It was finally the eve of Christmas Eve. The Santa photo booth was so busy that day Yasmine couldn’t grill Tom on his activities from the night before with Tiffany Shaw… which was driving the young girl mad. Tom knew this too, and for his part was quite relieved. Surprisingly enough he and Yasmine had become very close in a short time, but revealing any facts about the night before would be too awkward for him. So Tom did his best not to speak to her too much that morning.
After returning to the set after his afternoon break Tom saw an elf suited Rockquin run up
to meet him, “You have to call this lady right now!” Rockquin handed Tom a piece of paper with a number and a names scribbled on it.
“What’s this for?”
“It’s a woman who works with Efren Wallenda! You need to call her right away!”
“Why is she calling you, for me?”
“Because, I know how laid back you surfer dudes are! Returning phone calls are not at the top of your priority lists of things to do. So I gave her my number as backup!”
“Well I gotta get back to the set, do you see how busy we are today?”
Rockquin pushed Tom into a nearby alcove, “Tom you need to call her right now! Don’t worry, I’ll stall for you! Call her, you fool!”
Looking in Rockquin's eyes, Tom could tell that this gay, Filipino elf meant business.
“Call now,” Rockquin said as he ran off jingling to the set.
Tom pulled out his phone and sure enough, he had some missed call and some messages too. He dialed the phone and got a Miss Brenda Parker. It turned out she was the contact to this photo shoot that Efren Wallenda was doing with Zara Mia.
“Hello, my name is Tom Sugerland… I hear that you’re trying to get a hold of me?”
“Do you have a current passport Mister Sugerland?”
“Great. Mister Efren Wallenda is interested in using you as a model for a photo shoot for Italian Vogue. The pay is five thousand.”
You're shitting me... I mean ah, five thousand, huh?” The phone was silent on the other end for several seconds.
“Okay, you drive a hard bargain Mister Sugerland, seven thousand a day.”
Tom felt his bowels start to loosen up.
“I need to nail this down by tomorrow. You would have to leave the day after Christmas. The shoot will be on location, on an island in French Polynesia called Teriaroa. ”
“French Polynesia... In four days?”
Tom’s eyes glanced over in the direction to the Santa set, as he spoke to the woman he saw Yasmine talking to a mother and her kids in line. Tom felt himself smiling, he had really grown fond of her, he truly appreciated the warmth in her smile. And he appreciated the warmth in her soul that he felt when she was around him. He prayed for a good life that he hoped lay ahead of her. That had to be the only explanation for him to push his current run of good fortune and to go for broke.
“Tell Mister Wallenda thank you for the wonderful offer, but the only way I can possibly do it, is if I can bring my assistant Yasmine with me… I can’t possibly travel out of the country without her. She’s small and she doesn’t eat much.” Tom lied.
The day was long, Tom was exhausted. His lap was numb from little kids sitting on it. The highlight of the day was when Hugh Hefner came by for a picture with three twenty-something blonds, who he had introduced as his girlfriends. Tom laughed and thought more power to old swinger.
Rockquin had just left for the night, and it was just Tom and Yasmine on the set. She was excited; in fact she was actually blown totally away about Tom’s amazing opportunity to work with Efren Wallenda and Zara Mia in French Polynesia. She was so happy for him, that she almost didn’t want to bring it up to much in fear of jinxing it for him. Tom too was being tight lipped and waited to hear back from Brenda Parker.
Tom thought his day was over when what to his wandering eye did appear but Tiffany Shaw coming very near. She looked a sultry as ever; again everything clung to her early 1970's Ann-Margret-ish type body. Tom hoped that Yasmine couldn’t see a twinkle in his eyes stemming from the fact that he’d now seen that body free of all its tight wrapping.
“Hello Mister Claus.”
“Why, hello Miss Shaw.”
“I wanted to thank you for doing such a wonderful job entertaining the guest at my little party.”
“They enjoy it, did they?”
“Oh, y-e-s indeed. You were the best fucking Santa Claus I’ve ever had.”
Tom smiled politely, and tried not to look at Yasmine whose eyes he could feel burning a hole into him at that moment. Tiffany leaned over into Tom’s ear.
“So what are you doing after your big night of delivering toys? I still have plenty of turkey left for sandwiches.”
“Santa does love his turkey sandwiches… but I’m taking a trip right after Christmas. What if Santa gives you a ring when he’s back in town?”
“That would most enjoyable. By the way you forgot this.”
Tiffany put another of her scented envelopes in his hands, then leaned over and kissed Tom on the lips. Tom knew that Yasmine did see his eyes twinkle that time as he watched her walk away.
“You slept with her, didn't you Santa?”
“Technically there was no actual sleeping involved,” Tom said with a devilish smile that just couldn’t help.
Tom opened up the enveloped to find five crisp one hundred dollar bills. He actually used the counterfeit marking pen on them make sure they were good.
Tom looked at Yasmine.
“Let’s have seat on the couch,” Tom said.
“I guess if I take this money that would make Santa Claus a prostitute, huh?"
Yasmine said looking at Tom rather disapprovingly.
Are you familiar with the term Taft Hartly, my dear?”
“No,” said Yasmine.
“I did some work on a movie back in the late 70’s. It was a surfing movie with Gary Busey and Jan-Michael Vincent called Big Wednesday. I was a surf double for those guys. If you see that movie I’m all over the place in it. Anyway, I didn’t join have to join SAG, they let me do a one time only thing called, Taft Hartly… so that’s how I’m looking at this piece of change… a one time only thing... I'm not joining the union. and I’m not ashamed to say, that I was worth every dollar.”
“Tom!” Yasmine looked at Tom, her arms crossed, red in the face.
Tom looked at Yasmine. “I know what it is about you? Dammit Yaz, you’re the daughter that I never had.” Tom’s heart again grew lighter as a smile grew on Yasmine’s face.
Tom never realized that as carefree as he was, that he was missing something and it wasn’t money and all that shit. It was to have someone special in his life to appreciate for no other reason then to try and help them, and show them the way, best he could.
"I feel that for you, kid. Can you believe it? I must be getting old?"
"I feel that for you, kid. Can you believe it? I must be getting old?"
“Tom that’s so sweet, I do feel a great connection with… you’re like this character out of a fairy tale… I don’t know how to explain it… I feel like you’d always be there for me… I’m so glad I took this job.”
“Me too. I guess it’s kinda changed my life,” said Tom.
Yasmine staired at Tom face. She didn’t know if it was her imagination but, they seemed his eyes looked a bit watery for a moment. Then Tom’s cell phone made a noise, he looked down at it. He could see that he had a text message. It was the first one that he had ever received. He figured out how to read it and smiled.
“Not to get too much off the subject Yaz… but are you sick of my company yet?”
Yasmine gave Tom a strange look.
“No… I don’t think so?”“Great. Well then, do you have a passport?”