But, as said, this is not why Santa Claus does not visit the blood-drinkers, for in truth he actually enjoyed slaying the bands of evildoers, for not only was the experience quite the workout -- which, Santa knows, owing to his weight problem, he needs -- but because if a fiend will attack Santa Claus, it is a safe bet that the fiend has attacked less capable persons in the past and soon will again. And indeed, it was often the case that the persons who lived in neighborhoods in which these vicious blood-drinkers dwelled were always in a constant state of fear and grief, for not only were they afraid for their own lives, but they constantly had to bury members of their community, for blood-drinkers grow hungry nightly and rarely travel too far from their homes to feed. In killing these monsters, then, Saint Nick was effectively making the area safer for all of the good little boys and girls and anyone else who lived close enough to benefit from his good will, and in so doing bestowed a wonderful Christmas gift upon the residential community at large -- the gift of safety and peace of mind. Is there any better gift that one can bestow upon a troubled land in troubling times? Things are bad enough without having to worry about being snatched up in the middle of the night and murdered for your sweet, sweet blood.
No, the real reason that Santa Claus avoids the neighborhoods where the blood-drinkers dwell has more to do with a cultural misunderstanding and, shall we say, distaste than anything else. Oh, don't go thinking ol' Kris Kringle to be a bigot. While it is true that we could fault the great man at least a little if his dislike of the blood-drinkers' culture were based on a prejudice -- that is, a prejudgment about them that may not be entirely true -- Santa's dislike here is based on something he knows well to be true and that is, indeed, inherent to the nature of being a blood-drinker: the drinking of blood. One may say that Santa Claus is stereotyping here, of course, and, to a certain extent, this is true -- but, we ask, is it not a valid assumption to assume that a blood-drinker drinks blood? Unlike many other groupings -- based upon one's supposed "background" and "heritage" and even shallow phenotypes and the like -- that people unfortunately impose upon one another and even themselves in order to belittle and ignore their own individuality, being a blood-drinker has more in common with having a disease or a certain occupation than these. It is wrong indeed to assume that, for example, all people from Chile have an unbridled lust for spicy beef chili and all of the requisite fixin's for spicy beef chili to be worthy of its Chilean heritage, but it is not wrong at all to assume that all persons who have come down with the flu are, in fact, sick, or that all persons who can rightly be called tax collectors make their living primarily by collecting taxes.
Of course, it is not merely the fact that blood-drinkers drink blood that keeps Santa Claus at bay, but rather how that peculiar quirk affected his visits to their homes on Christmas Eve nights and early Christmas Day mornings past. You see, it is customary and traditional for a family to leave some sort of snack for the fat, red-suited giver of pleasing gifts as a show of hospitality, and, of course, these snacks differ depending upon the cultural background of the persons living in a particular home. In the United States, for example, the foodstuffs set out for Santa's nighttime noshes usually consist of a plate of cookies and a glass of milk. In China, Santa is treated to a plate containing three fortune cookies alongside a cup of warm green tea. In Germany, Santa enjoys a plate of bratwurst and several cans of fine German beer. In Australia, it is not uncommon for residents to leave Santa, again, several cans of beer -- and a plate of gator meat. In Japan, the people treat Santa to boxes of fatty tuna sushi and warm bottles of sake. (As you can imagine, due to such drink selections, Santa Claus gets quite drunk when visiting certain nations!) And though the mere thought of this dish makes his stomach turn, Santa is forced to sit down and devour plate after plate of haggis whenever he drops down in Scotland. But even this is not quite so bad as what the blood-drinkers used to leave for Santa Claus to consume when he visited their dark and shadowy homes. Can you guess? It's really quite simple, if you'd just choose the obvious answer and stop racking your brain as if it were a trick question. Ready?
The blood-drinkers used to leave Santa glasses filled with... candy corn! As everyone well knows, Kris Kringle hates candy corn, such that visiting the blood-drinkers and consuming cupful after cupful of candy corn made him so sick that he swore never to visit them again. Actually, that's not true at all! They really left him gilded goblets filled with blood, of course, for they seldom had anything else that would constitute foodstuffs in the house. It is true that, on several occasions, Santa actually found himself gifted with meat upon entering the home of a blood-drinker, but this meat took the form of one or more corpses entirely drained of blood -- usually several rodents, but on one occasion Santa found a pig, and a small fawn on another -- which was, of course, all that remained after the blood-drinkers had feasted on the creatures. After all, the blood-drinkers had no use for the corpses, and they figured Santa Claus could not have accumulated his present girth without some taste for meat, so why let these poor animals' bodies go to waste? But in truth, Santa found dining on this raw, bloodless carrion to be even more repulsive than drinking blood itself, and it was, in fact, the finding of a bloodless baby corpse that temporarily drove him insane and resulted in one of the worst Christmas disasters ever heard of. But of course, this was not attributed to Santa, but to the side effects of nuclear testing in a heavily populated area, which is, of course, not something that could be significantly investigated, lest an investigator return with a third eyeball or some unpredictable set of super powers. Hm, given that possibility, it is a wonder that no investigators ever set foot on the soil on which that dreaded winter holiday disaster took place! Having super powers would be very cool. Santa has them!
No, what really keeps Santa Claus away from the homes of the blood drinkers, as we have noted above, or previously, depending upon how the pages are divided in your copy of this novel, is the fact that they serve him blood as his special holiday treat. And while blood can be disgusting -- especially when it has been sitting out for a while and has begin to grow cold and has congealed some -- it is not this fact alone that is responsible for Santa's avoidance of the blood-drinkers' residences altogether. See, there was one Christmas on which the blood given to him by a particular blood-drinking family was, unbeknownst to Santa or even the unfortunate family to which we must now attribute the ruin of Christmas for all blood-drinkers, contaminated, such that when Santa Claus drank it he came down with a terrible disease that we will not name at present -- but suffice it to say that if Santa had been raised to believe the teachings of certain African cultures, he would have sought to cure his affliction by alighting in the homes of young virgin girls and raping them mercilessly. But luckily Santa's mind was clear of such erroneous beliefs. How, you wonder, did he shake this disease? After all, as far as we know, it has no known cure. Or did he even shake it at all? In reply, I say, "Of course he did!" And indeed, he did. How, you ask? No one knows for certain, but the answer that follows is all that you need to know and that somehow, in its own way, explains it all quite adequately: He's Saint Nicholas! Very well, then.
So while the manifold caveats of visiting the homes of blood-drinkers that we have noted previously (or above) were taken into account by Santa Claus in deciding to shun the dark residences of the blood-drinkers during his annual holiday visits, the ultimate reason was the fact that they served him blood and that not only could he not know the source of the blood -- he could not prove it, per se, owing to the fact that the activities of the blood-drinkers remained cloaked from him, but he was certain that on more than one occasion the blood that he imbibed had actually been human and, owing to what he later learned about the habits of certain particular families of blood-drinkers, had probably been stolen from virgin girls and tiny newborn babies -- but that he could not know what diseases the blood contained. And while it is true that one can get sick from eating just about anything, the diseases to be found in raw blood are, for the most part, quite a bit more dangerous than those that can be contracted from eating other foods. And while here one might note that Santa could simply leave the blood where it is, or pour it down the sink, the rules of hospitality demand that Santa Claus sit down and eat (or drink) whatever dish that the residents of the home have laid out for him, no matter how disgusting or unpalatable it might seem to him. After all, they left these things out for him in efforts to be good hosts -- so what kind of a guest would the jolly old elf be if he turned up his nose at those hospitable feelings? No, part of the gift that Santa bestows upon people is his presence in their homes and his enjoyment (or lack thereof) of their home-cooking, so, like the offers of the Godfather, the snacks that the people set out for him are really things that he cannot refuse. And given that fact, rather than leave himself susceptible to all sorts of nasty diseases (among other things), Santa Claus simply chooses to avoid the homes of blood-drinkers altogether -- and, indeed, gives their homes a wide berth, such that no persons in the community could boast of being visited by him. Among other things, this would make the blood-drinkers jealous, such that they might take their frustrations out on the manifold persons in these communities who would come to believe that they are so much better than them -- after all, Santa visited their homes -- so Santa prefers to stay the heck away from these areas altogether. And this is why the curious and cynical blood-drinking child had never glimpsed the red-suited fat man in action. But, as we have said, and even as the child himself well knows, that single reason is not sufficient for proving that Santa Claus does not exist! Because he does, you know.
In fact, at that very moment, elsewhere in the world, Santa Claus was sitting in his red sleigh with its golden swirls and inlaid depictions of yuletide cheer and soaring through the darkened night sky. In his red mittened grip he held red reins outfitted with a number of jingling bells that shook and filled the sky with a pleasant sound not unlike that which we associate with the fall of snow -- despite the fact that falling snow makes no sound unless it is particularly hard and frozen, in which case it is not "snow" at all (in these instances, we call it "hail"). On the other end of these reins, of course, were the eight tiny flying reindeer whom Santa called by name as he cried out into the night, "On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen! On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen!" And then he paused for a moment, for he was not done. You see, there were not simply eight reindeer guiding his sleigh -- in the lead, there was a ninth, and we all know the story of this most famous reindeer of all -- which, admittedly, strikes us as a bit strange, for this reindeer was not one of the original reindeer at all. Does his fame, I wonder, make any of the other reindeer jealous? Do they harbor bitter feelings, whether towards the tiny star of Santa's team or towards the fat man himself for putting the four-legged kid with antlers (though they all had four legs and antlers) in that position? After all, they'd been members of Santa's team much longer than this pretentious upstart with the glowing red nose. And as if you didn't already know the name of this famed reindeer, you'll now find out as we reiterate the words that next left Santa's mouth, "And Rudolph, with your nose so bright -- bravely guide my sleigh tonight!" And that is exactly what Rudolph did, just as he had done every year since he became a member of Santa's team of flying reindeer, which, as we have noted, in comparison to the duration of time that the other reindeer had served, took place relatively recently.
"Ho!" cried Santa, and the reindeer spiraled downward, downward, through a layer of clouds, past a flock of ducks perched in the air as if on invisible chairs and sipping from teacups while quacking on about the current political situation, and then past a whole lot of nothing, all the while watching the sight below grow larger and larger until finally one could make out the details of the homes below and, particularly relevant to what happened next, the best spot to land on a certain rooftop. And that is exactly what the reindeer did -- that is, they descended, slowed, and finally landed on that most favorable of landing places on that one particular rooftop that we just mentioned in the previous sentence. It was a rooftop with red, stippled shingles, and almost flat, such that just about anywhere on it would have been a fairly good landing spot, but being a fairly good landing spot does not necessarily make a landing spot the best possible landing spot, as of course anyone who is familiar with landing spots and the various qualifications that a landing spot must meet in order to be called the best possible landing spot will tell you without a moment's hesitation. But take my word for it and trust the judgment of Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen, who unanimously agreed, as indicated by their landing in unison, that this was the absolute best possible landing spot on that particular roof with the red, stippled shingles. Had they disagreed about the surpassing quality of that landing spot -- and believe me, they had had some fierce disagreements regarding the quality of rooftop landing spots in previous years and, indeed, even earlier that very night -- they would have pulled away in various different directions, each reindeer attempting to land on the spot that he thought was really the best possible landing spot.
And indeed, there had been occasions on which their disharmonious movements had created such a stir that the sleigh was overturned and Santa Claus and his magic brown sack of gifts were sent spilling out along the rooftop and rolling down and onto the ground below. Whether that constituted grass or pavement varied, as did the distances that good Saint Nick and his wares plummeted before hitting the cold ground below -- at one point Santa fell from a skyscraper and left a crater in the sidewalk so large that the seven members of a homeless family crawled out of a dumpster and at once began living in it. And of course Santa Claus was fine -- he's always fine, for he's immortal and has magical powers and all of that jazz -- and merely stood up, dusted himself off, and saved face by exclaiming that this fall was intentional, and that this new home in the sidewalk was his Christmas gift to this poor, penniless family. They wept tears of joy and thanked ol' Kris Kringle for his gift, and for a few days they were very happy in their new hole as they sat smiling up at the people who walked to and fro just above their heads, sometimes dropping in to say hello (often accidentally, due to the fact that an inattentive pedestrian will not notice a gaping hole in the sidewalk), sometimes stopping to toss a handful of change down to the people, sometimes simply sitting with their feet dangling over the edge and handsomely paying the family within to shine their shoes (the family was quite good at this, so Santa's claim that he had intentionally created this home for them held even more weight than he did -- ho ho ho! -- as it was a prime location for shoe shining and, indeed, sometimes seemed designed with that very occupation in mind), but more often than not simply going along as if the huge and gaping hole in the sidewalk, and the seven members of the family within it, did not even exist at all. But as we've said, the family was very happy here for a few days. Then the city had the sidewalk fixed and the family removed and relocated to unknown whereabouts -- so we cannot tell you their ultimate fate, but we have reason to believe that their ending was not a happy one.
Why not, you ask? Well, suffice it to say that endings are never happy when the government is involved, and if you need further proof of that fact just crack open a history textbook and trace the manifold atrocities that can be attributed to the inner workings of government in its various forms and implementations, even including the democratic republic in which you probably live, since if you lived elsewhere I seriously doubt that your leaders would determine this novel to be worthwhile reading and would allow you to have it in your possession at all. And while some would say that the very fact that in some governments one can, in fact, read a useless novel such as the one in which these words are contained and that you hold in your hands at this very moment and the pages of which you are now scanning with your own two eyes, the author of this very novel in which these words are contained and that you hold in your hands at this very moment and the pages of which you are now scanning with your own two eyes is not quite so certain that this can be regarded as a triumph.
Consider that, unless this novel is truly making you think -- which, owing to the peculiar specter and circumstances of its origin, I highly doubt, which is really saying something bad, given that I am the author of the work -- it is only serving to divert your mind from the exercise and practice of thinking, which would of course enhance your mental faculties and make you better able to think more, in which case, with enough practice and dedication to the art, you might someday be able to put your mind to worthwhile pursuits and actually think some important thoughts worthy of being thought. And also consider that the government that has granted you the privilege of reading this novel for a reason, and do not assume that that reason is beneficent in the least. As we've noted, the time you spend reading this novel -- and not thinking -- is time spent not thinking and, moreover, is time spent not thinking about just why the government would want to allow you to read this novel and about what the government is doing behind your back. Note that all of the books on that particular topic are either made to sound so loony that one couldn't help but laugh at them or are not seen at all -- particularly when the conspiracies they divulge actually seem to make a bit of sense. Never trust what you read, because what you read has had to be approved by some source and, therefore, is probably unlikely to contain the absolute truth, if it contains any truth at all. But note that you are reading this particular novel right now. To not trust a written work that tells you not to trust anything that you read seems to create one of those ambiguous double-negative traps in which it seems that the work -- in particular, this work -- could actually be telling you to trust everything that you read, but then you'd have to trust the work when it tells you to trust nothing that you read, but then it must be noted that you are reading the work at that very moment, so it all goes to Hell and back and you're still none the wiser.
So we'll make it simple for you -- while the work, being this very novel in which these words are contained and that you hold in your hands at this very moment and the pages of which you are now scanning with your own two eyes, may seem to be advocating that one should not trust anything that one reads (or watches! For everyone knows the media is also a tool that the government uses to manipulate and control the minds of the public at large) simply because one has had the opportunity to read it, which means that it has not been censored and banned, because the work seems to be suggesting that anything truly worthwhile would have been kept hidden by the sinister powers that be, the truth of the matter is that if one followed this and similar rationale, one would not be able to trust anything at all, because technically everything that is outside of oneself is something that has not been so hidden from one's senses by the powers that be. No, if the work, and I, its author, were advocating such a view, I would submit that the only truly reliable information is that which comes from inside of one's own mind -- one can only trust one's own thoughts. But ho! Perhaps I am advocating this! After all, if it cannot properly be said that all outside information is corrupt and contaminated and therefore untrustworthy, it is at least true that the vast majority of said information is, in fact, too distorted to constitute a reliable source, such that, ultimately, the only authority that can really be trusted is our own judgment.
But suppose that we are wrong? -- for it has been shown that we are more than capable of making mistakes. And furthermore, return to your own internal dialogue towards the beginning of this novel and recall that, in order for you to interpret the words printed on this very page, you must create a mirror of them in your mind, such that, at least while you are reading them, the thoughts expressed here with ink and paper actually become your own? If you were to trust your own thoughts solely, then, that would, in fact, entail that you trust the work in its entirety as well, even though it is printed on paper! So you see that this is all very confusing and that ultimately you will find no great teaching in this digression, unless you look very hard for something that is not here. But aha! Perhaps that is the lesson? That may, in fact, be the case!
The author challenges you to discover exactly what that digression had to do with Christmas. Once you've finished, you can return to the story in progress.