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Friday, December 10, 2010

Daddy Shot Santa by David Graham

Daddy Shot Santa

Twas the night before Christmas and all ‘cross the farm

The critters had settled with no cause for alarm.

Our stockings we hung on our bedroom doorknobs

In hopes that Santa would bring trinkets and bobs.

The tree, just put up, seemed slender and slight,

But shined of great promise with each Christmas tree light.

The cookies and milk we displayed quite exquisite

As Mama read soft tones of Santa’s famed visit.

The hour grew late and our bedtime grew nigh,

Our excitement did brim as the minutes dragged by.

Mama’s chores done, her children bathed and fed,

Did herd us like cats to each waiting bed.

We filed up the stairs wishing Daddy Christmas goodnight,

But his whispered response gave us considerable fright.

“That old man better not come, I told him last year,

I told him ‘Stay away,’ he’s not welcome here.

“I called him a thief, a scoundrel, a dastard.

If he comes ‘round here I’ll shoot the ol’ bastard.”

Our lips did quiver; our sobs we did stifle.

For it was much too late to hide father’s old rifle.

Calm and composed, Mother tucked us with care

And wished us sleep tight with a kiss and a prayer.

Her soft steps betrayed by the squeak of each stair

“Stay in bed, be quiet, don’t make me come up there.”

Her warning we heeded for a minute or two,

‘Til silent night broke, “What shall we do?”

“Will Daddy shoot Santa,” the sister did dread.

The youngest chimed in, “I don’t want Santa dead.”

Entranced I gazed through frosted glass pane,

I puzzled and pondered and contorted my brain.

This couldn’t be true; it wasn’t quite right.

You can’t shoot Santa on Christmas Eve night.

Like the blaze of a star streaking a moonless sky

I realized in a moment there was no reason to cry.

“Don’t give it a worry, there’s no cause to whimper.

It’s only a joke,” I said with a simper.

With sighs of relief our fears were allayed,

We nestled warm blankets, no longer afraid.

When outside such racket atop our own roof.

Were those pebbles on shingles or each prancing hoof?

We moved not a muscle, our breath quite bated,

We strained to hear more and nervously waited.

Father’s heavy steps, a slamming screen door,

Shouted harsh words, “Yer not welcome no more.”

“I told you last year, stay off’n my place.

Yer a cheat, a liar, a louse-bound disgrace.

I got ol’ Betsy an’ a bad trigger twitch.

I’ll shoot yer ass now, ya ol’ som-bitch.”

What happened next I’m loathe to tell,

But Daddy shot twice, and began to yell.

“I shot the ol’ man,” our father did hoot.

“I winged the ol’ bastard; I got the ol’ coot.”

A shocked icy silence befell the homestead.

Had Daddy shot Santa; had he filled him with lead?

Not a word was spoken, not even a peep

As each child slipped into a worried, fitful sleep.

No visions of candy canes, no hopes of that toy.

We’d all grow up in a world without joy.

In morning we gathered scrubbing sleep from our eyes,

To venture downstairs to witness Santa’s demise.

But what to our weary eyes did we see?

A pile of wrapped presents under the tree.

And off in the corner sat Daddy quite smug.

He dismissed our new bounty with a wink and a shrug.

“For a fat old elf, he’s nimble and quick.

You gotta be sharp to get ol’ St. Nick.

I fired twice; he sure lit outta here,

Cursin’ and whippin’ each tiny reindeer.

“In his hurry from off his back

Fell all these gifts out of his pack.

So, merry Christmas, be of good cheer.

I’ll try it again this time next year.”

Copyright 2010 David Graham

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