Modern Christmas

by Emil D. Caruthers

The troubles all started two or three months ago
When Santa first noticed it starting to snow
He had been planning for years to replace the sled
Ideas for that had been running through his head
With a new drive unit that would be faster to run
And a sound system in it that was second to none.

           He had hired an artist to draw the whole thing out
           Detail to detail, cautiously, consciously, leaving no detail out.
           There were lines for the new snow runners and feet
           There were circles for the air conditioning and heat
           There were even big magical squares and rectangles
           For all the packages carried, they had many angles.

                     His chief elf had tried to purchase the permits and the license
                     But ran into some bureaucratic static and nonsense
                     They would not issue any permit to him today
                     Because he had no paperwork from the good old EPA
                     And further he was told to get his permits done on this thing
                     His plans would have to include how the brass bell would ring.

           The more he objected, the louder he raved
           The more paperwork the department head craved
           There was no provision for the patent on this drive
           No fuel listed, none, landsakes alive
           Why, every one knew that fuel was needed
           You must be specific, every detail heeded.

Propane or diesel, gasoline or coal, some kind of heat
How could you push it without it, please be neat
When he tried to explain how reindeer could fly
The lady at the counter got tears in her eye
As she explained that they need some sort of a scoop
For all the stray drops of magic reindeer poop.

           So Santa had decided to try to conform
           To all of the rules, make his plans uniform
           He hired consultants and experts and more
           Even contracted with the Ace hardware store
           His papers were shuffled, and sorted by name
           This task was possible, perhaps even tame.

                     The drive would have fuel this time, a real source of heat
                     A patented device with numbers all compiled complete
                     A scooper would follow a respectable distance
                     To catch any offending particle or nuisance
                     The elves would somehow manage to get the job done
                     But first Santa had to speak with some one.

           Just point me to him, we'll get this thing straight
           He exclaimed to the lady with no malice or hate
           But she took his mistook excitement and misunderstood his intent
           And proclaimed a fit of sexual harassment
           "You can't treat me this way, she began to shout
           You can't have your permit, Get out, Get out."

Now Santa was tweaked, some would say pissed
Modern rappers would put it, the dude was dissed
His beard was twitching, his red nose was glowing
"Look outside you idiot, he shouted, can't you see it is snowing?
I've got to deliver, on Christmas Eve night
Billions of toys to make children delight.

           And I won't be put off by some government rules
           Made by bumbling idiots and well meaning fools
           These toys have to fall neatly down thousands of chimneys
           If we have to by hand, I'm begging you please
           I need this sleigh by the end of the week
           Won't you issue the permit, it's all that I seek."

                     He was told that they would possibly consider on Monday
                     Whether or not to give a permit for a sleigh
                     That had no drive unit or sanitation device
                     And could park on rooftops even in snow and ice
                     If there was anything further that he wanted to proclaim
                     He would have to furnish to them his entire name.

           The F.B.I. would have to fingerprint him and declare
           That there was no issue at stake, no chance of a scare
           And if he came through that clean a group could decide
           If they wanted to encourage a modern day reindeer ride
           And if he just couldn't wait, well that's all they could do
           It was now four thirty, and sir we are through.

Well, he thought, what fine jumbled up mess
This project has become, there's one thing I guess
We can always do it and wonder if they
Can possibly catch up to my magical sleigh
We will build this sled, this wonderful design
If we just hurry up, we might get it on time.

           So the elves began building and constructing the sleigh
           There were tubes and wires going every which way
           There were parts of the runners that had to be bent
           And miles of red velvet upholstery that went
           Out and around the magnificent seat
           It started taking shape, looking complete.

                     It was all done inside the workshop of course
                     Each reindeer was disguised to look like a horse
                     The elves all sworn to secret codes and handshakes
                     When purchasing the fixtures and rivets and stakes
                     When the last coat of paint went on the wonderful thing
                     A small cheer went up at the great gathering.

           Now everyone will know why on Christmas Eve Night
           If you look in the sky a spectacular sight
           Of the air force in their jets chasing a rather large sled
           Driven by an old man with his nose glowing red
           Tossing presents down each chimney with precision and glee
           Ranting and raving, "You'll never catch me."

They won't stop on rooftops any more you must know
He can't tolerate the thought of a ticket in the snow
He's leaving brown jelly beans for all of the EPA
And avoiding the houses of the people who say
"There's no such thing as Santa." It gives him delight
Now have a Merry Christmas, and a wonderful night.

The end.


Story Page back to the Short Story Page.

Modern Christmas, 14 December 1996