Besides, anyone showing up at a lawyer’s door claiming to be Santa or an elf isn’t likely to get very far.

Cold Turkey for Christmas

Three hundred and sixty-three days of bad habits. One day of virtue. Not a bad life, up until now.

Santa glared through his window at the white expanse beyond. What did it matter if he smoked and drank all year? It wasn’t as if there was anything else to do here. Nobody visited, nobody would know. Those elves had meddled in his life too much and the smoking ban was the last straw. He hadn’t asked for the job. If they were going to keep him here, there should be some perks.

His beard itched. That was another irritation to add to his growing list. The elves had received complaints, they said, about the stink of tobacco in the beard. He had offered to shave it off, but they would have none of that. The beard was essential, they said. Part of the uniform. Santa took a sip of his whisky and wondered whether that would be the next thing on their list. Once the tobacco vanished from his beard, the whisky on his breath would draw moans and gripes from the precious little darlings he was forced to serve. His beard bristled with the curl in his lip.

He used to have a name of his own. It was lost now, gone into the dark place along with most of his memories. He had been slim and fit. He had jogged in the park late at night.

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