Drew and Fran planned on a quiet couple of drinks at their favourite hole-in-the-wall before going home and trying to make a baby.
“Born to Run is the greatest love song of all time,” Drew said.
“Show your work,” Fran said.
“The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive, everybody’s out on the run tonight, but there’s no place left to hide, together Wendy we can live with the sadness, I’ll love you with all the madness in my soul, Oh-oh, someday girl I don’t know when, we’re gonna get to that place where we really wanna go, and we’ll walk in the sun, but til then tramps like us, baby we were born to run,” Drew said, emphasizing the point by downing the bottom third of his pint in one go.
“You might be onto something. How has this never come up before?” Fran said, before checking her watch.
“You never asked,” Drew said.
“Neither did I. And fuck Bruce Springsteen,” Santa said.
Santa had been listening to these two go on like a couple of love sick pigeons for an hour. He was having his final drinks before saying goodbye to Christmas 2015 and finally heading to see his twin brother Atnas at his South Pole Shangri-la resort.
“Bruce Springsteen makes me feel like shit every year when that damned song plays. He had to cover that damned song. I’m not coming to town this year, or any year hence! I used to love The Boss and now, much like everyone else on the planet, I want to kill my Boss, or The Boss, or whatever,” he said, putting the exclamation point on his ridiculous assertion with a massive burp.
The biggest question Drew and Fran had about the entire situation with the ranting, Springsteen hating man, was if he was Bruce Springsteen. He was the spitting image of their favourite artist circa 1975, the year the album Born To Run was released with a mix of Born In The U.S.A Bruce.
Santa, in all his anger and drunkenness, forgot that he had changed his appearance to look like Bruce from that era to see what it would feel like. He hadn’t left the bar yet, so his sample size was very small.
Bruce Springsteen ranting about hating Bruce Springsteen was quite the sight but Drew and Fran’s attention was turned from this oddity to the television above the bar in front of them with a special news bulletin.
“Reports have been surfacing of strange occurrences around Toronto this holiday season,” said the polished female news anchor on the screen. “Many Torontonians have reported to waking up to find Christmas cards and cookies in their mailboxes from a person they don’t know. The cards are signed by a Beatrice Whitman. This would appear to be an exercise in holiday cheer, however, many people who ate the cookies experienced severe physical discomfort afterwards. There have been similar reports involving Ms. Whitman with regards to her complete ineptitude as a personal shopper. Her name has also come up with respect to volunteering at a soup kitchen and similar results to the effect of the cookies. Other reports have surfaced from people saying she has walked up to them and greeted them without any prior engagement with her. One of those interactions ended with a child in tears. Allegedly, when Ms. Whitman went to leave, she tripped, spilling her tea all over the child and the gifts that the parent had purchased earlier that day. If anyone has any leads as to Ms. Whitman’s whereabouts, please contact police at the number shown on the screen.”
“Jesus Christ,” Santa as Bruce said.
“Wow. Either she is the worst Santa impersonator or she just has really bad luck,” Drew said.
“Poor girl. She was probably just trying to spread some Christmas cheer,” Fran said.
Drew and Fran eyed the Bruce Springsteen doppelganger.
“Excuse us sir,” Drew said, but Santa as Bruce kept focus on the television.
Fran cleared her throat hoping it might draw his attention to no avail.
“Maybe he’s gone catatonic because he ate one of those cookies from that woman?” Fran said.
“Bullshit. He’s just being a Springsteen hating jerk. Or a hating himself from thirty years ago jerk.”
“We should get going anyway. Maybe we can channel some magic and finally get a baby in me tonight,” Fran said placing her hand on Drew’s leg.
“Ya fine, but this is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen,” Drew said.
They finished their drinks, grabbed their belongings and were gone.
There is magic in the night Santa as Bruce thought. It was that exact line he had running on repeat in his head ever since seeing the news report about that girl the police were after. It was also running through his head when he used his magic to give Fran and Drew all they wanted for Christmas.
Damnit Beatrice, he thought. I was going to spend Christmas away from the damned elf revolution, the damned everything of everything. Damnit Beatrice. Why the hell did you have to pop up now? Why the hell did you have to try to be good? Didn’t you know I cancelled the fucking thing this year? Damnit Beatrice, you really know how to make a magical elf feel like a piece of garbage.
It was then that Santa reverted back to his normal appearance. When he got back to the Pole, he knew he could change back to Born To Run Bruce for his wife Wendy. He would have to if he had any chance of gaining her forgiveness for his latest expedition, especially because she said the next time he left that he was to take her with him ala “tramps like us” and all that.
Santa paid his tab and left enough to cover Christmas for the next few years for the servers. As he was walking out, he spied a girl sitting alone at the end of bar. She appeared in a state of shock and awe, but also embarrassment. As he passed, she gave him a glance. When their eyes met Santa gave her a wink.
“Don’t worry sweetheart, there’s magic in the night,” he said before disappearing into thin air.
“I hope you’re right,” Beatrice whispered.