“Billy, you’re back and just in the nick of time.” Santa let out a big belly laugh and winked.
“Oh, Santa, that’s a good one. Very good,” Billy laughed heartily.
“Thank you for getting my suit cleaned. Now it’s almost time for me to get ready for the big night,” Santa said as he reached for the suit. But Billy moved quickly in front of the package so Santa couldn’t pick it up.
It was now or never. Billy felt the adrenaline rush all the way down to his pointy little boots. He turned on his most winning smile, took a deep breath and launched into his pitch. “Ya know, Santa, I’ve been thinking. I know this is kind of last minute, but we could do something different this year.”
“What?” Santa looked confused. “Billy, what are you talking about?”
Billy wasted no time. “Well, now hear me out here, because, well, this is a little bit crazy, but what if you didn’t wear the traditional red and white suit this year, huh?”
Santa chuckled, “Billy, Billy… Don’t be silly. I like to try new things, but everyone expects Santa to be dressed in a red and white suit. Some things just shouldn’t change.”
Billy didn’t miss a beat. “Now I knew you might say that. And I believe in tradition. And you’ve invested a lot in your branding, I hear you. But,” Billy leaned in towards Santa and whispered, “But, honestly, Santa, I think you are overdue for a makeover. I mean, red and white fur is just so last century.”
Santa was studying Billy’s face very carefully, trying to figure out what Bill was up to. “Biiiiilly?” Santa said.
Billy didn’t hesitate. “So here’s what I was thinking. We’d create a new image for you of a hip, modern guy. We’d …”
Santa interrupted. “Billy, I’m all for new ideas, but …”
Billy held up his hand and launched into a rapid-fire delivery. “Now Santa, I know this is a little out of the box, and I can understand your hesitancy, but stay with me here,” Billy said, his enthusiasm building. “My idea is that we keep a bit of the traditional, let’s say the style – the style – of the suit would remain the same. But then we add some freshness. Do traditional with a twist – maybe a color or a pattern. It would still be you, but updated.”
Billy was looking at Santa with that expectant eyebrow raise and tilt of the head which Billy hoped was a sign that Santa was just a whisker away from agreeing with him.
“Now, I can tell you are liking this, Santa. Am I right? Yes? Yes!” Billy shouted, convinced Santa had bought his fabulous plan.
Santa laughed a hearty belly laugh.
“See the whole idea is making you smile,” Billy said. “We can issue a press release and have a news conference. This is going to be big, really big.” Billy spread his arms wide to emphasize his point. “You wait and see, Santa. People are going to love it. Love, love, love it!” Billy said punching each of the words for emphasis, as he danced in front of Santa.
Santa just smiled and leaned over his expansive belly and said, “Billy, you’ve got some great ideas. But I think we better leave things as they are for this year. We can talk about this after Christmas. Right now, I think I just better get changed.”
As Santa bent down, Billy moved quickly to stand in front of the package so Santa couldn’t reach it. Billy flashed Santa a winning smile and launched into what he hoped was his most persuasive argument. “Now, Santa, there is no time like the present… Ha, Ha, get it Santa? Present?” Billy cleared his throat. “This is the perfect year to do this. And, yes, I know we’ve got a tight deadline, but that gives us the element of surprise here. Just leave it to me, Santa. I’ll take care of everything.”
“Billy, Billy”, Santa said, shaking his head. “Now, I think a decision of this magnitude deserves some careful consideration and discussion.” And with that Santa reached around Billy and picked up the package.
By this time, a crowd of elves had gathered. Santa opened the package and unfolded his suit – red and white with huge paint spots all over it.
To Be Continued
© Lynn Wyvill 2011