And now, Scary-Crayon presents...
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the absolute strangest christmas story ever told
(Part 9)
by: Wes

Several feet below, Santa Claus stared up at it and marveled -- with the tree beneath this star, and taking into account the entire scene, he saw a fierce, one-legged dragon with a large, dark green body armored with glass spheres of various colors and small clay ornaments stolen from the kilns of entire art classes of children whom it had devoured, a small red head with glowing green eyes and seven dark green horns with tiny, dim green flames at their tips. About its massive and bristling body, the dragon's only friend in this world -- a giant silver caterpillar -- wound itself loosely. Apparently this dragon was fond of colder climes, but had been unable to make its way north with only one leg, and so it had decorated its lair with a mat of white cotton made to approximate a blanket of fresh snow, which, despite its false appearance, had been realistic enough to lure a number of tiny elves and reindeer to this location in order to play and work in the artificial winter wonderland. Unbeknownst to these poor, happy fools, the dragon would eat them later.

On second thought, perhaps this tree was not so beautiful after all -- in fact, our ability to liken it to a child devouring and giant caterpillar carrying dragon makes it seem downright scary. However, in truth, this particular Christmas tree hardly appeared so menacing as to warrant its comparison to a fearsome red and green dragon, but Santa Claus, true to his multiple roles as the whimsical spirit of the winter holiday season, friend to children, and toy maker extraordinaire (among others), is in possession of quite the overactive imagination, if we may say so ourselves. But perhaps we do not want to say such a thing, for, arguably, it is impossible to have an overactive imagination -- for, as many have said, and, depending upon the particular context of the platitude, truthfully so, "One can never have too much of a good thing." And as an active imagination is a healthy and undoubtedly valuable thing to have, perhaps it is impossible for one to have an overactive imagination.

''...that she imagines tiny red-eyed, grey-skinned goblins living inside her shoes...''

Yet I suppose it is true that it is bad for an imagination to be so active that one's ideas are so vivid and lifelike to a person that they prevent the individual from accomplishing necessary tasks -- say, for example, that a little girl's imagination is so active that she imagines tiny red-eyed, grey-skinned goblins living inside her shoes and that they will bite off and gobble up her toes if she dares to try to put them on and tie her laces (and everyone knows that going about barefoot all the time -- and especially in the city -- is quite dangerous) -- but arguably in these cases the problem does not stem from the fact that the individual has a very active imagination but from the fact that the person is out of touch with reality and is unable to distinguish between the realm of daydreams and that in which she actually lives and breathes. But where were we? Having sized up the dragon-tree, Santa Claus continued speaking to the empty living room, just as he had done so many times before in so many different rooms before so many Christmas trees during the nights of Christmas Eves and the early mornings of Christmas Days in years past and, indeed, earlier during that very night as well -- and just as he would do in many more homes that night, and the following morning, and on Christmas Eves and Days in the years to come.

"Now!" Santa Claus said again to the empty living room of that house with the three plush blue sofas in its family room and atop which the nine flying reindeer stood, waiting patiently for Santa in the absolute best possible landing spot on that red stippled rooftop. Here, he swung his heavy magic brown sack around from his shoulder and brought it to rest in front of him, gently lowering it to the ground and squatting in front of it as he undid the drawstring about its bunched and tautly tied neck. And then, with a twinkle of his blue eyes, the great red-suited, jolly old fat man said aloud, "I wonder what presents Santa Claus will leave for little Jennifer and Andrew Jackson!"

Now, this may strike the reader as surprising -- that Santa Claus should evince ignorance of the presents that he had brought for the children who lived in that house with the three plush blue sofas in its family room and atop which the nine flying reindeer stood, waiting patiently for Santa in the absolute best possible landing spot on that red stippled rooftop and in whose living room he now stood beneath the more or less menacing Christmas tree with an appearance he had compared to that of a great red and green dragon -- but the reader will now learn that, in truth, Santa Claus never knows exactly what presents the children will receive from him until he reaches into his brown magic sack and brings them forth in their very homes while making his rounds on those Christmas Eve nights and Christmas Day mornings. Oh, having read their Christmas lists, and knowing what he knows about their behavior -- for Santa Claus possesses a great deal of knowledge including, among other things, the knowledge of when children are sleeping and when they are awake, not to mention whether they have been bad or good (hence the advice communicated in the lyrics of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town", which advises children to be "good for goodness's sake" -- but really, given the context of that advice in the song, that is not really why it insists that they be good, for, given that the singer takes pains to note that Santa Claus will know what the children have been up to, it seems that the real reason that the children have to be good is not for the sake of being good, but because, in essence, they are always being watched) -- Santa Claus is qualified to make a fairly educated guess about what he has for the children, but, in truth, it is actually the magic brown sack that chooses the presents for the little boys and girls of the world.

You see, the system was implemented long ago as a response to complaints, for there were many children whom, upon not getting exactly what they asked for, blamed Kris Kringle and accused him of numerous faults, including bias, ethnic prejudice, and the like, such that it became necessary for the establishment of an objective method of gift-giving in order to keep the blame away from Santa Claus. So it was that The Powers That Be -- namely, those ancient, omnipotent, living energies that had granted Santa himself his immortality and sundry other powers so many countless years before -- assigned the task of choosing gifts to the bag, imbuing it with the power to draw upon the great and jolly red-suited elf's knowledge of the children's behavior and their desired gifts and, after quantifying that knowledge and executing a series of complicated mathematical equations, arrive at the proper and appropriate gift for each child in an objective manner with which no one could argue (in part because no one fully understood it -- not even Santa Claus himself -- and it is exceedingly difficult and virtually impossible to offer a valid objection or argument concerning a particular result when one does not understand the reasoning and specifics behind the methodology that brought that result into being).

Having exclaimed aloud his wonder about just what presents he would soon bring forth from the magic sack for little Jennifer and Andrew Jackson, then, the great Saint Nicholas dipped his red suede-gloved right hand into the glowing interior of his magic brown sack and, after groping around a bit in the void, felt his hand come to rest on something sturdy -- a box! (You see, despite the heft of the lumpy brown sack, when one reaches inside it one will feel absolutely nothing, for, in truth, there are no actualized presents within the sack until the magic within reads the data through the conduit of Santa Claus's outstretched hand and computes the appropriate result, after which point the energies within the sack come together and produce the proper gift. Until that magic moment, however, the sack is merely filled with potential, which explains its great weight -- for, as anyone will tell you, potential is heavy stuff indeed.)

And wrapping his hand around what he now recognized as the appropriate gift for little Jennifer Jackson, Santa Claus brought forth her motorized, bucking purple-haired horse with its moving pink jockey already wrapped in purple paper decorated with blue bells and green globules of snot with faces in all sorts of wacky configurations and tied with pink ribbon and set it beneath the great dragon tree for her to find in the morning. And then, just as he had done countless times before, and as he had just done only moments before in retrieving little Jennifer's gift, Santa Claus reached back into his magic brown sack and, after feeling around in the glowing emptiness for a moment, discovered and subsequently lifted a present for little Andrew Jackson out of the void. For Andrew, the bag had chosen four new action figures, all neatly packed in a box wrapped in green paper, decorated with all manner of swords and spades and blades and sundry other weapons that one might be likely to find in the hands of a ninja warrior or a Shaolin monk. And, his task complete, Santa closed his magic brown sack and, standing, swung it back around to rest over his right shoulder.

Then, with a final smile and a twinkle of his blue eyes, he turned and made his way out of the living room with the great dragon tree, the white cotton mat on the floor that (rather pitifully) represented a blanket of fresh snow, and numerous plastic figurines of elves and reindeer strewn about and made his way back into the family room with the three plush blue sofas. And finally, standing before the fireplace and laying a red suede-gloved finger aside of his nose, the great and jolly overweight red-suited elf gave a nod and bid the home of the Jacksons goodbye, disappearing up the chimney to meet Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph above, where they still stood waiting patiently for Santa in the absolute best possible landing spot on that red stippled rooftop. Upon their reunion, Santa climbed into the great red sleigh with the golden designs adorning its faces and, jerking the jingling red reigns, once more ascended into the darkened sky.

Before we progress to the next part of the story, however, the author feels deems it necessary to comment on one point that may or may not have occurred to the reader in the course of reading about Santa Claus's visit to the home of little Jennifer and Andrew Jackson -- the thought that these gifts that Santa Claus procured from his magic brown sack were hardly amount to the bevy of presents that most children expect to find underneath their trees on Christmas morning. From this fact, then, the reader might infer that Jennifer and Andrew Jackson were considerably less than nice -- or considerably naughty -- and that the magic sack had, as a result, only given them each one of the numerous presents on their lists, but, lest the reader think ill of little Jenny and Andy, allow the author to point out that, traditionally, Santa Claus only leaves one present for each child or child at heart during his annual winter visits to their homes. For while it is true that the genesis of the presents brought forth from the magic brown sack requires no resources or money -- so running out of the requisite materials and cash for building a copious amount of toys for each and every child and child at heart in the world is not a great concern of Saint Nicholas's -- and that the magic is not finite, such that Santa would never run the risk of depleting its energy and not having anything to give to children towards the middle and end of his run if the first children were to receive everything on their lists, it still seems an awful lot to ask Santa Claus to fulfill the wishes of every child and child at heart on the planet, especially when one considers that even well-behaved children can be exceptionally greedy at times.

''...all subsequent attempts... would result in the creation of nothing but candy canes.''

The one gift per child rule, then, was also established by The Powers That Be when they imbued the magic sack with the power to discern the appropriate gift for each child, such that even if Santa Claus wanted to give multiple gifts to a particular child, after withdrawing the first present, all subsequent attempts to retrieve gifts for that child would result in the creation of nothing but candy canes. And besides, if Santa Claus were to get the children everything on their lists -- and, moreover, things not on their lists, for Santa Claus's knowledge also extends to desires that the children either forgot or did not care to note on their handwritten lists -- then what gifts would be left for their parents and friends to get for them? So the truth of the matter is that, while children may awake on Christmas morning to find, beneath their Christmas trees, a number of gifts addressed to them as being from Santa Claus, only one of these was actually placed there by the great Kris Kringle himself. All of the others are from their parents -- a fact of which most people are aware, though they generally do not realize that one of the gifts was, in fact, from that overweight red-suited jolly old elf himself. Chocolate chip cookies and milk, after all, do not eat and drink themselves!

So it was that Santa Claus, riding in his red sleigh with golden swirls and inlaid depictions of yuletide cheer drawn by his nine flying reindeer (Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph, for those of you who aren't so great with names), soared through the darkened sky of the night and early morning, pigging out in order to avoid offending his hosts and delivering gifts withdrawn from the glowing yellow depths of his magic brown sack during his visits to each household according to his busy and hectic holiday schedule. Alas, this particular year, Santa Claus's job was not complete with the placing of the last gift underneath the last Christmas tree in the family room of the home of Jefferson Thomas, which was the last stop that he had been scheduled to make before that peculiar note had arrived at the North Pole in an envelope that appeared to have been dunked in urine and liquid feces and other vile wet things that one might find in a septic tank or a sewer -- and it smelled just as bad. Why, when that putrid letter had arrived at the Pole (it was, however, dry by the time it reached Santa), Santa Claus almost threw it out at once, angrily cursing those nasty kids who would pull commit as serious an offense as sending a toilet-dipped letter to the great Saint Nicholas.

Then, however, searching the vast bank of his knowledge regarding the behavior of children around the world, Santa Claus discerned that none of the children of the world had sent the letter. This aroused his curiosity, so he donned a pair of rubber, powderless gloves -- who would want to touch such a disgusting letter? -- and, tearing open the envelope as dried, crusted flakes of shit fell from the paper, pulled forth the letter, which had been written on used toilet paper in what looked like brown magic marker but what was probably, in reality, diarrhea. Again, Santa Claus would have angrily and disgustedly discarded the letter at once, had it not occurred to him that one who is forced to resort to writing with shit must really be in a bad spot, and the tone of the letter, as he read it, did not seem malicious in the least. The text of the short letter follows thusly:

Dear Santa,

Please visit.

Your pal Pinkie

And upon actually reading the text of the letter, Santa Claus was immediately struck by the fact that the writer of this letter -- as foul-smelling and disgusting as the letter was -- had not asked for a single thing, save his presence! Surely, after completing his rounds, Santa could find the time to pay a visit to the poor, pitiful, and filthy creature that had been the author of this note scrawled on toiler paper in diarrhea. After the trouble that it must have taken that sad soul to find that wad of used toilet paper, that pile of moist, runny feces, and to dip whatever hands it had into the stinking pile for the purpose of writing that letter to him, a home visit would have been the least that Saint Nicholas could manage. And at that moment he resolved, once his rounds were complete, to find the author of that letter and, at the very least, say hello.

There were, however, two obstacles -- two concerns, shall we say -- in his way. The first was a more practical difficulty -- that while Santa Claus was certain, owing to the horrible smell that the toilet paper letter gave off -- that the author of the septic message was located in some kind of sewer, there are more than a few sewers in the world and Santa Claus feared that he might have to go tramping the entire length of the subterranean tunnels beneath the cities and towns of the planet in order to discover the location of the author of that nasty note. And while Santa would not particularly have been in a hurry to visit this shit-smeared soul -- he planned to find this creature after his Christmas deliveries were complete, so he would no longer be on schedule -- it is true that after a night filled with flying through the night, gorging on chocolate chip cookies (among other things), guzzling milk, and dropping off gifts in house after house after house after house, the last thing Saint Nicholas wanted to find himself doing was blindly trudging through the muck of the planet's sewer systems in search of an unknown creature with no more information about that critter except that it wrote brief, heartfelt messages on used wads of toilet paper in (more or less) liquid shit.

But Santa would figure it out. After all, it just so happened that one of the elves had, before he came to live at the North Pole, been employed as a sewer goblin, and as such was as familiar with every nook and cranny of the world's sewers as he was with the hair-covered back of his own hand or the cracked and peeling sole of his own foot (for, in those days, the tattered cloth shoes that he was required to wear were often soaked through with sludge and muck and human waste and other such gross things, and nightly he removed his shoes to clean his feet in order to avoid the nasty sort of infection that one might get from wading around in shit all day and doing nothing about it). Santa Claus reasoned, then, that this elf would at once, by smell alone, recognize the general area of the sewer from which this note had come, and thus Santa could enter the sewer near that point and go on his own from there -- for hopefully, down below, he would not encounter too many creatures that possessed the mental and dexterous faculties necessary for composing a note written in fresh human feces on a wad of used toilet paper. So it was that Saint Nicholas had the note sent to that former sewer goblin in a Ziploc bag wit a hole punched just near the top, such that the elf would be able to whiff the thing without ever being forced to touch it, and hardly fifteen minutes after he sent the letter to the elf by way of another elf -- who had once been employed as a leprechaun in the United Kingdom's Ireland -- the former wee green man returned with a note that gave not only the probable source of the letter within a three mile radius of a specific point, but also the simplest method of entry and even a crudely drawn map of that area of the sewers. That, then, took care of the first complication concerning Santa Claus's visit to the poor sewer-dwelling creature that so desperately wanted to see him. be continued in Part 10!
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