Sunday, 26 December 2010

'Twas the Night Before Christmas: A Quest For Science

So I've come to some interesting conclusions about Santa.

Now, we've all heard the rumours. The naysayers. Those who claim there's no such thing as Santa, that science has disproved him. But I'm not buying into those lies. Santa's real. Santa exists.

Of course it doesn't make sense to view Santa as one individual, though. That's ridiculous. How could one person possibly visit every house on earth in one night? No, no, it's obvious. Santa's not one man. Santa's a species. A species with a sacred duty: to deliver presents to those children who've been good. Between them, they spend the year creating presents in their huge underground workshop at the North Pole (although the younger Santlings, that we know as 'elves' do most of this duty). Come Christmas Eve, the Santas set off from their bases in shopping centres around the country, consulting the computer database for 'good children' kept by the government from their surveillance footage. I'm not quite sure about female Santas yet - either they look identical to the males, beards and all, or, more disturbingly, the females are the reindeer. Regardless of if the reindeer are the females or members of another species, the dominant reindeer in the grouping is marked by a red nose to help lead them through the fog.

But once I'd hashed out this brilliant idea on Christmas eve afternoon, there was only one action to take. A species undiscovered by science? I was going to have to catch a Santa. I was going to have to dissect the jolly man in red. And so it came to twenty past eleven that night...

I'd set up the traps hours before, and, as soon as I heard those sleigh bells ring, I knew it was time. There was a thud as Santa's little harem hit the tiles of the roof. No bear traps - I didn't want the adult male slipping away while his lovers were trapped. No, I had to wait for him to enter the house - and, as he started to descend the chimney (the species must be very flexible), I began to hope all my traps would hold. Was the bait in place, I asked for the millionth time? Could I rely on the urban legends and children's stories for the dietary habits of a species as yet unknown to science?

The answers, it turned out, were yes. From my vantage point on the stairs, I could see the Santa - or Santus Niculus, to use the psuedo latin name I had coined - tumble out the chimney and immediately spy the mince pie. The mince pie, so as not to hedge my bets, was laced with the horse tranquilizers I keep around "just in case" and for party tricks - but I was hoping not to have to use those, and, indeed, I didn't have to. As soon as the hapless creature touched the mince pie, blind animal lust in his eyes, it triggered the spring loaded net, trapping him helplessly below it. It was time for phase two of the plan.

I walked up to the creature, and, without compassion, regarded the terror in it's eyes. One cannot be sentimental when one is working for Science. The next step was vital: I looked it directly in the eyes, and enunciated slowly and clearly. "Do you understand English, Santa?"

He had a strange accent, and spoke slightly haltingly, but he was perfectly understandable. "Please let me go. I have children. A family. All I do is bring Christmas, is that so bad?"

His words were hugely important. He spoke and understood English. We could communicate. He was sentient. This meant I could only possibly follow one course of action.

"In that case, I judge you fully understanding of your actions. You are under citizen's arrest for one count of breaking and entering." I had never placed anyone under citizens arrest before, but felt there was more that needed to be said. "You have the right to remain silent, though anything you do not say and later rely on in court may harm your defence. You have the right not to be lowered into a piranha pit..." No, something still missing.

Shit, where were my sunglasses?

Ah, I know what I have to say now. My sunglasses at the ready to put on, I looked him solidly in the eyes. "Looks like Christmas... has been cancelled."

Now, press the button.

Of course, the arrest was merely to delay him. My plans for the evening involved an autopsy table, my bone saw, my set of scalpels, and really getting to the heart of (father) Christmas - but Santa had other plans. Seizing the oppurtunity while I was slightly blinded by wearing dark glasses in a darker room, he struggled free of the net with a hitherto unseen strength, grabbed the sack, and swung it with desperation at my head. Before I passed out, I just heard his voice, growing fuzzy, spit out "Yo ho ho, motherfucker." Due to my rapid loss of conciousness, I am unable to ascertain whether or not he put sunglasses on.

So that was how my family found me, on Christmas morning, unconcious under a large net and next to a partly eaten mince pie smelling of horse tranquilizers. (He'd even broken some of it away so it looked like I'd been eating it, craft devil.) But to his credit, Santa still delivered the presents. Well played, Santa, well played.

But there's always next year.

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