While we argued whether “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie, Paul Heatley released a stunner of dark comic noir Christmas story, “Christmas Stockings”. After a month of working as a store Santa, Santa stops at a dive bar to celebrate a month of sobriety for a night of paycheck drinking. At a bar littered with a sadness of people and a Christmas tree stinking of piss, Santa strikes up a conversation with Randy who is racing him to the tumbled and twisted finish line of retching and blacking out. Instead of being a bourbon and beer companion for Santa, Randy turns out to be an asshole. Randy gets a phone call and exits leaving Santa to chat up Chris, the proprietor of the type of bar that exists for the lonely and twenty-somethings looking for a story to tell their friends on Monday morning among grey cubicles and spreadsheets. Now that’s the beginning of a wonderful Christmas story.
Part Potterville despair and equal part brutal violence, Paul Heatley’s “Christmas Stockings” is the type of holiday tale that Charles Bukowski might have written for the Lifetime channel. Coming in around 25,000 words, Paul Heatley’s “Christmas Stockings” pairs well with a few shots of Fireball.