Here’s a new song to ring it in. Click on the title.
Here’s a new song to ring it in. Click on the title.
She lurks beneath the ferns, watching the others pass. The prey roots
for tubers and grubs, not knowing that she is there. A fat one stops to
scrape the bark of a rotting cycad trunk. Its tail is short and without
quills. The bitter taste comes to her mouth and her forelimbs flex
before she even makes the decision to strike.
They milled about, drinking hot mulled cider and networking. There was laughter and small talk, and the usual grumbling about inequity. As the banquet dragged on, the grumbling crescendoed. Armchairs were buried in stocking hats.
“What’s taking him so long?” the President’s Day Santa wondered aloud. He held his white wig in one hand as he scratched his brown Amish style beard with the other.
The Groundhog Day Santa chuckled mirthlessly. “5 billion kids in one night, but us he keeps waiting.”
“Say, would you like to buy a new mattress or boxspring?”
Finally the great man arrived. Grumbles and laughter ceased, and the collective intake of breathe, the awe of seeing his jolly-ness no less diminished than the first time each had seen him. Of course, visits like this were rare, but the sight of him was overpowering. He glowed with a power and celebrity beyond them.
Only this time the glow was of a strange aura. There was a troubled look on the fat man’s face. Santa Clause, the Christmas Santa, took his place at the head of the table. The silence of his entrance was stifled by the deeper silence as he prepared to speak. One hundred lesser Santas held their breath.
“My friends, this is once again a dark Christmas. The economy is rough. You all know that we haven’t been able to provide toys to all the children for many centuries now. We’ve had to rely on capitalism as a supplement to our toy-bringing. Well, Capitalism is on the rocks. The Moneyday Santa failed for the second year in a row.”
Members of the legion peered about for a glimpse of the Moneyday Santa, but he was nowhere to be seen.
St. Nick continued. “Not only is there not enough money to go around, but the state of merriness is at an all time low. I think years of war, political divisiveness in the states, and the economic woes have brought on an epidemic of melancholia.
“We need to do something special this year. It is time for magic to work its magic. I know we’ve had contention in the past, but now is the time to put aside differences…”
Out of the darkness to the left of The Great Santa, plumes of smoke snaked into the light, followed by a pumpkin faced Santa, his fur suit coated in soot. He said nothing, and slowly took in the room. The Thanksgiving Santa met his gaze and smiled, grimly.
“Yes,” the Christmas Santa continued, “Even the Halloween Santa is here to work together for the sake of Christmas. We must all work together to bring the magic back. I have spoken to the dominant spirits of the seasons, and have received pledges of assistance from the St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun and the Hallmark CEO come St. Patrick’s Day and Valentine’s Day as compensation. We are still in talks with the Chinese Dragon and the Tree. Some will be compensated, but some will not. Now is not the time to bicker over fairness. Now is the time to save Christmas!”
Santa Valentine stepped forward. He was a true figure of dismay. Emaciated, with that hollow look only a Santa who had seen his holiday taken from him could understand. “I am with you, Christmas.” He croaked, “I am not strong, but I will do what I can. We all will.”
“Yes!” many of the Santas cried in unison. There were pledges of action and loyalty, with much toasting and hurrahs to go around.
Santa Claus smiled at them in his mighty beaming way. “Well, let’s go. To the North Pole. We’ve got work to do.” Fur clad demigods of the Holidays poured out of the hall, to a cavalry of reindeer drawn sleds.
As they made their way out, The Thanksgiving Santa pulled the Santa of Belated Birthdays aside. “What do you think of all this my friend?”
“I think it’s good for him to address us all again, and it’s a good cause. Better late than never, I say.”
“I say he’s weak. He wouldn’t call on us if his power weren’t fading.”
“But surely we need to keep Christmas strong?”
“Yes. Surely. But there shall be a price.”
“What are you planning?”
“Me? I’m planning on bringing little boys and girls presents for Christmas,” The Thanksgiving Santa smiled, slowly stroking his gobbler, “But let’s just say there might not be Carols playing the day after Halloween next year.”
The fox in the henhouse must pause to calculate: kill them all and eat at leisure, or eat as many as possible before the caretaker comes. If there are less than seven, there is barely a hesitation; they are all dead before a significant cry can be raised. If there are twelve, it may be more profitable to eat three or four while the others squawk — otherwise the seemingly prudent killings would be cut short by the arrival of those who would object.
In a henhouse of thousands the calculus is altogether different. The shrieks and squalls of the living are ignored by their caretakers. A fox may feast as it pleases. The farmer assumes that some chickens will be lost, and this is accounted for and accepted.