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Prompt: A dismal thing to do


“It is the season” and all that, but Jerry Bivens was having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit, which was a shame because the only job he’d been able to find was as the store Santa for Bowers Mercantile. Jerry looked the part, being on the upper side of the 300-pound mark and carrying his own scruffy whiskers, but the resemblance to the jolly ol’ elf ended there.

Jerry Bivens was a grouch—or a Grinch, depending on which generation you belong to.

“I just don’t take to people,” he explained to the store manager. “I’d be happier on the loading dock.”

Claude Bowers wasn’t having any of that. This guy looked perfect for the part. “Come on, Bivens,” he told the portly grouch. “They’re just little tykes. What can they do to you? Besides, you said you’d take any job we had open.”

Jerry shook his head, but he knew already that he’d eventually give in. Four months of no job had left his wallet pretty thin. Within a few minutes he’d agreed to at least give it a try. The agreement came with a warning, though.

“The first kid that pees on me, I’m outta here, you got that?”

Claude shook hands on the deal and went happily back to his office, leaving Jerry to dig out the Santa costume and set up his merry workshop.

Maybe it wouldn’t be too bad, after all, Jerry tried to tell himself. He did need the work.