🎵 Dashing through the snow
Crushing Harry’s chest
O’er the fields we go 🎵
🎵 Laying Kilgore to rest 🎵
The song fades away into static.
A large man sits on a large chair. His eyes burn; a violent gateway into a void where once a soul lived. Now, those eyes are only capable of reflecting back the deep, vivid colour that stains the dojo, floor to ceiling.
All one sees is red.
Well, that and the rainbow of baubles and tinsel draped across a green pine, sharing their colourful splendour with the presents underneath. And of course the white, fluffy rims of the man’s outfit, matched by a crookedly attached beard strung over the ears of the stoic, silent leviathan.
A leviathan known as Santa Yama.
“Konichiwa…” welcomes Sensei Abe Lincoln, stepping to the front of the stage and having made no effort to dress any different for the occasion. His clammy hands clasp in front of him.
“Who are you s’posed to be?” asks a small boy from over the top of round glasses. The boy is one of many seated barefoot in a cluster on the tatami mats of the dojo floor. A row of adults stand in an arc at the back, observing.
“My name is Sensei Abe Lincoln, mmhmm,” Lincoln introduces himself with his typical half-broken English. “I am favourite elf of Oni of Christmas, Santa Yama.”
“Santa Yama?” adds a girl from in the midst of the gathered children, her hair pulled to the sides in pigtails. “Don’t you mean Santa Claus?”
“Silly child,” Lincoln scoffs. “Santa Claus is not real. American parents are liars.”
A gasp rings out, but Lincoln continues.
“But Santa Yama? Santa Yama is very real. Santa Yama is everything. And Santa Yama is right here.” He points behind him to where Yama sits still coated in a festive grandeur that doesn’t quite do enough to mask the menace underneath. “Now… who wants to tell Santa Yama what they want for Christmas?”
The children look uncomfortably from one to another, not daring to even murmur. After a short wait, a sheepish hand rises above the herd, attached to another young boy.
“Ah… yes,” Lincoln smiles. “Come.”
He beckons the boy to the stage, and the child makes their way towards Yama. Lincoln quickly cuts them off.
“No,” he says. “You do not sit on Santa Yama. If anything, Santa Yama sits on you.”
The child’s eyes widen.
“Tell him from here,” Lincoln orders. “But first, your name?”
“A… A… Alex,” the boy stammers.
“BAH!” Lincoln spits. A bit of it lands on the boy’s shoe, which leads to the sensei sniggering further. “Alex-San already got present from Santa Yama – a CURSE! Your friends Freddy-San and Bobby-San received same. Go tell them!”
“But I don’t have friends called F…”
“TELL THEM!” Lincoln’s raised voice frightens the child back to his spot in the crowd. His cold stare lingers until it urges the boy to follow Lincoln’s instructions. Yama remains a motionless overlord, and a satisfied Lincoln calls to the children once again. “Anyone else, eh?”
It takes even longer this time, but following some further encouragement, eventually another hand rises and one more boy is ushered to the stage.
“What is that?” Lincoln steps in front again. He points at a small toy in the child’s hand.
“My… my… my Carlos Ruiz action figure,” the child stammers.
“Give!” Lincoln snatches the figurine from the child. “It is not Christmas yet. All other days of year, you give gifts to Santa Yama, mmhmm.”
“Hey!” shouts a well-built man, rushing to the stage. “That’s my son’s!”
All the man sees is red.
Well, red and white.
Santa Yama rises from his chair. A small bell jingles with each deliberate step and before his might, the parent does what all must do to celebrate the holiday of Yama.
He flees, taking his son with him.
“Santa Yama is not coming to town,” muses Lincoln as he passes the Ruiz figure to Yama. It is carried back to the throne, where Yama does with it just as Lincoln promised – just as Yama himself did when the Premier American Championship was on the line.
He sits on it.
“Santa Yama is already here.”
🎵 Jingle bells, Hunter smells
Please Ruiz go away
Randall-San, this will be fun
Yama will ruin your day, hey! 🎵