Santa Kringle’s sixty-six minus sixty arms were busily wrapping, wrapping, wrapping, wrapping, wrapping & in his red fur-lined pocket. The hands not pocketed were red-lined so as not to be enveloped in envy. Fleet fingers fly nimbly & numbly as they build and sew, ebb and flow, bob, carol, ted and alice all the toys for all the slumbering children of the green and blue globe.

Mrs. Claus-Kringle, her face a rose, petals curled at the edge in concern. “Dear, dear Santa, dear, dear you. Do not work yourself into a tizzy, or to an early grave.” Her rosy eyes weep pinkish tears as Santa works on and on into the night. His countenance is counting ants as they scutter and scatter his cookie crumb beard. But he must not be distracted, not by nature, not by nurture. Partner and pismire go unheeded.

It is already Christmas Eve, and the reindeer, reined in by starlight and snowflake are fueled and consumed by flight desire. Comet craves the crest of the horizon, while Dasher dances in anticipation of weightlessness, worrying the snowfall. Blitzen worries about another year beginning late. His antlers are ants scurrying about his skull electrically, like holiday lights poisoned into life.

Of course, Santa’s arms do not capitulate and all goes off without a hitch. Mrs. Kringle-Claus, her face now a dandelion, floats tufts of dandelion fur to trim her hubby’s coat. Her pride in his work is tempered only by his disinterest in it. Santa’s magic has no magic, his calling transmogrified to job after centuries of the yearly grind. His beard is thistles and his heart is a bus full of dinosaur bones.

Finally, he takes to his sleigh and yells, “Onward ho ho ho!” The reins of the sleigh ablaze with a trillion billion lightning bolts crackle and thoom through the snowy snowstorm. The reindeer lift and coagulate, become jellydeer to more fluidly traipse the space-time continuum. Then, like a collapsed giraffe, time and space freeze, melt, ooze and bleed slowly away, as Santa sallies further, Father Christmas chrysalised by paused chronology. Sluicing down chimneys and crayfishing along carpets, depositing toys and goodies in his wake. And just like that, Christmas Eve is Christmas Day, in the blink of a Slinky. And Santa slumbers, whilst Mrs. Krins-Claugley, her head a kudzu vine, wraps herself in the warmth of Santa’s snooze.

All’s well that ends? Well, not quite. There was the boy Quincy O’Squirg whose hounds tooth coat was made of terrier teeth, Ryan Green-Lawbster whose train set sneezed into an army of ants, and sweet Melissy Sinissy whose Betsy Wetsy proved pee-shy. And the less said about Louise DuBurse who got herself in reverse, the better. But memories are made of strange things, like olive pits and left socks. And in the cool calm ocean of transience, only one thing is constant: Christmas is once a year, except for when it isn’t.


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