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Saint Nicked

Author(s): Herschel Cozine

George had the ideal job for a man of his talents.  Who would suspect St. Nick of being a shoplifter? Now, with his Christmas "shopping" completed, George is a happy man.
That happiness is soon to be short-lived.  An unwelcome visitor is about to convince him that it is better to give than to receive and may leave him holding an empty bag. Who is REALLY naughty or nice?
A humorous crime short from our Fingerprints line.


 George took the job as Santa Claus for the Holman Mall in spite of the pay—minimum wage, with two thirty-minute, unpaid breaks a day. He fit the part: short, overweight, in his sixties. A fake beard and square glasses, along with the red suit with faux fur, made him a perfect Santa. And the work was easy, mostly sitting, posing for the camera while kids of all ages climbed on his knee and screamed for their mothers. The candy cane he gave them usually quieted them down, but there were always a few in the course of a day who made him wish he had chosen another line of work.
George didn’t take the job for the money, of course, or for the privilege of giving out candy canes to ungrateful, squalling kids. The reason was simple—it was the perfect cover for his line of work. George was a shoplifter.
During his breaks, George was free to go into any shop without being questioned or scrutinized by clerks or security. He was met with friendly smiles, a season greeting, and a wave of the hand. There is something about a Santa Claus suit that elicits trust. Santa Claus is beloved by all, no matter who is in the suit.
And the bag he carried made it easy to store items he would never be able to take otherwise. He had quick hands, a requirement for his profession. With a flick of the hand an item was transferred from the display case to his coat pocket. The size of the loot had to be within the limits of his pocket. Even with loose-fitting shirts and coats, the booty could not be too large, or the telltale bulge could result in an arrest. He had learned this the hard way years ago. But now, with the bag, he was able to walk away with larger, more desirable merchandise.
So George, the shoplifting Santa, was happy in his work—at least the part where he wasn’t dealing with kids and parents. His only regret was that he hadn’t thought of it sooner. Just think of the money he could have saved on Christmas presents over the years. Well, this year he would be more than generous with his gift giving. Unmarried, he nevertheless had siblings, nephews, nieces, and an aged father to buy for. He might even throw in a watch or apron for his landlady. The old witch could use some softening up. She was threatening to raise the rent, and George would have to look for another place to live if she did. He was not a wealthy man. Shoplifting didn’t pay the rent.

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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 9781611872071
Genre: Mystery
Date Published: 12/01/2011
Publisher: Untreed Reads

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