Right Man for the Job

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

It's a heartbreaker in the beginning, with an ending you'll never see coming...

It was almost like blizzard conditions; a complete whiteout, yet you could see the fear of god in their faces as they sail through the air, crash landing to the ground, with the fear transforming to complete hysterics while Nick, and his daughter, Joy, work hard to regain control of their speeding sled. Tumbling off and rolling to the ground as the sled goes on without them, they lay there on the ground unable to rise from the extreme laughter of their wild adventure.


His laughter continued after they finally rose and the first thing out of her mouth was, "Can we watch Halloween, when we get home?". He pointed out the irony of watching a scary movie at Christmas, but she insisted by simply stating, "But I love it", and of course he gave in, but not without a few tickles to her belly and a warning that she's still too young for anything other than the tv version. "I know you're going to grow up to be the next Tim Burton someday, but not this day!", he adds as he picks her up over his shoulder (Joy laughing) and heading up the hill demanding one more ride. It was the first white Christmas of her life and the best overall, of both their lives...


The following morning, it got even better! With Joy soon turning 9, Nick knew it could be her final year with an imagination young enough to believe in the magic of Santa. He wanted the North Pole to deliver something more special than before, and deliver they did as Joy was in complete "joy" with the high spirited kitten who was leaping over and through the gifts with more speed and dramatics than her sled ride with Dad! It was almost an hour before she even began on the other gifts, which completely stuffed the entire room...


Less than an incredibly long year later, the joy was over. Joy laying in her hospital bed, head shaved and fighting for her final moments; has one final wish to make. Before pronouncing her love for him one final time; she made her dad promise to look after Chrissy, and to give her the best life ever. She passed moments later, and it was a lifetime of extreme emotions before Nick could leave her side...


Once alone, Nick was fighting the anger that kept disrupting his emotions. He simply wanted to be sad. But he could not help looking upward (at God) while trying to restrain that anger. He was losing that battle. "Not a god damn thing I've begged you for, have you given me", shaking his head with too many emotions to continue, until, "And now, when all I want to do is be done with this cold lonely world", again fighting back the emotions, before going on, "You go and make her request something (crying out rest of sentence) I can't provide her with." Nick bawling as he confesses his desire to die and pleads for the strength to continue on...


The years go by (using food rather than drugs he is now quite heavy). It's a hard life. It always had been, for Nick. He came from a family that expressed no love. As an 9 year old boy he remembered dreaming of the day he'd have his own family. Once Joy came into his life, it was the best of times yet still the worst. His love for her was like nothing before. But the abandonment of her mother was a reminder of his own family. He was strong, though. He promised himself his daughter would never feel what he felt as a child. He had made good on that promise. In doing so, it was his own happiness. Making her happy blessed his heart with all the blessing it desired. But now, it was empty. He would not let Joy down, as life continued for both himself and her cat. It was all that kept him going...


Well, perhaps there was something else, in which kept him going. Something he could not shake. It was there as a young boy, it was all over the place while raising Joy, and even now, it still found him. The spirit of the holidays. He knew it too. He didn't always understand it, but it gave him relief. Always cold and lonely, not a single person or medication that helped, it was the sight of his neighbors Christmas lights each and every year that temporarily seemed to heal his "lifeless" heart. Just seeing a simple strand of lights over their window, did something that was almost magic. There were certain Christmas songs that sounded, to him, as if they came straight down from Heaven. He almost felt as if the world was Heaven at Christmas; everyone just seemed happy and even friendly, unlike the rest of the year. He could not help himself but to decorate, and yes even celebrate the holiday. 


It's not all he did. There was something else. He imagined, he created and he prayed. What he imagined and even created, was the North Pole and the magic of Santa. How would it all work, if it were real. Why couldn't it be real? That is what he prayed about! Why not make it real! He pleaded to God and/or the powers that be, to provide this world with such a piece from heaven. Why not? What could it hurt? It could even be under the radar, only for those who truly believe, or happen in a way that no one could prove is real. "Hell, I'll even take the job", he offered, as he looked upward. He went on to confess how he wept like a baby the day he learned it was only the parents of children playing the role of Santa. "I mean, why else does this holiday do to me what it does?", he asked. "Why do I feel like such an unrealistic prayer, is so possible to be answered? I knew you wouldn't save my Joy, when I prayed, yet I do believe, in at least some small sense, that this prayer is possible. Am I just crazy? I don't feel crazy", still looking upward as he stops to think before going on, "I don't feel much of anything. Then Christmas comes and I do. I feel a need. A need to not just provide gifts but, to fill imaginations...to deliver the spirit of it all"...


Through the years, he now found himself praying like this every Christmas, and every Christmas he appeared to believe more and more in those prayers. His imagination of how it would all work, were becoming a story in his head, in which he inserted into those prayers...


It had been almost 20 years since his last Christmas with Joy. He was becoming quite impressed and proud of himself for coming through on his final promise to her. Just over 20 years old, Chrissy laid there in his lap, purring. They both seemed happy. As his door bell rang, he was excited to provide candy to the trick or treaters outside, but not without a major scare that came from the teenage neighbor kids, who were on his porch dressed as Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers. It was quite the scene! The little kids thanked Nick, who then thanked the teens for their help in scaring/entertaining the trick or treaters. Once back inside, and returning Chrissy to his lap, he turned on the tv, to the movie Halloween. Tears dropped down his cheek as the creepy theme music began to play. But there was something different. He seemed happy. Happy to remember her in such a beautiful way, rather than the painful way it had always been.


A few minutes later there was another knock at the door. This time as Nick began to rise, he noticed Chrissy was absolutely lifeless. He instantly knew she was gone. Braver than he ever thought he could be, he somehow provided the kids at the door with their candy, politely said goodbye and closed the door. He could not turn back around to face the cat. At least not without a moment and a deep breath. He turned, and lost it. One last time those emotions that had haunted his life, were at full display. He eventually laid himself down on the floor below Chrissy, exhausted from the emotion, from life...


He woke warmer than he could ever remember. Yet the first thing he saw was a window where snow was falling like he'd never seen it. Jumping out of bed he quickly realized he was far from home. The room was toasty from the burning fire and Christmas was everywhere you looked. Out the door he went, to the scene of a Thomas Kinkade painting and the sudden applause from elves, reindeer and all the people of the North Pole. His prayers had been answered! He knew it instantly. Or did he?


What could only be the head elf, Nick was approached and filled in by someone he instantly felt love and appreciation for. He explained the magic of Christmas, the rules and how it all worked. Just how big the North Pole was, and how it'd take all of Thomas Kinkade's paintings to describe it.. He told him how it was the previous Santa who had heard his prayers and chose him as the right man for the job, as his successor...


Nick only had one question. When his job here was done; when his days were done; he can move on, right? "Cause if the North Pole is real, I certainly know heaven is out there somewhere", Nick joked with a laugh and waited for an answer. Goosebumps and/or chills would rock his body as the answer was revealed...


"It certainly is...and you're already there, my friend; the North Pole is heaven, at least a small part of it...How do you think it's real?", came his answer. "Your life on earth may be over, but your contribution to it, is only beginning, and...you don't think we'd kick off the holiday season without a gift, did you? The tears are already sliding down his face as the "head" elf continues, "In the spirit of the season, and what truly makes you jolly and merry..."


Song "Joy to the World" blasting on speakers from above as Joy joyously screams for her dad, running toward him (with Chrissy in her arms) from a crowd of celebrative Christmas town citizens. Nick drops to his knees in complete joy and relief as she reaches his arms embracing, laughing and crying. "My daddy is Santa Claus!", she proudly announced as he then delivered the loudest, merriest Ho Ho Ho, there has ever been; followed with more holiday spirit that season, than there has ever been...

Submitted: December 29, 2017

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