Some people are afraid of clowns. Whether they are born with an aversion to red foam noses and white pasty faces, or develop it due to a traumatic clown experience, I'll never know. But I do know this: why my old neighbor is afraid of Santa's Naughty or Nice List.
Before I met Hick, I lived in a Backroads townhouse. My neighbor, let's call her Shelly, lived three doors down. Shelly worked in a neighboring school district. We met at the pool, and commiserated about local dating options. Shelly had students, like I did, who would gladly fix her up with a date at the drop of a hat. Mine proffered up their brothers, "There are eleven kids in my family. I know I have a brother the right age for you. How old are you, exactly?" Shelly's students fixed her up with a custodian/bus driver.
Shelly agreed. "It's not like they're related to him. I've seen him around school, and he seems like a nice guy. He's about my age. And it's only one date. What could go wrong?" You know something bad is going to happen, right? That's how I felt, sitting there on my earth-tone-plaid couch, listening to Shelly justify the date more for herself than for me.
The evening was a moderate success. Shelly and her beau went out for pizza. They talked. He was nice enough. But Shelly didn't click with him. Not a love connection. She was cordial to Beau around school. But when he asked her out again, she politely declined. She wasn't into the dating scene just now, she said.
The original date occurred around Halloween. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Shelly received a Christmas card. On the front was a jovial Santa, holding his Naughty or Nice List, pen poised to place a check mark in the box. The inside read, "I'm making a list, and checking it twice." The sender had written below that. "And you're not on it, B*tch!" No signature.
Shelly knew it was Beau. But she couldn't prove it.
Now I think of Shelly every time I see Santa with his list.