by the light of the moon,
Then while he trudged snow down the hall, called out, “Back so soon?”
“I couldn’t do it, Mary. I’ve aborted my plan!
To have done so would have made me a far lesser man.”

“Turns out that when tested, my resolve is fickle,
Especially when it comes to a poor child and his bicycle.”
“Are you telling me you were bested by some kid and his bike?”
“You weren’t there, okay? You don’t know what it was like!”

And then off Santa stormed to find somewhere roomy,
Where there for some time he was sullen and gloomy.
When he’d napped and had had a large helping of food,
He returned to her in a marginally better mood.

He reclined in his armchair (his most favourite seat),
And upon the coffee table he placed his large feet.
He gestured at his snow-globe while he stroked his white beard,
But in the large crystal ball there was no image that appeared.

“Mary, did you touch this thing while I was out?”
“What’s that?”
Santa took a deep breath. “Did you fiddle with my globe?”
“Now why would I do such a thing?”
“I don’t know! It’s just not showing anything.”
“Are you sure it’s plugged in?”
He sighed indignantly. “Yes, of course it’s plugged in. Do you really think I’d…”

It was at this time he realised it wasn’t turned on at the wall.
“It must have uh… needed warming up first, is all.”
“I don’t know why you always insist on thinking that I — ”
“Hush, you.
They’ll be waking up now, I want to see what they do.”

In the light of the dawn, families started to rise;
Children stumbled downstairs, wiping sleep from their eyes,
But the spaces under their trees were unexpectedly bare,
They inspected them closely, but found nothing there.

Santa clapped his large hands in evident delight,
“Hah! That’ll teach them. Serves them all right!”
He chuckled to himself as they stood there all muddled,
“My little stunt’s got them completely confuddled!”

Then something strange happened for which he wasn’t prepared,
It became slowly apparent that not one of them cared.
There was no dismay, despair or even lesson-learning — 
This wasn’t the outcome for which he’d been yearning!

“Hey, wait a second!” he cried, “What’s going on?
This is not how it should happen… they’re doing it all wrong!”
Mary gloated, arms crossed, “If you’re done being a Grinch…
Discerning what’s happening here now is a cinch.”

“Perhaps there’s more to Christmas than receiving a gift,
And the absence thereof failed to cause your planned rift?
They’ve placed more value on the time together they’re spending.”
Santa groaned,

Does every tale need a damn happy ending?