And so it came to pass in a land many sizes too large for its tunic that three not-so-wise men got wind of a waning star in the east that it would be deemed most expedient to see before its untimely extinction.
2. Said the first not-so-wise man to the other two (who were his official yea-verily-sayers), “Let us take time from our wearisome duties, denigrated tho they may be in this the last year of my most magnificent reign to go seek out this heavenly wonder before it blinks goodbye forever.”
3. Said the second — perhaps wiser by degree, who for reasons of pride and untoward show of piety liked to play tricks with his voice, speaking through persons who opened and closed their mouths without saying their own words — “Yea, verily, verily. But let us take gifts so that should said fading star be a sign (as of old) to mark the birth of an auspicious — compassionately conservative — child, he and his voting age parents (presumably blue-eyed, white, heterosexually married) might be persuaded to look favorably upon us and our country of great and ever-glorious import.”
4. Said the third not-so-wise man (who in truth seemed but the semblance of a man and was most troubled by mention of color white, as in winter), “Verily and yea! Let each in the true spirit of the season choose baubles for a child that will serve as a reminder in the days to come of who we are, who once we were.
5. “As there will always be wars and rumors of wars, I shall give the child toy exploding darts to throw and a target with exotic locations to practice upon.”
6. “And I,” said the leader who dubbed himself Decider, “Because the poor are with us always I shall give a lifetime subscription to Fortune magazine, so that the child, learning to read, may ever know what it is he hath missed out on, living his life more blessed in that knowledge. Perhaps, yea, verily, even selling subscriptions from door to door.”
7. Then said he who proposed the gift giving in the first place, “Because it is decreed ‘Thou anointest my head with oil’ (and greaseth my palm with petroleum), I shall give the child oil well stocks to live up to. Surely that will inspire him well unto the age of accountability and beyond.”
8. Thus having agreed to such purposeful and theocratic generosity, one by one they left in separate winged conveniences, for it was unseeming for them to travel together. And when they arrived they journeyed their last miles each upon an ass, which was fitting for the impression they wished to convey.
9. And as they traveled in the direction of the waning star it blinked three short blinks, three long blinks, three short blinks, which made the not-so-wise men fear that they might not reach their goal of abject adoration in time.
10. And suddenly they heard a heavenly chorus singing with syncopation, “We don’t care if it rains or freezes.” And there were gathered shepherds, each bearing the likeness of a photogenic and calculating evangelist. And in their midst they found a swaddling child.
11. Drawing near the three not-so-wise men saw that the child was but a plastic dollbaby with a string attached. Pull me, read a tag. And so pull in awe they did.
12. And like a voice crying in the wilderness it repeated and repeated, “Seasons greetings. Shop for bargains. Bomb for peace.”