The Christmas Fair Committee met after school that day. “So, we have just about everything ready, except for someone to play Santa,” said Mrs. Kramer, the advisor. “Any ideas, folks?”
Jackie snorted and glared over at Steve, the biggest guy in the school. “How about Steve?” she asked derisively.
Steve almost choked on his Twinkie. “No way!” he protested. “The suit’s too small and sweaty for me. Besides, I already have to do the dunking booth!” He glared at Jackie. She was the biggest bully in the school. Nellie Olson had nothing on her.
“OK, OK,” Mrs. Kramer said in a warning tone. “Let me talk to the staff and see if a teacher will do it. I have someone in mind…”
* * * *
“You’re kidding me, right? Me? Santa?” Mr. Berlin growled.
Mrs. Kramer just stood there, arms crossed, watching him calmly.
“You really want me to spend a Saturday listening to a bunch of kids whining about how they want iPads, XBoxes, and anything else in the dang alphabet? C’mon, Jayne…”
Mrs. Kramer leaned back again the shop bench, saying nothing.
“Ahh…alright, what the heck. I’ll do it…it’s Christmas, I suppose,” Mr. Berlin grumped, but Mrs. Kramer caught the small smile on his face.
“You’re just the guy for the job, Frank.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah…HEY YOU! Get off your butt, get your safety glasses back on, and get back to work! Your project is due Friday-unless you want me to to drag you in over Christmas vacation…and both of us don’t want that to happen!!” Mr. Berlin went after the hapless boy.
* * * *
The day of the Medina High Christmas Fair finally arrived. Jackie ran around, doing basically nothing, screaming out orders others tried not to listen to. Mr. Berlin sat on Santa’s throne in the Santa suit, his nose twitching as he tried not to sneeze from the cottony Santa beard and moustache.
“Let’s get this show on the road already,” he mumbled.
Jackie walked by and heard him. “Oh, Mr. Berlin, don’t be such a GRUMP. We all have to make sacrifices. I mean, look at me! I gave up my monthly mani/pedi to be here today and run the show. By the way, your beard is crooked.” She quickly jerked it straight and ran off to open the doors to start the fair.
Mr. Berlin sneezed, making the beard crooked again. “That girl…” He stopped and put on a huge smile as the kids entered the big room and lined up in front of his throne, chattering excitedly to see Santa. “HO HO HO!” he bellowed merrily.
Meanwhile, Jackie was throwing a fit. Steve couldn’t come in to do the dunking booth, as he had caught the flu and was very sick.
“WHAT WILL WE DO?” she screeched. “YOU! MISSY!” She pointed to a girl hurrying by. “You’re not that important-you’re going to sit in the dunking booth!”
“No way, Jackie! Come on! I have to help with the refreshment stand!”
“Too bad for you. Get. In. The. Dunking. Booth,” Jackie hissed through clenched teeth.
Mr. Berlin overheard the whole conversation. His ears turned red. Jackie was talking to his granddaughter-and Mr. Berlin knew how hard Missy had worked for this fair! He gently set down the little girl who had been sitting on his knee. “Just a minute, sweetheart, Santa has to take care of something, OK?” He then hollered out cheerfully, “Ho ho ho! Kids, come with me!” The kids followed him like the Pied Piper.
He walked up to Jackie and tapped her on the shoulder. Jackie whirled around. “WHAT?”
“Ho ho ho! Boys and girls, Jackie has been a good girl this year, and Santa knows she’d love to help with the fair! Who would like to see her in the dunking booth?” He bellowed this out loud enough for everyone in the large room to hear.
After a second of silence, the whole room erupted into one huge cheer. “There you go, Jackie!” Santa said. “You can’t disappoint all these kids and folks. Don’t be a naughty girl!”
“But…but…” she spluttered.
The cheer became a chant: “IN-THE-BOOTH! IN-THE-BOOTH!”
“I’ll help you,” Santa said, gripping her arm.
Jackie reluctantly climbed the steps to the dunking booth and sat on the plank, protesting fruitlessly. She couldn’t be heard above all the cheering and chanting.
But all heard her wail, “My haaaaaaair!” as Santa slammed a ball right on target, dunking her into the cold water. “Merry Christmas!” Santa belted out with a big grin on his face.
Mrs. Kramer stood behind the booth, her hand over her mouth, laughing quietly. “Just the guy for the job,” she thought to herself. She made a mental note to send Steve a box of Twinkies for Christmas.