[posted to the TML December 25, 2003]
It is strange indeed to see Mr. Whipsnade at this hectic time of year--he's quite busy.
For you see, Santa Claus is only charged with delivering toys to the good children of the world. This takes considerably less time than one might suppose. (Last year the old fraud didn't start til noon on Christmas eve and still made the first race at Hialeah.)
Times being what they are, however, a lump of coal won't do for the other children; actual punishment will just get Santa and his major shareholders drowned in litigation. So what's needed is a substitute, a toy that looks like a reward but is really a punishment. As the real Santa has refused on contractual grounds to make deliveries to the "good-challenged," however, an analogue had to be found, something just close enough to the original to fool a casual glance but different enough to avoid legal headaches. A portly white-headed fellow for whom a red furry suit would actually be a sartorial improvement. Enter Mr. Whipsnade.
Every year on Christmas Eve, Larsen circles the globe in his red El Camino, driven by a Laplander chauffeur who goes by the name of Rudy, delivering gifts to the "less-than-perfect" children of the world. You know these kinds of gifts: the toy that comes without batteries (but produces unstoppable shrieks of noise that rattle the fillings of your neighboors once batteries are inserted); video games that freeze up even when played properly (always on the screen of some poor sophont's dismemberment); and portable music devices that come equipped with a RIAA lawsuit attached.
Mr. Whipsnade doesn't neglect the parents either. For those who don't leave the proper tribute (he sneers at milk and cookies; you're better off with a fifth of something strong and a plate of good steamed mussels), he leaves a variety of creative gifts, usually involving candid pictures of the office Christmas party.
How do I know all this? Simple--I serve as one of Mr. Whipsnade's elves. Actually, I represent a consulting firm of Elves (Elrond, Fingon and Keebler, LLP) that has been filling your toymaking and cobbling needs since the Fourth Age.
So remember, if tonight instead of sleigh bells you hear the growl of a V-8, instead of "ho ho ho" you hear gutteral cursing in Laplander, instead of the fragrant aroma of a clay pipe you smell a dime store cigar, then bar the door, lock the liquor cabinet, and light a roaring fire--that's no jolly elf trying to jimmy the back door, it's Larsen E. Whipsnade!
Fred Ramen Personnel Director, EF & K LLP
Ladies and Gentlemen,
May I suggest that you blame Mr. Ramen? ;)
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; But the kids had been naughty, this past year or so, and their parents grew gray due to sorrow and woe. Saint Nick neatly marked them as naughty, not nice, and altered his flight path without thinking twice. Now, no eight prancing reindeer would land on their roof. Instead, a red El Camino that ran on 90 proof, would rattle and bang to a full lurching stop, park on their front lawn, and just wave at the cop. First, much coughing and wheezing was heard from inside, next a booze addled voice muttered, then cried; 'I hate this job, no matter how much he pays! Don't get half your stuff back from the damn cops these days!' The big man at the wheel, known as Rudy the Lap, turned in his seat and then pulled out his map. 'Dis here's de place' he said around his cigar, 'Now hurry it up. I'll just wait in de car.' Slowly, puffing and groaning, the portly Whipsnade crawled out the backdoor of the car Detroit made. Not very steady, Larsen trotted 'round back, a thump on the trunk, and he pulled out his sack. He was dressed all in fur, from his boater to spats, it was rumpled red squirrel and trimmed with white rats. With his bundle of presents dragging him down, he looked like a peddler just run out of town. His eyes -- how they squinted! His sneer rather scary! He smelled of 'Four Roses' or perhaps elderberry. A short dime store cigar stuck out of his face, as he walked through the snow to start casing the place. The porch door was jimmied and both locks were a joke, after kicking the dog, Larsen stopped for a smoke. The gifts and fine silver were most of his swag, there also was room for some booze in his bag. After cleaning the joint, only stopping to pee, Whipsnade carried his loot to the car merrily. Now time for the gifts, then his work here was done, He opened his bag and chuckled - What fun! For Marissa, who loved each tattoo she could see, that young teen would recieve a nice dose of Hep-C! Jason was next, with a steel stud in his tongue, he'd loose most his teeth from its damage when done! Of course Santa knew Justin, the sour little git, and made certain Justin got his Columbine kit. Summer was last, a poor child all would forget, she got two older friends from the Internet. Larsen's gifts all laid out, each one freighted with doom, He took a short breather and looked 'round the room. Over there, down the stairs, came a man with a gun. Whipsnade acted quickly, there was no time for fun. With a stump of cigar he held tight in his teeth, And the blue smoke encircling his head like a wreath; He dove for the window and hit it a blow, crashing right through, he rolled into the snow. The shotgun roared once and the small pellets flew; Larsen dodged left and then SPRINTED, It's true! The gun's slide was racked and again it spit flame; Whipsnade cursed as he ran, and shouted a name. 'Good Sweet Strephon!' he bellowed, 'You dratted Lap!" 'That fat bastard has screwed me, the house is a trap!' The car's tires spun, flinging snow all around, the rear quarter fishtailed, digging up ground. Larsen sprang at the car, Rudy stomped on the gas Whipsnade dove through the door as a round hit his ass. The car hit the road and it started to speed, while a wrinkled white bottom started to bleed. The man with the gun watched the car speed from sight, exhaust fumes and gravel spraying into the night. Rudy heard Larsen say as he bandaged his can: 'I can move pretty good for a gray-headed fat man!'