Necessary Things¹

Posted on December 30, 2003 by Jenna

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1 a legend of Santa.

Santa Claus wakes up. It’s the Tuesday after Christmas, so he dresses in black. He goes to the shore of stars. He calls for his boat. He sails south.

Pirates come, but he runs up the Santa flag. They don’t attack him. Pirates don’t board Santa’s ship. It’s a law of the sea.

The terrible shark comes. Each fin is as long as a man is tall. The beast could swallow a horse in one bite. It hungers. Santa faces it down. He meets its cold black gaze. It shakes itself, twice, and dives deep. It still plans to eat him. It’s not a very nice shark. But not this year. This year, it leaves him be. It’ll come again in 2004.

There’s the sea of angels. There’s the ocean of fire. There’s a place of strange waters glistening like black abalone shells. The waves shine with soft green light.

Santa reaches his destination. It’s just an ordinary hill. It’s not important in itself. It’s just the place he’s chosen.

He sets three dolls on the ground. One boy, one girl, and one for just in case. He doesn’t look at them. He’s looking far away.

“There are so many of you,” he says, “that I couldn’t reach. This year or any other.”

He touches the dolls upon their hearts. “Strength,” he says.

He touches the dolls upon upon their heads. “Hope,” he says.

He touches them upon their hands. “A future.”

Santa rises and walks away. Behind him, the wind starts up, as it always does. It carries his gifts away.