ryan quinn flanagan | mall santa

Mall Santa

the Bayfield Mall
in Barrie, Ontario
in the restroom
I was ten.

Santa Claus
stood beside me
at the urinal
pissing into the

He smelled like liquor
and incinerated

His eyes were drawn
and bloodshot.

When the man washing up at the sink
Santa and I were alone.

He leaned over me
reached his hand toward my middle
said he had to see if I’d been
a good boy all year.

I told Santa
my father was waiting
just outside.

He removed his hand
and left
without washing up.

Back in the mall
there was a long line
of children.

All waiting to sit on Santa’s lap.

To tell him what they wanted
for Christmas.

My father said the wait was too long
so I couldn’t see Santa
that day.

I said that was ok.

Santa didn’t need to know
what I wanted for Christmas.

And I already knew
what he wanted.

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