diary of a professional antagonist
Bullet Hole Santa and the Soup Kitchen Elves
Last week I checked in with my parole officer to find out where I was expected to carry out whatever was left of my community service. Broke as fuck and praying he had something that’d cover a value-saver burger on Christmas Day, I sauntered into his office without knocking and inadvertently interrupted him trying to fuck a spent toilet roll. I tried to overcome the awkwardness by suggesting a different grip so he would get a better action going but that didn’t seem to help.
He wasn’t expecting me, that much was clear, and started to make excuses about having a skin condition, that he didn’t have a loofah handy and that cardboard was known to have tremendous exfoliating properties. I didn’t see why he felt he had to lie to me of all people. Like most guys I’ve fucked a toilet roll out of boredom, sometimes out of frustration, but my attempts to empathize only served to anger him further and, after berating my presence some more, he checked his diary and took a moment, during which his lips creased into a dirty smirk, then sent me to a soup kitchen off Wash in the neo-nazi quarter – my favorite part of town – carrying a box of ‘Jesus was a Jew, too’ pamphlets.
Two hours in and I was in surprisingly good condition. 50% of those to whom I offered the word of pamphlet were illiterate and concerned only with joining their better halves, who seemed to be orbiting planets somewhere in the galaxies of LSD and Quaalude. After a while I hadn’t managed to shake the ache in my gut and shoved my way through the stooped and staggering in search of whatever lukewarm piss was being served. There were two queues inside. To the left, boasting five patrons, soup. To the right, boasting the remainder of those still standing, Santa Claus.
Like anyone else, the sight of Santa brings about memories of past Christmas disappointments and forced gratitude in the face of whichever relative was having a bad year and had just given cigarette butts and a sticky porno mag wrapped in used rubbers. Like anyone else, this made the temptation to queue up and try to do one better impossible to resist. He sounded third generation Italian American, his beard resembled the grimy cluster of cobwebs usually seen on a witches snatch, and he looked like he had never learned how to smile.
Despite all these plus points this guy worked fast and all the winos, panhandlers, bums, tramps and wastes of space really seemed to like him. Within seconds it was my turn and I instinctively sat in his lap. He didn’t like that and broke my nose to get the point across. After shaking me like a rag doll and throwing a small missile at my head I was tossed to the floor. However, within seconds a vagrant started to help me up. Surely this was the spirit of Christmas. It was, until he started to molest me while begging for my candy cane. I hadn’t a clue what was going on until the missile I’d been hit with fell from the lapel of my jacket into my hand.
It was the shittiest candy cane I’d ever seen. First off it was straight, second it was all white and third it was made of plastic. Actually, it was a tampon applicator. Pissed, I tried to throw it at Santa but the vagrant, displaying the reflexes of a puma, intercepted then scurried over to an up-ended oil barrel and began to take it apart. A cigarette skin floated out, onto which he emptied a little more than a bump of powder, then, after lining up, he snorted it through the applicator. A few seconds later he glazed over, drooled, then slumped into a sort of comfortable looking position at the foot of the wall and soiled himself. Santa spread the word that the same product would be on sale the next day, same time, for ten bucks a hit. I got a bowl of soup and waited until Santa had climbed back into his red with white rims Escalade and fucked off back to the north pole, then started collecting tampon applicators. On the way home I stole a bunch of sweetener sachets from my local diner.
The next day I tore apart an old green curtain and wore it as a vest/kilt combo. I dunno, I guess I had some sort of a Scotch/Irish elf thing going and figured the crowd at the soup kitchen wouldn’t know the difference and buy into the idea of me being Santa’s little helper, there to serve their needs at only five bucks a pop. All I had to do was sell like crazy for five minutes tops and I’d have cleaned up pretty well. First off I did a walk through to drum up publicity. An improved recipe of yesterdays freebie, called the Candy Cane Killer, would be for sale in an hour at a crazy stupid, one time only price. Five bucks and no bullshit got a second hit totally free. By the time I finished every sad sack degenerate in the place was frothing at the mouth and hit the streets in search of cash. I had four hundred tampon applicators ready to go and was looking at a thousand bucks for five minutes work. Then I realized my plan had a kink in it.
Handling the Candy Cane Killer, the cash and keeping an eye on the supply was going to leave me open to getting robbed, mobbed and molested again. I needed an assistant so I found a mean looking war vet and promised him fifty bucks and a value saver meal at Rancho Burgero. He haggled but once a flask of JD was in the mix he jumped into action and set up a pretty damn efficient queueing system then opened the flood gates. Frenzied piranha would have been more manageable but desperation and starvation helped me keep my head above water and with supplies running down I could see Christmas materializing in the form of a crumpled pile of dollars in the palm of my hand. Then Santa showed up and shit got real.
On seeing him load a clip into a gold plated nine millimeter I abandoned my criminal enterprise and ran. Two blocks later, approaching a corner at pace, endorphins popping like crazy, thinking I was almost home free, an arm swung out and knocked me into a violent backflip. I skidded to a halt, on my face, and when I found up it clicked why Santa is Santa and where I had failed. Santa gets paid because he has a team of cretinous elves that he keeps in coin. I was a savvy lacking pretend elf who forgot to sort out his combat trained war vet. He vanished with the takings from the scam and just after I had gotten back to my feet Santa’s sleigh skidded to a halt beside me. Santa didn’t get out, he just dropped the window and said something along the lines of ‘peace and goodwill to all men, shit-bird’ then the doors opened and a bunch of angry vagrants fell out, all looking for a refund.
I was taking the kind of beating any man would be proud of and was somehow still standing. Santa didn’t like the idea of me standing up to my supposed punished and got out holding a baseball bat with ‘Rudolph’ etched into the wood and the tip dipped in what looked like blood. He parted the sea of scum with a wave then took up a swing position that said ‘bottom of the ninth, all or nothing, home run’. I closed my eyes and waited for the feeling of skull fragments piercing my eyeballs as they leapt for the pavement. Instead, all I heard was a sharp crack. Warm liquid spattered my face but I felt no additional pain. I opened my eyes and hallelujah sweet Jesus Christ my savior but Santa was doubled over, stomach pissing blood. The war vet was standing behind him holding a smoking .45.
Sirens on approach rang out and the vagrants scattered. I was overjoyed and even more so when I looked into the Escalade and saw a fat stack of cash on the dash. But before I could grab it the war vet twisted my arm into a death-lock behind my back and shoved me against the wall. I tried to reason with him but got the feeling this was about to end badly. I was right, he was an undercover narc and had been staking out the soup kitchen in an attempt to bust Santino Claude, a rising player in the drug world and have him spill on his bosses, thereby bringing down the whole house of cards. I’d blown their entire operation.
Luckily my parole officer was blamed for the bulk of it. Turns out my community service had finished the week before and he sent me to the soup kitchen to get some sort of pathetic revenge for walking in on his wank experiment. He’s currently under investigation and his license to practice has been revoked. I’m working at the soup kitchen for the foreseeable, new community service, and figure that seeing as everyone down there hates me I might as well cash in on my unpopularity. The plan is, find a new lackey to take bets, line up a fight once a night and clean up on me being KO’d early in the second round. With Santa in hospital someone has to give these bums something for Christmas.