Should've been good for goodness sake

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Just when it looked like Santa had forgiven me, I make a royal mess of things.

For years, you see, Father Christmas was miffed because of my antics after I filled in for him at a children's party.

Let's board the old BTM (Bartlett Time Machine) and revisit December 2000. (Please buckle up. The ride will be bumpy. The price of gas made me switch to used fish and chip fat.)

WHOOOSH. THUMP. Wimper. We're in 2000.

Look over there. I'm the Saint Nick sauntering into the Duke of Duckworth.

"Santa's here!" one man yells. A dozen or so others smile. A couple even cheer.

Their reaction turns to shock when I order a pint.

"Santa drinks Guinness?" shrugs the barkeep.

"Ho! Ha! Santa loves a pint," I reply. "How do you think I stay so jolly?"

The neighbouring patron likes the answer. "Right now," he says, "and I've never said this to a guy at a bar before, I really feel like sitting on your lap."

I know Santa is OK with kids doing that, but he has doubts about lap dances in bars. I head to where some revellers are playing darts.

They, too, are hung up on seeing Santa with a pint instead of toys.

Their wonderment turns to disgust when I haul out a stogie and ask for a light.

"Santa smokes!" they howl.

Synthetic beards and cigars, a dart player reminds me, don't always mix. He and his friends anticipate seeing Santa stop, drop and roll.

I roll back to the bar, next to the guy who wants to sit in my lap.

He, too, was shocked to see me smoking. This barstool prophet gets more naughty than nice.

He cracks all kinds of dirty Santa jokes.

To avoid the trouble my quick tongue can cause, I turn the pint on its head and move - to the VLTs!

"My God," says an astounded woman, who actually looked faint. "Santa smokes, drinks and plays and gambles."

Five bucks later, I get lucky.

"Swinging bells are better than Silver Bells," I yell.

OK, Dear Reader, let's get out of there. Please reboard the time machine before I get braver and take Santa to the Cotton Club. (If anyone is thinking about sticking around in 2000, I advise against it. We were a have-not province then.)

WOOOSH. THUMP. Wimper. Back in 2011.

After years of not talking to me and putting white tube socks under my tree, Santa actually contacted me a few weeks ago and asked me to fill in at a children's party.

Thrilled to be back in his good graces, I gladly accepted.

It didn't go well, though. It seems I wore the pillow too high in the suit and, well, it looked like I had cleavage.

"Mommy," one girl asked her mother, "I believe that Santa is a woman."

If that didn't do enough damage, I also wore the suit without Santa's permission to a Telegram staff function. And, again, the pillow was too high.

The girls in Classifieds started giving me a hard time, and I couldn't keep my mouth shut.

To quiet them, I made a dirty quip that made one turn redder than my hat.

I haven't heard from Santa since. It looks like I'm back in his bad books.

There were tube socks under the tree again this year. Can't wait for sandal season

Steve Bartlett still has Santa's suit and is thinking about creating Holliday havoc and high jinks. Email him suggestions at sbartlett@thetelegram or send him a tweet at bartlett_steve.



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