To help you fully celebrate the holidays, here’s an Andrew Mayhem story. It originally appeared in Splatterpunk Zine, and then I included it in the Dead Clown Barbecue Expansion Pack. Neither of those versions had asterisks in the profanity, so if you’re offended by the censoring of foul language, stop reading now.
“A Bit of Christmas Mayhem”
by Jeff Strand
One Santa Claus with an axe is bad. Two Santa Clauses with axes are exactly one hundred percent worse. Being trapped in an alley with three Santa Clauses, each of whom are in possession of an axe, just flat-out sucks.
None of them, I hasten to mention, were the real Santa Claus. The real Santa is a kindly old elf who delivers presents to the good little boys and girls of the world, even the Jewish ones, though the heretic parents quickly destroy the evidence so that their children won’t discover the truth.
I’m kidding. Believe me, in my dire financial situation, free magical presents for my wife and kids would be fantastic.
Anyway, my name is Andrew Mayhem. You may remember me from such madcap misadventures as being buried alive with a corpse, accidentally cutting off my own finger and having a crazy lady almost swallow it, and far too many more to share in this limited space. (I’ve also held a severed head.)
Many of my early ghastly encounters happened because I was irresponsible and didn’t think things through. So I started to be responsible and think things through, and bad s**t still kept happening to me, so I’ve accepted the fact that I’m the kind of guy who will encounter three axe-wielding Santa Clauses in an alley.
Had I noticed the axes, I would not have entered the alley. Had it been, say, June, I also would have taken an alternate route, because three Santa Clauses in an alley in summertime is cause for suspicion. But it was December 24th. I was only out to get some batteries I’d forgotten for one of my son’s presents. Three Santas in an alley, even after dark, seemed charming and festive.
I first noticed that something was awry when two of them slammed me into the brick wall and the third held the blade of his axe up to my face.
“Give me your wallet,” he said.
I immediately took my wallet out of my back pocket. He snatched it out of my hand, set down his axe so he’d have both hands free, and flipped through the contents.
“Where’s the cash?” he demanded.
“What part of my appearance gave you the impression that I’ve got cash?” I asked. It was a weird thing for him to assume. It’s not like I’m a fine dresser.
“You’ve got, like, two bucks!”
“Do I?” I hadn’t realized that. I would’ve bought a frozen lemonade from the street vendor.
The Santa took out one of my credit cards. “What’s your PIN number?”
“We’re gonna get a cash advance from the ATM machine.”
“You do realize that the words ‘number’ and ‘machine’ are both included in the acronyms, right?”
“What’s your PIN, ***hole?”
“I don’t know.”
“What do you mean you don’t know?”
“Do you know the PIN for your credit card?”
The three Santas were silent, but even through their thick white beards, I could tell that none of the Santas knew their PINs.
The first one glared at me. “You’d better remember quick, or I’ll kill you.”
“C’mon, just let me go. I’ve got a wife and two kids.” My wife was also pregnant with triplets, but that sounded like the kind of thing somebody would make up to keep from being murdered, so I didn’t share it.
“You think I care?” The first Santa stepped away from me while his partners continued holding me against the wall. “You guys keep him here. I’m going to go buy something with his card.”
“What are you gonna buy?” asked the second Santa.
“I dunno. Maybe some jewelry or something.”
“We can’t keep him here while you go jewelry shopping! This was just supposed to be a quick cash-grab! We’re gonna get caught.”
“Well, he doesn’t have any cash! What do you want me to do about that? You think I knew he didn’t have cash when we jumped him?”
“He is pretty badly dressed.”
“The solution is, you guys keep him here while I go make a purchase with his credit card. I’ll be quick. In and out.”
“I don’t know, Mac. We go to restaurants and it takes you, like, ten minutes to order.”
“Don’t use my name!”
“It’s your nickname!”
“Don’t use any name! If you have to call me something, call me Saint Nick!”
“Screw you, Saint Nick!”
“I’m not trying to complicate the situation,” I said, “but my cards are pretty much maxed out. You won’t get any jewelry or anything. You could probably buy a nice box of chocolates, but even then, I can’t guarantee the charge will go through.”
The second Santa looked at the first. “Dude, it’s embarrassing as hell when your credit card gets declined.”
Saint Nick threw my wallet to the ground. “Fine! Fine! Then I guess we’ll just kill him.”
“Please don’t kill me,” I said. “My wife is pregnant with triplets.”
“Bulls**t.” Saint Nick reached down and picked up his axe. “Maybe you’ll remember your PIN after I chop your head off.”
“Seriously? C’mon, Saint Nick, even in a state of blind homicidal rage you’ve got to realize how little sense that comment made.”
“Why are you carrying axes, anyway? Why wouldn’t you just mug people with guns? Look how awkward it is for your buddies to hold me against the wall while they’re carrying those things.”
Saint Nick pressed the edge of his axe blade against my chin. “Because, Andrew Mayhem, Santa Claus with an axe is scary as hell.”
He knew my name. This wasn’t just some random mugging. They’d been waiting for me. How did they even know where I was headed? How did they know I’d walk into this particular alley? How many more people were involved?
No, wait–he saw my name on the credit card. Duh.
“Scary, but not original,” I said.
“What the hell do you mean, not original?”
“It’s totally out of Silent Night, Deadly Night.”
“You don’t know Silent Night, Deadly Night? For real? Controversial slasher flick from the 80’s? Parents were having fits because the poster had Santa Claus with an axe.”
“Never saw it.”
“So you’re saying that you dressed up like Santa Claus with an axe without being aware of the history of this image? You actually thought you were being original? How does somebody make a decision like that without even doing a quick Google search? It’s not like Silent Night, Deadly Night is obscure.”
The second Santa let out a derisive snort. “Oh, you think you’re so smart. Tales From The Crypt had Santa with an axe before that.”
I shook my head. “That would’ve been 90’s, right?”
“Silent Night, Deadly Night was mid-80’s.”
“Yeah, but I wasn’t talking about the TV show. That episode was a remake of a segment that was in a movie version of Tales From The Crypt in the early 70’s. Santa with an axe. Early 70’s. Look it up.”
Saint Nick gaped at the second Santa. “You knew about this?”
“Well, sure, I figured you did, too. I didn’t realize we were trying to be original. It was an homage.”
“Guys, guys, guys,” said the third Santa, “I hate to agree with our mugging victim, but the Santa Claus in the 1972 version of Tales From The Crypt doesn’t have an axe. He does in the 1989 episode of the TV show, but that would have been after Silent Night, Deadly Night in 1984.”
“Who gives a s**t?” asked Saint Nick.
“There’s no shame in being accurate.”
“We’re not here to produce a major motion picture! We’re robbing people on Christmas Eve! Who cares if some movie in the olden days had a Santa with an axe? Did any of those Santas steal somebody’s wallet in an alley? Did they?”
“No,” the second Santa admitted. “I think they were all just mentally ill.”
“So we’re original!”
“For what it’s worth,” said the third Santa, “the segment in the 1972 movie was based on a story that appeared in a 1954 issue of the comic Vault of Horror. Again, no axe, but the concept of murderous Santa Clauses has been around for quite a while.”
“Were any of them the real Santa Claus?” asked Saint Nick.
“Well, no, but neither are any of us. And of course it’s ridiculous to think that 1954 was the earliest incarnation of–”
The third Santa stopped talking, because there was now an axe in his chest.
“We all wanted to do the same thing,” said Saint Nick, as the third Santa dropped to his knees and then fell forward, presumably driving the axe even deeper into his chest.
“You killed Marty!” the second Santa shouted. He slammed his own axe into Saint Nick’s face. Saint Nick dropped to the ground as well.
I picked up the third Santa’s axe as the second Santa wrenched the blade of his own axe out of Saint Nick’s face.
“Do we really need to have an axe fight?” I asked. “There’s really nothing for either of us to gain from this.”
The last remaining Santa thought about that. “Nah, I guess not. Kind of pointless. Just get out of here.”
“Can I get my wallet so I don’t have to cancel my credit cards?”
“Yeah, yeah, go ahead.”
I picked up my wallet and shoved it back into my pocket. “So…were you just going to hang out here, then?”
He shook his head. “Nah. I was going to run right after you did.”
“Any chance you might want to leave the axe? I know it’s late, but there still could be little kids around, and if they’ve managed to avoid seeing Silent Night, Deadly Night or Tales From The Crypt, it would be nice to keep their innocence a while longer and not have them see a bloody Santa running around with an axe.”
He nodded and tossed the axe onto the ground. “I can’t do much about the blood.”
“No big deal. It’s mostly on the red part of your suit.”
The Santa ran off. I figured that I should probably not just leave the site of two brutal murders, so I took out my cell phone and called the police.
Yes, in the spirit of giving, I had done my part to stop a young child, or maybe even several young children, from being traumatized by the sight of Santa Claus with an axe. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all.