‘Twas New Years Eve and Santa Closet – lavender quill pen in hand, Gucci trifocal sunglasses on his merry nose – was double checking his private list to see who’s straight, and who’s – hopefully – gay.
Unbeknownst to almost everybody – the exceptions: Christmas Carol and a near-retirement elf named Walteena – Santa Closet, who usually goes by Claus 363 days, felt entitled to party solo.
Mrs. Claus, who hadn’t slept with her hubby since bubble lights and artificial tinsel trees broke family values tradition, couldn’t care less that she’d have one less mouth to feed on New Year’s day at the North Pole.
Forty elves, the usual party-crashing, fur-lined eskimos, and those godawful cauterwauling chipmunks, were enough for Mrs. Claus. She was frankly tired of hearing another round of travel adventures. Boring. (Especially those concerning the Middle East.) Year after year.
“It’s my only pleasure,” she hummed to herself, taking freshly baked gingerbread cookies from the oven. “Especially without that flighty Rudolph poking around where he shouldn’t be. That wet-nosed sniffer is a bit much. Heaven knows what my Nicky sees in him.”
Truth is, it was Rudolph, with his shiny nose so bright, that put Claus into the Closet; but, to be fair to the antlered, addled-headed kid, it was all Santa’s doing. He bought the bouncy, happy-go-lucky, sky-dancing critter from Gene Autry, the singing cowpoke who ranched and raised Rudolph from a young’n.
Story is that Autry, who met Santa at a Rodeo Ho-Ho-Ho-down, suspected Santa might take to Rudolph – if for no other reason than Rudolph’s sled-mates-to-be each had questionable, funny names. Dasher. Prancer. Comet. Cupid. Vixen. (“Vixen, indeed!” smiled Autry.)
It was probably a big mistake from the start to let Rudolph lead Santa’s team. But, let’s face it. That nose so bright. Well, fellow consumers, chalk it up to conspicuous consumption. (And – a real plus – the nose did match Santa’s red outfit.) But Santa was pleased as holiday punch. Especially ten Christmases ago. It was …
Santa’s last stopover at Palm Springs, Calif., the gift-giving, oasis dropoff before hula-hula, grass-skirt Hawaii. Like everybody else who’s overworked, Santa was plumb pooped from under-pricing and child-proof packaging.
“Rudy,” said Santa, in need of a perk up, “use your twinkle nose. Find us a spot where I can get a quickie hot toddy. Or, two.” No sooner said than done, Rudolph to the Rescue, attracted by the distant clarion call of that old favorite carol “Jingle Bell Rock” blaring through the desert night, set Santa’s sleigh cozily down in an almost full-to-capacity parking lot.
“I shan’t be long,” said Santa, as he peeped into the red-and-green, bright neon-lighted bistro, Bruce’s Cell Block Cafe & Tackle Lounge. “Keep an eye on Dancer and Prancer. And, whatever you do, Rudy, don’t let Vixen out of your sight!”
“Hey, mister, whoever you are in that Santa get up, we’ve got rules here,” barked a rather burly, unshaven guy guarding the entrance. “No leather. No go!” Santa, ever jolly, quick of wit, winked, “Hey, Mikey, you remember me. I brought you a Barbie doll for Christmas when you were ten.”
“O Shingles!” said pink-faced Mikey, taken aback. “You really are Santa. Beats tarnation and tarp out of me. Go on in. Your leather belt’ll do. If anybody asks, it was Kenny not Barbie I wanted.”
Two hot toddys later Santa was on his way, smiling like all get up. All get out. “You know somethin’, Rudy. I’ve been lettin’ the wrong age and dress code sit on my lap. Oh, well, it’s never too late to teach an old dude new tricks. Why’s Vixen smilin’?”