Christmas, 1980. My father dressed up like Papa Noël, he did this every year since my birth.
"WOHOHOHO... FRÖÖÖÖHLICHE WEIHNACHTEN!!!"
He wobbled towards me and dropped his heavy sac full of gifts at my feet. His false white beard yellowed with age and dotted with cigarette burn holes was on crooked. I could smell the liquor on his breath.
"WELL WHAT HAVE I HERE FOR THIS YOUNG MAN?"
Hunched over, he had his whole arm in the sac fishing for the one gift I'd been wishing for the entire year.
"AHA!!! HERE IT IS!!!"
He thrust this box wrapped with sections of Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper and bellowed a raspy HOHOHO. The beaming smile on my face as I ripped through the paper turned into straight lipped disappointment...he immediately got defensive.
"WHAT...ISN'T THAT THE ONE YOU WANTED?"
I swallowed hard, tried my best to feign a smile....
"Papa Noël, it's lovely, but this is a 924...I was hoping for the Martini 928...maybe you never got my Christmas list?"
A dead silence engulfed the room. His breathing was becoming labored, I could hear the phlegm burbling deep inside his chest. He pulled the cigarette out of his mouth, slammed it down on the parlor floor, stomped it out, lifted his wine stained tunic, and pulled out his leather belt...I ran for it.
"YOU UNGRATEFUL SONOFABITCH!!! LET'S SEE IF THIS WAS ON YOUR WISH LIST!"
Around the room we went. Hopping over the sofa, kicking the table out of the way...VOOOSH— I felt a stiff breeze through the arse of my pajama bottoms; the belt had just missed. We circled the Christmas tree knocking it over shattering a few precious balls...
"KOMM 'ER YOU LITTLE BASTARD AND TAKE IT LIKE A MAN, IT'S ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE WHEN I CATCH YOU!"
I thank the almighty for his drunkeness, had he been sober, sitting down for the next few days would've been an impossibility. My poor mum, horrified, tried in vain to stop him, her words would only fuel his fury.
"Axel...AXEL!!! Leave him ALONE!"
"SHUT UP YOU WHORE! IT'S YOUR GODDAMNED FAULT HE'S A SPOILED SHIT!"
The distraction was enough for me to bolt through the front door, straight to the garden shed, fumble for my bicycle, and heave ho! I had outsmarted the old man; throwing the belt at me from 2 meters behind was his last attempt.