It’s the last short story of the year! While I’ve enjoyed the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen this month, I decided to end 2012 with a Christmas story by Kurt Vonnegut – one that is a little more irreverent, but just as enjoyable.
“A Present for Big Saint Nick” tells the brief story of Big Nick, a mafia boss, who throws a Christmas party every year for all of his employees, their spouses and kids. The party is especially for the kids. While the parents spend their time looking for the perfect gift for Nick, they coach their kids in how to answer “Santa Claus’s” questions. These questions revolve around what the parent’s think about Nick. Giving the right answer gets the kids the present they’ve always wanted and gives their parents the continued chance to work for Nick – as opposed to ending up in Lake Michigan.
As might be expected (at least I was expecting it), one of the kids innocently enough answers the question incorrectly. A domino effect makes all the other kids give “real” answers to Nick’s questions resulting in threats from Nick that the parent’s take seriously. However, Nick’s big present arrives with the story’s surprise ending- one at which I laughed out loud!
Perhaps not my favorite Vonnegut story, but his humor made it a worthy final story for the year.