The Night Santa Came Knocking
(A Mini Christmas Play)
Erma from California: I can’t believe he broke it off. It’s Christmas time. (She stares dead center of the wooden kitchen table.)
Neighbor from across the hall w/Chunky NY Accent: (Takes a long drag from her cigarette, blows the poison from her mouth and shuffles the card deck with expertise): Tell me about it. Right in the middle of the season when so many people consider suicide, he calls it quits. That selfish, loser bastard.
A lone tear runs from Erma’s soft brown eyes and makes the curve down her chin.
Delia from Way Down South: (Tucks her hands between her thighs, thinking better of not sharing her good news) You’re better off without him, Erma. Didn’t you say his temper was hot and quick? I wouldn’t think of him being a loss and worth no more of them tears ’bout to fall from your eyes. (She fiddles with her hands under the table, pulls a napkin from the holder and gets up to wipe away at Erma’s damp face.)
Neighbor: Will you cut out the sniffling?
Erma: (Revs up a good cry, chest heaving up and down) But it’s…Christmas.
Neighbor: Does that mean when I come over tomorrow, there won’t be anymore of this dribbling?
Delia: (Throws Neighbor a glare to kill) If I were raised like my daddy wanted, I’d slam that Coke bottle against this table and cut you out of your miserable life!
The little squabble is broken up by a hesitant and then, persistent knock on the door. All movement and sound freezes except Burl Ives, in repeat mode, crooning Holly Jolly Christmas. The knock beats harder. Erma imagines her wreath falling from the door.
Erma: (Whispers her thoughts into the air) It could be James coming back.
Neighbor: (A deep scowl marks her face as she turns to stare at Erma) Descended his white horse and knocking like a damn fool, just the way you like them, heh?
Man from The Other Side: Ho, ho, ho! (Then, he rings a bell in the hand covered by a black glove that warmed it from the icy cold winter)
As if rehearsed or remembered from a past movie script, the three women line one behind the other and tiptoe towards the door. The knocking persists right on and then comes …
Man from The Other Side: Merry, Merry Christmas! (The words coming too forcefully, he coughs)
Delia: Who’s there?
Neighbor gives a shush and punches her. The door knob jiggles by the black gloved hand.
Erma: (A ray of excitement envelops as she thinks in earnest, Oh, it could be no one other than her James playing Santa and wanting to get inside from the cold. How silly of her for changing the locks. She pushes her way pass the other two women and starts her way down the five locks and bolts of the door) That you, James?!
Man from The Other Side: Hooo, hooo…
Erma is tackled by the women just as she unlocks the last bolt. They bundle in a heaped pile on the floor against the door as it pushes against their weight.
Erma: (Eyeballs Delia’s diamond nugget from the heap) Oh, my! You never said a word! You’re (gulping and teary-eyed again) engaged?!
Delia: (Smiles dreamily at the diamond) Uh huh. (A sudden giggle escapes and then she remembers empathy). Oh, but it wasn’t the right time to share this kind of news, with you and James splitting up.
The door is slowly opening, as Neighbor is the only one making effort to keep Man from the Other Side on the other side.
Neighbor: Shut the hell up and help me out here, you dim-witted heifers!
Erma: When were you going to tell me? I would’ve found out sooner or later.
Delia: I’m sorry, Erma. I was opting for later. It is Christmas.
Neighbor: Will you two heifers…
Erma: Oh, don’t remind me it’s Christmas. Turn that thing away from my sight before I’m forced to bite your finger off! (Burl Ives’ wish for her to have a holly jolly Christmas takes her to a joyful time from years ago, that sends her bawling. She goes limp at the thought of the ring.)
Man from The Other Side manages getting his arm through the slit of the door, tossing an array of Hershey Kisses to the floor. The door pounds on them easily while Erma considers the long, winding road of getting back to somewhere near happy. Suddenly, her palette waters for almond centers as she spots the sprinkling of gold, red and green chocolate drops.