Ivan Tykovsky is a security guard at Hinkleman’s Department store and has come to despise the shopping element of Christmas. The holiday season means his workload of apprehending shoplifters and breaking up fights over merchandise increases.
When the Santa the store has booked shows up drunk, the six foot six, 240 pound, red-bearded Jewish giant is forced to stand in. Ivan isn’t happy about the idea, but there’s one compensation -- the diminutive Skip Mueller, an out-of-work actor who’s been hired as one of Santa’s elves. Skip comes to Ivan’s rescue, coaching the big man through his dealings with the children.
Ivan becomes an instant celebrity, and when a permanent replacement Santa is found, the store’s customers demand Ivan’s return. Will there be a special Christmas gift this year for a certain Jewish Santa and his special elf?
When he got the page that his costume was ready, he went back up to HR. As he entered the office, Rhonda looked at him apologetically and said, “I’m really sorry, but this is the best I could do. It’s so late in the season and you’re so ... big. You need to take these down to the men’s dressing room. The meeting is in fifteen minutes.”
Ivan hesitantly took the boxes she was holding out to him and headed down to the dressing room. When he entered he found three guys already there. Two of them, dressed as elves, left just as he came into the room. A third, a short man with a devilishly handsome face, was just getting undressed. He had taken off his shirt, and while Ivan was no twink chaser, preferring his men as big and buff as he was, he had to admire the man’s trim, smooth torso.
The small man turned to look at Ivan. “Hi, I’m Skip Mueller,” he said, looking Ivan up and down skeptically. “Are you in the parade?”
Ivan grunted a yes.
“You can’t be an elf,” Skip said, his hands on his hips.
“No! I’m not no fuckin’ elf.”
“Then what? Are they gonna have you be a giant or ...?”
“Santa,” Ivan snorted, rolling his eyes.
“Santa?” Skip asked incredulously. “You’re kidding?”
“No,” Ivan said with a growl and told the story of how he’d been roped into the role. “It’s only gonna be until they find someone else, though,” he added hastily when he got to the end of the tale.
“Well, we’d better get going. We’re due for orientation in a few minutes,” Skip said, still shaking his head.
Ivan grunted again and began to open the boxes.
“Holy crap!” he thundered.
“What?” Skip asked, coming around the bench to look into the boxes.
“Oh, my God!” he exclaimed and then chuckled.
There was no traditional Santa suit, just a Santa hat, pants, beard, red and white striped tee shirt and green suspenders. The second box held a pair of black, shiny boots.
Skip looked at Ivan with a bewildered expression, then laughed harder.
Ivan silenced him with a look.
“Sorry,” Skip said, still stifling a snicker.
The big man put on his costume. The tee shirt fit like a second skin, emphasizing his immense chest and biceps. The white fur trim of the pants’ cuffs came only to his knees, leaving a gap between pants and boots so Ivan’s hairy, muscular legs were revealed. He tried on the fluffy white beard but tossed it aside. It was too itchy. They would just have to accept a red-bearded St. Nicholas. He put on the Santa hat.
“Whatcha starin’ at?” Ivan growled.
“Well, you’ve gotta admit you’re one of the most unusual Santas ever.”
“Ya think I’m gonna be happy paradin’ myself around in this getup?” Ivan snarled through gritted teeth.
“No. But I’m not too thrilled about doing this either.”
“At least ya look like an elf!” Ivan said bitterly.
Skip looked slightly hurt at the remark.
“Sorry,” Ivan said when he realized the effect his words had had on the small man. “Why are ya doin’ it then?”
“I’m an actor. Or at least I’m trying to be. There’s not much demand for a five foot, two inch leading man. The Hobbit movie’s already been made,” he said sarcastically. “I used to play kids’ roles, even into my twenties, but I’m too old for those now. This is about the only job my agent could get me unless they do a revival of The Wizard of Oz and need Munchkins.”
Ivan was about to say something consoling when the door burst open. It was Mr. Hotchkiss.
“Ivan! You’re late. The orientation’s beginning,” he started, then stopped. He stared open-mouthed at the sight of his Santa, then exclaimed, “Sweet, Holy Mother of Pearl! You look like a gay Paul Bunyan!”
“You got part of it right,” Ivan muttered under his breath.
“It’s too late, too late. You’ll have to do. Oh my lord, this is going to be a disaster! Nothing to do about it now. Come on. Get over to the orientation.” Hotchkiss caught sight of Skip. “At least you look like an elf.”
“Gee, thanks,” Skip said, and he and Ivan exchanged looks.