Lassiter arrived at the mall, prepared to be undercover after in a sting operation after recent string of armed hold ups involving Santa Claus. While people and their children would be lined up to see Santa Claus, armed robbers would barge in demanding wallets, purses, iPhones, watches, and jewelry.
"Here put this on, I'm only 5'11 I'm not tall enough to be Santa, and Gus has an allergy to synthetic glue and can't put on a Santa beard." said Spencer as he handed him a Santa Suit."We don't want to traumatize kids by giving them a clean shaven Santa."
"Shawn, you are only 5'7 even though your father says 5'10 I've seen your driver's license," Guster interrupted.
"That is the height I was when I got my permit at sixteen. I grew a whole inch after getting it. They just never changed it when they sent me a new one in the mail each year."
Shawn continued, "Gus and I are going to be Elvis Elves," He paused as Lassiter gave him a strange glance.
Guster looked at him "We got notes which said Santa's Elvis, meaning that either someone didn't know how to spell the plural form of Elven folk, or if they wanted holiday themed Elvis impersonators so we decided to be both."
Shawn continued, "Gus is black, skinny, nineteen fifties Elvis Elf, and I am going to be seventies portly, Elvis Elf," Shawn said as he took a bite of a peanut butter and banana sandwich. "We could probably have you as Santa Elvis, but that might confuse their young minds thinking that Graceland and the North Pole are the same thing."
As Shawn was speaking, Buzz McNab walked in wearing a tweed suit and headed to the mirror as he attempted to tie a bowtie, "got a note that just said Eleven, so I assumed it is the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith from Doctor Who." He said as he took his gun holster off his belt and onto his suspenders, concealing it with the jacket. On his belt where the gun was he put a toy sonic screwdriver.
Gus piped up, "Oh wow, they must be promoting the new line of Doctor Who figurines, I can't wait for Christmas and Matt Smith's last episode."
Lassie's face suddenly turned red, "Matt Smith's last episode? You just had to spoil it for me Guster. I've been steering clear of all social media for the past eight months to avoid spoilers for Doctor Who. Didn't anyone tell you that any news including casting news for a TV show counts as spoilers? I didn't know he would be regenerating, my holiday is now ruined thanks to you."
"Juliet is here," said Buzz quickly, trying to change the subject and keep the peace. "She's going as Kiss O' Gram Amy Pond."
Lassiter sat in the North Pole display, donning the Santa costume. In the background Spencer and Guster were crooning , "I'll have a Blue Christmas without you, I'll be so blue just thinking about you..." Spencer had brought a guitar with him and was playing it, and was looking lovingly at O'Hara as he sang. On this set up, the mall was certainly saving a lot of money not having to pay Santa this year.
Dressing up as Santa was unexpectedly rewarding, being someone the young men and women looked up to. It was great seeing them all respectably dressed. They should have been looking up to officers of the law in the same way, he thought as a seven year old boy sat down in his lap. The boy had thick chubby cheeks, brown hair and blue eyes.
"And what do you want for Christmas. Have you been a good little boy, or have you been a youth offender?
"I think I've been good, but I don't think you're really Santa. My grandpa took me for Christmas to see you today. Mommy says that Santa is fake and Christmas is all about consumerism, appropriating ancient Roman yuletide traditions."
"Tell your grandpa, or leave a note to Santa, that the Red Chief firing range is under new ownership. It would be an excellent bonding experience for you and him. At the snack bar you get free, authentic Native American fry bread with your first target practice."
"Firing range? My mom says that guns are bad."
"Guns aren't bad, they help protect us," he said as the young boy hopped off his lap.
The next boy, a skinny red head jumped into his lap, "My name is Brian," he said as he immediately seemed to grab around for things. He managed to get his fingers on Lassie's gun, almost blowing his cover. Lassie laughed though. "Shh, you shouldn't know your gift for this year, Santa is bringing you a .22, but when you get it, it isn't a toy, don't touch it when a grown up isn't around." The boy smiled in excitement. "You knew just what I wanted Santa." he said. Lassie smiled in relief at the boy's father, Frank O'Connor, an FBI agent he had worked on a few cases with. O'Connor certainly wouldn't have issues with the suggested Santa gift.
Yes Brian, if you are especially good today I'll take you out for your first deer season. Now go say hello to that guy in the bowtie, I think he is dressed as something from Trek Wars," Agent O'Connor said leading his child away.
The next little girl with light blonde hair jumped into his lap.
"What is your name?" Lassie asked.
"My name is Taylor."
"What would you like for Christmas, Taylor?"
"I don't want toys, I just want two things. My mommy to come home from Afghanistan, she's been there since June and I miss her. I also wish that that my best friend Mysti's daddy, to get a brand new set of legs. When my doll lost her legs, the dolly store replaced them, can you replace his legs just like my dolly's Santa? Please? Mysti and her family have lived next door to me since I was born. Before her daddy used to love football, and baseball. Now he just sits at home, plays Fantasy Football, and drinks beer all day." Lassie wasn't sure how to answer this one. Guster's voice started quivering in the middle of Here Comes Santa Claus, Shawn's jaw seemed to drop.
Sweet justice, he thought to himself, this wasn't something he signed up to deal with when he decided to go undercover as Santa. But then expecting the unexpected was part of his job as a cop. This was a very hard one, the little girl's family and friends were paying so dearly in service for their country. He saluted the girl's father, a young Sergeant from the local military base, as he thought of a response.
"Well there isn't much Santa can do to get your mom home, even though he wishes he could. There isn't much he can do about your friend's father either. But if you would like, instead of giving a gift for you Santa can give something for you to give to your friend's father. What if your friend's father's favorite football team?"
"The Tennessee Titans."
Well Santa will give you a lovely Tennessee Titans fleece blanket that you can give to your friend's father, I'm sure the family will be touched when you say that you asked Santa for a Christmas present for him, that would make him a tiny bit happier.
"Thanks Santa," said the little girl as she hopped off his lap
Just then Juliet walked up to Lassiter, "They caught the guy. He tried to hold up a Santa at a carnival in a mall down in Ventura."
"That's good," said Lassiter, a bit disappointed. He really did enjoy being Santa, even though he'd never admit it. As he was reluctantly getting up, the manager of the mall walked up to meet him, "There is a line halfway around the parking lot, do you mind staying?" she asked.
"Sure," shrugged Lassiter as the next child hopped into his lap.