George Martin stepped into his Santa suit and prepared for his final night of magic making. He had played the jolly old elf for more than forty years, and for every one of those forty years, the children made the same request.
“I want to be white.”
“Make me white, Santa, please.”
“Santa, why can’t I be white?”
The words differed, but the sentiment remained unchanged.
George Martin never had to ask Santa for whiteness. His mother was of Scottish descent, his father German. His mother’s red hair and father’s blue eyes finished the perfect Santa look when coupled with his pale skin. When George turned eighteen, the President of the United Mall of America took an interest in him. He and his friends were enjoying a day at the mall that October day with no thought of their future.
“Excuse me young man, what is your name?” Before George stood a giant-the man had to stand over six foot five and weight a fighting trim three hundred pounds. He was the biggest black man any of the boys had seen in person.
“Reggie Robales?” asked George’s friend, Willie. “Double R?”
“Yes, sir. But I’m not here to talk football. I need your friend to untie his tongue.” The big man smiled. George clenched his hands together sure that the cameras had caught him thieving the sunglasses that lay in his pocket.
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Martin.” A large brown hand shot under George’s nose. He placed his own small hand on the other man’s hand. “Let me look at you son. Do you know who I am?”
“Sure. Double R. Best damn linebacker in the history of the game.” George flashed a smile of his own since he felt a little braver.
“Yes sir, those were the days, but not anymore. I’m the President of the United Mall of America.” His answer awed the group of boys. Somehow, Double R’s current job proved more impressive than his glory on the football field.
“No way?” George gave the man an honest smile now. The man nodded. “I’m so glad to meet you. What can I do for you?” George’s heart beat a sad note of regret as he recalled the sunglasses in his pocket. Just his luck, he thought, busted by the prez.
“You’ll do perfect, Mr. Martin.”
“Excuse me, sir?”
“How would you like a job as a mall Santa?”
“Me? I don’t think I could.”
“Why not? Perfect complexion, correct eye color. Not too many whites to play the old fat man. Always recruiting new ones.”
“I’m too young, sir.”
“Come now, you have to be over eleven, that means you can work.”
“No, I mean to look the part, and I’m not fat enough.” The floor shook with the great man’s stomping fit of laughter.
“Son, the magic of makeup and hair dye will take care of the age. As for the weight-we’ll have to work to fatten you up.” With a slap on the back, they secured the deal.
There had been contracts to sign, deals to haggle, and relocation to consider, but in the end, the salary settled any lingering doubt that he had. He said goodbye to everything he knew in Atlanta and moved to Chicago. With over a year of eating and no exercise, he began as the Vista Mall’s new Santa. He made more in a month than most individuals made in five years. America put a heavy price on its childhood myths. When a younger George Martin had questioned why him, a marketing analyst told him, ” Although whites look to be going the way of the dodo, the public prefers the white Santa.”
He never again questioned his line of work. The system had been good to him. They set him up in a comfortable neighborhood and pointed him towards the nearest chapter of the National Society for the Protection of the White Race. There, he met Melissa. Although more prone to tan than George, the society approved their marriage. As George aged more into his role, they raised three children. Andy, the eldest, inherited too much darkness from his mother to play Santa. Still, the system could not waste his whiteness. They employed Andy as a mall Jesus in Albuquerque. George always felt bad that Andy hadn’t married yet. Andy said that his role took precedence over his own happiness. Their daughter, Janet, had the fairest skin of all. If she had been male, she definitely would have followed in her father’s footsteps. Instead, she became a mall Tooth Fairy in Los Angeles. She married a mall Santa of her own, and they had two fair skinned boys to the joy of George and Melissa. Jamie, their youngest, was almost a clone of his father. He lived in Tampa with his wife and son. All the papers proclaimed him Tampa’s favorite Santa. George never missed a chance to visit his son. Life had been good for George Martin, but he wanted to return something.
He packed away the last of the makeup and dye. At that moment, he realized just how perfect life had been. He had thought a lot more about his life of late; he supposed that happened as people grew older. He couldn’t find much bad in his life, so he decided he would give back for one Christmas. He would make life a little better, a little happier, for the children of Chicago. Maybe he could call himself Santa for real. He kissed his sleeping wife before he left. He had told no one about his Christmas Eve errand. He shuffled the last two sacs over his back and began his journey. Without reindeer or sleigh, he would make a dream come true. Although it would only be makeup and dye, the children of Chicago would have a white Christmas after all.”
by Miranda N. Prather