Merry Christmas

Dublin, Henry Street. The little girl skips and jumps through the street, full of joy, dancing under the Christmas lights. Her parents follow behind carrying shopping bags of all sizes. She’s eating strawberry bootlaces and singing Christmas songs. Maybe she’ll be seeing Santa in one of the shopping malls this evening, maybe she’ll give him a letter with all the presents she’s expecting, or perhaps she’ll whisper them to the old man’s ear. It’s without any doubt the best time of the year. It’s Christmas, it’s the time for family, presents, happiness, lights, joy and candies. The little girl walks towards one of the big window displays full of teddies and cotton snow. The cuddly toys are so fluffy and pretty that she doesn’t have eyes for anything else. She gets so close to the glass that her warm breath makes a tiny circle of steam. Suddenly something moves right beside her. It´s a big, dark, staggering shape that bends down. The little girl turns her head but everything happens so fast. The first thing she recognises is Santa’s hat. Then she hears the retch, the sound of the lumpy liquid falling on the ground, the splash on her little shoes, the disgusting sour smell of the vomit. The face under Santa’s hat rises and looks at her little eyes. The dirty white pompom hangs to one side of his dripping face. His features are deformed by the excess of alcohol, his eyes try to focus. Opening his fetid mouth slowly and, gargling, the drunken Santa greets the shocked little girl.

“Merry Christmas!”

The little girl burst into tears. Her father appears quickly and the circus starts. Shouts, pushing and threats. Ironically, the aggressive way he tries to protect his daughter just scares her even more and her whimpering turns to loud crying. A big crowd gathers, two security guards approach. The show keeps going on, but I had had enough and walked away. On my way I wondered if this stupid incident would in some way shape the character of the impressionable girl. Maybe Charles Manson also got his little shoes puked when he was a kid… Who knows…

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