a fable for Christmas by Adam Acidophilus
The caribou were terribly disappointed, and refused to pull the sleigh. The jolly fat gentleman got angrier and angrier.
“Mush!” he said, whipping away with his whip like a slave driver. “I’m running a business here! You lazy bastards! You’re gonna cost me my bonus!”
Fortunately, the jolly fat gentleman had omitted to trick the caribou into signing any kind of contract: partly because he thought that was a clever thing to do, and partly because caribou cannot hold a pen, due to shape of their feet.
Together, they upended the sledge, spilled the parcels all over the snow, unseated the old man, and wriggled out of their harnesses.
They made immediately for the nearest daytime television show.
“We did our best,” one of them sobbed to a supportive live studio audience.
“We gave him everything we had!” coughed another – reaching for a cigarette.
“Do you know what it’s like to run through the snow pulling a fully-laden sleigh?” cursed another, dissolving into tears – and setting off a number of the audience (and the presenter) as well.
“And those bloody bells, jingling and jingling. Night and day!”
“He promised us opportunity!”
“He promised us stardom!”
“He promised us the moon!” the caribou lied through their teeth.
“But all he did was tie us up in bondage gear, and whip us,” said the first of the caribou (who had become something of a spokesperson for the group). “And he stared at our bottoms!”
The audience was outraged. The world was speechless. Political leaders called for action.
DEER DEPARTED GIVE SANTA THE SACK – went the headline in a British newspaper.
JINGLE HELL! went another.
REINS OF TERROR!
CLAUS FOR CONCERN
SENT TO SANTA’S CENTRE!
RIGHT IN THE BAUBLES!
NEW TWIST IN DIANA TRANS LINK
Images of Santa were torn from Christmas decorations. Songs about Santa were banned. Department stores and Church fetes advertising for temporary Christmas Santas were charged with committing atrocities.
“Atrocities?” gasped a lexicographer – who lived with his sister in a cottage in Suffolk. “Atrocities? That can’t be right … ”
“Yes, atrocities!” repeated the first caribou – with the sub-literate overconfidence so common in those who have spent years in a state of television-induced outrage and pig-ignorance.
“But this is shit!” said the jolly fat gentleman, reading the newspapers (which had, quite paradoxically, found their way to his headquarters at the North Pole). “I never fucking said I was fucking Santa Claus. I said it was a sleigh-pulling job, in the snow, with long hours, heavy loads and no holidays. Santa Claus has reindeer for fuck’s sake – these were caribou!
“I think they may be working for the enemy!”
But alas, the tide of public opinion was against the jolly fat gentleman. So he got a motorized sleigh and changed his trading name.
Moral: Merry Christmas.
© Adam Acidophilus 2022