Walter Wiggensbottom had a giant, shaggy, white beard. He was extremely proud of it — “It’s taken me forty years to grow this thing!” he would tell his friends. Walter also had a giant problem. For the last five years, he had only been able to find work as Santa. Walter hated playing Santa, but did it reluctantly in order to pay the bills until his retirement kicked in. At 62 years old, he still had four more years until his social security kicked in, and Walter hadn’t been lucky. He had worked for a small manufacturing company his entire working life but they had gone out of business six years ago and taken his pension with them.
Walter was very, very good at playing Santa. The kids all truly believed, and even though Walter was a reluctant Santa, he took his work seriously and played the part well.
Until the day he met little Jimmy Sandborne. Little Jimmy was the kind of kid who made rotten kids look like little angels. He was nine years old, and most of his family secretly hoped he would get in some serious trouble with the law so they wouldn’t have to deal with him any more. At nine, he already amassed an impressive resume of thievery, arson and vandalism. He also had a smile that could melt an iceburg and a rogue’s charm — he got away with everything he did.
It was the 18th of December when Walter and little Jimmy met. Walter was once again filling his role as Santa at a local mall, and Jimmy had berated his tired mother to take him shopping until she finally gave in. Jimmy got what Jimmy wanted. As soon as Jimmy spotted Walter, Jimmy knew who his latest victim would be.
“Mommy, I want a picture with Santa!” he demanded. His mother nodded mutely and walked over to the booth where Walter was stationed and paid the $10.00 for a picture.
Jimmy slowly approached Walter and slid into his lap, his best smile in place.
“Ho Ho Ho little man!” Walter started his normal schtick, “what would you like for Christmas this year?”
Jimmy looked around to make sure no one was watching, then threw himself on the ground and started screaming bloody murder. Walter stood up in a panic. Jimmy was shouting “Don’t touch me, don’t touch me, don’t touch me!” over and over. Jimmy’s mother came over reluctantly
“What’s wrong Jimmy?” she asked.
“Santa touched me in my private parts!” he screamed, pointing at Walter. Walter was dumbfounded.
“I certainly did not! I would never!” he protested. Jimmy’s mother picked up the screaming boy, who by this point had started gyrating violently.
“I know you didn’t” she said, “he does this all the time.” She apologized and dragged the screaming youth away.
The very next day, Walter shaved his beard.