Chico went to see Santa.
(Chico, small, olive skin, curly black hair, waiting in line with bored, farting, pants wetting, crying kids and skinny, overweight, phone watching parents.)
Just like all the other kids.
Santa (overweight) had tired eyes and onion breath.
“And what would you like for Christmas?” he asked.
For some strange reason, Chico blurted out the first thing to come into his head…
(Chico, older than the babies, sitting on Santa’s knee, startled by himself as he shouts.)
Santa looked hard at Chico. It made him nervous.
Other kids were waiting.
“Figure out what matters, and what doesn’t…” Santa finally said.
(Santa’s lips close to Chico’s ear.)
Then, Santa quit!
“What are you doing!? What about the kids?” the shopping centre manager wailed.
(Santa walking off, manager and two skinny staff, trying to hold him back. Kids in background all crying.)
Santa looked at them. Really stared. “Free toys for everyone…” he said, then left.
(Kids deliriously happy, running around store, grabbing things. Manager and staff running after, trying to stop them.)
Chico, though, figured he didn’t want toys. If he did he would have asked for them.
“Wisdom?” Why did I ask that…?”
It made Chico feel weird. Awkward. Alone. “All kids want toys, surely?” he said.
So he went home and wrote a list… “What matters.” And another: “What doesn’t.”
(Hunched, biting tongue, writing a list by dull lamp light.)
Stared at them…
Then, had a light bulb moment!
“Mum, Dad, can we not bother with decorations this year?” he asked.
“WHAT!?” Mum squawked.
“Or a Christmas tree.”
“ARE YOU NUTS!?” his sister wailed.
“… Or silly songs, or big men in red and white suits, or too many lollies…”
“He’s not well!” Dad stressed.
“And I don’t want too many presents this year. One will do.”
“BONKERS!” his sister ranted. “Who do you think you are, Jesus?”
Mum and Dad were in shock.
“Um… What… present do you want…?” they asked.
To give…” he said, and hugged them.
(Still hugging them, as grandparents and cousins and aunties, etc… come to join in.)
“You are so weird! I’LL HAVE HIS PRESENTS IF HE DOESN’T WANT THEM!” screeched Chico’s sister.
(Sister, furious, clutching armful of presents, while storming off from group hug.)
Then he whispered in Mum and Dad’s ears… “What can I give you?”
For Chico, his parents’ tears were gift enough.
(Mum and Dad standing with proud smiles and teary faces. Chico sitting happily on ground beneath them. Sister to the side, toys all around her, clutching other toys in her hands.)
“You’re a weird one, aren’t you?” Dad said, giving Chico’s hair a scruff.