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2014 Advent Calendar - 16 December

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1 2014 Advent Calendar - 16 December on Mon Dec 15, 2014 5:41 pm


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Click HERE for your 16 December surprise:

By:  David M. Katz

My parents are arguing again.  All Mom and Daddy do is scream and yell at each other.  The arguments always seem to be about one of two things:  money or me.  Most times the fighting ends up being about both; about me and how much money is wasted on me. I am not supposed to hear the arguing because I am supposed to be sleeping.  I want to get up and tell my parents to shut up.  I look at the wall next to my bed and see the old belt hanging there and know that is a bad idea. Daddy doesn’t like for me to be in his way too much and so I get sent to bed earlier than most kids I know.  Even if I am not sleepy I have learned to just lie in bed and be quiet; I don’t want to give Daddy a reason to take the belt off of the wall and whip me with it.  I am sure just being out of my room after bed time would get me whipped much less telling my parents to shut up.  I use my pillow case to wipe the tears off of my cheeks and I try my best not to listen.

“I spend enough money as it is putting food in his mouth and keeping a roof over his head.  It seems like every time I turn around he has either out grown his clothes or torn them up. And . . . free public school, my ass; the damn school is always wanting money for something, it’s like they think I’m made out of money . . . .”

“Dammit, Dick, it’s Christmas. There’s nothing wrong with a few toys and a nice dinner.”

“He’s already got a room full of toys; the worthless shit is spoiled as it is.  What the hell difference does it matter what we eat?  Hams aren’t cheap, chickens are.  You always wonder why it is we don’t ever have anything decent . . . I’ll tell you why.  Having a damn kid is expensive.”

“You talk like we are broke. I know how much you make and it is plenty to keep things going around here and then some and yet you expect me to work my ass off here and then go out and hold down a job too. What the hell are you doing with what you make? It’s no loss to you anyway, I never ask you for a damn cent for Christmas.  If I left it up to you he wouldn’t have anything.  I made the money, I worked for it, I saved it and I’m going to make sure my son has a nice Christmas. I don’t even know why I brought it up; I guess I thought you might half-way be interested in what the plans were for Christmas.”

“As I see it any money made around here is household money and I get to have a say in how it is spent and I say David is a spoiled little ungrateful shit and that he has enough already. Christmas be damned; it’s just another excuse to drain a hard-working man of his money.”

“The day you consult me on how the money YOU make is spent is the day we will discuss how much I save and how it is spent.  David is only nine years old and he is going to have presents come Christmas and he and I are going to have a decent dinner – you can join us if you want. This is the end of the discussion!”

I hear Daddy stomping and then the door slams.  I guess Daddy is mad and is going to go get more beer.  I wish Christmas didn’t come at all.  I don’t mean to be worthless and I don’t mean to cost too much money.  I don’t understand because I am told that Santa brings the presents so why do my parents have to worry about how much things cost? I cry myself to sleep.

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Mom and I are putting up the Christmas tree.  It is an old silver one that Mom had before she met Daddy.  The tree is sort of thin and it loses little pieces of silver stuff but I like it.  Daddy says it is stupid to have a Christmas tree so he will not but a new one.  I tell Daddy we can go in the woods and chop one down but he says that he doesn’t want the house burning up.  I ask Mom about why she and Daddy were fighting over money for Christmas since Santa brings the presents.  I realize I may have messed up by letting Mom know I knew about the fight.  Mom gets real quiet and it looks like she is going to cry.  Mom hugs me tight.

“David, I was hoping to not have to tell you this for a couple of more years but I guess you need to know . . . .”   Mom then stops talking for a minute and she is thinking and then she says, “. . . Ah, I have to pay Santa Claus.  Santa has to pay the electric bill for his shop at the North Pole and he has to feed the elves and the reindeer and all of that costs money so parents help out and pay him.”

It all makes sense to me.  Daddy is sleeping because he drinks too much beer.  We are almost finished with the tree; I am making paper snowflakes.  Mom is supposed to go to work so she says I need to finish the tree and to make sure I clean up the little silver pieces that fell off of the tree and the little scraps of paper left over from making snowflakes.  Mom says the mess will make Daddy mad and that we don’t want him mad because he let us put up the Christmas tree.  I don’t want Daddy mad either.  I think I sweep up all of the mess but I miss some pieces of paper.  Daddy wakes up and he is mad.  Daddy says I am a lazy slob.  I try to explain that I didn’t mean to miss cleaning up the paper.  I tell Daddy I will clean it up now.  Daddy won’t listen to me and he drags me off by my arm to my room. Daddy yanks the belt off of the wall and tells me to take my pants and undies down. I beg Daddy not to whip me.  Daddy says I need to learn to be neat and not be lazy and to clean up after myself.  Daddy says something about our Christmas tree being a stupid waste of time. Daddy starts whipping on my legs with the belt.  I then get my behind and the top of my legs whipped. My bottom and my legs hurt so badly and my butt is burning.  Daddy whips and whips.  He is holding me down over the edge of my bed and I want to run but I can’t. Daddy is yelling about the mess and how he ought to “throw the damn tree away.” After the whipping is over it is hard for me to move but I have to clean up the mess and go to bed.

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Christmas comes.  I get some nice presents.  I guess Santa read the letter I sent to him because I get a new seat for my bike. (The old seat is broken and I know how to put the new one on.) I get a big stuffed dog from Santa just like the one in my letter.  Santa brings me something not in the letter but I like it.  I have a new electric train set.  The train set is an engine, a box car and a caboose with some pieces of track and two fake trees. There is some sort of box that gets plugged in the wall and makes the train run.  I help Mom clean up the paper and boxes and I put my bike seat and my dog in my room.  I also get some clothes but I know those are from Mom; I don’t think Santa makes underwear, pajamas or socks at his workshop. I like some of the pajamas really well – they are blue with space ships and Martians all over them.  It is cold outside and I don’t think I want to go outside.  I want to stay inside and play with my train so I ask Mom if I can wear my new pajamas all day and she says I can.  I change clothes while Mom starts working in the kitchen.  Daddy is looking at a book that came from me. (I don’t remember buying the book but Mom says she helped me out.) Daddy seems to like the book – it is a book about President Truman and Daddy likes President Truman because he blew up Japan or something like that. Daddy is also a little grumpy because Mom got him some shoes and they don’t fit.  I think Mom and Daddy are going to argue about the shoes but Mom gives him a look and he gets quiet. Daddy got Mom a new vacuum cleaner.

The house starts to smell real good.  I smell ham and fresh bread.  I want to eat ham now for breakfast but Mom gives me cereal instead and says the ham isn’t cooked all the way yet and I might get worms. I don’t want worms in me.  I eat my cereal and go and try to set up my train. I try putting it on my bed first but my bed is too soft and the track pieces don’t lay flat enough.  There is not enough room on the floor in my bedroom but I guess the rug on my floor would mess up the track pieces anyway.  Mom is using the kitchen table to work on while she cooks so I can’t put my train there.  Daddy says that I can’t play with my train on the living room floor because he “doesn’t want me under foot all day.”  Mom and Daddy have a short argument and he finally cusses and says I can play on the living room floor as long as I am quiet.  I start putting the track together but can’t figure out how to make the plug thing work.  I also don’t exactly know how to place the train cars on the track so the wheels stay in line.  I ask Daddy to help me but he won’t do it and reminds me he told me to be quiet. I know Mom is busy in the kitchen so I don’t ask her.  I sit in the floor and try to figure things out.  I guess I get frustrated because Daddy says I am getting whiny.  Daddy tells me I need to learn how to make the train work.  I say if he will show me one time then I can do it.  Daddy tells me to read the instructions but there are no instructions – I guess kids are supposed to know how to make their trains work. I feel disappointed.  I really want to play with my train but don’t know how.  I push the engine and the cars around on the floor but that is no fun.  For some reason I start punching on the box the train came in and I am saying I hate my train.  I really don’t hate my train so I don’t know why I am saying that.

Daddy puts down his book and gets up out of his chair.  Daddy walks over to me and picks me up.  Daddy carries me back to his chair and sits down.  Daddy pulls my pajama pants down to my knees. (I don’t wear underwear with my pajamas.) Daddy then puts me over his knees and starts spanking me hard with his hand.  Daddy is yelling at me and telling me I am ungrateful.  He says he told Mom that I was a spoiled shit. Daddy keeps hitting my bottom with his hand and I try to reach back and keep his hand from hitting me but I can’t.  I am crying hard and I am begging Daddy to stop spanking me but he won’t.  Daddy finally stops spanking me after a long time and yanks my pajama pants back in place.  I am still crying hard and my bottom is really really sore.  Daddy picks me up and takes me to my bed and tosses me in my bed.  I hug my new stuffed dog and cry until I fall asleep.  I wake up and hear Mom and Daddy fighting again.  Like they usually do they are fighting about me.  I lie in bed and try to pretend I am somewhere else where parents don’t scream at each other until Mom comes in to tell me it is time to eat.  Dinner is really good but we are all quiet.  I don’t think our dinner turns out like Mom wants it to.

I spend the rest of the day watching TV and hugging my stuffed dog.  Mom helps me make my train work the next day when Daddy goes back to work.  I guess the train is fun but it doesn’t feel special to me like on Christmas morning. I really wish Christmas didn’t exist.  If Christmas didn’t exist then I would have got two less spankings.

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“Mommy, Mommy! I had a really bad dream.”

I wake up shaking and scared.  The dream seems so real.  I need Mommy and she comes running to my bed and sits down and hugs me. I realize I am crying.

“Joey, what’s wrong?”

“I had a horrible dream! Everything is so scary.”

“Tell me about your dream, Honey.”

I suck back my tears and wipe the back of my hand across my eyes. I tell Mommy about the dream.

“There was a boy.  The boy was me but he wasn’t me. The boy was nine like me but he had really dark hair and it was straight.  My hair is blonde and curly.  The boy in my dream was a tall boy; not short like me.  Mommy, it is weird but I know I was the boy.  The boy had a really mean daddy.  I guess since I was the boy it was supposed to be my daddy but he didn’t look like my daddy and my daddy isn’t mean. It was almost Christmas.  The boy’s daddy called him names and I don’t think the daddy loved the boy. The boy’s mommy wanted to get the boy some presents for Christmas but the daddy didn’t want to spend any money. The parents had a really nasty argument about it.”

I am crying again.  Mommy helps me to calm down.

“Is that all, Joey?”

“No, Mommy, it was terrible.  The daddy wouldn’t buy a Christmas tree and so the boy and his mommy put up an old tree that looked like it was made out of cooking foil.” I look at Mommy to make sure she is understanding me.

“Joey, I know about those trees and they were made out of the same stuff as cooking foil.  Go on.”

“The boy made a mess while he was making decorations for the tree and it made the daddy mad and he gave the boy a horrible spanking.  It wasn’t like the spankings you and Daddy give me.  The boy in my dream got whacked lots and lots with a belt that was hanging on his bedroom wall.  Mommy, while the boy was getting whacked with the belt it was like I could feel it.  I felt really sorry for the boy. So Christmas came and the boy did get presents and he liked them.  He got a little train but he didn’t know how to make it work.  He asked his daddy to help him with the train.  The daddy wouldn’t help him.  Mommy, I don’t understand that.  Daddy would have helped me with a train.  The boy got upset because he didn’t know how to make his train work and so he started throwing a tantrum, well, sort of like a tantrum, but it was like I understood why he was doing it.  The boy’s daddy gave him another spanking – on Christmas – the boy got a spanking on Christmas!  This spanking wasn’t with that awful belt but it was way harder and longer than I ever get.  I know the spanking was horrible because I sort of felt it too.  The boy then had to go to bed and he stayed there for a long time and it was Christmas.  The parents argued again.  Mommy, it was a horrible dream.  I felt really badly for the boy – for me.”

Mommy hugs me and gives me a kiss and says it is all OK now because I am awake.  Mommy asks if I want breakfast and I do so we go to the kitchen.  Today is Christmas Eve and I can hardly wait for tomorrow.  I eat breakfast but I realize Daddy isn’t home.

“Mommy, where is Daddy?”

“Joey, do you remember us telling you that we were going to help take care of another little boy?”

“Yeah, you said he was called a foster kid but that maybe he might end up being my brother.”

“That’s right.  Well, he is ready to come stay with us just a little earlier than was planned.  Your daddy and I got a call about him late last night after you had gone to bed.  Daddy has gone now to get him and bring him here.”

I get really worried.

“Mommy, if the foster boy is coming to stay with us today and if it is earlier than was planned then how will Santa know where to find him? Maybe I should let him have some of my presents.”

“Joey, that is so sweet and thoughtful of you but don’t worry.  Daddy is going to go out today and talk to Santa and make arrangements for the boy to have plenty of presents.”

I feel better.  I hear Daddy’s car pull up.  Daddy comes in the house and a boy with straight dark hair is holding Daddy’s hand. The boy looks to be nine just like me even though he is tall. The boy is holding a big stuffed dog in his other hand.  The stuffed dog looks familiar.  Daddy introduces the boy to me.

“Joey, this is going to be your new foster brother.  His name is David.”

David gets lots of presents on Christmas morning.  I am glad Daddy made arrangements with Santa.

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"In the end, it's just a story. But if you ask me, it's all true."

2 Re: 2014 Advent Calendar - 16 December on Mon Dec 15, 2014 5:47 pm


Minor Spoiler Warnings!

I'll be very honest with you - I almost didn't run this.

While I certainly feel there's a place for more downbeat stories - heck, my own story, The Boy Who Hated Christmas, was hardly a laugh fest. I just felt this wasn't the right place to post this one.

I was looking for what to post tonight, and I opened this one. I don't remember why, but I skimmed down to the bottom, and read the conclusion.

I don't remember how many times I thought about going to live with another family - going someplace I wouldn't be a burden, but where the people would actually want me around.

This was a really hard story for me to read, but it's also one that's really easy for me to understand.

I hope that at this time of year, that's supposed to be about sharing and caring, we can all stop and think about those who have no one to do those things with or for.

"In the end, it's just a story. But if you ask me, it's all true."

3 Re: 2014 Advent Calendar - 16 December on Mon Dec 15, 2014 6:19 pm


Hugs David!

I love you


4 Re: 2014 Advent Calendar - 16 December on Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:38 pm

David M. Katz

I want to thank Jack for hosting the story. BTW, he and I discussed his thoughts on the story and I do agree with his assessment.

Thanks to you all for giving it a look.

It is at MMSA:

Merry Christmas!

santa santa rendeer rendeer

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

5 Re: 2014 Advent Calendar - 16 December on Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:01 pm


OMG Dave, this was priceless; I nearly cried my eyes out!

I realize this to be a portrait of a younger you but I found SO much of Ryan in this story that it nearly destroyed me. At my first opportunity I'll give both stars over at the Archive. Fine work indeed!!?

6 Re: 2014 Advent Calendar - 16 December on Tue Dec 16, 2014 2:58 pm


That is so sad. Cannot see anything other than a divorce coming. then that man will have contribute. Not the most festive thought I know but.In time that boy wil stop being 9 and will not care what his Dad thinks anymore

7 Re: 2014 Advent Calendar - 16 December on Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:13 pm


My 16 December 1958 Advent calender present was a little sister... Shocked


8 Re: 2014 Advent Calendar - 16 December on Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:35 pm


I love you and hugs KATZ

Great story even though it made me Sad but the ending was good

Hugs kal

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