Angry young John shows Santer his claws

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The Independent Online
Today we bring you a brand new seasonal Christmas story!

Once upon a time, there was a little boy called John, who was going down the street one day when he looked in a the window of a big shop called Euromart and saw a sign saying: "Open Today - Santer's Grotto!"

John looked in his pockets to see how much money he had got left. Gosh! It wasn't very much! In fact, it was hardly anything.

This was because he had already lent some money to his friend Stephen for some medicine. He had also lent some money to his friend Michael Howard, who needed some more construction kit for a fortress he was building. He had also lent some money to his other friend Michael, who was No 2 in their gang, and who hadn't said what it was for.

No wonder he had no money left.

Not downhearted, though, he went into Santer's Grotto and queued up behind all the other boys in the queue, most of whom seemed to be French and German and Italians, and seemed to be getting a lot of jolly nice presents from Santer.

"What did Santer give you?" he said to a French boy who was just coming out, but the French boy pretended not to understand and went on talking to his German playmates.

John felt a bit left out in the cold.

It's a shame, isn't it, children, when we have no friends to talk to? Perhaps, like John, we must try harder to make friends.

Finally, it was John's turn to talk to Santer. He sat on his knee and looked up into his big knowing eyes.

"Well, John, and what do we want for Christmas?""

John was about to tell Santer what he wanted when he happened to glance out of the window. His face changed from a nice face to a nasty face.

"Never mind about that," said John. "I won't accept anything from you at all unless you behave yourself."

"Good heavens," said Santer. "What a cross little child you are. Never mind - we all get a bit over-excited at this time of year. Did you remember to write a letter to Santer this year?"

"Yes, I did," said John.

"And what did the letter say?" asked Santer gravely.

"I'll tell you," said John, pulling out a copy and putting on his spectacles. "It says, `Dear Santer, This is just to warn you that if you don't give me what me and my friends want for Christmas, I'm jolly well going to make sure that nobody else gets what they want and I'm going to make things very difficult for you and obstruct your reindeers and everything, and make sure you don't have time to go round the world on Christmas Eve, and ..."

"Gosh, John, we are a cross little boy, aren't we?" said Santer. "I think we've got what the pop pundits would call an attitude problem, though I don't like the phrase myself."

"Well," said John, "I don't like being told what to do by you!"

"By me?" said Santer, stroking his big white beard and patting his tummy, which was big and round because of all the paper regulations he had stuffed in his midriff. "Have I been telling you what to do?"

"Oh, you're always telling us what to do!" said John. "Telling us to be good, and not spend too much, and not to work too hard, and make sure everyone is a goody goody."

"Yes, but doesn't that make sense?" said Santer.

"Maybe it does," said John, "but I would like to make up my own mind about that. And another thing - I simply won't be told by you when I should do my lessons and my work and everything! So you can put that in your pipe and smoke it!"

John's voice had suddenly risen and he had started shaking his fist in Santer's face. At first Santer was taken aback, but then he happened to notice through the window of the shop several boys staring in, and he realised that John too had noticed them. Ah, so that was it! He was trying to impress the others! "Are they your friends out there?" said Santer.

"They might be," grunted John. "Yes, it might be Malcolm and Michael and Ian and one or two others in my gang. So what?"

"Well, I just thought you might be trying to impress your friends by pretending to be rude to me," said Santer.

"What if I was?" said John rudely. "Anyway, where are my presents?"

"You're not getting any presents until you write me a nicer letter and start growing up a bit," said Santer, unexpectedly firmly. "Till then, piss off."

That wasn't a very nice thing for Santer to say, was it children! Not nice at all. On the other hand, you can't blame him either. Wouldn't you have said the same to the little brat? I know I would!

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