Krampus Claus (a Tangled Tale)
“This is the deal with bad children. Bad kids are either spoiled and have total control of their adoring parents, or they are abused and neglected by their parents, or there is something wrong with their genetic make-up and they are bound for a life of failure.
I spent a career scaring kids straight, but I never bagged one up. Not once. A few bad adults maybe, or abusive parents, but never the children. Alright, there have been a few children who were truly the spawn of our old friend Satan, so to speak, but not many. In the end they will be their own worst enemies. Well, at least most of them. The rest of them go into politics. So what shall I do with you Max?”
Over the decades Max had encountered Demons, Werewolves, Fallen Angels, Goblins, Vampire Hunters, Banshees, Ghosts, and all sorts of unsavory creatures, including warm blooded humans, but this was his first encounter with Krampus.
Max looked hard at the hairy horned man creature, with a voice like gravel and too many cigarettes, who sat on the closed toilet of his downstairs bathroom.
“Why are you in my bathroom Krampus?”
“Cause the world is full of shit so I feel more comfortable here,” said St. Nick’s Demon. Krampus rolled out his long tongue and opened the window across the bathroom.
“Stop it,” said Max. “Close the window, put your tongue back in your mouth.”
“What’s the matter Vampire man? Afraid I’ll leave coal in your stocking, or better yet drag you down to Hell?”
“I’m afraid you’ll never get out of my bathroom,” said Max.
Krampus stood up and stomped around stretching is knobby legs. “Do Vampires pee? Seriously man, do you ever take a shit like normal people?”
“Why’s your tongue so long?”
“Oh that. When I was a kid, just a small hairy thing with tiny horns, kids made fun of me. You know, other Demon kids. Some asshole said I was saying shit about him so he and his friends tried to pull my tongue out. Rather than rip out of my head, my tongue stretched, and stretched, and stretched, and when they were just about to give up I wrapped my tongue around them and choked them out until they turned to a puddle of green gray slime.
About that time St. Nick, only he wasn’t a saint yet, came strolling by. I could see the light bulb going off in his head. There weren’t light bulbs back then, but he had a great idea. He asked me if I wanted to help him with bad kids. And the rest is Christmas history. So what about you? Have you always been a Vampire?”
“I was born a Vampire. What are you doing here, in my house, bugging me?”
“You’re a Vampire. Look at you all handsome and healthy looking. You should look dead,” said Krampus said he flopped down in a black vintage Eames chair. “Do you have any coffee?”
Max was about to say something when he looked up and saw his girlfriend, sometimes girlfriend, friends with benefits, Mehitabel coming down the stairs in a fuzzy pink robe. She was also a Vampire, and so many other things that Max could never explain or even understand.
“Krampus,” she said as she saw the Demon sitting in Max’s favorite chair. “I didn’t know you and Max knew each other.”
“We don’t but I was passing through town, you know, and I was overwhelmed with the emotion of this time of year, and I didn’t want to be alone. St. Nick doesn’t want anything to do with me outside of Christmas and the big birthday party his wife throws for him every year. Everyone else fears me. The other Demons are assholes. I needed a place to chill and rest my tongue,” said Krampus.
“Poor baby, nobody should be alone this time of year.” said Mehitabel. Then she walked over to Max and gave him a kiss. “I’ll make some coffee.” Her hand went around and over his butt, then she slipped into the kitchen.
“Nice gig you have here Max. Beautiful home, beautiful woman, nothing for me to be mad about. Mind if I just hang for a few hours. You know, the girls don’t like me much, even with my amazing tongue. Now Mehitabel there, she is one fine piece of…”
“Stop right there. Where do you know her from? You and she haven’t…”
“No, no, no. We’ve crossed paths a few times in the past. No hanky panky. Aside from your amazing body and great head of hair, what the Hell is she doing with you?”
Max turned without answering and went into the kitchen. Mehitabel was sipping a mug of warmed blood with a shake of cinnamon. “Hey Max,” she said, kissing him lightly on the lips.
“What should I do with him?”
“Give him some coffee and he’ll be on his way. You’ve shown charity and compassion. That is all he wants. That is all anyone wants.”
Krampus came into the kitchen and laughed. “You’re so sweet. Well, I’m going to leave you two love birds alone. Be good to her Max or I’ll come back for you, and not in a good way. Thanks for letting me chill here for a bit.”
Then he put his clawed hand into his pocket and pulled out two lumps of coal and set them on the table. “If you squeeze these tight enough they’ll turn into diamonds. OK now, enough of sentimental shit, I have to go kick some bad kid ass. See you next year.”
Then he turned an went out the front door with the slight smell of sulphur and nutmeg.
Max and Mehitabel looked at each other and smiled. They each picked up a piece of coal and squeezed as hard as they could.
Mehitabel opened her hands and found a playing card. It was the Queen of Diamonds.
Max opened his hands and found a baby diamond back rattle snake. He threw the snake out the window. Right as he did that a hawk flew by, grabbed the snake, and flew away.
“Not the kind of diamonds we expected,” said Max. “Let’s go upstairs.” Then he took her hand and led her to his bedroom.
Later, after they’d made love, as they watched the setting sun from his bedroom window, Max kissed Mehitabel again and reached into the drawer of his nightstand.
“I have something for you,” he said, and then slipped a diamond ring on her hand. “I love you. Marry me.”
“OK,” she said, her eyes tearing up. “I love you too.”
Somewhere in the city Krampus walked down an alley looking for trouble. He stopped and laughed. “Good boy Max,” he said. “Good boy Max.”
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman