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But there's only so much a Santa can take. Our men in black informed us that they'd intercepted a communication to the effect that the men in blue were instructed to show "zero tolerance" against the men and women in red. We did the logical thing: we sought asylum in the nearest bar.
But that didn't do any good. We were ejected almost instantly, with two cops glaring at the exit, with looks on their faces exactly like angry high school jocks wanting an excuse to throw the first punch.
We walked through town determined not to be thwarted. The purpose of our anarchy was being challenged: we were trying to show that "normalcy" isn't necessary, that there are alternatives that work at least some of the time, that you don't have to submit to social authority. We were trying to demonstrate that it's possible to buck societal mores whether they're enforced by a disapproving glance or a billy club. But now it was happening, we were being stifled, and the billy club was becoming more than metaphorical. We could handle the scoffing and dirty looks, but all this combined with the power of the handcuff was overwhelming. And then the first Santa got arrested, the charge being, I'm told, "felony possession of a club". The "club" in question was a prop in a fire juggling act. It would have much more accurately been termed a "stick".
Then word came over the scanner that another Santa was in cuffs. Then we heard over the scanner a list of bars that were instituting a "No Santa" policy. And I saw a different look in the eyes of the locals. Their look suddenly said "What are you doing, you ridiculous people? Don't you know we have police for people like you? You cannot disturb us."
That did it, me and three other Santas decided to get the hell out of there. We made the longish walk back to the outskirts, fired up the bus, and just as we were pulling away I saw one of the ugliest sights I've ever seen: the rest of our Santa clan -- 100 strong -- walking en masse towards the parking lot, trailed ten feet behind by two police cars going slow enough to keep a little distance. We were being kicked out of town.