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Monday, November 3, 2014

Chapter 12 Real Santa (51 Days Until XMAS )

GEORGE HAD RENTED these type of apartments for years before

his first marriage. They were dismal brownstones with moldering

wood and damp stairwells with copper buzzers that never worked

and mailboxes that rarely closed. Dean had been a master of ceremony

when he and his father appeared in his apartment stuffed with

computers and posters of Fellini films and, of course, that famous
Welles poster of Citizen Kane.

“This is my master work,” he told George and his father, taking a

seat in a director’s chair dead center in the apartment.
For the next hour they were treated to a low-budget Die Hard.

Dean stopped the frame several times to explain shots, techniques,

and special effects. Kronenfeldt Sr. yawned and watched with his arms

crossed and his floppy hat still on. Dean sped them along, replaying

the films nexus with the summation of human motivation: drugs,

pussy, and money.

George had to nudge his father awake by the end as Dean turned

on the lights. He was a wiry Australian with a helmet of short black

hair painted on his skull. He moved things around in his apartment,

gesturing to posters and directors of famous movies.

“I tell you, mate, the Cohens really knocked it out of the park with
that one. I think Ethan was particularly proud of Fargo more than

his brother. Parts of the movie reminded me of Australia.” George

remembered then that Dean had left his wife and four kids in Aus

tralia to find opportunity in America. Mary said his family had been

waiting for ten years to come to the land of milk and honey.

“So, what can I help you boys with? Mary said you had a hot

project, and I am the man for hot projects! By the way, tell Mary

sorry about the job falling through for the hot fudge sundaes. The

bastards ended up going with some B roll.”

George sat up on the couch that felt like something from college.

“Dean, I have a project that maybe you can help me with,” he began.

“I want to land a sled with reindeer on my roof, go up and down the

chimney, then have the sled take off. My daughter is beginning to

doubt the existence of Santa, and I want to prove to her there really

is a Santa.”

Dean’s face had turned dark red, and his cheeks filled with air.

He jumped out of his director’s chair. “STUPENDOUS!”

George’s father jumped up. “What the hell!”

“BLOODY STUPENDOUS, MATE!”

Dean began pacing back and forth, cigarette fuming.

“Let me get this straight. Your daughter is doubting Santy Claus,

and you are going to be the real old boy himself and go down the

chimney and all that, and you want me to help with the illusion of

Santa’s sleigh and reindeer taking off into the sky?”

George nodded. “Exactly.”

“STUPENDOUS!” Dean began pacing again. “This could be big,
this could be really big …” He stopped and swung around. “What do

you call this bugger?”

“You mean, what I’m doing? Well, I have been calling it Real

Santa, I guess.”

Dean’s face flowered again.

“BLOODY BRILLIANT!”

“So really, I just need some assistance on the special effects and—”

“Mate, you don’t have to sell it to me anymore! I’ll do the movie!

The special effects, mate, are a snap!”

His father cleared his throat.

“Dean, maybe George didn’t explain it clearly. This isn’t a movie.

He just wants to make his little girl think there is really a Santa Claus.”

Dean’s mouth deflated as he sat back down on his director’s chair.

“No movie?”

George shook his head.

“No, we are really going to put Santa on the roof. I have reindeer

that will be up there with a real sled, and I really am going down
the chimney.” George laid out the The Plan on the table. “What I

am thinking though is for the image of Santa flying, we use digital

projectors and maybe an image projected on smoke.”

Dean stared at the drawing, his face turning fire-engine red.

“STUPENDOUS!”

His father leaned over. “I think he left his brains in Australia,”

he murmured.

“Mate, this is even better! You are actually going to do this!”

George nodded. “Right.”

Dean began pacing again, another cigarette in his hand, muttering,

nodding. “Okay, this could be big. BIG! You are actually going to

be the big man yourself. Actually going to do it. Okay. Okay!”

George watched as Dean stopped, closed his eyes then clasped

his hand.

“I’ll do it for you, mate! For the girl … ah, what’s her name?”

“Megan.”

“Right! I’m a father too you know, mate.” Dean’s eyes filled. “I really

miss Danny, Diane, Dewy, and … and …” He shrugged. “I can never

remember the last little bugger’s name, accident child you know. But

for your daughter, yes, of course I will do it!”

“Then you think my idea with the projectors and smoke will

work?”

He waved his cigarette.

“Oh, no problem, mate! The way I see it, we could shoot on smoke

or a scrim. You say you’re going to have the reindeer up there and

you want to make it look like they are flying, right?”

“Yes, you see we will have ramps on both sides of the roof and—”

“Piece of cake, mate! PIECE OF CAKE!” Dean sat down and

looked at the diagram. “Right. We generate smoke and snow and

shoot the image of Santy and the reindeer in the sky, maybe a few

pyros, then you come out of the smoke and snow in your sled here.

You get out and go down the chimney and deliver the presents to the

mite, then you come back and into the smoke and snow again. We

shoot Santy into the sky, and your daughter goes back to sleep with

sugar plums in her head.”

George looked at his father, who was studying Dean intently.

“My FX guys can handle this, no problem. I don’t ask for pay,

mate, but I do require that I am the director on the set, and that I

am able to film this as a promo reel for my next upcoming movie.”

George rolled his shoulders and looked at his father. “I don’t see

a problem with that.”

“Now, what’s our deadline here?”

“Ah, well Christmas Eve, obviously.”

Dean pulled down his cigarette. “Wow, ten days, mate! Okay, I

was thinking and going to see the kiddies in the land down under,

but this takes precedent!”

“Oh …” George shook his head. “I don’t want to keep you from

your kids.”

Dean clapped his shoulder.

“Career has to come first, mate, and this is a STUPENDOUS opportunity,

and, like I say, a perfect teaser reel for pitching the studios

on my upcoming film!”

“I didn’t know you had an upcoming film, Dean.”

“I didn’t, mate, until you came in. Now I do. Here’s the title …
Real Santa!”
Kronenfeldt Sr. raised his eyebrows. “Catchy.”
“Why, this could be the next It’s a Wonderful Life! Or a bloody

White Christmas or that other bloody movie with the elf.”

George nodded. “Elf?”
“Right! Right! We could have a classic on our hands here, mate!”

“I just want to make sure my daughter believes in Santa Claus. I

don’t care what you do after that.”

Dean jumped to his feet.

“You haven’t talked to anyone else, mate?”

“No … I have appointments today but—”

“Any other directors?”

“No, just the reindeer guy and the chimney guy.”

“Good, good. Mum’s the word, boys. We don’t want anyone horning

in on our idea. So let’s zip those mouths, eh?”

George looked at his father and shrugged. “No problem.”
“Good, let’s shake then on our deal and my new movie—
Real Santa!”

They shook hands all around. Dean stared at the two men, his

face filling with blood like a plasma balloon. He threw his hands

toward the ceiling.

“STUPENDOUS!”

Real Santa

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Books by William Hazelgrove