01 Feb What Happens When You Write to Satan Instead of Santa Part 1
It never ceases to amaze me how much trouble kids can get up to in the milliseconds a day you’re not watching them like a hawk. One time I took a phone call in the other room for two minutes and came back to find my three year old daughter had somehow stripped naked, opened the door and used the front lawn sprinklers to take a shower.
Still, I don’t know what I’d do without her. She’s just started kindergarten in the fall and the days feel strangely quiet without her screaming.
But just when my life was beginning to get peaceful, she managed to get up to trouble again, and this time the solution isn’t as simple as keeping the sprinklers off. (If I leave them on she always seems to find a way out to the front yard.)
No, this problem is serious.
It all started with Ms. Frazzle. Ms. Frazzle is the kind of woman who starts wearing Christmas sweaters with cat hair all over them at the beginning of November. And she decided that since her favorite holiday was merely a month and change away, she was going to have the students write letters to Santa Claus.
Ordinarily that would be fine, but as Ms. Frazzle’s teaching abilities don’t quite match her enthusiasm for cats and candy cane flavored liqueur, the students letters got sent out with some spelling errors. As far as I can tell though, my daughter is the only one who sent her letter out to Satan instead of Santa.
Ordinarily, that wouldn’t be a problem–just another funny story to add the the highlight reel that gets told when the family gets together at Christmas The problem is that we got a letter back.
The envelope was black and smelled faintly of charcoal, and when I opened it a piece of folded paper that must have been at least five hundred years old fell out.
I’ll type the contents out here for you:
Thank you so much for your letter. Would you believe that almost nobody bothers to write to me anymore? Well, nobody except Satanists, and those guys are weirdos. I have carefully considered your request for a ‘life-sized, living and breathing teddy bear’ and I believe that our doctors down here have been able to put together a reasonable approximation of what you want. FrankenTeddy’s scheduled to arrive shortly after you receive this letter.
I must have looked rather stupid as I stood there staring at the letter in my hands, my mouth flapping open and closed like a fish as I tried to put my thoughts in order.
But I wager I looked even stupider when I turned around to see a seven foot tall teddy bear standing behind me and I screamed like a little girl.
FrankenTeddy seemed unfazed by my reaction, and really I’m sure he’s probably used to it.
He was patched together with various bits of ragged cloth, and covered in what looked suspiciously like bloodstains. One of his eyes was a little black button, and the other looked like a glowing ember set somewhere deep in the back of his head.
He spoke in a booming monotonous baritone that made me wonder if his vocal chords had been singed by Hellfire.
“I….AM FRANKENTEDDY. I AM HERE…. TO LOVE YOU.”
“Oh um, okay. Wow.” I said, nodding my head vigorously until I realized I was nodding for no reason and stopped.
“ARE YOU SARAH?” FrankenTeddy boomed out.
“I uh,no. I’m Sarah’s dad.” I replied. “Listen, I don’t really think that-”
“WHERE IS SARAH?”
“Uhh… well she’s at school right now and-”
“THEN I WILL GO TO SCHOOL SO THAT I MAY LOVE HER.”
“Um, wait a second. School is over now and she’ll be home any moment. But you can’t-”
“THEN I SHALL WAIT HERE.” Teddy replied. “DO YOU HAVE ANY SOULS OF THE DAMNED?” He said. “I NEED SOULS OF THE DAMNED TO SUSTAIN MYSELF.”
“Uhh… no, I’m afraid we don’t.”
“CHEETOS ARE ALSO FINE.”
“Oh, well we do have those.”
“I’LL HELP MYSELF.”
I looked back down at the letter as FrankenTeddy wandered into my kitchen, and saw that there was a customer service number written on the back. But before I could call it I heard a scream behind me.
I turned around and saw Sarah standing in the doorway, mouth hanging open as she stared at FrankenTeddy rummaging through our cabinets and throwing things on the floor in his search for Cheetos.
“Now, Sarah honey don’t be scared,” I said.
But Sarah shot past me and leapt on FrankenTeddy’s leg, wrapping herself around it so that she was lifted off the ground whenever he took a step.
“He’s perfect, Daddy!” she screamed gleefully. “I can’t wait to take him to show and tell!”
”Wait, really?” I asked, flabbergasted. “Hold on, you can’t bring a monster teddy bear to-”
“ARE YOU SARAH?” FrankenTeddy’s booming voice cut me off yet again.
“Yes!” Sarah shouted.
FrankenTeddy took a knee.
“MY LADY,” he said. “I HAVE BEEN ENLISTED BY THE DARK LORD SATAN TO SERVE AT YOUR PLEASURE. I WILL LOVE AND PROTECT YOU, AND TEAR YOUR ENEMIES TO SHREDS IF NEED BE.”
“Cool!” Sarah shouted, leaping to her feet and hopping around FrankenTeddy in circles.
Not knowing what else to do, I typed the customer service number on the back of the letter into my phone with shaking hands.
It rang once, and then a tired female voice answered.
“Hell customer service, how may I Hell you today?”
“I uh… wait, did you just say how may I Hell you?”
The voice on the other end sighed.
“It’s not my joke,” she said. “It’s just something management forces us to say.”
“I uh… okay.” I said. “Listen, I think there’s been some sort of mistake.”
The woman sighed again.
“Look, all Heaven and Hell placements are final. The appeals process is really more of a formality.”
“What?” I said. “No, I’m talking about the seven foot tall monster teddy bear that just showed up at my house.”
“Oh,” the woman said, her tone relaxing a bit. “You must be the Rogers household.”
“Yes, that’s right,” I replied.
“Satan wanted to let you know that he hopes your daughter enjoys the gift, but that sadly he’ll be out of the office until next Wednesday, so he’ll check back with you then.”
“Well, can I maybe return it until then?”
“No.” The woman said flatly.
“So I’m stuck with a giant monster teddy bear until Satan calls me next week?”
“No, of course not,” the woman said.
“Oh thank God,” I replied, somewhat regretting my phrasing.
“Satan won’t be calling you,” she said. “He has you scheduled for a face to face appointment.”
A few croaking sounds escaped my throat as she asked me if there was anything else I needed, and when I couldn’t answer I heard her mutter something about how rude humans were before hanging up.
I slowly turned around to see Sarah laughing with glee as FrankenTeddy tossed her up in the air and caught her over and over again.
I’m not sure how I’m going to keep a seven foot tall monster teddy hidden from the rest of the neighborhood until Wednesday, nor do I have the slightest idea what I’m going to do when Satan himself shows up on my doorstep.
Right now, I only know one thing for certain: I’m gonna have to buy more Cheetos.