1. Seduction in Three Acts
With Anya’s kiss tingling warm upon his cheek and her grandmotherly smile of devotion dancing in his eyes, Santa Claus bounded through cheering throngs of elves and lifted the worn leather reins of his sleigh. He loved their heft, how they took to his hands like tendons stretched from his snorting stamping team straight up through the brawn of his arms to his shoulders.
As far off as his eyes could see, elfin hands lifted lanterns high and elfin voices—strong, high-pitched, and spirited—beat back the silence of the night. “Farewell, Santa!” they shouted. “God speed! God bless! Auf Wiedersehen!”
“Merry Christmas to you all!” boomed Santa, to which his elves cheered and sent their caps jingling skyward. The whip cracked smartly over his reindeer, whose powerful bodies responded as if to ravenous hunger. “Into the sky with you, my four-footed wonders!” came Santa’s command. “Let’s not keep our beloved little boys and girls waiting a moment longer!”
Random snorts and stamps assumed order and purpose. Nine antlered heads drew a bead on the stark silhouette of treetops pasted against the sky above the skating pond. Nine harnessed bodies, taut with sinew and muscle, surged forward. Like a blare of sirens, the fiery effulgence of Lucifer’s antlers split the dusk in twain. Eighteen pairs of hoofs beat soundless against the night breeze, tossing up divots of wind.
They were away.
Shifting the reins, Santa raised his right hand for a final wave to his friends and loved ones. His wife beamed up at him from the porch. In her eye, a tear. In her hand, a handkerchief edged with bobbin lace. For an instant, he saw only her, felt only the love that bound them in wedded bliss.
Santa knew their holiday separation took its toll on Anya, she delighted so in his company. He missed her too, working Christmas Eve with no one but the likes of Comet and Cupid to talk to. But he loved the world’s wee ones with all his heart, and he knew that Anya loved them too. For the sake of the children, then, a loss of consortium, bitter though it was for them both, had to be endured.
Behind him, his wife and fellow workers grew tinier. The stable, the workshop, the cottage itself became as miniatures folded into the night. Santa leaned forward into the jingle of bells and the busy haunches of his team, feeling the sleigh’s dip and rise in his testicles.
“That’s the way, pretty ones! Straight on into the night!”
A wrist-snap. The impulse traveled the length of his whip, stinging the air over a forest of antlers. Lucifer, his lead reindeer, scattered a guiding white light in all directions, and the delicious aroma of vanilla dipped and rolled along the backs of the remaining eight. Overhead, stars huddled into the depths of night like millions of impulses eager to be acted upon.
As always, and thank God for that, the winter world which opened before him kissed the hem of perfection and the children were his to bless on this most wondrous night of the year.
The first time Santa encountered the Tooth Fairy was barely six million residences into his rounds, in a modest ranch house on Elm Street in North Merrick, New York. He had just finished setting out gifts for the Draper children—Bobby, ten; Davey, eight; Anne Marie, five—and had his face pressed against their Douglas fir, hung with lights and ornaments. Santa loved the hint of forest in his nostrils.
When he rose, she was standing there where the living room spilled into a long dark hallway, wearing nothing but a pair of yellow panties, her necklace of outsized teeth, and a beguiling smile.
He drank her in, all of her carnality at once, glory enfleshed. Her necklace spoke boldly, its wide arc of glistening white teeth sweeping from shoulder to shoulder, large and canine every one. Like rough surf, they slapped cruelly at her breasts, which thrust out full and defiant. Her nipples seemed forever aroused, pointed and prominent as constellated stars, with fire to match.
Her eyes flared seduction.
Santa gave a sharp cry as a shockwave of sensuality engulfed him. He had known of course that the Tooth Fairy existed, had even on occasion cast a kind thought her way. But her sudden appearance in the flesh set off ancient echoes in his mind, brought forgotten aromas to the fore, thrilled him in shameful ways.
“Santa Claus,” she whispered. Her splayed fingers framed the bright stretch of fabric that hugged her sex. More discovering than covering was that splash of yellow, so guileful the gold silk, so tight its stretch from pubis to perineum. Santa, his mouth dry as gauze, watched her arousal darken the cloth from canary to maize to mustard.
He ached to look elsewhere, anywhere but there. But something told him he was staring at the true core of his life, long forgotten, and he couldn’t tear his eyes away. He felt the Clausean kindness drain from him, turning him light in the head and pendulous at the groin. Anya is not going to like this; nosirree, not one bit.
“What—?” His voice was thick as rope. “What are you doing here?” He sounded lost already and that stirred anger in him.
“Look at me,” she commanded him.
“No. I mustn’t,” said Santa, but he couldn’t look anywhere else. She hovered there over the carpet, beauty and terror wrapped up in one tantalizing package.
Santa’s sack, which enroute from house to house grew heavy with gifts behind him in the sleigh, now hung slack and exhausted from his hand. In spite of himself, beneath the vast bulge of his belly, his manhood grew tightfisted as a skinflint.
She dipped a hand beneath the silk. Her body flexed. “Oooh, Santa, I wish this hand were yours.” Her urgency gripped him like a fist of fragrance.
He shuddered. “You’d better stop that right now.”
But she kept at it, burning the dark lasers of her eyes into him as her left hand joined her right, writhing this way and that with her passion.
An agonized inner voice warned him to shun the Tooth Fairy, to turn instead to the task at hand. But Santa chose not to hear it—or hearing, not to heed—fixing his ears on the immensity of her moans and gasps. Even the impatient jingle of sleighbells out on the lawn scarcely registered.
His lips moved. Shame on you, he thought he said, but the blood was pounding too loud in his ears to know whether he spoke at all.
Then she peaked. Above the exudacious swell of her breasts, her mouth elongated into a stretched oval and she unleashed the hell-hounds of passion from the depths of her throat. “Oh Jesus God,” she gasped. They issued from her, invisible guttural mongrels nipping like flames of frost at Santa’s ears. She clawed at the yellow silk, rending it, ripping it away. Her hipbones writhed into view, then the taut skin below her navel and a few stray hints of curls. The shredded cloth lemoned away like a streak of sunlight and flew across the room into Santa’s face.
All sights vanished then, and all scents but one: the aroma of her arousal, fecund and fleshy, soaked into the weave of her undergarments. Santa snatched them from his face, greedy for the sight of her. But only a visual echo, fleeting as a phantom, hung in the hallway.
He starved for the sight of her, he wanted her in the woods, any woods, a copse of trees, hell a manicured backyard by moonlight would do, Good God, what’s come over me?, he wanted her up against a tree, his hands locked around her shoulders, bark biting into his arms, his bloodpulse thrust up into her, No I’m Santa Claus, his muscular backlegs tense and tight as his hoofs struck sparks from exposed roots, channeling into her, feeling her thighs grip his flanks, feeling the rich spring air wash in and out of his lungs.
“No!” he screamed, more astonished than angered.
He pressed the torn cloth to his face and filled his lungs. It was a pure whiff of peace and joy, the lushness of forest and tidepool. It called out for procreation, for the rough and tumble of rutting lust, the insistent commingling of generous fluids.
Sobbing, Santa fumbled at the big red buttons of his fly. Out sprang his sex, its tip moist with pre-ejaculate. Silk tatters he fisted about it, rubbing as the bony hand of a science teacher vigorously strokes a glass rod to demonstrate the wonders of static electricity. Into the wet folds of silk the jolly old elf shot his spunk, voluminously, with great pitch and moment.
But even as orgasm overtook him, Clausean goodness came rushing back into him. His fingers twitched against the soaked and clotted panties, which bloomed into a large package wrapped in soft paper the color of lemon chiffon, topped with a large bow of a deeper yellow. Feeling low and mean, he set it down beneath the tree and fled to his sleigh, fumbling his buttons up as he went.
Outside, Lucifer’s soulful eyes glinted with incriminating sparks; but Santa tossed the spent sack behind him, threw himself into the driver’s seat, and with nary a word of explanation whipped the team skyward.
“Off with you!” he shouted in a voice thick with self-loathing.
On Christmas morning, John and Mary Draper awoke, to their delight, in the midst of a lovemaking most amazing. When at last they lazed down from the dizzying heights of orgasm, uncoupled, and donned robes and slippers, they found their home infused with the most delicious aroma imaginable. The kids noticed it too. They bubbled with life, more than could be accounted for by the excitement of Christmas Day alone. Even Bobby, usually the soul of fifth-grade cynicism, raced to and fro before the tree, heady with childish greed.
Little Anne Marie sniffed out its source: the pale yellow package sitting apart from the piled gifts. Its curiously quaint card read: “For John and Mary, to be opened in the privacy of your bedroom. May the coming year be new and happy in a multitude of ways. Much love, Santa.” Despite the pleas of the children, Mary refused to open it but set it upon the cedar chest at the foot of her bed.
Her hands tingled as she touched it.
All through the exchange of gifts, the visits from friends and family, and the endless holiday feasting, she and John exchanged looks of suppressed excitement.
And after a day of revelry, with the kids tucked safely away for the night, they tore into the yellow enigma and brought forth sex toys galore. A profusion of them splashed across their comforter: dildos and cock-rings and ben-wa balls; frilly fuckwear for her, leather briefs with strategic zippers for him; flavored creams and gels of every variety; and condoms without number—ribbed and stippled, latex and lambskin, clear and opaque and every color of the rainbow.
Each denied the giving but delighted in the gift, as much for the sheer naughtiness these playthings suggested as for anything inherently exciting in them.
And their sex life, hitherto a dim porchlight over the dark doorway of their marriage, became thereafter a blazing hearth-fire, lending abundant light and heat to all of life’s endeavors.
The second time Santa saw the Tooth Fairy, he had nearly succeeded in putting her out of his mind. For a time, he dreaded seeing her again. He couldn’t shake her image, her aroma, nor his overwhelming sense of guilt. If Saint Anthony had resisted temptation of all sorts, he agonized, then why couldn’t jolly old Saint Nick?
Good God in Heaven, Claus, another part of him shot back. Anthony was an ascetic, an oddball, a loner, thin as a rail and half as exciting. You’re as corpulent as they come, a lover of food and drink, fond of realizing spiritual good in material form. When you saved that Lycian merchant’s three daughters from whoredom by tossing a bag of gold in at each of their windows, please recall how you yielded at once to the youngest’s gratitude: you followed your money through her casement, taking joy in the sweet paroxysm of her loins.
Dear Jesus, I’d forgotten that. Yes, but that was before I met and married my beloved Anya, before I vowed to cleave to her alone. If she knew about tonight, it would hurt her heart. It would wither her soul.
So keep it from her. Heavens, man, you didn’t even touch the temptress. So unfret that brow, put your worries behind you, let’s see some jolly light those eyes. If she presses you again, you’ll be ready to resist, to play at Saint Anthony, or even Jesus in the Wilderness, if you wish.
So it went, the turmoil in Santa’s mind.
But by the time he reached the Midwest, all was once more bright and calm, nothing in his mind but sleighbells and candycanes.
Humming with joy and contentment, Santa reached into his burgeoning sack and pulled forth gift after gift for the Gilberts, long-time Iowa City residents in the blue and white Victorian at 925 North Dubuque Street: Sandra, a full professor in the School of Dentistry; Paul, head dispatcher for the Coralville transit system; and their daughters—Karen, Julie, and Jane—arrayed in age from nine to five. Theirs was a lovely tree, dusted white and decorated in motifs of gold and silver. Much love filled their house. True, Paul was boffing one of his bus drivers, an earthy young woman named Debbie Travers. But his heart, Santa knew, belonged to Sandra and the girls.
This time his nose found her first.
One moment he was on his knees adjusting the ribbon around the neck of a rocking horse and breathing in the apple-cider and cinnamon-stick air of the ticking house. The next, his nostrils were ravished by the sharp thrust of the Tooth Fairy’s woman-scent, alluring and arousing and monstrous all in one.
He tossed his head back in panic. There she stood at the sliding doors to the front parlor. A luminous trail of fairy dust sparkled down the dark stairway. Apparently she had already paid her visit to Julie’s room upstairs, taken up her tiny tooth, and left a cache of coins behind. Now she hovered, one hand on the dark wood of the sliding door, and spoke his name.
“Santa,” she said, “you know why I’m here.”
Fright seized the unwary elf. He stood up in a rush, upsetting the rocking horse. A string of silver bells on the tree ting-ting’d in protest. “All right,” he said, his voice trembling. “This has gone far enough.”
“Has it?” Her body choked his eyes. Silken panties as orange as hissing bonfires hugged her hips. She cupped and caressed her dark-tipped breasts.
He faltered. “Look, I’m trying to do my job here. You’re distracting me. You’re spoiling the mood, the purity of the . . . of the holiday spirit. Now be a good little fairy and . . .”
Santa’s mouth moved but suddenly nothing would come out. He wanted to be firm with her, abrupt as a dictator, but it refused to happen.
The Tooth Fairy tilted her head just so and hung a smile upon her lips.
Santa staggered. Oh Jesus, I’m going to fall. The Persian carpet’s elaborate weave funneled him toward the delectable devourer.
“For the sake of the children,” he moaned, “please go away. You’re so beautiful—good God the word doesn’t do you justice—but I can’t give you what you want.” Had he called her beautiful? Yes, he thought. As beautiful as an earthquake swallowing whole cities.
In a blink she wafted over to him and pressed her body against his, her breasts pushing the sharp necklace of teeth into his red-suited chest, her pantied pelvis molding and encouraging his arousal.
“You can,” she insisted, “and you will.”
“I have a wife,” Santa protested weakly. He was losing himself in the wilds of her scent.
“Forget her,” she rasped. She swirled her tonguetip inside the dips and folds of his left ear. Santa’s knees buckled, taking his last vestige of resolve with them. The steady voice of conscience, the troth he had plighted long ago, proved no match for this insistent female, whose moist lips now played upon his mouth. Her tongue licked greedily at Santa’s teeth and gums, deftly probing his oral cavity.
It suddenly occurred to him that he was Santa Claus, God damn it, that three innocent children slept overhead, and that what he was now engaged in was an unforgivable violation of the sanctity of the Gilbert household. Santa seized upon the Tooth Fairy’s shoulders and rudely thrust her away.
Drunken rage flared in her eyes, but she masked it and glided back against him. “So, we’re playing hard to get, are we? Or maybe we’re just getting hard. Is that what this is about?”
“No more, please.”
“Shall we see just how hard we’re getting?”
“Don’t, please don’t.” But in the physical struggle she had begun, her playful combativeness made her body shift and arch in alluring ways and Santa felt the demon again, the not-Santa in him, surge up, robbing him of all resistance.
Now her fingers snaked down his paunch, past the shiny black belt to the bright red bulge in his trousers. His buttons must have undone themselves, for in no time, the ineffable thrill a man feels when a woman grips his loveshaft surged through him.
“No,” he gasped.
Santa’s hands felt numb and alien. His left splayed across her shoulderblade like a starfish on a beach. This is not happening. His right sculpted her neck, her hard-tipped breasts, her belly, then plunged beneath the orange silk and found the swell of her desire. Please God, let this not be happening.
Thus they led one another, by hand and lip—though Santa kicked and screamed inside like a caged saint—to the brink of orgasm.
With a shudder, she gripped his inserted middle finger and bellowed out a world-splitting groan. That sound was enough to tilt the balance for him as well. Santa’s low taut baritone came up under her full-throated gasps, and his seed arced out of him and spattered the topmost branches of the tree, dripping downward in dribs and drabs.
Oh Lord, I’m damned indeed, he thought, but it didn’t stop him from wanting suddenly to embrace the Tooth Fairy in all her monstrosity. His massive red arms encircled her to hold her tight. And closed on nothing. His sex hung suddenly free and unstroked and spurting, and his mouth, still a-tingle, gaped empty and unkissed.
Fighting back tears of humiliation, Santa gestured toward the tree and watched his semen turn to gleaming white candycanes on the branches it had befouled.
He fell to his knees. “Heavenly Father,” he prayed, “give me strength. Help me withstand the temptress. Be with me in my hour of need. This I pray by all the saints in heaven and on earth. Amen.” Then he gathered his things together, dematerialized through the front door, and dove into his sleigh.
Lucifer took one look at him and rolled his eyes at Prancer. But Santa’s whipsmack split the air above his antlers, distressed shouts of “Up and away, damn you!” filled his ears, and before he knew it, his hoofs had left the snowy lawn and the sleigh was airborne.
The Gilberts’ Christmas that year was the best any of them could recall. It wasn’t so much the presents, nor the food, nor the folks who dropped by, though all of that was tinged as usual with the special clarity and goodness of Christmas Day. It seemed rather that the house itself, from attic to basement, from front porch to back, was infused with the deepest comfort and warmth.
But the girls’ favorite moment was Karen’s discovery of the off-white candycanes on the tree. They went wild over them, the young ones especially, licking the stiff glistening columns of white like Ponce de Leon indulging himself at the Fountain of Youth. They smuggled some of them to school to share with their closest girlfriends, and Julie pressed one upon her mother.
Sandra had never tasted anything like it. Despite a dominant strain of treacle, powerful barbs of nutrition jagged out here and there into her taste buds. There were hints of salt mingled with a sugar so pure its taste made her eyes glisten with tears of joy.
Paul Gilbert reaped his reward that night when Sandra slipped into bed beside him, peeled off his pajama bottoms with her teeth, and spent the next five hours lining her stomach with his outpourings of love. Sandra had always blanched at the very notion of oral sex, which was one reason her husband spent three lunch hours each week with Debbie Travers, a woman who loved to lick and be licked, though she refused to let him come in her mouth.
From that night, Paul swore off Debbie and stayed faithful to his wife ever after. Karen, Julie, and Jane, as well as their friends who had partaken of the special candycanes, grew to be skilled milkers of men, and even the plainest of them, once her talents became known, never lacked for dates.
The third time the Tooth Fairy crossed his path, Santa thought he was ready for her. Anya’s image he kept close to his heart, catechizing in mid-flight the richness of their lives together, all the blessings they had shared. He devised devastating rebuffs for the temptress should she reappear.
But his strongest defense, he believed, was his clearsighted assessment of the sex act itself. Devoid of love, did it amount to anything more than a poke and a squirt, the thrust of a fleshy banana into a squishy doughnut for the momentary excitation of both? Surely he could quell his sensual urges, acknowledge them yet not act on them, if the dreaded third visitation occurred.
The Townsend residence on K Street in Sacramento was a well-preserved, three-story Victorian, slate-gray with white trim. The house kept a stately watch over its occupants: Harold Townsend, a dealer in used cars, his wife Patricia, and their children Rachel and Billy. Santa had just read Rachel’s note to him and taken a crisp bite out of an Oreo.
The sudden pressure of a hand coming to rest upon his shoulder nearly made him choke.
It was her, pantied in red this time, the same fire-engine red as his suit. The savage beauty of her body was as breathtaking as before, but no lust shone in her eyes, nothing of the huntress hung about her.
That caught Santa off guard.
“It’s me again,” she said.
He swallowed the cookie as best he could, pretending nonchalance. “So I see.”
She brought her lips to his fingers and took the last bite of Oreo out of them as if it were a communion wafer. Then she lifted the glass of milk from the table and drank it down.
The not-Santa crept back into him, peering hungrily at the long sweep of her neck and its inviting resolution in the thrust and surge of her mammaries.
What’s her game this time? And what is this thing inside me, this thing I call not-Santa? Whatever it was, it felt disturbingly comfortable, like easing into a pair of forgotten slippers.
She set the glass down. “I haven’t harvested the little girl’s tooth yet,” she said. “Let’s take a peek, shall we?”
Santa sensed a trap. “I don’t think that would be a good idea.” But the Tooth Fairy insisted, poking his rotund belly and giving a maddening little laugh.
At last he consented (“But no funny business!”). She led him down the hall to Rachel’s room, passing hand in hand with him through the closed door. In her oversized bed, the sleeping child was dwarfed by the stuffed animals that shared her dreams. It had been her gramma and grampa’s bed, but they had bought a new one, and, knowing how Rachel loved it so, had given her the giant bed for her own. Now she lay on a thin sliver of mattress at the rightmost edge, one arm around the neck of a large teddy bear.
“There’s the little dear,” the Tooth Fairy whispered, closer to Santa’s ear than she really needed to be. “Wait here. I’ll only be a moment.”
She glided to the bed. Rachel’s head lolled toward her, her mouth open in the innocence of sleep. The Tooth Fairy ran a greedy finger over the exposed enamel of her bottom teeth. There was something menacing, something perverse, in her movements. Santa made an instinctive feint toward the child. Then the Tooth Fairy’s hand slid beneath the pillow and found Rachel’s tooth.
Turning to Santa, she opened her mouth and placed it, like a small white pill, provocatively on the tip of her tongue. Hunger flared in her eyes.
Oh dear God, it begins again.
As she chewed, the sharp crunch of bone grinding bone sang in Santa’s ears.
And it feels so undeniably good.
Deftly she peeled off the red panties and tossed them his way. He caught and pocketed them without taking his eyes from her, fearful lest she vanish as before.
And what is Anya?
She squatted, legs spread wide, and shat dimes.
Anya is but a being torn from her lifespring, denying the undeniable surge.
Dimes dropped like tight silver turds from her anus, shiny in moonlight, ringing upon the bare wooden floor, spinning and rolling hither and yon.
And what is the Tooth Fairy?
With a practiced hand she retrieved them and slid them beneath the pillow.
Pure body, pure need, pure demand. That which must be caressed and covered and filled.
Then she lay down amongst the stuffed animals and harshly ordered Santa to make love to her.
Her skin shone flawless as a stone madonna’s.
When he ran halfheartedly through his poor litany of objections, she stretched most provocatively, her body the body of a cat. And when he protested further, she merely smiled upon him, opened wide her thighs, and massaged with slow fingers the blushing wound of her love. Her breasts, mounded by the narrowing V of her downthrust arms, nippled into the night air. At the sight of them, Santa fell speechless. There were no more words in him. They had played out like line shooting madly off the spool of a fishing rod before a high-spirited bonefish that refuses to be landed.
Now there was only heat in Rachel’s room. Heat that made Santa’s suit a heavy obscenity, heat rising from the Tooth Fairy’s splayed body, heat churning deep in Santa’s groin where Santa and not-Santa conjoined most inseparably together. As quick as a nod, he unbooted and unsocked his feet, uncapped his head, unbelted, unsuited, and un-red-flannel-underweared his demanding flesh.
Feels right. Right? By God, it feels perfect!
Massive, all-giving, and generously endowed, Santa Claus went to the Tooth Fairy and lay with her for hour after hour of magic time, sharing the delights of illicit love.
Magic time allows beings benevolent and malevolent to move unseen among humanity, distributing gifts to billions of children in one night, for example, or bartering coins for teeth. Without magic time, the pale hand that guides the planchette would become disquietingly visible. Without magic time, scoffers at superstition would sniff the vile shades that hover beneath ladders and know better than to defy the ancient wisdom. Without magic time, the limitless vistas hidden in the mirror’s depths would leap into view, as would the Sandman’s wizened visage and the cottontailed hindquarters of a departing Easter Bunny.
For a short while, this same magic time kept what passed between Santa and his lover from Rachel’s senses. But then, as sometimes happens, there was a seepage, a commingling of their world with hers. Her brain tingling still with the numbing touch of sleep, Rachel opened wide her eyes and ears and let come to her what would, out of the tremulous darkness of her bedroom.
What came to her were two unclothed grown-ups moving against one another beyond her teddy bear, their heads pillowed on Elmer the Elephant. The glow that outlined them, as well as the numbness that held sway in her body, meant of course that she was dreaming.
Of that she was sure.
Nor was there any question who these grown-ups were. She felt blessed by their presence in her dream, looming large as gods in her bed, even though they seemed to be fighting about something or other. All their grunting and groaning seemed strange to her, hardly what one would expect from Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. But then it looked less like fighting than wrestling. Every so often, they would stop and take up a new position, then move and rub against one another again, just like the junior high kids in that boring wrestling match Daddy had dragged her and Billy to the week before.
She couldn’t get over how wonderful Santa looked, how kind his face shone even through his sweat. She loved the vastness of him and the soft sweep of his pure white hair, playing about his face. Santa was white-haired too, she noticed, below his astounding belly. And out of that wild riot of white curls, he had grown an extra finger, long and fat and upright. Santa kept hiding it inside the Tooth Fairy, sometimes in her mouth, sometimes down where she went tinkle. The Tooth Fairy seemed to like having it hidden in her.
Rachel was awestruck by the fury of the Tooth Fairy’s thrashings, how hungrily she feasted upon Santa’s aura of kindness, taking in more and more yet never depleting his stock, then flinging it back into his face, her passion as tossed and distressed as a thunderstorm. She was ghastly. And yet there was something extremely beautiful about her, something that made Rachel want to kiss her.
On occasion, Santa would match the sounds his partner made deep in her throat, savage guttural noises which were transformed, by his echoing voice, into psalms of wisdom and benevolence. It thrilled Rachel’s ears to hear the two of them like that. She felt she might almost explode with the joy of it. Her breath quickened but she kept as quiet as she could, lest she be noticed and denied further witness.
Hour after hour it went on, as dreams often do. She pleaded with God to let her remember every bit of it when she awoke the next morning.
Her prayers, however, went unanswered. For Rachel tumbled out of magic time and into normal sleep long before Santa uncoupled from the Tooth Fairy, grabbed his clothes, and staggered spent from her room. And though brief snatches of that night’s witnessing flashed before her as she grew to womanhood, not for twenty years or more did the entire scene come rushing back full-bore into Rachel’s memory.
And that would occur precisely one year before the Tooth Fairy devoured her at the North Pole.
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