This story was read aloud at Story Salon in 2007:


At seven in the morning, on a warm December day, my roommate and I put on our Santa outfits and headed out into the city.  We soon arrived at a bar called The Drawing Room to find several of our friends dressed like Santa standing outside smoking.  We went inside for a drink.
At ten we walked a few blocks to the House of Pies Restaurant, and both inside and outside milled a multitude of Santas.  This is the official meeting point for SantaCon.
Describing SantaCon is hard:  A collection of your friends dressed like Santa for a day out, A Santa pub crawl, A Santa rampage, A rebellion against the stupidity of Christmas, or just a bunch of people being stupid.
Anyway, sometimes it ends peacefully, with Santa’s crawling off home to nurse their hangovers, and sometimes with anarchy.
The person in charge, named Santa, would not tell us where we were heading.  If we knew, then the police might know, and they might be waiting for us, to stop our day of fun.
Most of us hang out on the sidewalk, I sip out of my water bottle filled with gin, and take swigs of the other alcohol that is being handed around.
Someone delivers an ice chest filled with snow, so we started throwing snowballs at the passing cars and city busses.
A collection of Elves, dressed in green with pointy hats, arrive with picket signs.  Their signs read:  “Recall Santa” “Stop exporting Elf jobs to Asia.” And “Saint Nick is a Dick.”
Sometimes Santa travels by chartered bus, and sometimes by subway, today was by subway, and we walked, a mob, down Vermont toward the station.  Almost two hundred Santa’s walk down the street, and we create our own laws.  The momentum of our group keeps us crossing the street even when the light has changed.
Some people wave and smile, the children wave, with huge grins on their faces and bounce up and down on their seats.
Some people scowl.  We wave and smile at them.

But before going underground at Sunset and Vermont, we detoured to the Dianetecs center.  Scientologists scare me, more so than most cults.  We invade their building, we will confuse them and annoy them.  We tramp through their lobby, making noise and mayhem, we run down the halls, and wait for security to kick us out.  We know how to deal with security.
A well-dressed lady in her thirties came into the lobby and climbed upon the desk of the security counter.  Her head near the ceiling.  She told us how glad she was that we were all there, she told us to take pamphlets, she told us to come back for classes, she told us how great it was to see us, and suddenly we were all filing out of the building, she took our crew of mayhem, and with just the kind words, talked us into leaving.
We did not really realize that she had this until we were leaving.
She had beaten us, controlled our angry mob, and sent us on our way with her charm.
Scientologists scare me.

While waiting underground for the subway, someone pulls out a sharpie and writes “Ho” on the white fuzz of our hats.
We are now all Ho’s, and that’s really funny.

While on the subway, we sing Christmas Carols from the pamphlets handed out earlier.
The songs go something like this:

‘Deck My Balls’
Deck my balls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la, la la la
Tap the keg, inflate the dolly, Fa la la la la, la la la

Or this:

‘Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow’
Well the traffic outside is frightful, but drugs are so delightful
And since we’ve go lines to blow, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.


At union station fifty Santas kneel down before the giant Christmas tree.  They put their arms forward and move them up and down in unison, like praying to the great god of the island.

On Olvera Street, we dance to the Mariachi band and fill the bar to the chant: “Santa needs a drink! Santa needs a drink!”

Later in the afternoon, at the Pasadena mall, things start to unravel.
Santa’s been drinking a little too much, and mall security looks on with narrowed eyes.
The first causality is Santa wearing a kilt.  In the center of the mall is a place for the Real Santa, for Santa to meet the children.  At the moment Santa is not there, so we take over.  There is a sleigh and some fake Reindeer.  While atop the sleigh, Mr. Kilt Santa lifts the back of his kilt to flash Santas down below.   A few minutes later the police arrive and arrest him, they put on handcuffs and lead Santa away to the waiting squad car.  I follow and take pictures, and an officer tells me that they will just book him for drunk and disorderly.
I, being drunk but not quite disorderly, am upset they are taking Santa away, but still sober enough to not argue with the police.   I am told later that night, by a now free kilt wearing Santa, that the police were being nice to him, he could have been booked for a sex crime as children were present, and been forced him to knock on the door of all his neighbors to tell them he is a sex offender.
After the squad car rolls away, I turn around and there are no Santas.  I walk to the center of the mall and still no Santas.  And suddenly I remember being told to not lose the group.  Safety in numbers.
That was when a college looking frat boy with a girl on his arm accosts me.  “Do you think this is funny?” he snarls at me.  “Yes” I answer with a grin, and walk away.  Behind my back I hear is girl say, “Leave him alone, can’t we go out without having a problem?”
I realize how many people we were pissing off with our little display, and I smile like Maude from the movie ‘Harold and Maude’, some people just need a little awakening.
I see Santa on the stairs ahead, surrounded my mall security.
An officer says to him, “You have a choice: you can leave the mall now, or you can be arrested.”
And then this Santa said something to the police officers.  Something we all want to say to police officers at some time in our lives.  But we have the filter, or we don’t want to go to jail, or we are just too afraid.
So this Santa looks at the Mall Security and says:  “Well, if you’re going to be sanctimonious pricks about it…”
I have pictures of him being pinned to the ground by security officers, with the red and white hat fallen to the ground by his feet.
This is when it really starts to disintegrate, the Santas were getting a little too restless for my taste, so myself and two other Santas left the mall, removed our Santa suits and rode the subway home.
We waited there for other Santas to arrive.  They slowly trickled in, regaling us with tales of joy and woe.
We threw our red and white suits in a corner, and planned for next year.


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