“According to my list, you’ve been very naughty this year, Mrs. Claus, very naughty indeed! I don’t know *how* you could have received any kind of present, ho ho ho.”
Mrs. Claus shook the package. Sounded like a belt. Joy!
At the counter in front of the Santa’s Village dollhouses, Jane noticed the absence in Baker’s eyes; figured he was looking around the place again, creating more counterfeit stories. “One question, bub,” she decides to insert. Baker’s eyes became unglazed, focused into hers. “Who’s the Princess of this here fair land? You better say the right one. Or: out on your keister!”
Baker figured he’d be out on his keister soon enough. He wanted a couple of answers beforehand. An attempt. “Yes, of course Selena is the Princess.” Jane’s wild look in her eyes tamed down. He leaned forward a bit. “Hey, I heard you had some kind of Tragically Hip tribute concert in here the other week. I’m not a fan fan, but I always liked that one song of theirs quite a lot; quite haunting.” He decides to say the wrong name for fun. “‘Lions, Tigers, and Bears,’ I think it is called. Or maybe I’m thinking…”
“You’re thinking of the Oz movie,” said Jane sternly, noting the clock on the wall. 15 minutes till closing. Home to the cats again after that, maybe a call from Herman Fisher. The big lug. “Try again.”
“Um, ‘Lions, Tigers, *or* Bears’?”
“For God’s sake, it’s ‘Tiger the Lion,’ just the bestest song ever invented. John Cage would agree!”
“Yes, I recall now.” All art is meaningless. Real Life is the only true art.
“Sooo… you *seem* to have woken up now. Are you *woke*?”
It all depended on Murdoch’s Castle, Baker realized, but he couldn’t ask about it. Not yet. He paid for his drink and left, allowing Jane to start closing up early. Good move. There will be other nights.