Santa Is Watching You!

I'm sitting on a bench in the middle of the mall,
Eating a soft pretzel slathered with mustard,
A cheery Christmas mood set by the decorations and all,
Except for one 4-year-old boy making his mother flustered.

Whining and arguing, he's raising such a commotion;
Seems he's demanding immediately cookies and a Coke.
His developing temper tantrum filling her face with emotion,
His mother talks softly, but, pulling away, he pays her no note.

In exasperation, she gives up and goes to buy him his treat.
He, suddenly all smiles, prances over to sit down beside me.
A more self-satisfied spoiled brat I never before did meet,
Who's used to bullying his mother, very plainly one can see.

Now I've been told I and Santa Claus look very much alike,
Both handsome, with white hair and beard, a belly so jellyful.
This boy deserving the lesson, I figure him I could psych;
So, on him I decide a small, harmless deception I will pull.

He looks at me, a flash of recognition appearing in his eyes.
"That's right. I'm Santa Claus, and I've been watching you.
I only bring toys to a child who acts nice and always tries
To mind his parents. My bringing you presents would never do!"

A look of concern and growing panic told me he understood.
"Of course, you can begin acting nice and get back on my list."
I smiled and walked away, wondering if he'd now try to do good,
And, if so, for just how long his improved behavior would persist.

Harry Edward Gilleland      12.19.01