Let me start by stating it didn’t start out as holiday story time; I didn’t have a holiday story prepared; I wasn’t even in a ho ho ho mood. Technically, I was in a ho ho holy shit when will these fuckers learn? mood.
But how often does that stop me?
I’m sitting there, minding my own business, when the kid of the house swaddles over (or whatever it is kids do) brimming with excitement. He’s got a book with him. At least he thinks it’s a book. From the outside it looks like a book, book like titling and binding, but, in fact, it’s not a book. It’s one of those decorative books people who don’t actually have books in their house put out around this time to put a festive holiday facade up to show they don’t actually neglect their kid and let him find the nearest itinerate comedy asshole.
“Read.” The kid demands. Fucking little twat. I should demand he get me a beer but, I figure with the lack of real book at my disposal, which means I’m left to my own devices, that’ll only add time to my enjoyment. I take the stage prop and start winging it.
In my defense, I had not boned up on my age appropriate nor wholly accurate holiday stories so had to make one out of scrapes of the shroud of Turin. That makes me the bad guy? I wanted to give the kid a little show! One that HE asked for! So I did the best I could with the brain I have.
“Once upon a time, the three wise men, Christopher Hitchens, Penn Jillette, and Santa Claus left the North Pole because Santa got intel from Goode & Naughty Spy Service that some married woman was about to give birth to a pretty hip kid. At first Santa told Hitch and Penn to grab someone else, Maybe Lenny Bruce to get the Jewish take on this, but when the spy, Johnny B. Goode, mentioned to Santa that the lady, name of Mary, had a story she was telling, a whopper of a story, and sticking to it about how her kid came to be, Santa said he had a special gift to bring.
Hitch, Penn, and Santa took off from the North Pole in May because it would take 40 days and 40 nights to get to there in time for the birth which actually took place sometime in June. It wasn’t until later that someone decided that people had nothing to look forward to in the dead of winter so decided to toss a bash in December. But that’s not important, is it? It’s all about the story, huh? Facts be damned!”
The kid, who seemed to be paying attention but probably because an adult was sending more than six words to him at a sitting, nods and chuckles. See? The kid likes my story telling!
“Not knowing exactly where the birth was going to take place, Mary and Joseph has a lot of bills so moved around a lot, the three wise men had to figure out a plan. A way to find the birth. It was Penn, the most savvy technologically, who figured out how they would find the birth.
“We’ll follow the star!” Penn exclaimed pointing upward to unleash the right path.
“OnStar. How may I help you today?” A voice from beyond atwittered.
“I gotta get one of them for my sleigh.” Santa said. Hitch just nodded as he made himself, the only drinker of the trio, another highball.
Their destination plotted out for them, the three wise men rode on. Sure, they got on each others nerves, they were wise men, not saints, after all. But, with a shared goal in mind, they stayed the path while the other characters in this story did what they did.
As time was closing in, things started to stir inside Mary.
“Hey, Joe,” She said. “I gotta sit down, my dogs are killing me.” Mary said using that times hip word for feet. “If this little bas. . .I mean, gift from God, which I have no clue how it got in there, being a virgin and all, doesn’t make it’s grand entrance as the prince of peace soon, I’m going to explode.”
Joe, being a good guy, but, truthfully, sounds a little like a cuckold to me. I mean, why doesn’t he just bring her on Maury to find out who the baby daddy is? But, he loves Mary so does what a man in his situation does.
“Stop with all the talking? You think this is any easier for me? You’re the one who over spent on that Ford Turbo Cart with the two donkeys. And where are they now? That’s right! They died because you didn’t fill them with water like the dealer said.”
“Well, if you were a real man and knew how to do manly things. . .”"
“Well,” I say to the kid. “As you can see, Mary and Joe had issues like many couples in this tough economy.” The kid nods as I continue.
“Joe went off to find a place for Mary to give birth. He went to the High Holiday Inn but was turned away. The Best Eastern but they too had no rooms. It’s what he gets for not booking ahead during the height of vacation time. But, finally, he found a room at the Straw Roof Inn. He checked in and, although he knew he should get right back, he took a little nap for himself before hitting the road to bring Mary back.
While this was going on the three wise men were getting closer.
“OnStar is pleased to report you have arrived at your destination.” The three wise men get out of the wagon to stretch. “Is there anything else OnStar can do for you today?”
“Yeah,” Penn asks. “Can you tell me where you could get a great bacon cheese burger around here?”
“It seems the closest bacon cheese burger establishment is seven hundred million cubits away. Would you like directions?”
Penn, a little agitated, kicks the dirt. “Thanks, OnStar, maybe later.” He looks at Hitch and Santa and says, “You know we’re not going back until we get a bacon cheese burger.” They all nod because they know how Penn gets when he’s hungry.
They collect the gifts they’ve brought for the baby and enter the Straw Roof Inn. The desk clerk, who finally relented after Santa greased his palm with a few shekels, told them the ‘Smith’ party could be found in room 1BC.
Arriving at the door, gifts in tow, the wise men walk right in and saw, splayed out for all to see, the miracle of birth.
“Yech.” Santa said turning his head.
“Are you sure we’re in the right room?” Hitch queried. “I thought a birth like this would be neater.”
“How wise are you two? Of course we’re in the right room. Look around!” Hitch and Santa looked around and had to admit Penn was probably right.
“Yeah,” Hitch said. “How many other birthing rooms would have sheep and cows and camels in there?”
Penn nods. “That’s right! Being this non-hygienic alone is a miracle.”
When Mary completes the transaction the baby, named Jesus (after their favorite gardener back home), the three Wise Men approach to offer their gifts.
“Cool!” Mary says. “I love me some gifts!”
“Mary,” says Santa pushing a sheep out of his way.
“Watch it, Santa.” Penn calls out. “You’re stepping in all kindsa shit.” Santa let’s out an uproarious laugh from deep within his belly.
“Oh, Penn, obviously you’ve not spent much time in the reindeer pen.” Santa reaches Mary and holds out his gift. Mary quickly grabs it and tears it open.
“What’s this?” She asks hold the black lump in her hand.
“It’s what people get when they tell lies, Mary.” Santa leans in so only Mary can hear her. “And you’re sticking to a doozy!” Santa leans back.
“It’s coal!” He exclaims. “But I’m sure if you stick it up Joe’s tight ass you’ll have a diamond in about thirty-three years.” Santa drops back into the crowd as Mary tosses the coal to Joe. He looks at it for a moment before he does his bidding.
“What’s next?” Mary asks figuring whatever it is it has to be better than coal.
“It is I!” States Penn. “And I bring a gift for the newborn! A mynah bird.” Penn pulls the mynah bird from his tunic with a magical flourish. “This way we’ll have an accurate reporting of the words of the baby Jesus throughout his life.”
“Great.” Mary says a little disappointed. “Just what we need. Another mouth to feed.” She takes the bird from Penn and places it on the cradle.
Hitch pushes through the assembly with a large, imposing figure in tow. Mary’s eye widen in trepidation.
“Don’t worry, Mary, he doesn’t eat anything at all.”
“What the H-E double hockey sticks is it?”
“It’s Frankenstein, my good woman. He’s here to protect you and yours but also to show that if you cobble together too much dogma it can get ugly and turn good intentions into bad actions.”
“Yeah, yeah, great, thanks.” Said Mary looking around the room. “You’re the wise men, right?” Penn, Hitch, and Santa nod in unison. “Well then, can one of you wise men tell me why none of you were smart enough to bring me a bacon cheese burger? Wouldn’t you think I’d be hungry after all this?”
This causes a big outcry from the assemblage. A loud enough cacophony was stirred to summon the Straw Roof Inn management to toss out the entire lot. Through it all the new born baby remained serene. As he’s being carried out of the room on the back of a sheep the baby summons the strength to say his first words,
“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”
And with that, Christmas was born.”
I hand the faux book back to the kid as I say,
“And that’s the story of Christmas, kid.” I say beginning to stand. “Now get off my lap. My legs are starting to fall sleep from your fat ass.”
He runs up to his father who listens for a moment with a smile on his face. I did say a moment.
“Are you crazy?” He says to me.
“What?” I say. “He wanted a story and you looked busy.”
“You know he repeats everything. There’s no way I’m going to be able to keep him from telling the story to my wife.”
“Who knows,” I say walking away. “Maybe she’ll like it.”
She didn’t. And, obviously, he didn’t relay the full story you just read. It wasn’t as fleshed out but, trust me, all the major parts were there. She calls an hour or so later. She was pissed. I told her if she wants to change his story, get a real fucking book and spend the time reading it herself. She tells me she will tell him the story of the birth of her lord and savior and that I should butt out.
“Gladly. But does that mean I can’t give him the gift I bought?” Parents LOVE gifts they don’t have to buy.
“What it is?” She, rightfully, asks.
“Holy Stigmata! The talking Jesus action figure!”
I don’t think she’ll be calling back.
I wonder if I should have gone with the Lil’ Flagellators Kit?