Lst night an acquaintance of my sister called and asked if Kate could, and I quote, "mind her house" for the evening while she went to a party. Kate was busy, but the acquaintance was well and truly stuck, so I said that I probably could. "Great," the acquaintance said, "the kids will be asleep and everything." Whee, the children of a complete stranger! Mine for the evening! What could be more delightful. Oh, right - getting there to find that their mother, a beautiful but ditzy model - ideal Beauty and the Geek contestant - intended to spend 2 hours faffing about changing outfits and asking my opinion. ("I like the belt." "I think both pairs of shoes are nice." "Everything you own makes you look a bit like a stripper.")
Having squidged herself into some black Lycra, she left for the evening at 9pm. At 9.05, a pair of small boys appeared in the lounge and declared that they were hungry. I said that I didn't have any food (I had a pack of chips, but I wanted to eat them myself while playing NetHack in front of the TV), and that they should go back to bed.
"But you're Santa!" This was news to me. Also it was irrelevant.
"Mum told us! That you're Santa!"
I was spared having to point out that, despite the obvious physical similarities, I was NOT Santa by the older boy, whose name may have been Brad, reminding the little one, whose name was almost definitely Josh, that I wasn't Santa proper, just his chief helper.
"Oh, yes!" I said, rather unconvincingly. "You'd better be good and go to bed, or I'll tell Santa."
Josh yelled, "Santa Santa Santa!"
Brad said, "Can we eat those chips?"
I thought 'fuck it' and gave them the chips. They went to bed.
Ten minutes later I was deeply absorbed in a game of NetHack when Josh appeared in the doorway and said he had to show me something. It turned out to be a very small - one might almost say tiny - mouth ulcer. I explained that I could not instantly fix mouth ulcers.
"But you're Santa!"
So Santa taught Josh how to gargle with salt water. Brad, disturbed by the noise, came out and told Josh and Santa that they had better clean up the kitchen when they had stopped spitting. Santa was mildly embarrassed. The boys went back to bed.
Ten minutes later, Brad became thirsty. I poured water into him and tried to make him go away but he sat on the couch and asked me stupid questions about the North Pole while I was trying to play NetHack.
"I know you're Santa's helper," he said smugly, "because of this laptop. Is it a Christmas laptop? Is that a Christmas game?"
"Yes," I said. I also said, "Go to bed," but he ignored me.
"Do you know the other Santa's helpers?"
"Ummm...some of them. There are lots of us."
"Do you know Ben? He was our helper last year."
At this point Josh charged out of the bedroom and announced that he, too, was thirsty. "SANTA," he shouted, "When you shoot the light-" here he pointed to the ceiling "-Santa falls out, because he is in the light! And so do you, because you are Santa." I thought he was nuts but it turns out his mother had told him Santa had hidden cameras in the light fittings. Of course.
The boys sat down and watched me play NetHack for about five minutes. I was surprised because NH is a pretty shitty spectator sport, but then Brad farted loudly and asked if he could have a game NetHack. So I taught Brad how to play NetHack, and then they went to bed.
Then somehow it was 10.45pm OH GOD and they CAME BACK with a million questions about Santa. Legitimate questions, but still.
"Where does Santa live?"
"Uh, the North Pole."
"Is that TRUE?"
"Yes!" (Small lie.)
"He could live at the beach."
"He is too fat and his beard is too big. He gets too hot."
"He could live UNDER THE WATER"
"What? Santa is a person, not a fish. He can't breathe underwater."
"He could wear a snorkel."
"...yes, He could. When he goes on holiday."
Can you breathe under water?"
"No! Go to bed."
The little one was going to be OK about going to bed, but then the big one sat on one of the chairs around the dining table, clung onto it, and declared that he was not going to move.
"Fine," I said, "if that's how it's going to be, that's how it's going to be."
Picked up the chair, carried it to the bedroom, dropped it on the bed and shut the door. That was the last time I saw them. Thank God. Santa is going to give them fuck all.
Children. Goodness gracious. Like people, but short, and mad.
Anyway now I gotta go put my band pants on (this is not a metaphor, I have a concert this afternoon) and stuff like that. Apologies for the boring post, but I had to share the horror.