Written December 24, 2001.
I think I forgot to write a Christmas story last year. Of course, I can't go back now, because 2000 was in a different millennium and we all know that time travel doesn't work across millennium boundaries. So we'll just pretend Christmas 2000 never happened and go on to Christmas 2001.
It was Christmas Eve. Albert Einstein, master inventor, philanthropist, and guy who was good at doing the Jumble, was thinking, which he did several times a day.
"So let's see. There are six billion people on Earth. Probably about six per family on average, so there are one billion homes. Some of these homes are city apartments twenty feet apart, but the people in igloos or jungle huts or desert tents are more widely spaced, so let's assume the homes are about a mile apart on average. Santa has one night to visit them all, we'll say twenty-four hours because it's not night everywhere on Earth at the same time. So, he has to fly one billion miles in twenty-four hours."
He wrote "SANTA = 41,666,667 MILES/HOUR" on his blackboard and underlined it. "At that speed, friction with the atmosphere will generate intense thermal energy, and twenty-four hours of that will release enough heat to melt the Earth's crust. And the billion takeoffs and landings will cause two billion sonic booms. By December 26, the Earth will be reduced to an endless sea of molten lava and loud noises."
It was clear to Einstein: Santa must die! He wrote that on his blackboard so that he wouldn't forget to kill Santa. He booby-trapped his roof and went to bed, visions of Santa dying in his head.
Around midnight, Einstein woke up when he thought he heard the distant laughter of an obese elderly dwarf wearing a red fur bathrobe. He ran to the window just in time to glimpse a sleigh landing on his roof. Then there was a loud CRUNCH! and silence.
He went up to the roof and was happy to see Santa's mangled corpse entangled in the giant mousetrap. Einstein carefully loaded his hunting rifle and put a bullet in the head of each of the deadly reindeer. He shot Donner, he shot Blitzen, and he shot the six whose names he couldn't remember. Finally, he shot the extra reindeer, a radioactive mutant named Rudolph who had been invented by Montgomery Ward in an effort to make Santa Claus more commercialized. He dumped all the corpses into his chimney so the fire would take care of them.
"YAY!" yelled Einstein, "I'VE SAVED CHRISTMAS! I'M A GOOD GUY!"
But then he thought of the children. There was nobody to give them presents! How would they grow up to be great scientists like Einstein if they didn't get microscopes and chemistry sets and BB rifles? It was clear: Einstein would have to replace Santa. But he would be a safer, saner, scientific Santa.
Einstein chartered a private jet and flew to the North Pole, where he took command of Santa's secret lair, because the elves were stupid enough that they'd take orders from anyone who was dressed funny, and given that Einstein was wearing one yellow sock, one green sock, and a purple sweater with the buttons matched up with the wrong buttonholes, he looked just like Santa to them.
His first order of business was to eliminate all production of no-brand toys. He shut down the sweatshops turning out wooden pull-trains and floppy marionettes and hand-carved ring-toss sets and sent the elves out to steal some real toys from the local Wal-Mart. The elves, being out of touch (given that they weren't allowed to watch television during their twenty-hour workdays) thought that Tickle Me Elmo and Tamagotchi and Cabbage Patch Kids and Rubik's Cube were still popular, but Einstein set them straight. "What kids want this year is a Nintendo GameCube, or a Microsoft XBox, or a Sony PlayStation 2, or if their mean parents won't let them have super-violent video games, all the kids want Rescue Heroes. Those are little plastic doll-men who look like the Village People except with bigger mustaches and giant boots. You know, Billy Blazes is the fireman, Gil Gripper is the scuba guy, Helmut Polisher is the soldier, and Package Handler is the postman."
So, the elves went out to get video-game consoles (thus aiding the economy because the kids would have to pay fifty bucks for each cartridge they wanted to play) and some homoerotic dolls for boys. Plus a couple Easy-Bake Ovens for the girls, because everyone needs to learn how to cook a single cupcake over a lightbulb for an hour in case there's some weird kind of power failure which breaks all the ovens in the world but not the light bulbs.
Also, Einstein decreed that bad kids would no longer get coal. He dynamited the entrance to the elves' coal mine, sealing thousands of elves inside because there was no time to evacuate in this pre-Christmas rush. From now on, all bad kids would receive bad toys, like a special version of the game "Candyland" where the path never got to the end, a version of "Mousetrap" which never worked (as opposed to rarely working) and Rubik's Cubes with an extra color of stickers mixed in.
Now all the presents were ready, but how to deliver them to a billion homes without destroying the Earth? The solution was obvious: A genuine "Star Trek"-style Transporter which would allow Einstein to remain at the North Pole while causing presents to materialize in homes around the world. Of course, the power consumption would be astronomical, but Santa's nuclear reactors could handle it, although the radiation leakage would probably mutate even more reindeer. Einstein made a mental note to buy some more reindeer poison and warmed up his Transporter.
He decided to test it by sending something a short distance. The closest city to the North Pole was Toronto, so he would send a gift there. He picked up a fire truck driven by hosemaster Billy Blazes and his team of flameboys, and tossed it into the shimmering area where it sparkled and disappeared.
"WAAH!" screamed little Timmy as a wheel materialized in his sinus.
"ACK!" gasped Mommy as a ladder punctured her lung.
"ZZZ," snored Daddy, who would wake up later to discover Billy Blazes in his rectum.
Clearly Einstein had forgotten to take into account the motion of the Earth around the Sun. During the two seconds it had taken the fire truck to materialize, the Earth had moved a few miles, spreading the fire truck's components in a wide swatch of destruction across Toronto. Einstein made another mental note to give the good people of Toronto extra gifts next year, especially those people whose homes were ignited when the batteries exploded, but there was no time to continue experimenting on Toronto. He had to send about a billion gifts all over the world before Ted Turner's stations stopped showing "A Christmas Story" eighty times in a row.
Using a bulldozer, one of the elves (the real-life model for Butch Bulldozer) plowed the pile of a billion toys into the shimmering zone. The sparkles nearly blinded Einstein as the toys dematerialized. Destination: the homes of all the good little boys and girls. Next, the elves loaded all the bad toys for bad children into the Transporter and they too dematerialized.
Of course, because no children are good ALL the time or bad ALL the time, every little tyke received both a good toy and a bad toy. First the good toy materialized, and then the bad toy materialized in exactly the same space. And, as the Theory of Relativity tells us, when two pieces of plastic occupy the same point in space-time, a colossal explosion results. All the Earth's continents were blasted into space. People and Christmas trees and Gil Gripper went flying into the endless vacuum of eternal night.
Fortunately, Einstein was safe on his ice floe at the North Pole, blissfully unaware that he was just as evil as Santa Claus. He had completed the annual toy delivery in record time, and now he had 364 days to play-test new toys before next Christmas. It was going to be the funnest year ever!
He unwrapped a leftover GameCube, knocked back a double egg nog, ordered two of his elves to whack the Easter Bunny, and made the rest of the elves wrestle for his pleasure. "HA! HA! HA!" laughed Einstein, "HA! HA! HA! MERRY CHRISTMAS!"
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December 26, 2001
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