You hear bells and quick like a cat you scurry under a truck and crouch there watching. Your elbows ready for anything. Watching. And there for all the world coming down the middle of the street with so many animals, can you believe it, yes, it is Santa Claus himself. In broad daylight. You crawl out from under the truck, oh blessed day, he’s looking right at you, he’s got something for you. You brush off your front and smile big at Santa like he’s your very own grandma with gingersnaps right out of the oven. He stands there with his bag closed, wants to know first if you’ve been good. You nod hard at him, oh, yes, so good this year, yes. He already knew that, so he reaches deep oh deep into his sack and hands you that van you’ve always wanted with the curtains and the roll-up awning and everything. He hands you a pre-approved mortgage and a safety net and a new lover. A stocking full of many-colored permissions. You can hardly speak, saying thank you thank you your throat so dry. Santa nods once, his eyes, indeed, twinkling. He shoulders his sack, and down the street with all those animals, you just watch him go, standing there with your nose running, dangling your van by one leg.

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