Devo and Spider, the elder of the two Faternitas Ramirez, had converted one of the older of my velocitator for their own pleasure. It had been already constructed upon the chassis of a 1978 Plymouth Duster, and it only took some prodding, a larger wheel-well and assorted amounts of the grease of the elbow to raise the rear and make flame come belching from the chromed exhaust pipes.
After the showing and the cheering and exuberant cursing in the foreign moon language of the brothers, I was coerced into the "ride" for a brief excursion. It was to The Freeway Lodge that we went, where we joined Ramirez the Younger, who is called something close to Goat. He arrived with an equally "cherry" conveyance and we were to test velocities against one another upon the windy and icy concrete trench of this late night Detroit high way.
But to make a long story the briefer, an accident befell us. Irritated by the smaller confines of my new anti-bathosphere, I twitched my primary rather than my secondary hunting arm, and rather than careening up the side of the deep walled-well of the Lodge as I had intended, gloriously shuttling my conveyance over Goat in his massively over-powered Gremlin, I instead darted left and up an exit ramp onto an unknown street and through two rather weekly held-together homes until I found my "ride" twisted against a lamppost with a small beggar speared front-most part.
The beggar, dressed in red garb, was vaguely familiar to me, and all became clear when I heard Rob whisper through the exterior microphone:
"Dude, you killed Santa Claus."
And thus was I thrust into this mighty and strange predicament. I had been charged, by ill-fate, with the task of Saving the Tide of Christ's Mass.
Undaunted by my previous, egregious failure in holiday making, I declared from first to make every effort at bringing the proper jovial solemnity to Yule which I failed to bring to bear on the Thanks to Giving of November late. Having not appropriately given Thanks, I took it upon myself to give Gifts, as in the venerable tradition of this Satan Claus, so much loved by the many children. (Ah, Sat-An, the Great Adversary, I know his many works well...)
Considering the first cause and final maker of that previous Holy Day failure, I deemed it of the utmost importance to take all pertinent precautions in preparation for this second attempt, in addition to my usual construction and research efforts.
And thus, took the liberty of locking my lab assistant Rob in the janitorial closet of the laboratory. As will become clear later, I am currently concerned about Rob's well being, owing to my longer-than-calculated absence. If any of you, my Dear Readers, happen to be in the general vicinity of the Renaissance Center of Detroit-Michigan within the next several weeks, please alert the appropriate building management personnel to the fact that a young man is incarcerated within the secondary janitorial closet (the one near the microwave range and foosing-ball table) on Floor the Seventy-Second. With some little luck, it will also be the closet from which seeps the stench of urine and the weak cries and knockings of a well meaning buffoon.
Rob being tucked away with a fair amount of packaged Hostess comestibles and the herbal treatment for his rampant glaucomas, I set to the more important matters at hand: 1) the acquisition of toys and entertainments (this handled by several local citizen's groups, including the West Side Puritan Boys and the 7 Mile Folk, contracted for this purpose specifically, and 2) the forging of a supermegasonic vehicle capable of the arduous Christmas Run. (More powerful and terrible than VinoxMann shall I be!) Having reviewed the pertinent literature, I knew well how very difficult this ordeal would be, having to visit over 2 billion children in a mere 31 hours.
Unfortunately, the nearest my master machinist, Devo, could muster in service of this second goal was a heavily modified SH-2 Seasprite, modified such to increase its top-speed to some 300 miles per hour (nigh unto twice that of a "stock" model) and with sufficient additional fuel reserves to permit my flight round-the-world to continue uninterrupted, as well as cargo space aplenty, for the many Legoing sets and Barbieing dolls. It lacked many of the features of my request (e.g. the sleigh-like form factor, the many raining deer, the bells, the coffee-cup holders, the 5-compact-disc carousel changer) but nonetheless was red-and-white striped and could attain impressive velocities with little difficulty. And, admitted I, vertical take-off and landing is indeed useful to the Yuletide Cheer Bringer.
Was I held of disappointments? Yes, indeed. But, it was nonetheless a sterling effort on Devo's part, and I told him such.
But let us note well that 300 miles to the hour is veritable a quickness, but it is not even quite Mach the point-five, let alone Mach the Three-Thousandth necessary to serve all of the good boys and girls their much deserved gifts. Was I crestfallen? Indeed. But, I have become acquainted with setbacks afore, and let them impede me not. Rather, I make to prefer the strategic re-organization of planning.
Much as I could not stop to Give Thanks to All, so was content to merely share the thanking with some few orphans, so in this matter I would concede the impossibility of bearing gifts to all, and thus bear them only to the muchmost needy. I constructed the following list of nations to visit:
Sierra Leone Tanzania Ethiopia Somalia Cambodia Congo, Democratic Republic of the Rwanda Comoros Burundi Eritrea
All notable in the extremity of their poverty: exempli gratia The per capita gross domestic product of an Eritrean is less than the two-week wage of an impoverished, slovenly North Americaner.
Fortunately, as these nations' needs are overwhelmingly situated in Africa, my fly-time was significantly reduced: my total calculated travel time with this new, limited list of celebrants was just over 27 hours— well within the 31 hour limit, and leaving quite a bit of the "wiggling" room for actual full-stops, landings and jolly visitations with the local populants.
Many Clever Readers might note that these particular nations are markedly low on Christian children, good or otherwise. To these critics, I answer that this point I readily concede now, but at the time of planning I found myself immersed in the heady exuberance of the moment, and was subsequently unable to consider seriously such relatively minor distinctions.
Again there was disfortinitude, for I quickly discovered— after but few stops in rural and urban Cambodia— that these jolly visitations were ill-advised, in the least, and plausibly outright dangerous to my high-octane, high-performance conveyance. The lack of proper Christian upbringing among these impoverished, charming land-types lead to a great deal of fleeing before me in my eightlegged chromium autovelocitator, despite my flopping conical, white-puffball bedecked, red hat, and fluffing white ersatz facial hair. In order to bring the gifts to bear, I am afeared that there needed to be some flinging of gifts— yes, I did briefly panic— and there may have been fatalities. Also, inadvertently, there was a very great fire. For this I blame Devo, as I feel I was insufficiently warned of the size of the greater than 470-degree Fahrenheit envelope emitted by the twin jet turbines.
(Certainly, it was no more than these poor folk suffered under one nights visitations from the fourth infantry in 1973. For that they must give my way lee. And at least I came with intentions good. Semper Architeuthis.)
Subsequent to the complications in Phnom Penh, Koulen and Phnom Chamas, I chose to deliver my gifts in a series of air-to-surface drops which, not to tootle the horn, I do declare went both hitchlessly and to great popular reception. Oh, how the Tanzanians scurried to-and-fro, dancing about under the rain of holiday cheer and injected-molded plastics.
"A Merry Christmas to All!" I bellowed again and again through my loudspeakers, into the humid, star-bedangled skies of Somalia, Comoros, Eritrea, Sierra Leon, "And to All the Good Night!"
And, twere it not for a disfortunate sheer wind over the mid-Atlantic, I would have returned to gentle grey Detroit in plenty of time to release Rob from his closety confines. But, as it stands, I drift ever westward in the floatation-balloon-bouyed and slightly charred carapace of my SH-2 Seasprite, firmly entangled among the twisted girders. And, while I do dream of the White Christmas, I similarly and simultaneously pray that the roving fleet of hammerhead sharks which have looped about me twice do not soon realize the lack of structural integrity inherent in my environmental suit's articulated joints.
If I were to have but a single Christmas wish— and, as your televisual entertainment has well schooled me, having been good all year, I most certainly am entitled to such— it would be for a worldwide end to war-hunger and a swift recovery by my staff once I beach upon the North American eastern seaboard.
Merryful Christmas Toward All!
The Jolly Squid
Love the Giant Squid? Buy his first book.
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this Piece
Poor Mojo's Tip Jar:
Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson