Santa watches me clean up the mess with a big sponge and some carpet shampoo. When I'm done, he nudges me.
“You feeling sorry, little one?” I ask.
I don't want to hop to any conclusions, but he seems pretty sorry because he follows me into the bathroom, where I empty the bucket in the sink. He's been moulting a lot recently, so that when when I pick him up by the scruff of his neck, he turns my tailored jacket into an angora jumper. The loose hairs tickle my eyes and nose when I kiss his ears.
“Don't worry about it,” I say, “accidents happen.”
Still hugging the rabbit, I open the fridge with one hand and inspect the contents for a snack. Apart from blue cheese and carrots, there's nothing that doesn't need preparation. I don't fancy either of them so I close the door again and leave the kitchen.
What do other people do on a night like this, I wonder. They might go to the shop for a bottle of wine. Watch some telly. Go to the pub. Catch up on their administration. Make love to their other halves. Check their children's homework. Fuck knows. Those things are not me. I take Santa into my atelier with me – a double bedroom with an easel instead of a bed – and I paint, sculpt or edit videos. Nothing pretentious - I'm only a hobbyist. Unlike my dad, who is a proper artist and only ever attended the school of life, I did fine arts in uni and think it's a waste not to use any of my skills any more now that I've got a day job. But my work is not meant to be seen by any other pair of eyes than my own.