by Edward Crosby Wells
BAMBI: (Standing somewhere.) Thank you for coming all this way just to see me.
SANTA: No problem.
BAMBI: You saved me from schlepping all the way to Poland.
BAMBI: Isn't the North Pole in Poland?
SANTA: It's an easy mistake. It must be a challenge being you.
BAMBI: Gracious. It is, Mister Clause.
SANTA: (Sitting on loveseat. Correcting her.) Klaus. Herr Klaus.
BAMBI: I beg your pardon.
SANTA: The Klaus family hails from the Black Forest of Deutschland. We changed the family name during the first half of the twentieth century, for obvious reasons.
BAMBI: Of course. Obviously. (After a confounded pause.) So, what were the obvious reasons?
SANTA: Letters from children dropped off considerably, especially from Eastern Europe, two letters and they were poison pen letters.
BAMBI: How could you tell the pen was poisoned?
SANTA: (A pause to size her up.) I couldn't till the goat ate them and died.
BAMBI: That's really sad.
SANTA: Yes . . . it was. Tragic, Bambi dear. I was almost demoted from a Christmas icon to a Halloween bogyman.
BAMBI: Oh, dear, Mister Herr Klaus.
SANTA: Santa. Just call me Santa. Ho-ho-ho. Your house was on my delivery route so I thought I'd make a quick stop.
BAMBI: How very thoughtful. I really want to make a good first impression,Santa.
SANTA: You already have, Bambi. What a lovely name, my dear.
BAMBI: Thank you. My parents gave it to me.
SANTA: Did they? How very generous.
BAMBI: Yes. When I was born, I think.
SANTA: As early as that?
BAMBI: I'm not sure, but it must have been a long time ago since I don't remember not being Bambi.
SANTA: That's hard to imagine.
BAMBI: What is?
SANTA: It was that long ago.
BAMBI: Although they did call me Bam for short, until I got taller, that is. Well, I never did get tall, but enough not to be called Bam anymore. Then it was Bambi all the way.
BAMBI: It is, isn't it?
SANTA: It definitely is. Tell me, Bambi, what is your experience with elves?
BAMBI: I've always liked elves. little people. I've always had a fondness for little people. They make me feel tall. You know, without having to wear uncomfortable heels. I have such tender feet. That's why I applied for the position.
SANTA: Because of your tender feet?
BAMBI: Because of being short.
SANTA: Short. Yes, it is a position that calls for someone not too tall, but not too short. You seem to fit the bill. They need someone to look up to. Ceilings are low in the elf quarters. They hide in all sorts of places.
BAMBI: Who hides in all sorts of places?
SANTA: The elves. It might come in handy to wear heels when they get into the cupboards and such. Otherwise I'd say you're the right height for an elfin nanny.
BAMBI: That's so good to know because I've always wanted to be an elfin nanny. Ever since I can remember that's been my life's dream.
SANTA: Good, good. We must follow our dreams, mustn't we?
BAMBI: If we must, we must.
SANTA: Do you really think you have what it takes to be a nanny to the elves?
BAMBI: Whatever it takes, I've got it.
SANTA: Yes, I can see that. You will be required to sleep days and work nights. The elves work only in the night. They are my children of the night, so to speak.
BAMBI: Goodness gracious. I don't have a problem with that.
SANTA: They can get pretty rambunctious. They can be difficult. Test your nerves. Ho-ho-ho. Do you still want the job? Have you the nerves for it?
BAMBI: Oh, I do. I really do. I mean, I've got some.
SANTA: Quite obvious, indeed.
BAMBI: Oh, Santa. I'd love working for you. More than ever. You know what?
SANTA: That depends on the nature of the what.
BAMBI: I could sing the elves to sleep every morning.
SANTA: I'm sure they would like that.
BAMBI: (Sings -- badly.) Jingle bells, jingle bells/jingle all the way/oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse . . .
SANTA: (Cutting her off.) Thank you, thank you. Humming . The elves really like humming.
BAMBI: I'll hum like a bird, a humming bird.
SANTA: Indeed you will.
BAMBI: Where are my manners? Would you care for some coffee, Santa?
SANTA: No, no, my dear. I love coffee, but I can only drink it when the world is asleep.
BAMBI: The world? Asleep? Surely there is always somebody awake in the world. Goodness. I mean, the world is a big place.
SANTA: Most assuredly. Ho-ho-ho. But I am Santa and Santa needs a safe haven from the sound of Human thought. Human minds are never still and their sounds confound and destroy the creative process.
BAMBI: That pretty much rules out coffee, doesn't it? (A beat.) Creative process?
SANTA: Toy design. Delivery routes. Organizing the elves. Managing the whole Christmas thing. Reindeer flying exercises. Dry runs in the snow. Dry runs when there isn't any snow. Dry runs in the rain.
BAMBI: Dry runs in the rain?
SANTA: The reindeer wear rain coats.
BAMBI: That's so sweet.
SANTA: And so are you, my dear.
BAMBI: Gracious me.
SANTA: One must be prepared for all kinds of weather. Testing the atmosphere for friction. Avoiding hot spots, trying not to get shot down. It all takes a tremendous amount of talent and creativity. There are so many things to do, it's all very draining.
BAMBI: Draining? Yes, I imagine it is -- draining.
BAMBI: There must be something I can offer a big strapping, red-blooded man like you. A candy cane? A ginger snap? Perhaps some eggnog?
SANTA: No, no, my dear Bambi. They all sound delightful. 'Though eggnog has been known to give a body heartburn.
BAMBI: I can leave out the nog.
SANTA: You can do that?
BAMBI: (A pause to think about it.) I don't know. Maybe not. I'll Google it. (Sits on loveseat next to SANTA.) I feel like a terrible hostess. There must be something you would like.
SANTA: (Moving closer to her. Hand on her knee.) There is.
BAMBI: Are you making advances towards me, Mister Herr Klaus?
SANTA: (Sternly.) Santa.
BAMBI: Santa , are you making advances towards me?
SANTA: Well, if you want the job . . .
BAMBI: (Removing his hand.) Isn't there a Missus Herr Klaus?
SANTA: There was a Frau Klaus - - as I recall.
SANTA: She wanted to get as far away from me as possible. That's why I put the notice on Craig's List for a nanny. She moved to the South Pole.
BAMBI: And that's not in Poland, is it?
SANTA: It certainly is not. It's at the furthermost bottom of the world.
BAMBI: Goodness. That's about as far away as a body can get. How come she wanted to get away, if you don't mind me asking?
SANTA: There's some bad blood between us.
BAMBI: Bad blood?
SANTA: Really bad, if you know what I mean.
BAMBI: I'm sure I ought to, but I'm not so sure that I do. (A ponderous pause.) Are you telling me you're free?
SANTA: (Moves closer to BAMBI.) As free as a bat. Ho-ho-ho.
BAMBI: A bat?
SANTA: As I said before, in my line of work I'm only up when the world sleeps, checking my list then checking it twice. It takes me nearly a year just to get through the list. I hate lists. And then, of course, there is my annual long night of deliveries. (A big sigh.) My nights are filled with lists, bats and flying reindeer.
BAMBI: How awful it must be for you.
SANTA: And that is why I need a nanny for my elves.
BAMBI: (A pause to observe SANTA.) There's something wrong with this picture.
SANTA: What picture?
BAMBI: (Dubiously.) Are you really Santa?
BAMBI: Something just isn't right. (She tugs on SANTA'S beard and it comes off in her hand.) There. Just as I thought! You're not Santa.
SANTA: Of course I'm Santa.
BAMBI: You're not real!
SANTA: Am to. As real as you.
BAMBI: With a fake beard?
SANTA: I've always had a fake beard.
BAMBI: Get out of here.
SANTA: It's true. My long white beard is an urban myth, suburban and rural too. I never could grow a beard, genetic. In the old days I used to pluck Donner and Blitzen's white tail hairs and the Missus would weave them into a beard. Donner hated getting plucked. Blitzen didn't seem to mind. In fact, he seemed to like it.
BAMBI: I pluck my eyebrows, but that's not the same, is it?
SANTA: Not in the least. I'll tell you this?
BAMBI: What's that?
SANTA: Those tail hairs made me itch. They didn't smell too good either.
BAMBI: I can imagine. Although I'd prefer not to.
SANTA: Now I order my beards online. Suits, too, since the little woman went south.
BAMBI: Goodness gracious. Little Bambi's head is spinning like a top from all this new information. I seem to be over-stimulated.
SANTA: (Moves closer to BAMBI and removes his cap.) Over-stimulated, you say?
BAMBI: (Takes a long, hard look at SANTA. Nearly swooning.) Oh, dear. Gracious me. I'm in a tither and I'm so confused.
SANTA: Of course you are.
BAMBI: Does it show?
SANTA: Not at all. That's the great thing about tithers and dithers. No one is ever sure when you're in one.
BAMBI: I never knew that.
SANTA: It's not something most folks talk about. Most like to keep it to themselves and take pills for it. Ho-ho-ho.
BAMBI: Well, I have no intention of taking any pills.
SANTA: Good for you. Leave them alone and they'll go away wagging their tails behind them.
BAMBI: That's funny, (Sizing up SANTA. After a pause.) You're so much younger than I expected.
SANTA: You were expecting a geezer?
BAMBI: Well, sort of. A big jolly man whose belly shakes like Jello.
SANTA: (Squeezes his belly.) See. All padding. Ho-ho-ho.
BAMBI: Ho-ho-ho indeed. But nice, really nice.
SANTA: Live and learn, I say. Live and learn.
BAMBI: Tell me the truth. Who are you?
SANTA: I'm Santa.
BAMBI: But you're so young, so good looking, so--
BAMBI: Yes. How is it you're so unexpected -- I mean young?
SANTA: Fat, jolly and old -- another myth. I never age.
BAMBI: You don't age?
SANTA: Not in over a hundred and fifty years.
BAMBI: I find that hard to believe.
SANTA: Is it easier to believe a jolly old fat man hasn't aged in over a hundred and fifty years?
BAMBI: Since you put it that way.
BAMBI: It must be nice not to age.
SANTA: Nice, indeed. (Snuggles up to BAMBI.)
BAMBI: You are making advances towards me, aren't you?
SANTA: Well, the wife went south and . . . I was thinking about it. yes.
BAMBI: You stop it right now. I'm not the kind of girl you think I am.
SANTA: Ho-ho-ho. What kind of girl is that?
BAMBI: Easy. I'm not easy, Mister Herr Klaus, or whoever you are. Stop seducing me. I only wanted to be your nanny. I mean, nanny to your elves. I will have no seduction going on around here, sir.
SANTA: The seduction is the most pleasant part of the game, isn't it?
BAMBI: What game?
SANTA: The magical game of love and life.
BAMBI: You have much experience with the seduction?
SANTA: I seduce the elves and the muses.
BAMBI: The elves?
SANTA: It gets lonely at the North Pole.
BAMBI: What do you use for bait?
BAMBI: For the seduction.
BAMBI: You have an enormous talent?
SANTA: Too big to measure.
BAMBI: Oh, my. Oh, dear. Oh, goodness.
SANTA: I am considered by many to be endowed with--
BAMBI: (Swooning - expectantly.) Yes? Yes?
BAMBI: (After a pause to exhale.) Seductive bait, indeed. Alas, I shall never get the opportunity to see your -- genius in action. (After a pause to regain her composure.) Delivering your stuff to all those good little girls and boys.
SANTA: Of course you will. It's almost midnight. You could come with me tonight. Have you ever wanted to fly?
BAMBI: Hasn't everybody?
SANTA: Absolutely. Let's take to the sky.
BAMBI: No. Not tonight. Tonight is out of the question.
SANTA: There's always next year. (Puts his hand on her knee.)
BAMBI: For some. Other than wooing me with your lovely smile and those beautiful coal-black eyes of yours, not to mention your enormous genius I'll never get to see in action.
SANTA: I could show you if you like.
BAMBI: I'll just have to take your word for it, Santa. (After a gimlet-eyed pause.) Just how many unsuspecting women have you seduced?
SANTA: I really can't say.
BAMBI: That many? (Removes his hand. Rises and moves about the room.)
SANTA: I'm afraid you're the first since the Missus went down under . . . deep down under.
BAMBI: Poor Santa baby. It must be so lonely for you.
SANTA: Well, there are the elves.
BAMBI: Are they good company?
SANTA: Only when they're drinking.
BAMBI: How sad.
SANTA: It's not all bad. Only sometimes'it sucks.
BAMBI: I'm sure it does.
SANTA: (Checking watch.) Well, it's about time to make my delivery. Ho-ho-ho and Merry Christmas!
BAMBI: Goodness gracious, Mister Herr Klaus. You're not going to like this, but--
(BAMBI has positioned herself behind the loveseat. She bares her deadly fangs and with one quick swoop she sinks her teeth into his neck. THE LIGHTING dims to the sound of SANTA'S screams.)