And now, Scary-Crayon presents...
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the absolute strangest christmas story ever told
(Part 2)
by: Wes

Ah! There you are.

"Self," you think to yourself, "dear self who must have at least some small interest in very strange things to have picked up" -- and here you pause to flip to the cover of the novel, because you can't possibly have intended to grab this book and therefore must have done so accidentally, and, having done so after only the most cursory of glances at the book, probably don't even remember its title, despite the fact that it was just "mentioned" not too long ago in the text -- "a novel entitled The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told, I think we've been had! Why, with the exception of a simile in which bags of blood hanging in a refrigerator were compared to Christmas stockings hanging over the fireplace, and my own disjointed thoughts about faith and Jesus and God and the nature of love for the deity, for others, and for self -- for some would say that Christmas is ultimately about religion, while others would say that it is ultimately about loving each other, both of which were touched on, however, briefly and in the context of very peculiar meditations -- this story has not yet had anything to do with Christmas whatsoever. Perhaps the author meant to pull the wool over my eyes, then, by writing a story that is not really about Christmas at all -- and therefore make it 'the absolute strangest Christmas story ever told' by default, since a story that claims to be about Christmas but is ultimately not about Christmas in the least (or is about Christmas in the very least, given those tangential ties to the winter holiday) seems very strange indeed. But then again, perhaps it is not really strange at all, for a story that claims to be about Christmas but really is not about Christmas is a story that tells lies about itself to make it appear as if it is something that it is not, and there really isn't anything strange about that, because people lie about themselves in order to appear as they aren't all the time."

How very true! Why, just last week, a man told me that he was homeless in order to get me to buy him an egg salad sandwich at the local twenty-four hour convenience store, and then, after I refused to buy him a cappuccino with which to wash his sandwich down -- he settled for a can of generic cola -- while chatting with me, he confided that he was, in fact, not really homeless at all. He was simply cheap, had forgotten to do his laundry and so was wearing dirty clothes, and really, really disliked showering and shaving. But perhaps he really was homeless, and his confession was the lie? Perhaps he simply preferred being perceived as a lazy and deceptively dishonest opportunist to being viewed as a bum who is forced to subsist on the charity and good deeds of others. Either way, he would have been lying about himself to make someone else -- namely, me -- believe something about him that was manifestly untrue. So you're right to note that there's nothing strange about that! And he smelled absolutely terrible. But I'm sorry; I didn't mean to interrupt your thinking. Please continue.

"I will continue, then. Thanks. Where was I? Oh yes -- that this novel entitled The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told, up to this point, has had precious little to do with that winter holiday about which, in some noteworthy capacity (seeing as how it has the holiday's name in its title), it claims to be. I would call this unforgivable, except that -- as we have noted -- it is not all that uncommon for things to misrepresent themselves in order to mislead an audience. Furthermore, it is even more common for one to misrepresent oneself in manifold ways in order to make a certain desired impression, which, again, this book has done, as it has not only represented itself as a Christmas story (thus far, its connection to that holiday is tangential at best), but the strangest such story ever told (which it is not, at least not at this point, because the strangest thing about it -- the fact that it has not yet truly shown itself to be a Christmas story, though the musings contained in the story thus far have also been quite odd, especially since they have not been placed in a particular context that would, by explaining them, make them less so -- has been shown to be quite normal, as that tactic has been employed, as the author of this work admits, by even a garden variety hobo who, apparently, was not really a hobo at all, but donned the guise of poor homeless fellow for the purpose of conning the author out of an egg salad sandwich and a cappuccino, though with respect to the latter item he was forced to settle for a can of generic cola)."

Question: Does the reader not find it strange that I, the author, who claims to lack the power of mind-reading, and who has never met you, is yet somehow reading your thoughts?

"Why yes, that is strange!"

Ha! Then you understand the ultimate appropriateness of the novel's title.

"Simply being strange does not warrant the title, for -- as I have noted in these private thoughts that, somehow, the author possesses the power to read -- the title is The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told, and not only is it not a story about Christmas, but even if it were, for the title to be an accurate descriptor of the book's contents it would have to be the absolute strangest such story ever told, which it clearly is not and, moreover, could not be, even if it were about the subject about which it purports to be."

Again, an interesting notion. But perhaps you think that it requires a bit more explanation? It benefits no one, after all, to advance ideas within one's own mind -- even interesting and most likely correct ideas -- without endeavoring to better understand them and, in so doing, confirm the truth of one's ideas and the ultimate coherence of those private musings. After all, one might someday be called upon to communicate those thoughts aloud to others, and while an idea may seem perfectly rational when only given a cursory mention in the great and ongoing discourse of one's thoughts, it may seem positively insane when one attempts to share that idea with others who do not live inside the individual's head and therefore do not comprehend it with the lucidity with which it is viewed by its original thinker -- which is to say that they lack what we will term the inherent thought-origin bias. Note that it is a bias, mind you, as opposed to knowledge of an explanation of said idea of which the audience is simply unaware because the thinker has yet to advance it -- because, at least at this point, the thinker has not yet fully examined the idea even in the thinker's own head. And if the thinker has failed to fully consider an idea even to him or herself, how can that thinker expect to, in the act of becoming a speaker, do justice to the depth and brilliance of that thought -- assuming it really is a deep and brilliant notion, but one will never know this without the proper analysis -- communicate it to others? And because I believe that we should all hope to share our more brilliant musings with the world at large (Heaven knows we need more intelligent speakers in the world), I submit that it would be good for you to further examine your contention that I have erred by titling this work The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told, particularly with reference to the term "absolute". There's no time like the present to do so! To it, then! Pretty please?

"Very well. The author requires an explanation, so let me think through my objection to the use of the term "absolute" for, at the very least, his benefit, and possibly the benefit of others, because someday, as the author suggests, I may be called upon to communicate these thoughts in some manner of public forum. Consider! To call something an absolute is to do just that -- that is, call it an absolute -- and how could this story possibly be, or at least claim to be, the absolute strangest story about Christmas -- or anything else, for that matter? To legitimately employ such a descriptor in this story's title would require not only that there has never ever been another stranger Christmas story -- which, of course, the author cannot know, as he has not read every single Christmas story ever told, even among the published works, and how many other countless holiday tales have been written to which the author has had no possible way of obtaining for the purpose of reading? and this is to say nothing of the stories that have never been written down, but were only passed along by way of oral communication -- but that there never ever will be another stranger story told. And of course, unless the author has certain knowledge of the future, which I think is highly improbable, given that such a vast amount of knowledge could not be contained within the human brain and, if the author had access to this wealth of knowledge, I believe his brain would overload and explode, and such the handwritten manuscript of this book (assuming that the original manuscript was handwritten) would have been so ruined and soaked and stained and dripping with blood and fleshy chunks of squishy brain and hard skull fragments and the smell of fresh gore that no editor would have wanted to come near it. Moreover, it would have been illegible, and if the manuscript could not have been read there is no way it could have been sold and printed -- at least not as a novel -- and so I would not be holding this book in my hands and reading it at this very moment."

"It is, however, possible that it would have sold -- not as a novel, mind you, but as, say, experimental artwork, for if art is the ultimate expression and product of the mind and body in wondrous harmony, what great meaning might be inferred from a work colorfully splattered with the brains of the artist? Such a work would communicate both sadness and triumph -- sadness at the death of the artist, but, at the same time, the mind's victory over the confines of the flesh, as the ideas and knowledge gained could no longer be contained in throbbing muscles and firing synapses and had to find expression in one sustained eruption of consciousness -- the mind's volcanic release! The Mind's Volcanic Release! Yes, that would be the title of the illegible, gore-soaked, blood-and-brain spattered manuscript consisting of scrawls of black ink on yellow canary paper (assuming, for the sake of description and the furtherance of the artistic image, that the original manuscript was written in black ink on yellow canary paper). That would definitely sell, assuming that the work wasn't ruined by the numerous official investigations into the cause of the artist's death and the handling of the piece by countless medical authorities all offering their various explanations for what caused the artist's brain to explode -- all of which, of course, would be incorrect, for what physician would guess that The Mind's Volcanic Release! was produced by the artist's reception of complete and unerring knowledge of all future events? Not many, I should say, and any who did stumble upon that highly improbable and fantastic -- yet true! -- explanation would likely be branded a lunatic and laughed out of the academic community in disgrace. Alas, assuming that the work passed through these numerous hands intact, it would be more likely to end up in a medical museum than an art gallery, which I suppose is just as well, for there are some rather fantastic (and disgusting) artistic works of nature to be found within the halls of medicine. This, however, is unsurprising, given that the human body has long been a subject of wonder to the artistic community and is, of course, among the principal objects of study in the medical sciences. After all, one must first understand the inner workings of a machine before one can truly endeavor to fix it."

"The point, however, is that no matter how many strange tangents pass through my mind -- which somehow the author can read, but perhaps that has to do with the fact that the ideas therein appear on the pages of this novel and are only my thoughts because they were first the author's thoughts and have become mine through the act of my reading them from the page, just as wine in the cellar of a very wealthy connoisseur belongs to him, and -- after he pours it into a crystal glass and offers it to me alongside a slice of aged, putrid-smelling cheese perched atop a stale Ritz cracker (what a contradiction!) -- becomes mine through the act of my imbibing it in a single gulp -- this story will still be undeserving of its title, The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told, because, for one, we have shown that it can never be the absolute anything.

''By the way, has anyone ever wondered what Frankenstein would smell like?''

We must grant that it is strange, however -- though we cannot legitimately call it the strangest anything, for reasons similar to the explanation we gave regarding why it cannot be called an absolute, at least not in the proper sense of the word, though it is possible that the story could legitimately be called The Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told To Date. Because, assuming that this novel actually, at some point, becomes a story about Christmas, it could very well prove to be just that -- that is, the strangest Christmas story ever told to date. Can you imagine what such a story would be like on a date? That would be awkward indeed -- what topics would it possibly have to discuss amidst a romantic comedy or a candlelit dinner? Perhaps it would analyze the tale of the first such holiday, pointing out that it seems very strange indeed that three "wise" men would be traveling together, guided in their course by the light of a distant star, bearing unique gifts for a newborn baby believed to be a holy vessel and somehow brought about through the improbable miracle -- though perhaps that is redundant; all miracles are improbable -- of immaculate conception (even given this divine method of impregnation, does it make sense to call Mary a virgin? I think not -- even though she did not give into the temptations of the flesh. per se, God supposedly put something into her that caused her to get pregnant -- which, I submit, was an incorporeal penis, but still a penis, and one who has had a penis inside one at any given time is not a virgin -- unless, perhaps, that person is a cannibal, but that is a rather grisly topic that would best be discussed elsewhere). And what of those gifts! Why anyone would require the scents of Al Franken, I have no idea, but if the smells contained in that bottle belonged to Frankenstein -- the monster, not the doctor -- then it is possible that that particular wise man was simply afraid of classic horror film monsters and hoped to frighten them off with the scent of one of their own. By the way, has anyone ever wondered what Frankenstein would smell like? It seems to me that the most obvious response here would be that he stank both of putrid, rotting flesh and antiseptic chemicals, but owing to his green color, perhaps he smelled strongly of wintergreen peppermint chewing gum or pine trees in the forest on a cold winter night during which a light snowfall had just begun to fall."

"That, then, explains why the Frankenstein monster's bottled stench would be an appropriate gift for the infant Christ on the first instance of the holiday that was named after him, for Christmas trees are usually pine trees, and, if Frankenstein smells like pine trees, and the baby Jesus was gifted with the scent of the monster, the baby was given the scent of one of the objects that would eventually come to be very closely associated with the anniversary of his birth. And perhaps the three wise men -- or at least the one who sought out the Frankenstein monster for the purpose of collecting a sample of his sweat and/or some other article containing his woodsy aroma -- were well aware of this fact, which clearly shows why they were known as the three wise men. After all, it is wise indeed to possess the requisite knowledge for building a time machine capable of traversing the world of fictional beings even with the limited technological advances back in those days before the common era -- for how else would they have been able to journey into the 18th century depicted in Mary Shelley's remarkable literary work for the purpose of obtaining that familiar scent from that lumbering monster cobbled together from the body parts of sundry deceased persons and later depicted in film by the great and renowned horror legend Boris Karloff? Or perhaps they simply had knowledge of the future and did not really obtain the scent of Shelley's fictional monster, but obtained the smell from crushed pine needles and so named the scent -- or perhaps it had already received its appropriate name from some prior person in possession of the gift of prophesy -- for the reanimated creature, because "frankincense" really sounds much better than "pine scented" any day of the week, even if people would never hang an air freshener in their cars that purported to be the smell of a murderous intellectually inclined monster created by a mad scientist from the dismembered and stitched-together body parts of the unearthed corpses of a handful of convicted criminals and other unsavory characters."

Interesting points. Now that I think about it, perhaps it is the story of the first Christmas should claim the title of The Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told To Date, because few things could be stranger than the birth of a deity in the flesh (not to mention the other weird points on which you've just briefly touched, such as the dubious and slightly unnerving origin of the perfume with which the infant Christ was anointed). And -- as I sensed you were going to note, before you got lost in that truly fascinating digression about the Frankenstein monster -- exactly whom would this story be told to date? The Strangest Christmas Bookmark Ever Printed? And what image could go on such a bookmark to warrant its having such a peculiar name? I can think of a number of appropriate images -- a multitude of elves all tumbling over the benches of the North Pole workshop and participating in a wild and frenzied orgy, using the toys made for the many boys and girls across the globe as props in various depraved erotic activities and then sticking them back into Santa's sack without even having the decency to wash them off first; Rudolph being shrunk down to microscopic proportions for the purpose of using his trademark shining red nose to plumb the depths of a comatose Santa Claus's colon, seeking out cancerous bodies and eliminating them with forceful thrusts of his powerful antlers; a Christmas tree topped with a thick-veined and ultra-realistic dildo, and then, atop that, a cherub balancing on his tongue -- but really these are more disgusting than strange, and they possess a common theme that precludes their being called the strangest of anything, for something truly worthy of being called The Strangest Christmas Bookmark Ever Printed would have to be totally random and unexpected. And it would be random and unexpected indeed if, like this book thus far, though it is becoming decidedly less so given the subject of the current discussions, The Strangest Christmas Bookmark Ever Printed actually had nothing to do with Christmas at all, but let's not get into that discussion again, for that would take us into an infinite loop from which, while it might take us spinning past a number of peculiar meditations and discussions involving various more or less tangentially related topics, we might never emerge, at least not with our sanity intact. Suffice it to say that The Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told To Date and The Strangest Christmas Bookmark Ever Printed would be quite the horny pair, for whenever the book was not in use, it could be found with its covers closed and the bookmark found half-buried within its folds. Perhaps, instead of a tassel or ribbon adorning it, that particular bookmark could come with a small white veil attached. But if the book -- that is, The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told To Date -- were to wear a tuxedo, it would be even stranger. Which would perhaps be a good thing for the image it intends to project with a title such as The Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told To Date. on to Part 3!
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