Latest Flash

Saving Christmas

On the first Daze of Christmas,

Paul Heatley gives us The Santa Clause. . .with guns and corpses.

Saving Christmas by Paul Heatley

Tim panics when it looks like the guy’s going for a weapon. He fires and blows the intruder’s face out the back of his skull.

Scott screams, rushing to his father’s side. “Holy fuck, dad – you’ve killed Santa Claus!”

Tim blinks at his nine-year-old son. “I ain’t killed Santa, don’t be ridiculous.”

“You think he’s gonna get up from a headshot? Look at him!”

Tim does. The guy’s got a red robe but doesn’t look a thing like Santa Claus. He’s a skinny, beardless junkie, breaking in homes on Christmas Eve looking for gifts to sell to feed his habit. Except now his face and brain are gone.

Tim heard the window open, heard the intruder’s heavy footfalls. He grabbed the gun within easy reach under his bed – it’s a bad neighbourhood. The guy gave a start when Tim levelled it at him. Said something weird like I fucked up, man – he said he was makin a comeback, but I didn’t believe he was the real deal. Then he started reaching into his robe, and Tim’s finger tightened on the trigger.

“You gonna do somethin?” Scott says.

“Like what?”

“I dunno – what d’you think you should do when you’ve killed Christmas?”

“Christ’s sake, Scotty – I ain’t killed Christmas. This ain’t Santa Claus.”

“Then where’d all these gifts come from?”

“They came from me – I put them there! Get back to bed, Scott. Let me think this through.”

“What about the sack?”

Tim looks beyond the dead body and sees the sack. It lies flat on the ground. Tim uses the end of the gun to lift it a little. He peers inside and sees the handlebars of a dirt bike. When he lets go, the sack falls flat. “The fuck?” He reaches inside and touches the bike. The one Scott asked for. The one Tim couldn’t afford. Tim turns to the dead body. “Holy shit…” The guy still doesn’t look anything like Santa Claus. Tim checks inside the robe, finds what he’s reaching for: a phone. It’s on and lit up. There’s a picture of a fat man in a red robe, pants, a thick white beard, and a bullet hole in his chest.

Tim stares at the picture.


Tim turns.

“What’s that noise?” Scott asks.

It’s above them. Tim pinches himself, hoping to wake up because he knows what’s up there. He’s not asleep, though, and hears the hooves stamping with impatience.

“I think this man killed Santa Claus,” Tim says. “And I’ve just killed him.”

Scott blinks. “Holy fuck, dad.”

Tim stares at the body and the blood pooled around it.

“So the guy you’ve shot,” Scott says. “You think he was trynna make things right? Trynna save Christmas?”

“I guess he musta been.”

“Then you gotta save it instead.”


“C’mon, dad – put on the robe, grab the sack, and get up on the roof.”

“Ain’t happenin – look what happened to this guy! Look at what he did to the real Santa Claus!” Tim feels stupid saying it.

“If you ain’t gonna do it, who is?”

“No one! No one’s expecting this grand comeback! Nobody’s waiting on a fat man in a red suit.”

“Good. Cos they’re gonna get a thin one.” Scott smiles.

“Forget it. I’m not doing it. I’m gonna call the police and they can come deal with this shit.”

“What about the gifts that haven’t been delivered?”

“The sack’s empty.”

“It looked empty before you pulled that bike out.”

Tim looks at the flattened sack, then at the bike propped against the threadbare tree decorated with old tinsel and paint-chipped toys. He turns to Scott, “You ain’t gonna let this go, are you?”

“I’ll come with if it’s gonna make you feel better.” 

Tim pulls the robe from the corpse. There are flecks of blood on the white collar. He walks to the window and lifts a leg over the sill.

Scott follows.

Tim raises the gun and waves it a little. “If we’re goin, we’re takin this with us.”

Paul Heatley is the author of An Eye For An Eye (Near To The Knuckle), Fatboy (All Due Respect), The Motel Whore & Other Stories, and Guns, Drugs, And Dogs, as well as fifty short stories published online and in print at the likes of Thuglit, Spelk, Crime Syndicate, Horror Sleaze Trash, Fried Chicken And Coffee, and Crime Factory, among others. He lives in the north east of England.