I Own A Dog

Written by Jim Henderson

Continued from page 1

Perhaps what perplexes me most is why this slobbering beast occupies such an exalted plateau. Anyone who has ever observed a dog sleeping or laying around most ofrepparttar day has surely wondered atrepparttar 118308 expression, "working like a dog". The irony of this analogy is only eclipsed by, "sleeping like a baby". What hasrepparttar 118309 canine done to merit such undeserved esteem other than drool excessively and wag it's tail with an insipid look on it's face.

Rather than possess any attributes of a redeeming value,repparttar 118310 notorious mutt does have an entourage of annoying vices of which I will now enumerate. Any list would be sure to include barking all night, chewing on footwear and furnishings, digging holes inrepparttar 118311 yard and redistributingrepparttar 118312 contents of trash bags. Most distressing isrepparttar 118313 animal's unsanitary toilet habits (the furry beast is constantly manufacturing doggie-doo and indiscriminately placing it aroundrepparttar 118314 yard). This self-appointed washer-of-tires and waterer-of-fire hydrants is notorious for one other flagrant vice, they chase cats. Which may explain why cats are prone to urinary tract disorders inrepparttar 118315 first place

Jim Henderson is currently employed in the field of Environmental Regulatory compliance. He enjoys reading and writing in his spare time. A number of his articles have appeared in various on-line publications.

Santa For A Day

Written by Michael LaRocca

Continued from page 1

“Well, as I said, you’re borderline. But if you’ll be really good, and I mean REALLY good, between now and Christmas, I’ll put you onrepparttar good list. If you’re bad, I’ll put you onrepparttar 118307 naughty list. And you don’t want that. You want to be onrepparttar 118308 good list. Don’t you?”

A pause. As ifrepparttar 118309 little brat wasn’t sure! What is it with kids who won’t suck up and take a bribe when they’re offered one? Jeez! When I was a little brat -- um, I mean kid -- I NEVER refused a bribe.

“Yes, Santa Claus.”

Reel this one in. Yes!

“That’s what I thought, son.” (Yes, I calledrepparttar 118310 little brat son.) “Now tell Santa Claus what you want, and if you’re really good between now and Christmas, I’ll bring it to you. How’s that?”

Of course it was fine, and of courserepparttar 118311 list of thingsrepparttar 118312 little brat wanted was enough to max out seven credit cards. A train set, a Motocross bicycle, a slingshot for torturing his little sister, a GI Joe with Kung Fu grip. I listened to him, patted his evil head, gave him some candy, and gratefully sent him on his way. Neither he nor his mother suspected that I wanted to stick his head in a toilet and hold it there until he died. Well, I don’t think they did.

After that, I got a bit of break. Meaning,repparttar 118313 little girls. They were sweet and shy and wanted little Barbie dolls. If it were up to me I’d nuke Mattel, but I realized that Santa isn’t supposed to say that, so I promised them all Barbies and gave them candy and sent them on their merry way.

I still hear Mike laughing. I’m gonna give him a busted lip for Christmas. I know damn well he deliberately stunk as Santa just because he didn’t wantrepparttar 118314 job. Grr!

Every little boy was a brat. I am not joking. I whipped out that borderline story with every one of them. I was tempted to scream, “You are evil and you should die and I’ll stuff your stocking with coals and switches and hope your parents beat you to death,” but that wouldn’t have been good for business. So I went into borderline story mode and drank uprepparttar 118315 parents’ gratitude while never believing it’d change a thing. I know them boys were evil. They all looked like my little brother.

Finally, I gotrepparttar 118316 intellectual. The skeptic. The little one who chose not to be an evil brat, but rather a smart brat. So smart that you just wanna knock him acrossrepparttar 118317 room. Especially for reminding me of myself. Don’t do that!

Now you may remember that I never received a formal job description, but something in me suspected that “knock brat acrossrepparttar 118318 room” wasn’t in it.

“I don’t believe any of that Santa Claus stuff. You’re just some guy in a suit and fake beard.”

This was a few hours intorepparttar 118319 shift, so I was getting cocky. “And why do you say that, young man?”

“Because there’s no way you could fly allrepparttar 118320 way aroundrepparttar 118321 world so fast. Not in one night. That’s just not possible.”

Smart-aleck little… dude. For a moment I thought he had me. But apparently I can “think on my feet” if pressed into a corner, because here’s my reply:

“We’re in Florida now, right?”


“And what time is it here?”

“About noon.”

“Okay, let’s say it’s noon. Do you know what time it is in Alabama?”


“It’s still eleven inrepparttar 118322 morning. And what time is it in Texas?”

“I dunno.”

(I got your butt!)

“Ten inrepparttar 118323 morning. And in California, it’s only nine inrepparttar 118324 morning. That’srepparttar 118325 thing, see? Time zones. I start where it’s earliest and get everybody in that time zone in one hour, then pop over torepparttar 118326 next time zone and have an hour to get all them, and so on. And some time zones out overrepparttar 118327 ocean don’t even have people in them.”

It took him a moment to figure that all out, because I wasn’t expressing myself as eloquently as I could have. I blame it on exhaustion. But finally he replied, “Really?”

I nodded sagely.

My little skeptic seemed to agree. And that wasrepparttar 118328 point, right? Getting him off my lap so I could move on to a little girl who didn’t make me work so hard. Conningrepparttar 118329 little people into buyingrepparttar 118330 myth for one more year.

Forrepparttar 118331 record, I was nine and little brother was eight when we sneaked out of bed one night (his idea) and found a bunch of wrapped presents on top of a high closet shelf. When we received those same presents for Christmas, marked “From Santa,” little brother drilled Mom likerepparttar 118332 cop he would grow up to be and she confessed. But even so, I never deliberately disillusioned anyone. Santa Claus is a fun guy to believe in.

Later came a little skeptic who needed bothrepparttar 118333 time zone story andrepparttar 118334 borderline list story for me to win him over torepparttar 118335 cause. In a brilliant flash of insight, I added, “Do you want Santa to tell you another secret?”

His eyes widened and he leaned in close. “Uh huh.”

“You can’t tell anybody.”


We were whispering now. I really didn’t want his parents to hear this part.

“Do you like milk and cookies?” I asked.


“Me too. But I go to a lot of houses on Christmas Eve night, and everybody leaves me milk and cookies. Do you think you could eat and drink that much milk and cookies?”


“Okay, so here’s what you do.” I leaned my mouth right up to his ear, my beard brushing his face, and whispered to my little conspirator, “When your parents go to bed, drinkrepparttar 118336 milk and eatrepparttar 118337 cookies, and leave Santa a beer.”

He giggled, then turned to face me. He nodded. “Okay, Santa.”

“Good boy.”

The boy’s mother, who had been talking to my mother, looked up as if sensing thatrepparttar 118338 visit was over. So I said, louder and more Santa-like, “Be a good boy and do your homework and clean up your room and do what your parents tell you, okay?”

“Okay, Santa. Thank you, Santa.” Andrepparttar 118339 little imp winked.

But you know, I’m pretty sure that when Santa came sliding down my little friend’s chimney, he’d definitely be inrepparttar 118340 mood for a beer. I know that’s what I always left out for Santa when I was young.

After thatrepparttar 118341 job got easier. Whip outrepparttar 118342 time zone story, whip outrepparttar 118343 borderline list story, and allrepparttar 118344 little boys fell into line. I lined up another beer or two for Santa -- I only tried that stunt with my favorite little boys.

As I convertedrepparttar 118345 skeptics or at least gave them pause, mothers gazed upon this all-too-young Santa with gratitude. I think I even made Mom proud. But that’s something I learned about Mom long ago. She could get proud overrepparttar 118346 silliest things.

The day finally ended, and I had to reluctantly admit that being Santa was a whole lot easier than bussing tables. To myself, of course, never to anyone else. And not a single kid peed on me, either. Mike tried real hard to mock me, but his jealousy ruinedrepparttar 118347 effect.

The following year, all four of us busboys were still working there, but they found someone else to be Santa Claus. A waitress’s husband who was much older and needed neither padding nor fake beard to assumerepparttar 118348 role. Nobody complained about him, either. Certainly we didn’t.

Twenty years later, I’m still not complaining. And in those twenty years, I have never been Santa Claus again. Nor do I wantrepparttar 118349 job.

Michael is an American living in Hong Kong. He has been working as a full-time author for over two years and as an editor for over a year. He has 4 novels scheduled for publication. He’s proud of the fact that he rarely writes in the same genre twice. One of his novels is an EPPIE 2002 in the Thriller category. His website is at http://free_reads.tripod.com.

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