SANTA CLAUS IS REAL.

Well it’s beginning to look, a lot like Christmas…don’t worry, I am not about to break into song! I just love this time of year…that festive feel, that holiday spirit, that – well, whatever you call it! I just unashamedly still, love Christmas!

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Unfortunately it has came to my attention recently, that many foolish souls have been spreading a rather hateful, and malicious message…something that isn’t Christmassy in the slightest! And this is something for which I will not stand…as a resolute Christmasist! 

What I’m raving about are those Scrooge-like fellows, who wildly claim that Santa Claus, is NOT repeat, NOT real! Which is of course crazy!  And I have a story to prove it!

I was six years old, possibly seven, when I found myself sitting on a train with my Aunt. I’d just visited her in London, so I had just enjoyed a couple of days of looking up at big things, and eating ice cream. I was quite content, just staring out of the window – and holding on to my new “Evil Cat” soft toy, that a nice lady in Pizza Hut had given me. You could squeeze his belly, and he would emit a chaotic “MUAHAHAHAHAHA” giggle.  Amusing for me, probably hell for all of the grown ups. 

Amidst all of this fun, someone caught my eye a few rows down. I instantly stopped squeezing Evil Cat’s belly, and stared. There was a man, he was maybe sixty…or eighty, well he was old anyway. And he was sat there reading his book, minding his own business…but for some reason I couldn’t look away. There was something special about him. But it is rude to stare so I tried my best to look down at the floor, and out of the window…but I just…couldn’t! I had to have one more peek..then one more peek…then one more…

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It was strange, I definitely recognised him from somewhere. He wasn’t like everyone else, who were either sitting there with a bored expression…or eating a horrible looking sandwich, that smelled like sick. He had a little smile on his face. His cheeks were chubby, and red –  he actually looked comfortably relaxed in his seat, in between sips of his hot cocoa…

And that flowing white beard! Not many people have that, it’s usually jus-

“WAIT! …WAIT!” I shouted desperately,

“Shhhhhh, John! Try, and kee-“

“BUT…BUT IT’S-“

“John, people are trying to re-“

I didn’t let her finish whatever she was saying, and simply pointed (rude, I know!) at the man sitting a few rows down…Santa Claus”, I announced proudly.

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She stared too, and I waited in anticipation for approval…“it is, isn’t it?!” I blurted out hastily without thinking. She then smiled, and said she wasn’t sure – and that perhaps it was best to just go up to him, and ask.

Now this sounded like utter madness, to me! But it seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity, I mean…how many kids get to say that they met Santa while he was off duty, on a train heading to the North-East of England? I haven’t heard that said, EVER! So there was only one thing for it, I had to go for it! I mean the worst thing that could happen is that he says, no – and then I burst into flames due to a severe embarrassment overdose…

I pulled off the chair, and began to shuffle slowly over to him – I turned back a few times, and there was my Aunt grinning, and giving eager thumbs up. Once I got to his row, I just stood there – transfixed. Thankfully he smiled warmly, and said hello.

“ARE YOU SANTA CLAUS?!” 

I couldn’t help it, it just burst out without me knowing! He maintained his smile, but I instantly regretted it, I wished in that moment that I had just stayed seated…that I had just carried on squeezing Evil Cat’s belly. I shifted awkwardly on the spot, awaiting his answer…

“Yes. Yes, I am.” he whispered in a hushed tone. I didn’t say anything, instead I immediately fled back to HQ to report the news:

“IT’S HIM! IT IS! IT’S ACTUALLY HIM!” 

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She asked what he had said to me; “well – I came back here to tell you…so, nothing…” I suddenly realised how I had missed out on so much in that opportunity, I had let so much slip through my fingers! My Aunt agreed to come along with me, to make right my wrongs. 

We had a lovely chat; I asked him why he was on the train – he said even Santa needs a break sometimes, to which I thought fair enough. He showed me some photos, of him and the guys (his reindeer, and his elf friends). His wife looked friendly on the photos, he said he missed her a lot but he’d be back with her soon. He actually remembered my name, once I told him – he said I had been pretty good this year, which was such a relief because I was half expecting my poor performance in maths class to affect my present haul that year!

My Aunt said we best leave him alone, that he had a lot of things he had to do for all of the other children…I nodded, and walked back to my seat.

Just before Christmas a card arrived from him personally, with a photo of him, and his wife on the front – they certainly did look happy to be reunited. It was nice to know he hadn’t forgotten me, because I certainly didn’t ever forget him…

Have yourself a very merry Christmas!

www.facebook.com/storytimewithjohn

Inter-phew

Perhaps you remember me blabbing* on about the possibility of a comic strip, based on Storytime with John? You see I’d met with a Korean publishing company that had came up with the idea…each episode would be a typical tale of a foreigner encountering cultural differences and weirdness….well…about that…it’s not happening – at least for the time-being. 

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A little infuriating as I had written out over twenty episodes already…and just had to sit there and take it, as they were effectively flushed down the toilet. I say “a little infuriating”, but I really mean “gut wrenchingly, eyes-popping out, crazed beast rage”. 

Instead, I was asked to come up with some ideas for a brand new comic…“I want a crazy Spongebob – anything goes world!” were the words he used, as he sent me on my way and closed the door. Now I had no idea what that meant, but I gave it a shot all the same! I wanted it to be a universally loved creation – It seems that Spongebob is one of those figures who people either adore, or despise – like a Justin Bieber, but in cartoon form, living in a pineapple, under the sea…okay, so there is only a vague similarity…they both wear pants, let’s leave it there.

But I wanted my creation to be love-able in every which way! Any piece of writing I do, anything I construct – I never want anyone to say “I fucking HATE this!” Maybe they end up hating it…but that is another story! So I came up with four separate stories that I would offer to him, so he could pick the one he liked most (or hated the least!) I am sure they will sound so dreadful when I explain them – BUT THEY ARE MY BABIES SO DON’T SAY BAD THINGS ABOUT MY BABIES!

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The first one was about a monkey test pilot called Morgan, who crash lands on the moon, and is then taken in by the alien population who live there…the second was about a futuristic world in which dolphins now rule on the land, the third was about a Dream School where every monster goes to train to be in our dreams or nightmares, and the fourth was based around a microcosm empire living under a kid’s messy bed. Phew

Just picture me, sat in a CEO’s office, suited up, and sweating – rambling my explanations, and descriptions in the same manner as I have just spoken them to you…checking his reaction, paying attention to his furrowed brow, and his unflinching stare. I sounded STUPID. This had all seemed like a good idea, I had sat and constructed these creatures, their worlds, decided what foods they loved, and ones they hated – I was a special guest in each of their lives…but I still couldn’t make them sound even vaguely interesting when trying to explain aloud.

“So that’s…those…those are the ideas I had. Sorry, I was…”

“I like one, and four – so let’s go with those. Everyone likes a monkey, we can get that set up late this year – the bed monsters…February 2015?” 

He made some calls, as I sat there trying to look professional, and not like someone had whispered into my ear “psssst, you have won the lottery, but you can only collect it if you keep a straight face!” I was ecstatic. I mean…it was craziness. Is this what the adult world is? Just dressing up in suits, and talking about cartoons? Apparently so.

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Anyway, due to have some meetings soon to take things forward. He has flown to Hollywood for some work, when he told me my automatic reaction was “ooooooohhh la-la!” which I honestly wish I could retract, but never mind, what’s done is done. This is slowing things down though, but he said he will send me some early sketches the artist has drawn up, sometime soon. When I get them, you get them! 

In other news, I am heading back to the UK for Christmas (WOOOOO! FIRST TIME IN THREE YEARS!) and I have accepted an afternoon job starting January, at an English academy close to Gangnam, Seoul – reason being I can’t rely entirely on Mr. Hollywood, and have to pay those bills! Unless…anyone wants to be my mysterious benefactor? I do have Great Expectations after all!

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Oh, and thanks to writerinsoul for reminding me to update you all on this!*