There's a picture of me stored in a family album that my mother likes to pull out at any awkward opportunity that presents itself.
It's one of those childhood photos, nestled right next to the ones with me naked in the bathtub, which she loves to show off because she knows it provides optimum embarrassment for me.
In this special moment in time you'll find my mouth stretched open, locked in a tortured scream that no doubt alerted everyone in the mall from the Sears to the JC Penny's circling back and echoing around the food court, as I was giving every ounce of my little boy strength to push myself out of the lap of this fiend that my own parents were apparently attempting to sacrifice me to.
This amorphous blob of blood red fabric and snow white hair would release these grunts from its maw that shook my rib cage, causing me to tremble even more violently than before.
Because Santa Clause scared the holy hell out of me.
To me he was an immeasurable beast of a man, mounted on a throne that I suspected was made of the bones of disobedient elf slaves.
The ones that died after he whipped them too many times because they couldn't assemble toy trains fast enough.
They tell me that he made his home in the desolate landscape of the North Pole where no one could reach him and even though my tiny little brain was still absorbing all the new knowledge of the world, I already learned from the stories about my Uncle Jimbo that if you live in the middle of nowhere, it's usually because you're hiding from the law.
So it didn't help at all when my parents told me he was going to break into our house while I was asleep that night.
And I just stood there frozen in fear, imagining waking up in the dead of night with his hot breath tunneling through my ear.
And he would say something like "I've been watching you all year".
From what I gathered as my parents spoke to me in those paralyzing moments of pure panic my only hope of survival was appeasing the monster with a snack.
So before I was put to bed that night I stocked the mantle over the chimney where he would slither his way in with three packs of Oreos and a gallon of milk.
I wanted to make damn sure that if he came in hungry he left satisfied because judging by his girth I was afraid he would wander into my bedroom and attempt to eat me alive.
As I laid in bed at 2:38 am, sleepless, clutching my aluminum tee ball bat and letting the Tasmanian devil alarm clock that was parallel to my pillow burn vibrant red numbers into my brain, I heard a sound like some rustling down my darkened hallway.
I realized that I only had two choices in this situation, either I could continue to lay there hoping he would have his fill and solder off into the world, or I could make a difference and save millions of other helpless little boys and girls.
The air was still that night, my friends, I could feel my nostrils flare as I breathed it in, and I felt this rush of adrenaline surge through my adolescent body like the spirits of all the fallen elf victims rushing to my aid in a terrible vengeance.
I charged through the hallway, in an awkward little kid gallop, welding the bat over my head until I caught sight of the shadowy figure kneeling next to the Christmas tree.
I closed my eyes and held my breath as I swung my weapon blindly like a madman until I heard a sharp crack reverberate from the end of my stick.
On the way to the hospital, as my father was nursing a head wound with a zip lock bag containing two teeth resting in his lap, he decided we should have a little chat so we could avoid any further complications like this.
And that's how I found out Santa Clause doesn't really exist.
Dwayne Williamson was raised by a group of traveling ninja gypsies that trained him in the art writing and rocking the fuck out. Currently he resides in Austin, TX and can be located over the interweb thing at My Space and Disortion.
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