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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Dragnet for Santa

Narr: Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is false. Only the names are true, to protect this author from being accused of making up strange names.

This is the city: Los Angeles, California. I work here. I ‘m a cop. My name is Joe Saturday, because the weekends are better.

Sunday, December 24th, 2017. 8 AM,. Myself and Officer Frank Smith sat at the office, going through paperwork. That’s when Lieutenant Johnson approached us with our next assignment.

Johnson: I have a strange one for you two to check out today.

Saturday: They’re always strange to me. From the shoplifter to the raper, their all strange, Sir. You have to be some really strange piece of—

Smith: Officer Saturday!

Saturday: As I was going to say, you have to be a really strange piece of humanity to break the law knowingly.

Smith: That’s not what I thought you were going to say.

Saturday: I can’t say what you thought I was going to say. Then I’d be like every other punk out on the street, making their wages off the back’s of helpless women’s Social Security checks. Besides, the show’s censors wouldn’t allow it anyway.

Narr: I reach out for the file folder Johnson holds in his hand. I take it and start perusing it.

Saturday: What do we have this time?

Johnson: Santa’s gone evil.

Saturday: I look up at Johnson. You mean one of those shopping mall Santas, correct?

Johnson: No, this is the real one.

Saturday: How do you know?

Johnson: Witness reported seeing him enter a house by a chimney.

Smith: Why would that give away that he’s the true Santa?

Saturday: Think about it, Frank. How many overweight men are able to enter a residence via a chimney?

Smith: I see your point.

Narr: We catch each others gaze and nod knowingly.

Lieutenant Johnson gave us the address of the witness. It appeared to be our only lead on the fat elf’s whereabouts. A Mrs. Jackson in the suburbs of LA. We walk to the door and knock. Upon opening, a lady stood before us dressed in nothing but a bathrobe. A towel wrapped around her head indicated she’d just left the shower moments ago.

Mrs. Jackson: Why, hello officers. What can I do for you?

Saturday: Ma’am, we need to ask you a few questions concerning what you saw last night.

Narr: Her face goes white and she stutters . . .

Mrs. Jackson: Oh, that! You mean . . . I mean . . . we all mean . . . you’re being mean . . . I think . . . I didn’t see any dead body, Officer!”

Saturday: I didn’t ask you any questions yet, Mrs. Jackson. You claim to have seen Santa going down someone’s chimney last night?

Mrs. Jackson: Visibly relieved, she waves her hand. Oh, that little old thing. Yeah. Kind of hard to miss a big fatty crawling down a chimney that late at night. He appeared magical; his body shrunk as it entered it, just like that fella on the movie. That’s what caught my eye.

Saturday: Just the things that are indisputable, ma’am.

Mrs. Jackson: Right, right. Okay, what indisputable things do you want to know about?

Smith: What exact house did you see him go into?

Mrs. Jackson: Why, it was that one, right over there. She points in the general direction.

Narr: We both look at where she is pointing: a house directly across the street from hers.

Saturday: Thank you, ma’am. That is all we need. For now.

Narr: I tip my hat, along with Officer Smith, and we both walk across the street. I knock on the door. It opens to reveal a glamorous lady: tight, knee-length, red dress, puffy hairdo, and smoking a cigarette on a long cigarette holder. Her name is Mrs. Stevenson.

Mrs. Stevenson: What can I do for you, boys.

Saturday: We need to ask you a few questions, ma’am.

Mrs. Stevenson: Go right ahead, officer. She runs a hand along his cheek. I’m all yours.

Saturday: We don’t intend on staying that long, ma’am. Just a few questions. First, are you aware of a break-in at this house?

Mrs. Stevenson: Why, yes. How did you know?

Saturday: I ask lots of questions, ma’am. Did you get a good look at him?

Mrs. Stevenson: No, sir! If I had, he’d been in my arms by now.

Smith: So you never caught a glimpse of him, ma’am?

Mrs. Stevenson: No, I did not.

Saturday: Do you have any idea where he was headed?

Mrs. Stevenson: That’s the strange thing. She pulls out a business card and hands it to me. He left this. Could this be a clue?

Narr: I read the card, then nod.

Saturday: Yes, ma’am. I do believe it is.

Smith: What exactly did the home-invader do, ma’am?

Mrs. Stevenson: Not nearly enough, I’m afraid.

Saturday: What do you mean by that, ma’am?

Mrs. Stevenson: I heard about this evil Santa news several days ago. If he’s so evil, why didn’t he try to rape me or something? Instead, he eats some cookies and drinks some milk, and left some presents under the tree.

Smith: Doesn’t sound too evil to me. Typical Santa profile.

Mrs. Stevenson: But, I’d say it is pretty evil to come one day too early. I mean, the kids don’t have anything from Santa on Christmas day, because it is all sitting there in plane sight when they came down this morning. They cried. Evil I tell you.

Narr: We look knowingly at each other and nod. 1 PM, same day. We proceed to the address on the card. As we drive, I can tell that Frank has something on his mind.

Saturday: Frank, what is on your mind?

Smith: Joe, is there something on it? I can’t see it unless I can get a mirror.

Saturday: No, I mean, is something bothering you?

Smith: Oh, Actually, there is, Joe. You never told me what the card said.

Saturday: It simply says, “Santa’s Playhouse, 50550 Main Street, Los Angeles, CA. Then it gives a phone number.

Smith: I thought Santa was at the north pole?

Saturday: Exactly.

Narr: 1:20 PM. We arrive at the address on the card. We enter the establishment to see Santa. We encounter a young, short lady with pointy ears sitting at a receptionist desk.

Saturday: Hello. My name is Sergeant Joe Saturday. This is Officer Frank Smith. We’re here to see Santa . . . I read her name tag. Elf Stewart?

Stewart: That’s right. As far as seeing Santa, good luck on that one. This is his busy season, after all.

Saturday: I know, ma’am. But this is important police business. When is the earliest we can see him?

Stewart: Can I call you Friday?

Saturday: No ma’am. I’m called Saturday.

Stewart: Even on Fridays?

Saturday: Even on Fridays, as well as every day of the week, ma’am.

Stewart: And I thought we had strange work hours.

Smith: Please, miss, anything you could do to speed this up would be helpful.

Stewart: She sighs. Let me see what I can do.

Narr: She gets on the phone, chats cryptically for a while before hanging up the receiver.

Stewart: You’re in luck! He just pulled up into the loading dock. I can take you back to talk with him before he takes off again.

Narr: I nod our agreement. She leads us back to a busy dock. Little people scurry around, all with pointy ears. They are busy loading up a big sleight, complete with reindeer hooked up in a harness. One particular reindeer leads the pack, with a particularly shiny nose. A bigger, fatter man, dressed up in a red coat with puffy, white, trim, and wearing a cone-shaped hat that bends over toward his back, with a puff-ball on top, approached us.

Santa: Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas! What can I do for you two?

Saturday: We’ve been receiving reports of you doing evil things.

Santa: Seriously? That’s hard to believe. I’ve been making everyone happy, especially this year.

Saturday: What’s so special about this year?

Santa: Well, initially. I thought it would be a terrible year.

Smith: Why’s that?

Santa: Because my Time And Relative Dimension In Space device stopped working. And you know what that means, don’t you?

Saturday: No, I don’t.

Santa: It means there was no way to arrive at all the houses of the world in one night.

Saturday: That would have certainly ruined Christmas for most everyone. So what did you do?

Santa: Well, I had to mobilize an army of elves to establish warehouses around the world. We shipped a lot of them by UPS and FedEx and the post office where possible. The rest I had to start over a month ago and work like a reindeer every night to get everyone their toys. I believe I’m going to make it. I only have to go to 2000 houses tonight, here in LA. Then I’m done until next year.

Smith: That explains a lot. Like why you were spotted delivering to a house last night instead of tonight. Those kids cried.

Santa: Ho, ho, ho! They would have cried a whole lot more if they didn’t get anything at all.

Saturday: Yes, I imagine they would.

Santa: Oh, yes. Hold on a minute.

Narr: Santa dug around in his bigger-on-the-inside bag before returning, holding out a gift for both of us.

Saturday: Thank you, Santa. I open it. I hold in my hand a brand-new revolver. Just what I wanted!

Santa: I know.

Smith: Opens his present. He holds it out. Look! Bubbles! He opens the bottle, dips the dual-ringed stick into the sudsy liquid and blows bubbles into the air. Wheeeeee!

Saturday: Really, Frank? You wanted bubbles?

Smith: Hey, it’s a lot funner than shooting at targets all day.

Saturday: Speak for yourself. I turn my attention back to Santa. Thank you, Santa.

Santa: You’re welcome. Now I must be off.

Narr: Santa climbs into his sleigh and shakes the reigns. The sled lurches forward, lifts into the air, then speeds out of sight as we wave goodbye.

Saturday: Well, Frank. There goes a real hero if ever I saw one.

Smith: I agree, Joe. Let’s go stop at a donut shop. I’m hungry.

Saturday: Alright. Sounds good to me. We can mark this case down as solved. That is one great Christmas gift.

Smith: Agreed.

Narr: They walk off into the sunset; bubbles follow them in their wake.

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