GLYNN WASHINGTON, HOST:
Welcome back to SNAP JUDGMENT, the "Original Prankster" episode. And if you're listening with a young person, a tiny person that every year anxiously awaits the arrival of a fat man from the North Pole, this next piece might not be the one they need to hear. Fair warning - it does raise some unfortunate questions as our next storyteller, SNAP's Jamie DeWolf, often does. And after you hear it, I'm sure you're going to have a few questions for him as well. Jamie DeWolf.
JAMIE DEWOLF, BYLINE: When Christmas time rolls around everywhere you look there's Santas. Supermarket Santa, sexy Santa, Santana Santa - Santa's everywhere on every single corner. Now all it takes is a suit and these were all a bunch of fakes. So that year, my friends and I in my small town set out to expose the biggest fake of them all. Sun Valley Mall - Concorde, California. The biggest mall in a 15 mile radius on one of the most desperate shopping days of the year. And the best time to attack. There'd been a day of surveillance and a week of planning, and now it was D-Day. Our team was in position, and me and Matt snuck our costumes into a duffel bag into the Macy's dressing room.
Now by day, Matt is a Kinko's manager, but by night, he's an unrepentant prankster - emptying galleons of bubble bath in city fountains and dressing up as an old man just to get senior citizen discounts. Right now he's forcing himself into a green velvet suit that, at 6'2'', was two sizes too small. And then topping it off with a pointy little green hat to transform into Slappy, your favorite elf that you never heard of. I got a pillow stuffed into a red jumpsuit, and I make a huge majestic mound of a beard out of shaving cream, with two foamy eyebrows to go with it. We walk out the stall and take one last look in the mirror. Oh, yeah. We were no longer small-town idiots. We were now agents of chaos who had never looked so festive. Slappy filled his rucksack with candy because candy causes confusion. And we stood at the edge of Macy's taking in the scene. Now the mall was at the peak Christmas frenzy - two open floors of thousands of parents dragging exhausted children, and in the middle of it all was Santa's Village where he sat in the open under 12 foot tall candy canes. The line ran 60 deep while photographers snapped off shots of kids on his lap for $20 a pop. Slappy nodded and we stepped fourth. He started hurling candy into the air and children broke free from their parents at full speed to grab everything we were tossing. I grabbed my big luscious belly and I bellowed ho-ho-ho, Christmas came early this year, kids. Have you been good? Have you been bad? If you've been bad, be better. Kids were mobbing at our feet as we moved into position into full view of two floors facing the mall Santa who was laughing with a fat boy in blue on his lap. I stopped in mock shock, an eyebrow already sliding downward into a crazy angle. And there's this beautiful moment where our eyes meet - this small employee in a rental suit looking back at his shaving cream, fun house mirror version of himself.
And I wink and his mouth drops, and then I begin. Ho-ho-ho, who is this boys and girls? Why, he doesn't even look like me. This man is an imposter. Children, don't you recognize me? It's me, Santa. The mall traffic has been brought to a sudden halt. Santa puts his gloved hand over the fat boy's eyes. I brought your favorite elf Slappy, we came all the way from the North Pole to give you candy and presents. Slappy made it rain fistfuls into the winter village. Now some parents are laughing, but other parents are exploding. And a soccer mom keeps screaming shut up, oh, my God, shut up, get out of here, God, please, shut your mouth. Upstairs our lookout team is nodding toward security, who are fumbling for their walkie-talkies. And on cue, our team member dressed as Jesus bursts out from the confused crowd yelling your both imposters, you're nothing but a make-believe fairy tale - this day is about Jesus. And I veer up, drove my little hands back and I hit him with my pillow gut saying no, this day is about me. And he yells Jesus. And I say Santa. And he says Jesus.
And I realize that I haven't been arrested yet. Now we had assumed that none of this would actually get this far and my plan was to get handcuffed in front of Santa's Village and then get marched to the station, where I was then going to insist I was actually Santa Clause for 24 hours just like a the movie "Miracle on 34th Street." But our second-floor lookout was jetting his thumb to the exit and it occurred to me - we could actually get away with this. I say to Slappy let's make a run for it. And with one last pillow gut push to Jesus we break through the crowd at full speed. And I'm yelling Santa's got a lot of presents to give out kiddies, come on, move, move. While shaving cream is flying in chunks behind me, we dock into the video arcade and hide behind the Mortal Kombat console, as security storms pass screaming in walkie-talkies. We snuck away into the arcade bathroom and I'm stripping from the outfit, washing mounds of shaving cream off, when suddenly the door opens. And it's a little boy staring mouth agape at a 6-foot-2 elf in a green velvet suit and a sweaty man with half a beard hanging from his chin. And the boy says, whoa, are you Santa? My foam eyebrow finally falls on the floor. I wink and say shhhh.
WASHINGTON: Thank you so much, Jamie DeWolf. Now there is something wrong with that man. No, Jamie, you are not invited to the family holiday party this year, thank you very much. That piece was produced by Jamie DeWolf with sound design by Renzo Gorrio. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.