George stared at the dark chimney before him like an ominous
“What now, Dad?”
He turned back to the sled and looked at his son.
“Alright, let’s get the presents out of the sled,” he said to Jeremy.
“And act like an elf. Megan is watching from the window.”
And then George had a glimpse of Megan by the window. Her
video light peered out like a star through the glass. George wondered
if she would get anything through the window with the reflection.
“Alright, Santa. How about a HO HO HO, mate?”
“You gotta be kidding,” George groused, trying to keep his footing
on the slippery roof.
“This is yer director speaking. Give us a big Santa HO HO HO
and hold on to yer sides!”
“HO HO …,” George bellowed, feeling his throat constrict. He had
inhaled some of the chemical snow, and he thought he might barf.
“Yuck,” he muttered, still gagging.
“Alright, mate, forget about the HO HO HO. Let’s concentrate
on getting up that chimney, shall we?”
George looked up and saw the nose of the camera peering down
at him. A man on the roof with a handheld camera followed his every
move. Jeremy had the red bag of presents over his shoulder.
George glanced at his son up on the slushy roof in the middle of
the night with nine reindeer and men floating around with cameras.
He was smiling.
“I better take those for effect,” he said, taking the bag of presents.
“Alright, let’s move toward the chimney. And remember, Megan is
watching us,” he cautioned under his breath.
“Got ya, Dad.”
George moved toward the chimney like a man underwater, stepping
carefully through the sticky slush and oily residue from the
smoke machines. The chimney had rungs that Joe installed for him
like metal horseshoes going up water towers. But the first one was
very high, and George could not bring his boot up high enough.
“Alright, mate, ready to climb?” Dean sparked in his ear.
“The step is too damn high.”
“Careful there, Santa, we don’t want a foul-mouth Santy. She can
hear you know, mate.”
George looked up and saw Sven and Yergen crouched down
against the sides of the chimney with their rappelling ropes. They
motioned him up, and George tried to bring his boot up again. The
coat and pants wouldn’t allow him to get his foot up high enough.
“It’s no use. I can’t do it.”
“Dad, let me give you a boost,” Jeremy said, taking the bag of
presents that George had hooked onto a harness over his shoulders.
He had brought up the fact he couldn’t carry the presents and climb
the chimney with one hand. The harness had a hook, and the presents
would dangle free, allowing him to use both hands. His son was bent
down, with his fingers locked.
“Ready,” Jeremy replied, nodding.
George put his boot in his hands and pushed up against the
chimney. He hugged the bricks, leaning against the brick tower like
a small bridge.
“Get yer foot on the first rung, mate,” Dean directed from above.
George saw the first rung, but it required him to free his death grip.
“I’m going to fall,” he muttered.
“George … yer got to go up that chimney, mate! The little tyke
George saw Sven and Yergen motioning to him to get his hands
over to the steel horseshoes. George looked down and saw people
staring up at him. Dean had trained several lights on the chimney. He
just had to get his hands over to the first rung, and he would be fine.
“Alright, here goes,” he muttered, lunging for the rung.
For a moment Santa swung free, his feet dangling in space, an
acrobat doing a high-wire chimney stunt, hanging on with his hands
for life. George kicked around, finding the bottom rung with his fat
boot and steadying himself, pushing up, his heart beating like a fast
drummer. He hugged the chimney like his mother.
“Jesus Christ,” he cried out, kissing the frozen brick.
MOVIE RIGHTS SOLD!
Vicki Rocco of Modern Family optioned the movie rights of William Hazelgrove's Real Santa for her production company Small But Mighty Productions with an eye to a feature or a made for television movie. Ms. Rocco has to her credits, Modern Family, Arrested Development, Stand and Deliver, U23D, Empire Dreams, Heather, Britany Spears Live, and sees Real Santa as a classic that will pull in people hungry for a new take on the Christmas movie. "No one has done this. No one has taken on the physics of being Santa Claus. It is funny and heartwarming and has all the things we look for in any great Christmas movie."
STARRED REVIEW BOOKLIST
"If somebody doesn't make a movie out of this book, there's something wrong with the world.
David Pitts Booklist
"The author marries the everyday dramas found in the novels of Tom Perrotta and Nick Hornby to the high camp of Carl Hiaasen or Dave Barry. Adults looking for a funny holiday-themed tale that doesn't lose its sense of wonder in the face of realism will find a treat here. A lovingly crafted comedy about the madness that fatherhood inspires."
Best-selling author Hazelgrove (e.g., Ripples; Tobacco Sticks) captures the human need to believe in something good. This book will satisfy readers looking for a happy Christmas story.-- Library Journal