Ho, Ho, Who?
By: Vanessa Sgroi
Roy DeSoto shook his head, swiped a hand down his face, and sat back on the couch in the day room of Station 51, preparing to watch the drama play out in front of him. Chet Kelly and John Gage stood in the middle of the room dressed in oversized red, velvety suits.
“Chet, I'm telling you,” Johnny declared while gesticulating wildly, “I should be it this year!”
Kelly rolled his eyes. “Why on earth would they want someone as skinny as you to play Santa Claus at this year's family Christmas party, Gage?”
“Not skinny—lean and wiry. And there's such a thing as padding, you know,” Johnny threw back.
“Ha! You have padding in your head! I definitely make a better Santa Claus. Besides there's not enough padding to pad your entire body, which is what they'd HAVE to do to make you remotely look like the Jolly Old Elf!”
“Ah, so you're admitting you're fat,” Gage declared triumphantly. “Better watch it when it comes time for our physicals.”
“I am NOT fat. I only weigh ten pounds more than you...and it's all muscle.”
“Muscle? You mean in your head, right?”
Roy shifted in his seat. “Hey now, maybe you guys should...”
Johnny spun toward his paramedic partner. “Roy! You tell him I'D be the better Santa Claus. I’ve got the heart…”
“So?” interrupted Kelly. “I’ve got the mustache!”
DeSoto shook his head emphatically. “Oh, no...don't get me involved in this.”
Johnny scowled. “Huh. Some friend you are.”
Roy sighed and leaned forward. “Look, they're holding auditions this afternoon, right? So whoever is doing the judging down at headquarters will pick the best Santa. It’s as simple as that.”
“Sure, but I have the better ho ho ho. Listen.” Johnny grabbed his decidedly unpadded stomach, leaned back and chanted, “HO HO HO.”
“Oh, please…that was pathetic,” muttered Chet. “I can ho ho ho better than that.” He mimicked Johnny's stance and belted out, “HO HO HO!”
“Who was better?” Chet and Johnny queried simultaneously while staring at DeSoto.
Roy shrugged. “Hey, they were both good. Like I said, headquarters will decide. And you guys better get going if you're going to get there on time.”
Kelly and Gage both finally left after grabbing their white wigs, fake beards, and other Kris Kringle accouterments. Roy smiled at the peace and quiet and poured himself another cup of coffee.
Two hours later, two very glum-looking would be Santas trudged back into the station. Roy turned from the stove. “So, how'd it go?”
“Terrible,” they moaned in unison.
“Clearly they didn't pick either one of you. So who'd they pick to be Santa?”
“Jay Simmons from over at Station 9.”
Roy's eyebrows rose. “Simmons? Isn't he the new guy they call 'Extra Slim Jim'?”
“Yeah, that's him,” bemoaned Chet, “he's skinnier AND taller than Gage. He's all elbows and knees.”
“Right,” agreed Gage as he stripped off his red velvet jacket, “in fact, he kinda looks a little bit like Ichabod Crane.” Johnny shook his head. “But man, you should hear him ho ho ho.”
Kelly nodded. “Yeah, he's definitely got a great ho ho ho. Put the rest of us to shame.”
Chet turned to Johnny. “You know, I think we should work on our Kris Kringle acts for next year. I mean, we have a whole twelve months to practice and one of us could dethrone Simmons.”
Gage nodded enthusiastically. “Hey, yeah! That sounds like a great idea. Listen, I know this girl...she's a voice coach...maybe she could give us some lessons...”
It was all Roy could do to hold back his groan.
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Christmas Stories Stories by Vanessa