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'Twas XVII

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What's that? It's December 18? Well, then that must mean it's time for the next 'Twas poem, right? Right. This one's not as long as past entries, but it's still not short either. So grab a drink, get comfy and here we go!


'Twas XVII: Moments Passed and Yet To Come

The Coop

'Twas the night before Christmas
and up in the sky,
Santa's sleigh could be seen
as it went flying by.

Over each rooftop,
he'd pause for just a moment,
then down and back up each
chimney was where he went.

All Christmas Eve night,
Santa had gone through his list,
making sure not one of the
good children were missed.

But now his long night was
growing close to its end.
He had one neighborhood left
before he could mend

his weary old bones with
a nice soothing hot bath
and leave the world to enjoy
his work's aftermath.

Down below, in a home
Santa had yet to reach,
sat a man by the name of
Billy Collenpreech.

In his chair, with a beer
held securely in-hand,
he watched as his daughter Fay
tried again to stand.

Behind the little girl,
stood Billy's wife, Danielle,
ready to catch the girl
if she stumbled and fell.

Both Billy and Danielle
had smiles on their faces
as they watched their child
from their respective places.

“C'mon, honey,” Billy said
in his Texas drawl.
“Try it once more b'fore
it's bedtime fer us all.”

Little Fay made one more
wobbly attempt to stand,
but onto her diapered rear
was where she did land.

“OK, that's enough,”
Danielle chuckled and picked up
her daughter and added,
“It's bedtime, buttercup.”

With young Fay safely
cradled in her arms, Danielle
gave Billy a kiss with,
“I'm turning in as well.”

“Alright, babe,” Billy smiled.
“I'll be up in a bit.”
She nodded, went upstairs,
and left Billy to sit

alone in the living room
before a warm fire.
But a minute later,
his eyes were filled with ire.

They soon drifted up to
the mantle where he saw
a picture of his father
sitting on some straw.

Though it didn't leave,
Billy's ire faded a bit
as he stared at the photo
and focused on it.

“Merry Christmas, old man,”
Billy said with a smile
before he fell quiet
again for a short while.

Slowly, the ire returned
to his sleep-laden stare
as he finished his beer
and remained seated there.

He looked to the lit tree
and the gifts at its feet,
while he relaxed in the
comfort from the fire's heat.

As his eyelids grew heavy,
his stare moved over
the tags on the gifts that
Fay had coming to her.

Each had “from Mom” or
“from Dad” written on its face.
“From Santa” wasn't written
on them, anyplace.

Despite the weariness
on Billy's face, a frown
grew in just as his eyelids
finally came down.

Some two hours went by
and Santa came to the last
house on his list, with,
“I had best do this one fast.”

His sleigh landed quietly
upon the home's roof,
with not a sound made
by either a boot or hoof.

He slipped down the chimney
and quickly found the tree,
all set to put down a
couple gifts and then flee.

But as Santa tried to,
he then heard someone say,
“Well, if it ain't ol' Saint Nick
droppin' by t'day.”

Santa froze in his tracks
and let out a soft sigh.
“Hello, Billy,” he said
and turned to face the guy.

Billy stood at the base
of the steps with a glare
that was fixed on the jolly
one that stood near there.

Billy straightened his bathrobe
and said with a sneer,
“I'm kinda su'prised t' see
that you'd come 'round here.”

“It's what I do, Billy,”
Santa said quite plainly.
“Every good girl and boy
gets a visit from me.”

“Uh huh,” Billy said snidely.
“I'd always heard that.
But somehow, I never
got shit from yer ol' fat-”

“Look, this isn't the time,”
Santa quickly cut in.
“My time, mood and patience
have been worn very thin.”

“Don't care,” Billy said bluntly.
“I got things t' say
an' yer gonna listen
t' them this Christmas day.”

“Look-” Santa said, his voice raised
as he shook his head.
Then, in a forceful whisper,
“Shut it!” Billy said.

“Keep yer damn voice down!
My wife and kid's still sleepin'.
Now, ya sewed these seeds, son.
Time ya started reapin'.”

“Fine,” Santa huffed and
with a snap of his fingers,
in Billy's warm home,
they did no longer linger.

Instead, they stood outside
and were surrounded by
miles of cold falling snow,
which made Billy decry,

“What th' hell?!” as he wrapped
his arms around his chest.
“Ya can't drag me out here
with th' way that I'm dressed!

“At least make it warmer
'fore I freeze m' nuts off
an' lose what th' doc grabs
'fore he tells me t' cough!”

“Fine,” Santa said bluntly
and gave a second snap,
which put some warm clothes
on the crabby and cold chap.

“Better?” asked Santa.
“Yeah,” Billy said. “I s'ppose.
What's with bringin' me here?
I can't feel m' damn toes.”

“You said not to wake up
anyone,” Santa said.
“So I brought you out here
to yell at me instead.”

With a stern and harsh stare,
Billy stiffened his back.
“Damn right I wanna yell,”
he grumbled. “Yer a sack

a' shit fer givin' me squat
when I was a kid.
I should punch ya in th' face
fer th' shit ya did!”

“And what did I do?”
Santa asked with hints of ire.
“Ya know damn well what!”
Billy yelled with anger's fire.

“Year after year, I sent
letters t' yer fat ass!
I asked ya fer some toys,
but all ya did was pass

“by my house every time an'
not leave a damn thing!
A big bag a' nothin'.
That's the shit ya would bring!

“My Pop would tell me,
'Maybe next year he'll come by,'
like that would help me much
while I tried not t' cry.

“But nope, th' next year
would be just th' same damn crap.
Nothin' t' play with an'
not one thing t' unwrap.

“My Pop couldn't get nothin',
cuz we was too broke.
An' when I turned 18,
he died from a bad stroke.

“It's cuz a' yer ass
that I never got th' joy
a' openin' up presents
when I was a boy.

“But now I got me a kid.
She'll turn one next year.
An' she don't want nothin'
from yer damn ass, ya hear?!

“I'm givin' her th' Christmas
that I didn't get.
An' on that, ya fat bastard,
ya can damn sure bet.

“So whatever ya brought,
jus' take that shit away
back up t' the north pole,
or wherever ya stay.

“Ya ignored me, Santa,
when I counted on you.
Ya gave me th' finger,
now yer getting' one too!”

Billy held up his
middle finger to St. Nick.
“How d' ya like it,” he yelled,
“ya fat fuckin' prick?!”

Taking a deep breath,
Santa held onto his cool.
“Listen Billy,“ he said,
“You broke rule after rule.

“You didn't behave,
were mean to many a kid,
and you're wondering just why
I did what I did?”

Billy yelled, “Ya did it cuz
ya get off on it!
Ya got kicks from leavin'
kids like me with jack shit.”

“Nonsense,” Santa stated,
with an insulted look.
“Do you honestly think
pleasure was what I took

“from leaving you nothing
on each Christmas morning?
That it made me smile
to deliver such a sting

“to a child on the day
that no kid should feel sad?
But I can't reward both
the good kids and the bad.

“And let me say, Billy,
you were in no way good.
You were a rather bad seed
from where I had stood.”

Billy let out a laugh with,
"Don' gimme that crap.”
Santa sighed, “Want to know what
gave you your bad rap?”

"I was a good kid!"
Billy said in a riled huff.
"Not really," Santa said.
"Let's revisit some stuff.

"You used your brother's
diapers as a supply for
leaving fiery turd traps
at each neighbor's front door.”

"That was jus' some good
harmless fun!" Billy then yelped.
"If they didn't laugh, well,
that jus' couldn't be helped."

"Uh huh," Santa said and stared
from under his brow.
"That excuses the
hundred times you did it... how?"

Billy stayed silent.
"That's what I thought," Santa said
before he continued,
"What else is in my head?

"We can not forget how
many times you went and
took toys and candy
from many a young child's hand.

"Or the pleasure you took
when you told kids that I
didn't exist and laughed
when you made each child cry.

“The children you beat up,
who were weaker than you.
The adults you harassed,
while insulting them too.

“The money that you stole,
the belongings you broke,
the handicaps you mocked
as if they were a joke.

“You caused so many people
a lot of dismay,
and did so with such glee
practically every day.

“And how you turned out like that
just doesn't make sense,
since I know you weren't raised
that way by your parents.”

Billy scowled at Santa
and then looked all around
at the cold, barren landscape
of snow-covered ground.

“All kids d' shit like that,”
he frustratedly sighed.
“No they don't, Billy,”
Santa quietly replied.

“All the things you did gave you
a warped sense of pride.
And you wouldn't let up
until each child had cried.”

“I'm done with this,” Billy said
with an angry sneer.
“Now knock this horseshit off
an' get me outta here.”

Santa let out a sigh.
“If you want me to, fine.
But but before I do,
listen to these words of mine.

“Lots of kids cried and were hurt
all because of you.
But I know they weren't alone.
That you were hurt too.

“I didn't want to ignore
you on Christmas day
or cause you the hurt that
you still feel to this day.”

“I ain't hurt,” Billy mumbled
as he looked away.
“Now jus' take me home.
I said all I have t' say.”

“So you didn't cry
as a child?” Santa asked him.
“And this meeting tonight
was just done on a whim?

“You didn't have some things
to get off of your chest
with the swearing, memories,
and things you addressed?”

Billy stood silent and still.
He made no comment.
In time, Santa came up
and said, “You got to vent.

“You got to say what you felt.
To yell and to shout.
Now just take one minute
and hear this old man out.

“I know you're mad at me
but think this whole thing through.
Don't make your daughter endure
the things you had to.

“I can't give back those moments
where you were let down.
I can't undo what you felt
or erase each frown.

“But your young daughter Fay
is just starting her life.
Don't make her endure the same
kind of pain and strife

“that you brought upon yourself
by acting so wild.
Don't let your beef with me
also affect your child.”

Silence hung in the air.
Neither uttered a word
as Billy mulled over all that
he had just heard.

When Santa got no reply,
he said, “But, if you
want me to not visit,
then that's what I will do.”

Billy looked at Santa
and didn't say a thing.
A couple moments later,
a bright flash did spring

into being that filled
the air with blinding light.
But it quickly faded
and returned Billy's sight.

From endless barren snow fields
and frigid cold air,
Billy found himself back in
his living room, where

everything had started
just a short time ago.
He was back in his bathrobe
and sat in the glow

of the Christmas lights that
shown from within the tree.
That was when he heard his wife
call to him, “Billy?”

“I'm here, babe,” he said
as he looked back at the stairs
from where he was sitting
in his old comfy chair.

“Did you sleep down there last night?”
his wife then asked him.
“I guess so,” he replied
in a tone somewhat grim.

He turned his gaze to the
VCR's glowing clock
and saw it read 6 A.M.,
which came as a shock.

“Was that all real or a dream?”
he asked quietly.
His body then shivered.
“Seemed pretty real t' me.”

Danielle walked down the steps
to the living room, where
she could see Billy as
he got up from his chair.

“Merry Christmas,” she chimed
with a smile as she came
over to her husband,
who then wished her the same.

She gave him a kiss, with,
“You look pretty tired, hun.”
“Jus' had a weird dream, “ he said,
“which wasn't much fun.”

“About what?” she asked,
her voice holding some concern.
“Jus' old times,” he said,
feeling his memories churn.

“Let me guess,” she said
as she took her husband's hand.
“How your Christmas' as a kid
weren't all that grand?”

He nodded his head
before she gave him a kiss
and said, “Those times were bad,
but I promise you this.

“They're done and gone, honey.
They won't ever come back.
Joy on this holiday's
something you'll never lack

“as long as you've got me
beside you in your life.”
It was with a warm smile
that he then kissed his wife.

They sat for a time
on the sofa and just spoke
of unimportant things
till their daughter awoke.

It wasn't long before
Danielle, Billy and Fay
were opening the presents
they'd gotten that day.

While Billy and Danielle
exchanged gifts for a while,
Fay was playing with the
large wrapping paper pile.

Though the child got some toys
and things of that nature,
the paper was more fun.
Of that, she seemed quite sure.

When the giving was done
and nothing was left wrapped,
Danielle and Billy relaxed
while Fay simply napped.

Danielle looked around
from where she and Billy sat,
when something caught her eye
and she asked, “Now, what's that?”

“What's what?” Billy asked
from where he sat at her side.
“Right there,” she said and pointed
at what she had spied.

Billy looked to the spot
where his wife was pointing
and saw a gold envelope
that was glittering

from where it sat nestled
under the Christmas tree.
Billy stood and picked it up
with, “Huh. It's fer me.”

He looked over at his wife
and as he stood there,
his eyes became wide and
filled with a panicked stare.

His wife wasn't moving.
She looked frozen in place.
He looked down at Fay
with great concern on his face.

The babe too looked motionless,
as if stuck in time.
He glanced about as
his fear continued to climb.

“What th' hell's goin' on?”
Billy asked quietly,
with the envelope still held
in his hand firmly.

He was about to yell out
when his expression
changed and quickly became
one of great suspicion.

“Santa?” he called out.
“Is this yer doin' in here?”
When he got no response,
“Knock it off now, ya hear?”

Everything stayed still
as Billy shook his head and
tore open the envelope
he held in his hand.

He took out the letter
and unfolded it so,
over what was written there,
he could quickly go.

“'Billy,'” the letter started.
“'I just want to say
a few final things to you
on this Christmas day.

“'I know you're not fond
of the things I said to you,
but taking them to heart
is what I hope you'll do.

“'You're past is over and
it's something you can't change.
But know that I hope what
you took from our exchange

“'is that I never meant
to make you hurt or cry.
It pained me to do it
as each Christmas went by.

“'I'm sorry I helped cause
your painful memories,
but what I would like
to ask is if you could please

“'not let our past affect Fay
as she gets older.
I don't feel it's something
she should have to shoulder.

“'While I know those pains are ones
you don't like to feel,
use them to show Fay how
not to be so that she'll

“'get to have the Christmas'
that you missed out on.
Let her enjoy these warm times
before they've all gone.

“'Teach her to be kind
to others throughout her life,
and let your scars mend with
help from her and your wife.

“'Christmas day should be happy,
not spite-filled or sad.
So let her have the moments
that you never had.

“'Teach her all the lessons
that you learned the hard way
so that she'll never reach
the point you did today.

“'But the call's yours to make
and I will say no more.
I hope you find happiness
with those you care for.

“'And if you see fit
to let me give gifts to Fay,
you'll have my humble thanks
on each new Christmas day.'”

The letter then vanished,
like a shadow in light,
which left Billy surprised
and confused at the sight.

“Where'd it go?” Danielle said,
which pulled Billy's stare to
his wife, who now moved
and looked rather confused too.

With a sigh of relief,
he then looked down at Fay;
at how peacefully she was
napping where she lay

on the wrapping paper
that she'd played with so much.
As he did so, he began
to smile just a touch.

“Hun?” Danielle called, which
brought him to look over at
the way his wife looked
so bewildered where she sat.

“Where's the envelope I saw?”
she asked him again.
Billy looked thoughtful for
a few moments, and then

he came over to her and
sat right at her side.
“Trick a' th' light?” he shrugged
with a smile that grew wide.

Though she still was sure that
she had seen something there,
it wasn't long before they
continued to share

the enjoyment of having their
first Christmas day
as a new family with their
young daughter, Fay.

That night, right after
Danielle and Fay went to bed,
Billy stared at the tree,
thinking of what he'd read

that morning when all had
suddenly become still.
He was quiet at first,
but soon uttered, “I will.”

A smile then came to him as
he turned his eyes to
the fireplace and the
dancing flames within, too.

“Guess I should say thanks,” he said,
“both fer givin' me
a bit a' advice, Santa,
an' some clarity.”

He nodded a touch and
went through his quiet house.
He turned off all the lights.
And the fire, he did douse.

And once he'd turned off
the very last Christmas light,
“Merry Christmas,” he said.
“An' t' all, a good night.”

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