1. Monday, December 19, 2005

    from this year’s worstseller, Stiff 

    my flesh had melted into my bone, i was on fire, and yet somehow i was shiverring.

    i was greeted by a man in a Santa suit with a clipboard who extended his white gloved hand who said, “welcome to Hell.”

    i shook his hand and a buzzer went off in my palm.

    “i dont have time to give you the grande tour, my apologies, we have to get you suited up and we dont have much time.” he said.

    i said a little prayer as we wound our way through the dark caves lit by torches and occasional flourescent tubes.

    no need to pray down here, we can read your mind, and the prayers only go on your permanent record and used against you in nasty little ways, my guide esped to me and led me to a giant cave filled with Santa Claus suits.

    quickly i can tell you the purpose of Hell, it’s not to punish you, it’s to torment the Creator. tomorrow is His birthday. it’s our assignment to water it down, to trivilize it, to ruin it, to distract people’s thoughts, to do everything we can to take the Holiness away from it and make it seem like a child’s birthday party.

    but it is a child’s birthday party. it’s Je–

    my mouth was zippered shut.

    we dont say the J word down here.

    my mouth was unzipped.

    Xmas isnt just a child’s birthday, it’s a lot more than that, pastor, dont be coy. yes it’s Someone’s birthday, but we dont want it to be about Him we want it to be about every other child in the world Except Him. comprende?

    i nodded.

    Santa Claus is the greatest acheivement of Hell. we have successfully intergrated our fake-out on the entire planet. anywhere you go you are more likely to see a picture of the white jolly elf than the Creator of the Universe. even in Latin America where people name their children after the Messiah you will see Santa. Even in Bethlehem, even in church.

    within minutes i was in the familiar jacket, boots, gloves, fake beard and cap. and i was loaded onto a bus and before i knew it i was back on Earth.

    Home.

    i couldnt speak the words that i wanted to.

    i stood outside a shopping mall ringing a bell. people put money into my cauldron.

    all i could say was ho ho ho.

    because it wasnt Hell, i was capable of saying Merrrrrrry Christmas, but it was an ironic one. A celebration of theft. I thanked people for their money. It wasnt going to the poor or the sick or the needy. It was going to Hell. my new home.

    after lunch i was collected, my money was counted and i was reassigned to the throne inside the mall where little kids sat on my lap and mothers cooed and fathers smiled for the first time in a long time.

    pictures were taken and little kids told me what they wanted and i lied and told them that they would get everythign that they wanted.

    were you a good little boy this year?

    yes, Santa.

    were you good to your mother and your father?

    uh huh.

    were you good to your brothers and your sisters?

    i was good to my sister, but i dont gots any brothers.

    did you clean up your room like a good boy?

    i dont gots a room, santa claus. i sleep on the couch.

    the little kid laughed like it was the silliest question ever.

    i just wept.

    but theres no crying in the Santa suit.

    all that came out was ho ho ho.

    flagrant + the pants + smelly + sunken