Daddy Explains The Supply Chain

A preview of Christmas 2021

(Beckett, age 9, opens his fourth present, containing another note to the effect that this slip of paper is good for a new video game, scheduled to arrive in April. Avianna, his sister, age 7, has been sobbing inconsolably into her blankie since empty box number three, despite the note assuring her that a new outfit for her American Girl doll would arrive by mid-February.)

DAD

All right, everyone, let’s take a break.

BECKETT

I hate Christmas. Christmas sucks. (He rips up the note and throws the box at the tree, knocking off an ornament that shatters on the floor.)

MOM

(Downing a coffee mug full of wine.) Don’t worry about the ornament, honey. We can order a new one and it should be here by next Christmas. (She laughs and reaches for the wine bottle.)

DAD

Now hold on, everyone. This isn’t right. This is Christmas. We’re together. We’re healthy. We have a home, this yummy coffee cake— we have a lot to be grateful for.

AVI

(Through tears, wiping snot on blankie.) Why didn’t Santa come?

BECKETT

I hate Santa. Santa sucks.

(MOM takes a sip and looks expectantly at DAD.)

DAD

Santa did come. Who do you think brought all these presents and wrote these nice notes? (Mom laughs.) These are promises— guarantees— that on a certain date presents will arrive.

(The kids blink and wipe their eyes. Beckett whips a piece of coffee cake into the fireplace.)

DAD

 I can tell you guys are disappointed. That’s fair. You were expecting presents. You’ve been good kids this year— great kids. You’ve hung tough during the pandemic. It’s been a roller coaster of a year. In school. Out of school. Distance learning. In person. You wear your masks and don’t complain even though sometimes you’re the only ones wearing them like at gymnastics or Conner’s birthday party. You made the Nice List. I know this personally.

MOM

More than I can say for Daddy. (She gulps the rest of her mug.)

AVI

(In a whiny voice.) Then why didn’t we get any presents?

BECKETT

Santa’s a fat ass.

DAD

Listen, you’re angry. You’re upset. I can see that. But Santa always keeps his promises.

MOM

Mmm…(She shakes the last drops of the wine bottle into her mouth.)

AVI

(In a petulant whimper.) Why do we have just these empty boxes? (Her face shrivels into a mask of agony.)

DAD

Well, I didn’t want to have to tell you guys this, but I got a letter from Santa. All parents did. Or at least, I think most of them did. And in this letter Santa talked about something called a supply chain. It’s how the elves get all the parts to make the toys.

AVI

Supply…chain? I thought the elves make the toys in the North Pole.

(She wraps herself into a blankie cocoon. Mom cracks open a vodka seltzer can.)

DAD

They do. But they get the parts from all over the world. Especially China. Elves in China send the elves in the North Pole lots of the parts to make the toys.

AVI

Why didn’t the China elves send the North Pole elves the parts? (Her blankie cocoon collapses into a blankie puddle.)

DAD

Uh… shoot. That’s not what I meant. I don’t want you to blame the elves in China. There’s enough of that out there already. It’s no one’s fault. What I meant to say is…it’s…it’s… complicated. See, they put the toy parts in big containers, just like the bins you keep all your doll clothes in. Then they put the big bins on big ships. Due to the pandemic, those big bins are getting hard to come by.

BECKETT

The pandemic sucks.

DAD

And in addition to there being not enough bins, there’s not enough space to store the ones we have. And then there’s not enough boats to take the bins that have stuff. Or there’s boats but no bins. Or full bins but no boats. See, the boats bring the bins to these places called ports. And, because of the bin shortage, or bin surplus, depending on how you look at it—

AVI

(Sniffling.) Bin surplus?

DAD

And there’s not enough truck drivers, or, I mean, elves to drive the sleighs.

AVI

(Moans.) Why aren’t there enough elves?

BECKETT

Trucks suck.

DAD

See, the ports are like Beckett’s closet. Just a total mess. And certain places in the world are taking advantage of the situation. Instead of trying to help Santa, and get him the bins he needs, some people, not Chinese or Asian or any particular ethnicity, just…um… people on the naughty list. Yeah. (MOM laughs, causing her to choke on her vodka seltzer.) These naughty, bad people are holding onto the bins or charging extra money for the bins. Santa was basically screwed. He and his elves did all they could.

BECKETT

Screw Santa. Christmas sucks. (He bashes an empty box against his head.)

AVI

(Writhing.) Why couldn’t Santa use his flying reindeers?

DAD

He was missing some parts for his sleigh. They were stuck in the supply chain. He ordered them last summer. It was supposed to be there by Labor Day, but they got delayed. Just like your gifts. I know for a fact Rudolf’s nose needed a new light and it came just in time. That’s how Santa could deliver these boxes full of his promises.

(MOM, using the coffee cake spatula, cuts a small hole in her next vodka seltzer can and shotguns the beverage.)

AVI

(Rising like a creature from a blankie lagoon.) Doesn’t Santa have magic? Couldn’t he use his magic on the chain? If he knew about Rudolph’s nose on Labor Day?

MOM

(Burping.) Didn’t Mrs. Claus tell Santa to order the Amazon elves to make the gifts by September? Why didn’t Santa listen to Mrs. Claus?

DAD

Santa explained very clearly to Mrs. Claus that the Claus family was on a tight budget in the month of September and didn’t want to go into debt. I believe Santa gave Mrs. Claus the option of telling the Amazon elves to make cheap, shitty presents in September.

(Beckett starts gobbling wrapping paper.)

MOM

Shitty presents would be better than shitty notes.

DAD

Not all the boxes contain Santa’s promises. (He winks.)

(Avi sheds her blankie in an instant. Her moist eyes widen. Beckett stops chewing and hocks a wad of paper onto the floor. They both scramble to the tree, shaking boxes until they each find one that isn’t hollow. They rip into the presents with a vengeance.)

BECKETT

Socks? Seriously? I HATE CHRISTMAS.

DAD

But they’re Star Wars socks!

(Beckett throws the socks into the fire and runs off screaming.)

AVI

A pack of erasers?

DAD

Frozen 2 erasers! Aren’t they fun?

AVI

I’m going to my room and staying there until my presents arrive.

(She grabs blankie and stomps off. In the living room Beckett is kicking the wall and screaming. The mom opens a laptop.)

DAD

What are you doing?

MOM

Easter shopping.

One thought on “Daddy Explains The Supply Chain

  1. Very good writing… made me laugh!

    like the “and there’s not enough truck drivers, or, I mean, elves to drive the sleighs”

    Like

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