Santa was disgusted with what the world had become. So much negativity and dissension. The world was heading in a grim direction. The violence was at an all-time high, as well. At this rate, he would only be delivering presents to a handful of kids.

The naughty and nice list was so much more challenging to decipher. It was more than presents or coal, it was this whole new gender thing.For centuries, determining good or bad boys and girls was easy, but now it was nearly impossible. Jolly old St. Nicholas wasn’t too happy with the new woke agenda.

Nick snuffed out the cigar he was smoking and pulled his glasses off to rub his eyes. He leaned back in his desk chair and sipped his tumbler of Salted Caramel Crown Royal.

This was an all-new Santa Claus, quite a bit different than the jolly fat man with rosy cheeks. The fluffy white beard was now a long-braided goatee. He now wore his hair in a ponytail. His arms were sleeved in brightly colored tattoos, and he had switched to a cigar instead of the classic pipe.

Santa Claus had changed his appearance over the last twenty years to try and appeal to some of the older, non-believing kids and to change with the times. He would walk around the toy factory in a white wife beater undershirt with his suspenders hanging loosely down his jeans-covered pant legs. The biggest difference was the loss of that belly always associated with the big guy. Santa now had a very muscular physique, even abs.

He sat there staring at the fire contemplating his next move. Maybe it’s time to retire and let the parents do what everyone thinks they do anyway. He thought to himself.

Mrs. Claus came into the office to check on him and sneaked up behind him. She caressed his back by running her fingers along the shoulder and up to his cheek. He moaned in delight and reached up to touch her hand. “What’s on your mind, hun?” She seductively asked, lowering herself onto his lap. She hugged his neck and kissed his cheek.

“I’m thinking about “it” again. I just can’t take it! It seems like everyone on the planet is full of hate and destructiveness.” Nicolaus answered. “I know, baby, but you have to think of the little tikes that still believe in you and that aren’t corrupted by the news and such.” Said she. “I know, I know.” He sighed heavily. “Let’s go into town tomorrow and see about lifting my spirits a bit.”

Town was Bar Harbor, Maine. Nick and Robin bought a place in a gated community near the foot of Acadia National Park a few years back. Santa liked the idea of being with normal sized people while still having his factory and main operation at the North Pole. They spent the entire offseason there. When he and the wife wanted to escape from work, they would just take Santa’s private jet, The Kringle, down to Maine for a few days.

48 hours later, Santa and Robin were having a cocktail at Barnacles, their favorite restaurant, sitting at the bar enjoying each other’s company.

Robin Claus was a stunner. Very tall, for a lady, blonde and fit. She hardly ever got hit on when she was in town, not because of her looks, but because of who her husband was. The towns folk loved having access to Santa and he was more than willing to talk to anyone, especially children.

A beautiful brunette with sexy glasses began chatting with Robin while Santa was distracted telling jokes with a couple of the local men and the bartender.

St. Nicholas was loved all over the world but there were always bad seeds. Byron was one of those seeds. In and out of jail since he was thirteen for various offenses. Mostly of the violent nature but there was also theft and vandalism thrown in. He was the leader of a little motorcycle gang, Satan’s Kids, that found joy in terrorizing small towns like Bar Harbor.

“Hey! Santa! I wanna sit on yer lap!” Nicholas felt the meaty paw of Byron Stillman. He had spent the last six years in the state penitentiary for aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit murder. Without turning around, Santa said, “Hello, Byron. What can I help you with?” He knew who it was from that gravely, mean tone. Byron still held the record for most consecutive years on the naughty list.

“Don’t you know? I mean, you see us when we’re sleeping, and you know when we’re awake. You’re like some old pervert, peeping at sleeping kids.” Byron laughingly answered, looking around at the unamused patrons.

Santa slowly turned to face Byron. “That old song was overly exaggerated. I have methods of knowing if children are good or bad, that’s all.” He stood and was now eye to eye with Byron.
“C’mon Santa. Let’s have a go.” Byron said using his thumb over his shoulder to point outside. His fists were tight, and it looked as though he wanted to punch Santa right there.

He turned back to Robin and said, “You see? This is what I was talking about back at the office. This guy wants to pick a fight with me for absolutely no reason. He’s just full of piss and vinegar, always has been.”

Byron shoved Nick into Robin hard enough for her to fall over her new friend. “Don’t turn your back on me! Byron shouted as Robin let out a little scream. “You never brought me crap for Christmas and now you’re gonna pay, you son of a bitch!” Byron had years of built-up hostility towards Nick and wanted to seek his revenge. A mistake he would soon regret.

Santa’s face turned as red as the jacket he wore when he delivered presents. His fists were clinched tight enough to turn his knuckles white.

Robin picked herself up and helped her pal, as well. She stood upright and brushed herself down. “Don’t waste your time on him, Nick. He isn’t worth it.” She could see how angry he was, but her words fell on deaf ears.

“Out-Side!” Santa commanded in a low, whispered voice and looking at Byron through bloodshot eyes. Byron was being held by four patrons who grabbed him after the push.
They let him go and he took his arms from them with force. “You sure about this, Santa Baby?”, chuckling as he said this, cracking his knuckles in the process.

Nick very slowly and purposefully nodded. “You’re in for it! Oh, and none of that Santa Claus magic crap. Just me and you, mano e mano. I’m gonna beat your ass!” Byron exclaimed.
St. Nicholas took off the pinky ring that gave Santa Claus his magic. It had been passed down from the very first Santa in December 1773. The ring was nearly impossible to remove and asked for some dish soap from the bartender. Once off, he handed it to Robin and placed it in her palm, putting his hand over hers. He noticed a single tear fall down her cheek and gave her a twinkling wink.

Nick made his way out the door, following Byron and he was followed by everyone in the restaurant. They stood toe to toe and Nick backed up far enough to takeoff his shirt. He was proud of his new body and liked showing it off. The two men faced off on Main Street, blocking traffic in the process.

Byron wasted no more time taking and rushed at Nicks legs with both arms outstretched in an attempt to take him to the ground. Just before reaching him, Santa unleashed an overhand right to the back of Byron’s head. He landed flat on his face and lay there seemingly knocked out. Byron inched his way to all fours and a stream of blood flowed from his nose.

“Hahahaha! That was quite a shot, old man.” Byron said, dragging his arm across his face, smearing his left cheek with blood. He stood up the rest of the way and put his hands up. “Come on, big man!” Santa looked like a superhero going towards Byron. He just kept picturing his wife being knocked over. He was full of rage. When he was close enough, Byron threw a right cross. Santa rolled under, connecting with a liver shot. With Byron on the verge of his body shutting down, Nick clocked him with a devastating left hook that broke that man’s jaw.

Byron fell like a tree being cut down in the forest. Suddenly, another man, clad in the same gang colors, burst through the crowd of onlookers with an aluminum baseball bat. He was coming right at Santa with the bat held over his shoulder, preparing to strike. Nick surprised him, just milliseconds before the bat came down on Santa’s head, by kicking the man’s leg out from under his running feet. All of Santa’s anger and frustration clouded his judgement and as the man was kneeling, using the bat to balance himself, Nick got behind him. He applied a rear naked choke, but instead of just simply putting the assailant to sleep, he twisted his body in a fast-jerking motion. That movement changed Santa’s life forever.

Santa Claus stood in the middle of Main Street with a dead man at his feet and a severely beaten man just a few feet away, both by his hands. He hung his head and stared at his blood-covered hands. “NICK!!!!!” Robin screamed as she ran to him. When she reached him, she jumped into his arms and assessed her husband to see if there was any damage. He was fine. The blood on him was from the other two men.

The police asked Santa to come down to the station for a statement, which he had no problem complying with. They did a thorough investigation. All witnesses testified that it was self defense and,
ultimately, no charges were brought up on him. It had been six months since Santa Claus publicly retired. He had killed a man and hospitalized another. He was sitting on an old wooden bench,
leaned over with his arms on his thighs, holding his tumbler of Salted Caramel Crown Royal. He was looking out over the bay and Robin came out to join him. She was going to sit next to him but there was a piece of paper on the seat. It was a letter to Santa written in red crayon. She picked it up and read it.

Dear Santa,
Are you really not going to bring presents anymore? I’ve been so
good this year. My mommy went to see Jesus last month, and I
have been helping daddy with Caleb. I didn’t even get mad when
he ripped my Barbie’s head off. I don’t even want any toys for me.
Bring stuff for Caleb. I just want my daddy to stop crying and you
are my last hope.
I love you Santa,

Robin had subconsciously put her hand over her mouth and was weeping. She sat next to Santa and placed one hand on his knee and the other still held the letter.
“I must go back, Robin. That’s just one of the thousands I have received over the last few months. It just tugs at my heartstrings. Even if it’s only a handful of deserving boys and girls, it’ll be worth it.” Santa proclaimed.

Mrs. Claus leaned her head on his shoulder. “Your heart is too big for your own good, but I agree. You are most happy when you’re Santa Claus. Guess we need to get in touch with the elves.” She kissed her index finger and touched him on the tip of his nose. As Robin Claus walked away, he said, “I’m getting you a belt with mistletoe hanging off the back.”
She giggled and he lovingly chased her into the house.