Chapter Description: Christina knows Santa isn't real--which makes her unexpected gift even more terrifying.
Christina was relieved to wake up at the beep of her own alarm clock. She wasn’t sure why she’d had such a bad dream. Normally customers didn’t get to her that way...not even the assholes.
She felt so warm under her covers that she hated to even get out of bed... but she knew she had to. Just one more morning shift to get through, and then she’d come home to pack and be on her way to her parents’ house for Christmas. It sucked that she had to turn around and make the four-hour drive back on Christmas night, but she was fortunate to have gotten Christmas Eve off. And at least she had a job.
She had barely shuffled the covers off when she felt something odd...but not unusual. She reached beneath her rear and discovered her dream had been worse than she had thought. All those thoughts of wetting her pants...and her diapers...had taken their toll on her bladder, the contents of which had exited her body sometime during the night, soaking through her underwear, her pajamas, the top cover of her bed and into her mattress.
She jumped out of bed and quickly removed all but her pajama top. She didn’t have time for this! She tore off the covers and placed them with her pajamas in the washing machine. She didn’t like to leave the dryer on when she wasn’t there, but she’d have to take her chances this time. The laundry would be done by the time she was ready to leave for work, and it could dry while she was gone. Her mattress would just have to air dry while she was away for Christmas.
The incident threw her off schedule, and she cursed herself while grabbing a towel and washcloth and heading into the bathroom. She hadn’t made it beyond the doorway when she froze. Sitting on the toilet was a packaged wrapped in green Christmas paper with a candy cane pattern, a card tucked under the big red bow at the top. Christina gingerly approached the present, tearing the paper enough at one end to see a few letters: “tends.” She ripped off the rest of the paper on that side, revealing the product’s full name: “Attends.”
Her stomach seized as she opened the card. A Walgreens gift card hit her foot as it fell out of the envelope, landing with a second, nearly identical card on the tile floor. The only differences were the denominations: one for five dollars, one for ten.
The card itself was a photo card, made on one of those drug store picture machines. The image on the front was Santa, sitting on a faux gold throne with a toddler on his knee dressed in a red Christmas dress with white tights and shiny black shoes. She could barely bring herself to read the writing inside:
I suppose you’re upset at me for telling you last night that I was borrowing only fifteen minutes of your time and then keeping you at the mall until closing. The truth is, last night had nothing to do with the fifteen minutes of yours I now have. After reviewing your lifetime’s worth of memories the fifteen minutes I have chosen to borrow are the moments your mother began your potty training process. Please accept this gift to get you started...while I’m sure a mature, responsible girl like yourself will have no problem learning to use the potty like a big girl, I’m also certain it will take more than one package of diapers before you have a “perfect record” again. Hopefully these gift cards will help with your next purchase. Any more beyond that will be your own financial responsibility (a good incentive to start your training now instead of waiting until after the holidays, no?).
P.S. I’ll be stopping by to see you again this morning. I need to pick up a picture book for the young lady who sold me your Christmas present. I’ll bet you stop having accidents before she learns to read again!”
Christina was crying so hard by then, she didn’t even notice the puddle growing at her feet.