Myth of the Mall Santa

Myth of the Mall Santa

“I can’t get over this! How many strings did you have to pull to get this mall all to ourselves?” Brian asked Kevin as he looked down the empty hallway.

Kevin grinned. “I have a friend of a friend of a friend that owed me some favors and I called him on it. He told me the next time we were in Ohio to give him a holler.”

“Well, I for one don’t care what this took, it’s fantastic,” AJ surmised. “This is awesome the stores stayed open just for us.”

“Where did Nick run off to?” Howie asked as he glanced at his watch. “We’re supposed to have been out of here twenty minutes ago.”

“Found him,” Brian gestured towards the center courts of the mall. All eyes looked towards the direction to where he was pointing and found Nick sitting in a seat for the Santa display. He was grinning ear to ear, wearing the Santa hat, coat and pants.

“I always wanted to do this, this is sweet!” he exclaimed.

“Little things amuse little minds,” AJ mumbled. “Nick, we have to go, take that shit off and let’s get the hell out of here.”

“Yeah come on these people would like to get out of here too, I’m sure,” Brian advised.

Nick couldn’t help but keep grinning. “Okay, but does anyone want to sit on my lap and tell me what they want for Christmas before I take the Santa suit off?”


Taking off the gear, Nick threw it onto the chair. “You guys have absolutely no sense of holiday spirit!”


“I’m coming....hold on a sec wouldja!?”

Nick sighed as he threw the covers off. He hated being interrupted from a peaceful sleep and by the sounds of the forceful banging on the door, he assumed that AJ would be standing on the other side. Dazed, he slowly climbed out of bed and fumbled with the locks on the door. Swinging it open, he found out that he was correct in his assumptions that it would be AJ that was pounding on the door.

“What? Are you just going to stand out in the hall with your mouth hanging open?” Nick grumbled as he stared at the rebel.

“Um... Nick?”

“Oh for crying out loud, you woke me up for a reason, what the hell do you want?” Nick huffed as he attempted to pull his tee shirt down.

AJ still stood in the hall, now pointing at Nick, mouth still hanging open.

“AJ, god, you’re getting on my nerves, what the hell is your problem?”

“Di....Did you get bit or something?”

It was at that approximate moment that Nick suddenly realized why AJ had the strange look on his face.

“Omigod...omigod, what the hell?”

Leaving the door open, Nick rushed into the bathroom to look in the mirror. “What the hell is happening to me?”

AJ let himself into the hotel room, closing the door behind him. He could hear Nick’s cries out in the hall and walked towards the bathroom, finding him standing in front of the mirror, leaning towards it, looking at his now rounded face and then drawing back when his stomach dropped into the sink.

“Okay, no one gains weight that fast, maybe this is an allergic reaction to something?”

“Look at me!” Nick moaned. “God I have a beer gut and my face looks all puffy and gross!”

“Okay, have you been taking your Lasik like you should be?”

“Dumbass! Skipping a few water pills wouldn’t do this to me! I’ve gotta get Brian, he can help me, he’ll know what to do,” Nick mumbled as he brushed past AJ and grabbed the pair of jeans that were laying on top of the dresser. “Shit!”

AJ smirked as he watched Nick trying to pull the pants on. “Problems there, Nicky?”

“I can’t get them up! Dammit, I can’t go out dressed like this!”

“Hey, how about those pants in the chair over there? They look like they’re jumbo sized,” AJ suggested with a grin.

“Okay, I did not take these back with me from the mall, remember? I threw them back on the sleigh when you guys yelled at me.”

“Put them back? What are you talking about?”

“These,” Nick stated through gritted teeth as he held the pants up. “This is from the mall Santa thing! I didn’t take this back, I left them there. It’s got something to do with this!”

“Well, put them on and I’ll go to the mall with you then.”

Nick nodded and pulled the pants on. “Oh yeah, look how loose these things are, if it didn’t have suspenders they would be laying on the floor.

AJ laughed as he watched Nick pull the pants away from his stomach. “Yeah, but the way you eat, I’m sure you’ll fill them out in no time. Grab the jacket and let’s get the hell over to that mall and get this fixed.”


Both Nick and AJ kept their thoughts occupied by looking out their windows at the scenery while the cab driver seemed to be taking forever to arrive at the mall. When they pulled up, AJ glanced over at Nick and then did a double take.

“Ah, um, Nick? I don’t think you have to worry about filling those pants out anymore.”

“Huh?” Nick looked over at AJ and then followed to where his eyes were focused. “Oh shit, dammit look at this!” He moaned. “God my stomach is hanging on my lap and the waist feels tight,” Nick cried as he slowly eased his new frame out of the cab.

“God AJ don’t walk so fast!” Nick yelled out trying his best to catch up. “Ugh, my thighs are rubbing together! Why does this shit always happen to me?”

“Because you are always doing dumbass things, chubby!” AJ laughed over his shoulder.

“Stop with the fat remarks!” Nick glared.

Thankfully, when the two men entered the mall, it was early enough that it was only inhabited by Senior Citizen Mall walkers and people from maintenance. They approached the information desk.

“We need to talk to a manager that runs the Santa thing,” AJ announced.

“That would be Ray, see him over there?” the old woman replied as she gestured towards the Santa display.

“Excuse me,” Nick quietly started out, “Are you Ray?”

A middle aged man dressed in a red polo shirt and grey Dockers stood up and turned to face the voice. “Oh, there you are, I was wondering when you would show up,” he stated as he eyed Nick up and down. “Hey this is good this year, I won’t have to pad you up. Some of the Santa’s I’ve had in the past were really scrawny. You must have had some meat on you to begin with.”

Nick stared at the man for a moment, collecting his thoughts on what to say, but AJ jumped on it before he had a chance to.

Pulling at Nick’s upper arm, he proudly stated, “This meat is all his, but funny thing about it, he wasn’t like this twenty four hours ago, hell, he wasn’t this big twenty minutes ago. What gives?”

“He’s the Sandusky Mall Santa for 2001, that’s what gives,” Ray replied as he shoved a white wig and beard at Nick.

“No I’m not,” Nick protested shoving the beard and wig back.

“You put the suit on,” Ray replied.

“Only because I couldn’t fit into my jeans!”

“No, I mean yesterday, you put the suit on yesterday, before you changed, right?”

“Well, um yeah, but I was horsing around, what difference does that make?” Nick replied.

“Because, my dear new friend, when you put on the suit you took on the roll of the Sandusky Mall Santa.”

“No, I don’t want to be the Sandusky Mall Santa,” Nick replied. “Just undo what you’ve done to me. I still can’t figure out how this happened.”

“The suit is magical. Every year someone tries the suit on and every year we get a new mall Santa. That’s just the way it works. Some are really fat and others are anorexic looking, it all depends on the build of the guy that tried the suit on.”

“No, you don’t understand, I don’t want to be the Sandusky Mall Santa, I have commitments and obligations, this is just too weird. Besides, aren’t the mall Santa’s usually retirees or something?”

Ray sighed, an annoyed look crossed over his face. “Look kid, mall Santas don’t grow on trees! You think we have a line up down the street for people begging to be a mall Santa? No, we do not. No mall has it. This is how we get a Santa. Some sucker tries on the suit and that sucker becomes Santa for a month. Period. It can’t be reversed. You’re stuck with this whether you like it or not.”

“And what if I just bag it and walk out?” Nick argued.

“Then you walk around weighing about four hundred and ten pounds until ten p.m., December 24th.”

Nick and AJ’s mouth dropped open.

“Your friend can take a seat down there, I have a few forms for you to fill out,” Ray stated as he pointed towards a row of seats in the court below.

“Guess you better fill out those forms fatty. I’ll wait for you over there,” AJ joked.

“Okay, you will need helpers, so I need you to write down names so I can start the transformation process and you will need a Mrs. Claus too, so I need a name for her,” Ray remarked as he produced a green clipboard with sheets of red papers attached.

Nick stared at Ray, not sure of what to tell him. “So what do you mean by transformation process?”

“Well, the helpers would be elves, so they would get pointed ears and a greenish color to their skin, nothing else would happen to them,” Ray replied with almost a sarcastic tone in his voice.

“And what about Mrs. Claus?”

“She would be made to your specifications.”

A smile crept across Nick’s face. “So you’re telling me if I wanted her built like Pamela Anderson, she would be built like her?”

“Absolutely, she will become built to your specifications.”

“Okay this sounds sick and wrong, but the only friends I have around me are my band mates and they’re all men.”

“Not a problem, one of them will just have to be transformed into a woman until December 24th.”

“I see.... Okay, I want Brian Littrell, Howie D and Kevin Richardson as Santa’s helpers,” Nick started out.

“Alright, done, and for Mrs. Claus?” Ray asked, pen poised over the sheet.

“AJ McLean, that guy down there, but I want him to pay for all the comments he makes about me year round,” Nick replied, grinning.

“Okay, I understand revenge, what did you have in mind for Mrs. Claus?”

“How much did you say I weigh?”

Ray looked Nick over. “Well, I know I’m really pleased with your appearance, and you will be making an absolutely terrific Santa, I’m guessing you to be the fattest Santa I’ve had in several years.”

“How much?” Nick growled impatiently.

“I would guess you’d be tipping the scales at four fifteen, easily.”

“Okay, I want Mrs. Claus to be heavier than me, twenty pounds heavier.”

“He’s a little short to be weighing four thirty-five, don’t you think?”

“I don’t care, I want him at four thirty-five with big droopy boobs and a fat ass!”

Ray grinned at Nick’s intentions. “Oh he will already have the fat ass weighing four thirty-five, I guess you can’t see how big yours is. It’s done then. You and your entourage need to be at the mall tomorrow morning 9am sharp!”

“When will the changes take place?”

“Midnight tonight, so you can either warn them gently, or you can let them discover it on their own, but remember, I need you at the mall tomorrow morning at nine o’clock.”

“Did you get everything squared away?” AJ asked as he watched Nick lumber up towards where he was seated.

“Yeah, everything is set to go. I have to make the most of this since I’m stuck like this until Christmas Eve.”

“So you’re seriously going to be a mall Santa?”

“Yeah, that and a few other things,” Nick chuckled.

“Hey kid, I forgot to give you this,” Ray called out as he held up a blue velvet bag.

“What’s this?” Nick asked as he took the small bag and started to untie the silver roping that sealed it shut.

“You need to sprinkle this over the guys and this will complete the changes. They don’t have a suit to put on like you did so they need a little help in that area.”

Nick looked into the bag at the shimmering gold contents.

“Any questions?”

“I, um, I guess not but..... well this is kinda embarrassing, but do you have any pants that are a little bigger and a jacket too? The pants are digging and the jacket doesn’t seem to go around my stomach,” Nick whispered to Ray, his eyes lowered to the floor.

Ray slapped his hand on Nick’s shoulder. “I have the next size up, hold on a minute, son!”

“Dumbass, are you ready to go? Hey, what’s in the baggie?” AJ’s asked as he peered over the tops of his glasses.

“Some magic dust,” Nick replied with a smirk on his face.

“Cheech and Chong magic dust?” AJ asked grinning.

Nick held the bag away. “No, dork, Santa’s magic dust! Only Santa can use it.”

“I bet you could, fatty,” AJ laughed.

“I really had to dig for these,” Ray announced as he approached Nick. “I found the next size up, a 72 waist! You’re the fattest Santa this mall has ever had! I am pleased!”

“Well now there’s something you don’t hear everyday,” AJ mused. “Compliments on getting fat, now that’s something to strive for!”

Nick’s eyes grew wide in shock as the man handed the pants and the jacket to him. “A 72 waist? I usually wear a 30, this.. this is going to stop now, right? I mean I’m not going to keep getting bigger am I?”

Ray smiled as he shook his head. “No, son, but I suspect you’ll probably add roughly five or six more pounds before the day is over. Nothing to worry about.”

“Nothing to worry about?” Nick cried out. “Yeah, sure, okay, I can’t even see my feet and you think five or six more pounds is nothing to worry about?”

“Trust me Nick, it ain’t gonna matter that much,” AJ chuckled.

Nick shot him a glare as he opened up the pouch and blew the magic dust into AJ’s face.

“What the hell did you....did you...achoo, did you do that for you freak?”

“You’ll see,” Nick winked.



Nick winced as he heard AJ’s yells coming from the adjoining motel room. As he searched his mind trying to figure out what practical joke he had played on AJ to cause him to wake up yelling, his hand landed on top of his stomach, bringing him back to the Santa Claus for a month situation. He immediately grinned.

“Yes AJ?”

The connecting door banged open. AJ had to walk through the door sideways.

“Okay, what kind of a smart joke is this?” he asked as he pointed to his new shape.

Trying his best to conceal a smirk, Nick sized up AJ. He had exactly what he’d told Ray that he wanted Mrs. Claus to look like. AJ was by far bigger than he was, and the breasts he had been given hung to his waist - laid down upon his stomach would have been a better description.

“My perfect Mrs. Claus,” Nick stated casually.

“Listen here you freak, this is sick and wrong. I’m a man for god sakes!” AJ hissed through gritted teeth.

“Well AJ, or should I call you fatty, you’re Mrs. Claus until December 24th so get used to it. That should teach you a lesson about calling people names.”

“What about the rest of them? Brian, Howie and Kevin, what about them?”

A demanding knock on Nick’s door drew his attention elsewhere. “I bet we will find out right now,” Nick stated as he waddled towards the door. “I’m coming....good god, panic much? I said I was coming,” he huffed. Nick smirked after he flung the door open, seeing Howie, Kevin and Brian standing in the hall, greenish color to their skin and one pissed off look plastered on their faces.

“We figured you had something to do with this,” Kevin stated flatly as he pushed his way past Nick into the hotel room.

“I’ve got pointed ears....pointed ears for crying out loud,” Howie moaned. “Oh god, who the hell is this?”

Nick turned to see Howie standing in front of AJ, pointing a finger toward him.

“That there is good ole Mrs. Claus, you used to know him as AJ McLean, Backstreet Boy,”Nick replied, grinning.

Brian shook his head. “That is just sick.”

“How the hell do you think I feel,” AJ pouted. “I’m a freakin woman, why the hell does this shit happen to me, god Nick you could have at least made me thin or something if you had to do this to me!”

“So that stuff you sprinkled on us last night after dinner did this to us, didn’t it?” Brian wondered.


“But why did you have to drag us into this? You were the dumbass, you told us yourself when we saw you at dinner. The suit, this all happened because of the suit!” Howie spat.

“Well, Ray said I would be this way until the 24th of December, and I knew that you guys would abandon me in Sandusky, so I figured this way we could stay together as a group,” Nick theorized. “He said I needed helpers and you were the only ones I had with me.”

“But why did you do that to AJ? That was mean,” Brian scolded.

“I know it was mean, but you know what, this was my revenge. AJ constantly picks on me about my weight, makes snide comments all the time. I was sick of it so I told Ray I wanted AJ to be my Mrs. Claus and I wanted him heavier than what I am, with the boobs and the wide ass.”

“Your ass isn’t so thin either, Nick,” Kevin remarked.

“So we’re stuck like this too then until December 24th?” Howie asked.

“Unfortunately, yeah, but don’t worry I can do the shopping and stuff that you might need since you guys have pointed ears and are kinda green looking,” Nick offered.

“They don’t make aisles that wide in the stores, fat ass,” AJ growled.

“Oh, like you would fit in any, you’re wider than me,” Nick countered.

“KNOCK IT OFF,” Kevin shouted, pinching the bridge of his nose.

“Ray is expecting us at the mall, let’s go!” Nick ordered.

AJ’s head shot up. “You mean we have to work? Go out in public looking like this?”

“No one will know who you are, just some fat assed---”


“Well, I’m just pointing out the obvious Kevin. He’s or I should say she’s---”

“Let’s just get this over with,” Brian interrupted.

After the men changed into the appropriate costumes and got the outline of what was expected of them, they took the center court of the mall, looking down at the sea of children that lined up, all with expectant looks on their faces.

“Look at you, fatty, your belly is so big there’s hardly any room for the kids to sit on your lap,” AJ whispered sharply.

“Ho.... fuckin...ho,” Nick mumbled back.

“Nick, there’s kids that are going to hear you two, knock it off,” Brian warned as he took his position behind Nick’s chair.

Howie’s job was to take the child by the hand and lead them towards AJ and Nick that waited for them at the top of the Santa display. AJ’s job was to pick the child up and place them on Nick’s lap. Brian’s job was to lead the child off the display back to the awaiting parent. Kevin was in charge of photos.

“Hi sweetie, what’s your name?” Howie asked a young girl as he led her by the hand towards Nick and AJ.

“Shelby,” she said quietly.

“Mrs. Claus,” Howie winked as he placed the little girl’s hand into AJ’s. “This is Shelby.”

AJ’s transformation into a woman was complete, except for his voice, it was still low so he had to raise it a few octaves higher which sounded like Mrs. Doubtfire on crack.

“Well hellllooo Shelby!”

As AJ bent over to pick the child up, the gas that was passed about made Brian turn a darker shade of green. “Ooopsie, back door speaking from Mrs. Claus,” AJ cackled.

”Judas, what did you eat?”” Nick grumbled as he fanned his face with a white glove.

“Just some stale milk and cookies that Santamissed,” AJ replied.

“Guys! No domestics!” Brian warned. “Shelby wants to tell Santa that she’s been a good girl this year!”

“If I can find a spot for poor Shelby to sit on,” AJ grumbled.

“Just give her to me,” Nick said as he grabbed onto the girl, placing her on his lap.

After the third child that AJ picked up, and the third time he passed gas and practically knocked out half of the Sandusky mall, Brian rushed up and insisted that he would pick the kids up from that point on.

“Nick, did you request that Mrs. Claus had some type of personal problems with gas?” Kevin scowled at break time.

“Hey at least you’re downwind, we get the full force of it,” Howie sputtered.

“Yeah, I could have sworn I saw some balls on the tree sway in the breeze of his wind!” Nick offered.

Brian rolled his eyes. “God help us all.”

Days passed into weeks and the men found it hard to believe that December 24th had finally arrived.

“Here we are again, last day of hell,” AJ stated as he sat down heavily onto a bench in the mall employee lounge.

“Admit it, AJ, you know you had fun this past month,”Howie coaxed.

“Yeah, I guess I did but the sad part of all of this is, I’m getting used to being this big and it kinda scares me.”

“I think it’s just that you adapted to your size, just think in twelve hours you’ll be the skinny guy you used to be,” Howie winked.

“Yeah and Nick will be.. ah, um… Nick,” AJ replied.

“You didn’t learn your lesson, did you?” Nick remarked as he tried to button up his Santa jacket. “I should hold your ass over through Kwanzaa!”

“Well I hate to point it out, but you sure did some free wheelin with your weight ordering take out pizzas at 2 am, now you can barely fit into a size 72!”

“Shut up!” Nick snapped. “They aren’t that bad,” he lied. The pants he was wearing were no longer comfortable, but he never asked Ray for another size, he worried that when the transformation back to normal came that he would be left with some extra weight. His embarrassment to the situation was clearly announced when he sat down and his pants ripped.

“Oh Ray!” AJ sang out. “Nick needs new pants and a coat!”

Ray poked his head out of the office door. “Come with me big fella,” he grinned.

A few minutes had passed and Nick reappeared wearing a new Santa suit and a red face to match.

“What size?” AJ pestered.

“It don’t matter,” Nick defended.

“Size 76, I even weighed him and he tipped the scales at 448 pounds,” Ray offered.

“Holy smokes!” Brian remarked, his eyes wide. “He’s not going to have problems with his weight after the spell is off, is he?”

Ray smiled, shaking his head. “No, see he could have gained as much weight as he wanted to and it would drop off at 12 am. That’s the miracle of the suit, you go back to your normal state.”

“Well that just sucks,” Nick moaned.

“Why do you say that?” Kevin questioned.

“I could have been eating everything I wanted and not worry about the weight since it’s not permanent,” came the reply.

“Yeah but you would have been miserable in the mean time Nick, think about it, you're having trouble walking right now as it is,” Brian stated.

“Yeah, miserable maybe, but happy definitely!”

“Okay guys, time for the last show,” Ray interrupted.


"Well, I never thought you'd make it home in time bro, but I'm glad to see you!" Aaron smiled as he hugged his older brother.

"You would never believe it if I told you," Nick replied. "But I will tell you one thing though."

"What's that?"

"I'm laying off of 2am pizzas for the next year."

"It's never gonna happen, cause if it did, that right there would be the true Christmas Miracle," Aaron teased and then darted away from sure contact from Nick's hand.

"HEY! AIRHEAD! Just wait til I catch you!"