And now, Scary-Crayon presents...
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the absolute strangest christmas story ever told
(Part 4)
by: Wes

Werewolves have pointed ears, you know. Just like elves.

The pointed ears of these particular werewolves perked up at the muffled sounds of paper crunching and bottles lightly clinking against the cement floor that pierced the silent night as the blonde woman on the television screen stumbled over the trash in the alley. Reaching the wall at the back of the alley -- a dead end! but she must have known -- she turned with a fearful gasp and ducked behind the army green metal dumpster on her right, covering her mouth with her hands and hoping, praying that her attacker would not find her here. Moments later, the dark alley was made even darker as the shadow of the red-suited, club-wielding fiend fell over it, and with another ragged the attacker dragged his dusty, dirt-encrusted boots through the refuse en route to the dumpster, for the poor blonde woman -- in typical fashion for a blonde, some would say, if they believed that the old jokes had any truth whatsoever to them -- had left a trail through the trash that led right to her decidedly ineffective hiding spot.

And there! -- he was upon her.

The woman's teary eyes dilated as she stared up at her attacker, and the camera spun to give the viewers, for the first time, a clear shot of the monstrosity that now raised its fierce wooden club in preparation to bash in her skull. The glowing, yet somehow dull, dead yellow eyes burned underneath a pointed red velvet cap with a dirty grey fur trim, mottled with bits of red flesh as if it had been ripped from the back of a sewer-dwelling snow rabbit. If that had been the case, then the fluffy tail of the unfortunate creature had been stitched to the top of the cap, where it dangled like a pom and jounced around as the creature moved. The face was grey and bloodless, pulled tautly around the sharp bones of the skull; the nose was naught but jagged protrusions of cartilage here and there, as if it had once been complete but had since been gnawed away by fat beavers and other assorted woodland creatures. At the base of the nose grew a thick beard, black with soot and littered with cigarette butts, from which ash fell in heaps as the monster once again moaned, "Hhhhooooohhh hoooohhh hohhhhhh..." in fearful fashion. And the mouth! Green and yellow tartar-coated teeth of varying heights hung like irregularly spaced bars in front of an undulating, forked tongue and a tangle of worms that seemed to be emerging from the gullet of the creature and attempting to slither between the gaps and down the blackened beard, but a constantly convulsing throat kept swallowing the writhing mass back into the dark, only to surge forward once again in the hope of escaping this odious beast. Only when the creature opened this sickening mouth to cry, "Hhhhooooohhh hoooohhh hohhhhhh..." did the worms escape, falling with a splat to the ground and trying to scatter before the dirty boot came tramping down on their pink, featureless annelidan heads -- trying, but failing, and ending their lives as puddles of gook clinging both to the walkway and the soles of the monster's boots.

Beneath the creature's hideous head, the rotund body was clad in a suit in the same style as the hat -- red velvet with grimy white trim about the cuffs and gritty balls of fluff decorating the seam down the center of the coat. In addition to the black boots caked with dirt and mud (which we've mentioned previously) tattered and soiled green mittens completed the ensemble -- one of which, the left hand, held a heavy wooden club that came crashing down on the bloodied blonde head of that poor, poor woman time and time again with a whoosh of air and then a sickening schluurp; the other, the right, gripped the scratchy, ragged burlap sack into which, as soon as the left hand had finished its murderous downward bashing, the crumpled, battered, lifeless form of the woman was heaped. Its grisly task complete, the creature tied the sack closed with a piece of twine found amidst the rubbish in the alley, swung the heavy sack over its shoulder, and stumped out of the alley and into the night, still letting loose with, at intervals, its chilling signature moan: "Hhhhooooohhh hoooohhh hohhhhhh..."

The werewolves clapped their paws together and howled with delight as "Santa Corpse Saves Christmas" cut to a commercial break. The next scene -- as they well knew, for they watched this program every year (never missed it!) -- would show Santa slipping down the chimney of an old, dilapidated mausoleum and delivering the fresh body of the murdered woman to a poor, starving family of imps living within. Oh, to us it seems grisly, but to a monster? This was the ultimate act of charity. The murder of a human being, after all, is not an act that goes unnoticed, nor is it an act that takes place without retaliation, for some relative or friend of the deceased victim will always seek revenge and, in the final minutes of the film, destroy the monster responsible for the killing -- and, indeed, this was the case even in "Santa Corpse Saves Christmas", with the titular hero being trapped in a chimney and roasted to cinders at the film's close. To be sure, this seems to be a very sad ending for a special meant to glorify the virtues of this holiday figure, but no program created with monsters as the target audience has an entirely happy ending, for it just wouldn't make sense to give creatures responsible for causing suffering and misery wherever they go an ending in which suffering and misery were completely absent, even from a monster's perspective.

As well, even films made with monsters in mind must appeal to the human audiences, so the endings were usually made such that humans would be satisfied with them, for if they were not they could call station managers during the day and demand that the programs be pulled from the air -- and the monsters would not have the opportunity to give their second opinions and support of these shows, given that the complaint line operators only worked during the day and the monsters were fast asleep or otherwise dormant at this time. It is also worth noting that "Santa Corpse Saves Christmas" was actually created with ulterior motives, for the program was made during the Great Holiday War -- a four month-long period of bloodshed in which the monsters rose up against the humans in an effort to overtake and "spookify" the fall-winter holiday rush. "Santa Corpse Saves Christmas", then, while it had the effect of rallying human forces and ultimately turning the tide of battle in the favor of the naturals (as they were called), was actually intended as propaganda for the supernaturals, given that the titular hero -- Santa Corpse, the symbol of everything the monsters hold dear, especially in the Yuletide months -- was defeated in the end by human trickery. But that is another story for another time, though it must be said that that tale, too, would be in the running if a contest were held to determine the absolute strangest Christmas story ever told. But there is no such contest, and that story already has a name -- The Tale of the Great Holiday War -- and it is this story that we have deemed worthy of being called The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told. So let us get on with it.

''But let us return to that hungry, blood-drinking child typing his thoughts away...''

You see, then, that those objections to the effect that this story had nothing to do with Christmas can now be shown to be false -- for not only were those thoughts that the blood-drinking child typed into his word processor entertained on Christmas Eve, but in another part of the world, at that very moment, a family of werewolves had gathered around the television to watch "Santa Corpse Saves Christmas". Note that this particular day -- December 24th -- is not also known as All Hallow's Eve, nor was that program entitled "Santa Corpse Saves Easter". No, in both cases here, the magic word is Christmas, which clearly show that this story does, in fact, have something to do with the winter holiday. On the other hand, simply having something to do with the holiday does not make it a Christmas story, let alone the absolute strangest Christmas story ever told.

But let us return to that hungry, blood-drinking child typing his thoughts away during the sunny, daytime hours of Christmas Eve. Having finished logging his reasons for disbelieving in the existence of vampires, the incredulous child wrote:

At this point, however, someone will undoubtedly interject to remind me that the mere fact of my not having seen a thing not only fails to constitute proof that it does not exist, but that this does not even constitute sufficient reason for me to disbelieve in its existence. However, whereas this objection, in more ways than one, is similar to the "faith in the unseen" argument -- whereby an interlocutor would argue that in order to function at all I must have some faith in the existence of things that I have not seen, or in the outcome of future events, for even the mundane tasks of daily living require me to make certain assumptions and projections -- I actually have a lot more respect for it, perhaps due to the fact that those who raise it are not always total assholes, which is more often than not the case with respect to the "faith" argument. And, to be sure, it does raise a valid point. For example, I have never seen air -- that is, the gaseous substance breathed by most living things (not by me, of course, and while some would argue that that is because I am not alive, I submit that I move and feed; do these seem like the actions of a nonliving thing to you? Though it must be admitted that household appliances move and "feed" as well, yet are most certainly not "alive" in the sense in which the word is here used) of which, for most on this planet, the key ingredient is Oxygen -- but, owing to the fact that a great many living things do breathe the stuff, and having observed that they will promptly expire if they are denied it, it is quite reasonable to believe that, despite my not having seen it, air does, in fact, exist. And so, naturally, I believe that air exists.

It is worth noting, however, that this belief -- as intuitive as it seems, and despite the widespread belief and "knowledge" of its veracity -- could be wrong. True, it does seem that living creatures require this "air" in order to live -- but what if it were really the case that they only needed to believe that they were breathing air? Note that those who remain calm while drowning or being strangled are much more likely to survive the ordeal than those who panic and lose control of their senses -- and that, more often than not, it is not the lack of air that kills them, but some other consequence of the situations, such as passing out and being torn apart by a shiver of blue sharks or having their windpipes broken by vicious, ham-fisted mafia goons. Of course, in such cases the cause of death is not asphyxiation, but it could well be the case that, had these secondary methods of dying not come about, the persons in question may very well have survived, thus supporting the notion that it is not "breathing" that sustains living creatures, but believing that one is breathing -- and, moreover, believing that breathing is a very useful thing to do and is an important component of remaining alive. And consider that, even if breathing were not totally useless (except for providing living beings with some cognitive reassurance that, yes, this involuntary process is quite necessary for their survival), that need not necessitate the existence of air.

Suppose, for example, that the process of "breathing" did not, as we think, take in the requisite oxygen, but fulfilled some other purpose of which we remain unaware -- or of which a few people are unaware, but keep secret, perpetuating the myth of "breathing" in order to keep maintain the status quo? For if people suddenly discovered that they did not require air to live, they would at once dive into the seas and begin setting up homes in the darker parts of the oceans, and, as we know as a result of various failed scientific expeditions to uncover sunken ships and hidden treasures and the like, would be notoriously difficult to find, such that the governments of the world would be unable to tax these pioneers on their underwater properties. And supposing that the science that explains why living creatures breath were not entirely fabricated -- say, for example, that living beings that breath actually do require oxygen to live, but that they do not siphon it from the air through the act of breathing; they generate it within their own bodies via the process -- it may be better that that information not become public knowledge, for then we would have people harvesting the lungs of healthy persons and importing them to areas where the air quality was formerly believed to be poor -- for now it would be obvious that, since air does not exist, there was actually something in the environment that hindered the internal production of oxygen at higher levels, but perhaps a foreign and disembodied set of natural breathing apparatuses would not suffer from this side effect.

Note also that various unethical persons would use harvested lungs to produce their own bottled oxygen, which they would then sell as drugs, for we all know that to breathe in pure oxygen can bring about quite the rush (though I have not experienced that in quite some time). But considering that, if this were true, breathing would have been shown to be a lie -- in that the process did not actually involve taking in outside substances, because said substances do not exist -- how would one breathe in the bottled oxygen? And for that matter, would it even be possible to come by such oxygen? Perhaps the internal process that creates it sends it directly into the bloodstream and organs where it is needed, such that the only product available for bottling would be carbon dioxide -- and clearly this would be of much less use and would generate far fewer profits. Unless, of course, a society of mutant trees with an abundance of money to spare decided to get in on the act. Then the business of selling carbon dioxide manufactured from lungs stolen in grisly fashion from unfortunate creatures under cover of night might prove to be a lucrative one after all. But given the strange and brutal developments that would result if it were suddenly proven that air does not exist and that breathing, as we know it, is a falsehood, perhaps it is better that we all believe in the existence of air, despite never having seen it.

However, even while this objection may be more interesting to consider, my rejoinder to it is, but for a few words, exactly the same as my answer to the "faith in things unseen" argument -- namely that simply because one believes in some things that one has never seen does not necessitate that one must believe in all things that have never passed before one's eyes and paused long enough to be viewed with a modicum of clarity. What makes the difference, of course, is plausibility. While it is very plausible indeed, given all of the other evidence in favor of its existence, to assume that air does, in fact, exist, it is not very plausible at all to believe in, say, vampires -- for the very notion of animate corpses that live forever, drawing strength from the blood of the living and morphing into various familiar animals (among other things) and running amok under cover of night is one of the more foolish things I have ever heard. (To those who submit that I, in fact, adhere to this description, I answer that I have no such ability to turn into a bat, or a wolf, or, heaven forbid, mist, and, while it is true that I have lived quite a long time, I cannot say that I have lived or even will live forever. After all, there is always tomorrow -- infinity plus one. And if there is ever a point at which I cannot say, "Well, there is always tomorrow," temporally speaking, then it is quite clear that I am either no longer living -- in which case I will not have lived forever at all -- or that time has stopped, in which case the term "forever" would lose much of the import with which we now regard the word.)

At this point -- despite our recent digression that proved, beyond the faintest, pea-sized shadow of a doubt, that this story does, in fact, have something to do with Christmas -- you may be beginning to have doubts. After all, as we've noted, having something to do with Christmas does not a Christmas story make, and though, in returning to the blood-drinking child, holed up in the darkness of his room in the daylight hours of Christmas Eve, shielded from the sun by heavy, black suede drapes, we gave the impression that his thoughts would soon become relevant to our purported subject, it does not seem that that has happened at all yet. But ah, there's the key word -- yet! Your protest -- had you chosen to protest this development -- would have come too soon and would have communicated nothing but impatience on your part (how shameful! patience is a virtue, you know), for the very next words that the blood-drinking child typed were as follows:

Due to the ridiculous and fantastic nature of Santa Claus -- an immortal fat man who, on one single, special night towards the close of each year, gathers up his great bottomless sack of toys and, borne aloft in a sleigh driven by eight or nine flying reindeer, somehow disperses said presents to good little girls and boys all over the world (in reality, a task like this would take months, at least!) -- and given the fact that I have never been able to catch even the slightest glimpse of him (despite having watched from rooftops and other high places in the darkness on more than a few Christmas Eve nights and early Christmas mornings), it stands to reason that I do not believe in him either. And so I don't.

''Aha! You see? Santa Claus!''

Aha! You see? Santa Claus! Santa Claus certainly has something to do with Christmas, does he not? Actually, there are those who would argue that Santa Claus actually has nothing to do with the holiday -- or that he shouldn't have anything to do with the holiday -- because Christmas is supposed to be about the birth of Jesus Christ and only about the birth of Jesus Christ. But to answer that objection would take us too far from our present aim -- that is, to tell a story about Christmas, and not just any old story, but The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told -- even if such an aim is, for reasons you so brilliantly thought through previously, ultimately impossible. For present purposes, then, we will assume that Santa Claus does, in fact, have something to do with Christmas. And, if we were of a mind to present a counter-argument to the good Christian's objection to Christmas being about anything other than the birth of our supposed Lord and Savior, we would submit the following: When one views a picture of Jesus Christ, what is the first thing that comes to one's mind? After a moment of deliberation, it becomes quite apparent that there is no obvious answer to this question. Certainly, some people will answer "Christmas" -- very few, I imagine -- but a number of others will answer "Easter", and many, many more persons will not answer with a holiday at all, giving such replies as "love", "faith", "salvation", and what have you. Many people will give answers along the lines of "bigotry", "hatred", "delusions", and "hippies". And still others will ultimately ignore the question and ask for a glass of milk served up alongside a plate of fresh bakes, piping-hot, moist, and oh so chewy chocolate chip cookies. And who likes glasses of milk and fresh bakes chocolate chip cookies so much that, despite his obvious weight problem, he downs said snack time components at every single house he visits, which is just about every household with at least one child or child at heart, as the case may be?

That's right -- Santa Claus! And what comes to mind when one views a picture of this jolly, red-suited, gift giving lardass who is basically synonymous with "the most wonderful time of year?" And suddenly you see the point of my argument. Christmas comes to mind! Again, to be sure, you will have a small percentage of people who think of things other than Christmas when the great Santa is sighted in the malls, but these will be few and far in between -- whereas the sight of Jesus brings to mind a great many things that are decidedly unrelated, or tangentially related at best, to the winter holiday for which the world (or, at the very least, the Western world) shuts down so that all of the beautiful people, as well as the ugly ones, can sit around great blinking fire hazards opening cheap gifts that they probably could've purchased themselves and thereby saved their loved ones (or their enemies who still insisted on purchasing them gifts in order to keep up pretenses, so that, when they are ready to strike, they can strike all the more unexpectedly, and thereby make the sting all that much more hurtful -- for to be attacked is one thing, but by someone whom one thought was a friend? By someone who actually gave one Christmas gifts? Que horriblé!) much time and frustration because everyone knows those fucking lines are ridiculously long during those four weeks that comprise the cold winter month of December. Of course, many people get their shopping done earlier than that -- many start as early as January, which is pretty stupid, I think, since that person could very well buy the intended present over the course of an entire year, but there are those who would forego practicality and common sense in order to take advantage of the post-Christmas sales -- so holiday shopping may not necessarily be the extremely bothersome chore that I've made it out to be. But still, any task that could be avoided, and thereby made unnecessary, is rendered cumbersome by the simple fact that one must undertake it at all. on to Part 5!
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