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The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t But Then, at the Last Moment, Was
By Brendan D.
age: 19
Pennsylvania

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And way up far north
The elves were anxious for an end
To December twenty-fourth.

They had watched all the children
The lists were checked twice
The toys were made and delivered
At no additional price.

But despite all the rush
The elves were proud of their work
Except for one elf named Pringle,
Who was rather a jerk.

“Our union is horrible,
And on top of all that
I got sat on by Santa
And got engulfed in his fat!

“We get one week vacation
And no pay for that week!
Everyday Santa has something
About us to critique!”

“I’m fed up with this Christmas!
I’ve had it up to here!
That does it! There will be no
Christmas season this year!”

Pringle thought hard and harder
“Something drastic’s in order!
I know! I’ll get Santa delayed
At the U.S. Customs border!”

Pringle snuck very sneakily
To where the sleigh was kept
A plot to stop Christmas
While all the children slept!

From his pocket Pringle produced
Some clippers for fingernails
He slipped them under Santa’s seat
So Christmas would fail

Pringle snuck out the back door
He ran far from the sleigh
And quietly watched until
Santa flew up, up and away!

When the jolly old elf was gone
Leaving Pringle all alone,
He ran to the nearest booth
To use the public pay phone

“Operator! Operator!
Place a speedy collect call
I’ve just heard some bad news!
You may very well bawl!”

The collect call went all the way!
Straight to Washington, D.C.!
It was answered by - who else?
The Homeland Defense Secretary!

“Hello?” Tom Ridge barked gruffly
What’s behind all this commotion?”
“Mr. Ridge, will you accept a collect call
From near the Arctic Ocean?”

“Who the devil is this?”
Asked Ridge, not very politely
“It’s Pringle the elf with some news
That you shouldn’t take lightly!

“Hidden on Santa’s sleigh
Are some WMDs!
That would be Weapons
Of Mass Destruction, to you and me!”

“Of course!” exclaimed Ridge
“Everything’s solved by this call!
That’s where Saddam
Must have hidden them all!

“So our jolly old St. Nick
Is in cahoots with Saddam?”
“Yes!” said Pringle, “and he’s
Given Santa the bomb!”

“Dear Lord!” muttered Ridge
“This just keeps getting scarier!
Someone stop this maniac
At the Canadian barrier!”

Back north, Santa flew faster
Until he heard loudspeakers say
“Mr. Claus, we suspect you!
Land your craft immediately, eh?”

Santa Claus landed his sled.
He was sweating in profusion.
He waddled over to the guard,
“Sir, there must be some confusion!”

A team of armed men examined
All of fifteen square feet
Of Santa’s cherry-red sleigh
And then they looked under the seat!

“Aha!” said the guard, “Your attempt
To sneak this in was futile!
With a dangerous item like this,
You could cut someone’s cuticle!

“And I’ve just got a report
That hidden on your sleigh,
Of some dangerous bombs
Safely stowed away!”

Santa thought long and hard
And spoke out loud to himself
“I wonder who could have done this –
Wait! A disgruntled elf!”

He hopped back in his sled
As he flew away the men shouted
“Come back! Stop this!
Your sleigh needs to be scouted!”

He arrived back at the North Pole
Just in time to see
Pringle rolling on the ground
And chuckling with evil glee!

“Pringle!” Santa bellowed loudly,
His deep cheery voice full of hurt
“Why did you do this foul deed?
Is your heart full of dirt?

“Are you protesting something?
Do you feel mad or listless?
Do you dislike children?
Tell me, why do you hate Christmas?”

“I don’t hate Christmas,”
Sighed Pringle, feeling exasperated
“It’s just that working for you
Is very much overrated

“Of all the bosses I’ve had,
I rank you very, very low
I mean, what sort of boss
Would make you work in the snow?”

“Oh, dear!” mumbled Santa,
Fumbling with his white beard,
“I never realized that working
At the North Pole was so weird!”

“And what,” asked little Pringle,
“About the low wages we make?
We work while you get fat
On candy canes and fruitcake!

“We work twenty-four/seven,
While you, my fine fellow,
Eat and laugh and shake
Like a bowl of red Jell-O™!”


“Why,” asked St. Nicholas,
“Didn’t you say this post-haste?
Now I feel so ashamed!
I’m disgusted and disgraced!

“I am shocked and surprised
That you didn’t form a lynch mob!”
And with that, Father Christmas
Collapsed with a sob

“Hey, now,” muttered Pringle,
“You’re not so bad after all!
I suppose I’ve had worse bosses
(One even made me a thrall!)”

“Dear little Pringle,” sniffed Santa
Wiping a tear with his hanky,
“I know just what to do
So you won’t feel too cranky!”

And so, early Christmas morn
After he completed his route
Santa gathered all of his elves
And they worked it all out

They followed the idea
That Pringle advocated
And by Christmas next year
The workshop was relocated

Instead of working up north
And braving hail, snow, and sleet
The elves now worked in comfort
At a private island retreat

Santa tripled their paychecks
And, what Pringle liked best,
They had a month’s paid vacation
Where they could relax and rest

They bathe in the bright sun
In a warm sunny spot
Or going swimming in the ocean
When the temperature’s too hot

“So, Pringle,” asked St. Nick,
Handing the elf a tropic drink,
“How do you like it here?
Tell me, what do you think?”

“It’s great! I adore it!”
Replied Pringle, very enthused
“But the sand is sort of hot
And gets in my pointy-toed shoes

“I have too much free time
That I feel isn’t well spent
And the sun’s increased my cancer risk
By eighty-three percent!

“Actually,” complained Pringle,
I don’t like it here!”
And since you’re not helping,
I’ll have to stop Christmas next year!”

Santa sighed and shook his head
As he waited for the rant to subside
I guess some people—or some elves—
Will never be satisfied.
 

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