I'll go with thee to the lane's end... I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

I write not to teach but to learn. Rebecca West

drew's writing:

  • "Always Forever Now," Ideomancer volume 13, issue 2
  • "Black Sun," Black Static # 32
  • "Bread or Cake" and "Pride/Shame,"2nd Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival
  • "Copper Heart," Polluto Magazine issue 5, A Steampunk Orange
  • "The Accomplished Birder's Guide to Overcoming Rejection," Last Drink Bird Head, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • "Another Night With the Henriksens," Player's Theater Halloween One-Act Festival NYC 2008
  • "Hating the Lovers," and "Pipe Down!" Geez Magazine: Thirty Sermons You Would Never Hear in Church
  • "Beth/slash/Nathan," Paper Fruit Blogiversary Contest

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Santa, Urston the polar bear, & King Squite of the Goblins—a Father Christmas letter

I'm called on by my mother-in-law to copy out the annual Santa letter she writes for her granddaughter, who won't recognize my handwriting.  Two elves named Mac and Pete are the putative authors. I do this under duress; though I love Santa legends, I'm opposed to telling children Santa is real. Why foment disillusion? I'm a good sport, though, and confide my qualms to you only.

This year my mother-in-law's inspiration ran dry. At Thanksgiving I said, "We should get you a copy of Tolkien's Father Christmas Letters, they're great!" (I found my copy in a used shop as a teenagerI hadn't known such a book existed, and felt so privileged to have discovered it). My mother-in-law emailed me: Please do send material for the Santa letter that you talked about-----I've never read The Hobbit

So I wrote her an adventure, posted below, with elements from J.R.R., as narrated by the elves Mac and Pete:

Dear Margaret,

It’s been quite a year up here at the North Pole. We almost didn’t have a North Pole! It all started with this polar bear, Urston, who likes to hang around Mrs. Claus’s kitchen hoping for extra cookie dough. One day Urston stole a tray of cookies that were cooling on Mrs. Claus’s kitchen window, and ran straight into the North Pole trying to escape! He knocked it right over, and cookies flew everywhere.  It took several elves—and a very embarrassed and sorry polar bear—to hoist the North Pole into place again. 

If that was the craziest thing that happened this year, we’d probably be back on track with toy production. But the next day we ran into some trouble with Santa’s old enemy, the Goblin King, or, King Squite for short. King Squite is jealous that he and his goblins don’t get any Christmas presents! All the goblins send Santa letters with lists of the horrible things they want each year, and leave out moldy cookies for him on Christmas Eve. But Santa writes back to the goblins that if they want presents, they have to be good. Which of course, is the one thing goblins can never be (because then they would turn into elves, as you know).  

This year, King Squite and his goblin army surrounded Santa’s castle and demanded that all the toys be surrendered to them immediately (including some stuff that is supposed to go to you). Of course Santa refused, and we elves ran around to close the shutters on all the windows, and pull up the drawbridge. Then Mac and me loaded gobs of chocolate sauce and marshmallow fluff into the candy cannons around Santa’s castle. (Goblins can’t bear sweets, any type of sugar burns them, and they do a very comical dance trying to get it off them).

Our candy cannons were working alright at keeping the goblin army from climbing the walls of Santa’s castle, but the goblins still surrounded us, and we didn’t know what we going to do to get them to go away. King Squite rolled out a giant slime-catapult, and said that if Santa tried to take his sleigh out to deliver presents on Christmas Eve, they would shoot him down with it! 

Just then, Urston the polar bear showed up with his mother polar bear, who had dragged him back to Santa’s castle to apologize for stealing Mrs. Claus’s cookies the day before (even though Urston had apologized when it happened, and had been very polite about it—for a polar bear).  When Urston and his mom saw King Squite and his goblin army surrounding Santa’s castle, they called all their polar bear friends and relatives, and soon the goblin army was surrounded by polar bears! (The polar bears have their own issues with the goblins, but that’s another story). 

As you can imagine, the goblins ran off pretty quicklyso it looks like we’re still on track for Christmas Eve deliveries, but just barely... The main problem is, when the goblin army was escaping from the polar bears, they knocked over the North Pole, and this time it broke into several pieces. We found most of it, but some of the pieces are missing, and I don’t think we’ll have a chance to go looking for them till after Christmas. I just hope the goblins didn’t steal any of the missing pieces of the North Pole, because I sure wouldn’t want to have to sneak into the goblin’s cave kingdom to get them back… Scary!

Anyway, I’ll let you know how it all turns out. Meanwhile, Mac and I hope you have a Merry Christmas!  

Did you notice how I left it open for a sequel? 

Also, I used "issue" in that vague, euphemistic sense of "problem," which I wouldn't normally, but I could see Mac and Pete doing that. 

I had fun being Santa this year. I always liked him, though I'm grateful I was never told he was real. Life is hard enough to decipher without being deliberately misled. 

Merry Christmas!

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