A Game of Dad-and-Mice

{ The lovely and talented Green Study recently hosted a Christmas story contest on her blog complete with prizes.  It was a gutsy move, as she announced the contest right as most people in the blog-o-sphere were finally abandoning their computers for a few days of holiday cheer and dealing with visiting relatives.  I’m certain there weren’t as many entries as she had anticipated.  As proof of what must have been a sparce turn-out, I was able to score 3rd place (1st place would have required at least two less entries).  My prize booty included a generous donation to the Red Cross made in my name, and a snazzy postcard featuring the Metrodome in Minneapolis.  More importantly, I snagged a few new followers, which are worth even more than postcards in my book!  To those new followers and anyone else who may have already seen this post, I apologize for reposting it here.  For the rest of you, here’s a little Christmas story to make you glad it’s January. Also, Green Study was nice enough to come up with the title of the post for me, so you’ve already read the best part.}

Shake the box all you want.  I hope you don't mistake the sound of those little pie tins rattling around for Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots! (Image from theblaze.com)
Shake the box all you want. I hope you don’t mistake the sound of those little pie tins rattling around for Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots! (Image from theblaze.com)

There was a magical time when I believed in Santa.  It was too long ago for me to recall.  In retrospect, I was such a scaredy cat as a child, I was probably terrified of the jolly fat man.

I come from a family of four boys – each of us only separated by a year or so from the next oldest or youngest.  Since we were so close in age, if one of us found out anything juicy, we’d all know within minutes.

Once we discovered that Santa was actually Mom and Dad, everything changed.  From my parents first unexplained shopping trip after Thanksgiving until sometime Christmas Eve, there was an elaborate game of cat and mouse between us boys and Dad.  I’m sure my long-suffering mother played a role, but we knew that Dad was the strategic mastermind.

The game was simple.  Dad hid our presents until he and Mom had a chance to wrap them.  Then he had to re-hide them until Christmas morning at 2 A.M. when we’d finally be asleep, and he could put them under the tree.

The re-hiding of the wrapped presents was critical, as my brother Chris had nearly psychic abilities of interpreting the contents of a given box merely by shaking, listening and smelling the wrapping paper.  My approach usually involved a slight corner-tear and then clumsily covering my tracks with scotch tape repairs.

Dad had relatively few options for hiding anything, as my brothers and I had the run of the house, and there wasn’t a single locking door.

My parents’ closet was the first place to look.  Between Dad’s sports jackets, garish wide ties and Mom’s “stuff”, there wasn’t much room.  As the only female among us, Mom’s clothing items defied more description than that.

The attic was prime hiding real estate as was the spider-filled closet under the basement stairs.  Due to my lack of bravado, both were good choices.  Still, the lure of toys-to-come could overcome my fear of tarantulas and man-eating, dusty boxes from Nanny’s house.

One year we stumbled onto the motherload.  There were piles of bags from toy and department stores.  We couldn’t believe it!  The old man had really slipped up this time.  There wasn’t even a hint of wrapping paper.  My brothers and I strategized on how best to unload the bags without leaving clues.  We carefully lifted out the first item – an EZ Bake Oven!?  Beneath that was a doll.  We glanced at each other as we slowly realized that these gifts weren’t ours.  We put the girlie gifts back and left, confused and defeated.

We later found out that a coworker of my Dad’s had a bunch of daughters who were probably looking at our baseball gloves and GI Joes a few towns away with similar confusion.  The two evil geniuses had conspired to hide the booty at each other’s homes.

We’d made a classic blunder and under-estimated our opponent.

Dad seemed especially jolly that Christmas morning.

Blitzen’s White Christmas – Blogfestivus Series

Zis iz zee original photo, before it vas edited by zertain parties.
Zis iz zee original photo, before it vas edited by zertain parties.

Zee Christmas holiday hess no longer zee pureness it vonce had, yes?

Ven I vas young buck, vee flew through zee night to bring presents to zee kinder.  Vee flew right past zee homes of zee unpure und vee left entire continents in zee dark – zoe to speak, yes?

Und now?  Now vee must fly much furzer und bring zee presents to zoe many more kinder, even zee schwartzas, yes?  Vee must fly zoe far und land on roofs vissout zee chimneys, und vee must carry toys which mine elves make for zee unpure kinder.

During zee great var, I tried to get Zanta to zee the light.  If vee could heff helped zee cause a little bit, zee vorld might be verrry different today, yes?  But that Zaint Nick, he vould not budge.  He vished to remain neutral.  He vas like Svitzerland mit a big vite beard.  Zo jolly, but zo spineless, yes?

Und now?  Now zee ozzer reindeer, zay do not vish for ozzers to zpeak to me.  Zay vill not zay it out loud, but zay too vish for zee purer Christmas.  Zee reindeer und even zee elves know zat zee holidays….

Vait!  I am not done vit mine interview!  Take zat tape recorder back outta zee case!  I heff more to zay about…

Ahh!…I zee clearly now.  You are viss the media, und vee know who controls you…Vee are finished talking, yes?

Ach!

Below is a list of all the other Blogfestivus participants – though after the gem I posted above, they may be busy distancing themselves from anything to do with Blitzen or reindeer  (Personally, I think this sociopathic Nazi version of Blitzen presented a golden opportunity for humor).

Blogdramedy (Ring Leader, reindeer enthusiast, generally cool chick)

Steve BetzRewind ReviseLenore DianeShouts from the Abyss

Fit it or DealLynn Schneider BooksSo I Went Undercover

Joe Owen’s BlogMC’s WhispersLittleWonder2  –

Blog It or Lose It!Voice in MeApprentice, never master

A Year of Daily PostsDiary of a Sensitive SoulDot Knows!k8edid

Dancer: The E!-True Hollywood Story – Blogfestivus Series

Same picture as yesterday...or IS it?
Same picture as yesterday…or IS it?

Rudolph’s the famous one, but only since he showed up.  Before that foggy night, he was nobody.  I was one of the original stars, me and Vixen.  We’d go clubbing, carrying on till the wee hours.  Show-girls go nuts for a pair of antlers.

One time, we’re at a ritzy club in Paris in the roaring 20’s, in the offseason.  Vix and me are feeling no pain.  Sometime after midnight, he switched from gin rickeys to shots of absinthe, I’m drinking champagne like it’s 7-Up.  We’re hanging out with these two wild chicks from the Folies Bergere.

Just two eternally-young reindeer bucks, a couple of frisky can-can dancers and under 3 hours till dawn.

I don’t know when, but a leprechaun from one of “The Lesser Holidays” starts mouthing off to Vixen.  Vix is starting to get a little trippy from the absinthe, and I’m not sure he even knew the wee man was real.  I’m flying, but I know an insult when I hear one.  Stumpy turned to me and called me a name which I won’t repeat here.  I turned to walk away, then gave him a “Nordic tattoo” – two rear hooves to his chin.

All hell broke loose and next thing I remember we’re badly hungover and getting bailed out of the pokey by Santa’s lawyer.  Sure, we caught some flak, but the memories of a good party were more than worth Santa’s reprimands – like he’s got room to talk anyway.

Below is a list of links to all the other Blogfestivus writers.  You’re welcome to visit their blogs and even read their posts – but any comments should be limited to telling them how witty my post is.

Blogdramedy (Ring Leader, reindeer enthusiast, generally cool chick)

Steve BetzRewind ReviseLenore DianeShouts from the Abyss

Fit it or DealLynn Schneider BooksSo I Went Undercover

Joe Owen’s BlogMC’s WhispersLittleWonder2  –

Blog It or Lose It!Voice in MeApprentice, never master

A Year of Daily PostsDiary of a Sensitive SoulDot Knows!k8edid

Dasher; Unbridled – Blogfestivus Series

This isn't my illustration.  It's the corporate logo for Blogfestivus - used under authority of Blogdramedy.  Any unauthorized use of the Blogfestivus corporate art will piss her off - big time.
This isn’t my illustration. It’s the corporate logo for Blogfestivus – used under authority of Blogdramedy. Any unauthorized use of the Blogfestivus corporate art will piss her off – big time.

You know what’s never in yer poems or holiday stories?  They never mention arctic fleas.  An’ you never hear about the time I had a case of ice-mange so bad that I had a patch of fur missing that left my reindeer ass lookin’ like two monks kissing.  The jolly slob hadda put down the sauce and pull a team of elves off the assembly line to weave me a butt-toupe’.  Believe me, those little twerps were none too happy with that assignment – Hey! “ass-ignment” – that’s like a pun, right?

They used some extra Barbi hair they had laying around – the color was totally off.  The gang was havin’ a good chuckle.  That sorry rug made my tush looked like I sat in freakin’ plum pudding.

Way to take one for the team, Dasher.”  That’s what they said – laughin’ behind my cold, sore backside.  We been on plenty a training runs with 6 flyers plus red-shnoz.  They coulda given me the night off, it wouldna killed ’em.

Gotta be Rudy plus 8, Dasher, you know…union regs” they said, smilin’ like jack-asses.

So yeah, flyin’ around the world in the dead of winter with your rashy rear-end barely covered by a badly woven hairpiece – that aint exactly Currier and Ives, is it?  You people believe what you wanna – sometimes the truth aint pretty.  Like when you look out in yer driveways and there’s no Lexus with a bow on it again this year.

Below are the links for my Blogfestivus co-conspirators.  Feel free to check them out, but click “Like” on mine first and make comments before you go flitting around to other blogs.

Blogdramedy (Ring Leader, reindeer enthusiast, generally cool chick)

Steve BetzRewind ReviseLenore DianeShouts from the Abyss

Fit it or DealLynn Schneider BooksSo I Went Undercover

Joe Owen’s BlogMC’s WhispersLittleWonder2  –

Blog It or Lose It!Voice in MeApprentice, never master

A Year of Daily PostsDiary of a Sensitive SoulDot Knows!k8edid

Life On the Trail – True Tales from the Easter Bunny

Hippity Hoppity my fluffy white ass.  The trail is a bitch.

I’m down at the Pinewood, sipping on a short, dirty glass of cheap Canadian.  My beer back-up is looking a little flat.  This place is a long way from the Ritz, but you’d still think they’d wash the glasses a little more often.

The Round Man is sitting next to me.  Got himself swiveled on the stool while he’s chatting up some bimbo.  He’s jolly alright, but for all the hype about his taste in behaviors, he definitely leans more toward the naughty girls than the nice ones.  Next to him are three of the wee ones – two of Round Man’s best workers plus Irish.  That little dude is a mean SOB when he’s gettin’ his drink on.  I’m glad he’s four seats away from me.  You never know when some drunk college kid will come in and call him Chuckie or Lucky Charms or something and next thing you know, the cops are comin’ in and somebody’s gonna need stitches.  Still, I gotta admit, the three of ’em look cute sitting up there on barstools with their little feet so far off the floor.

The trail can wear a bunny down, make him cold, drive him into questionable locales. (Illustration by the author - That's right, I'm a freakin' Renaissance Man!)

We don’t always hang out like this, but sometimes I like to chill out with a few of my buddies who understand life on the trail.  There used to be better attendance at these get-togethers, but some of the usual crew’s drifted apart.  The T-Fairy prefers a different kind of bar, and that’s fine by me – to each his own right?  Jackie Frost, may he rest in peace, is gone but not forgotten.  Freakin’ global warming pretty much did him in.

Let’s not get it twisted, I aint no retiree in a Bunny suit down at the mall gettin’ my pic snapped with your brat for five bucks a throw.  I’m talking the real deal here – these ears aint clip-ons.

Like I said at the start, life on the trail’s a bitch.  I smell like freakin’ Hershey, Pee-Ay 6 months out of the year from all the crap I’m delivering.  Don’t think it isn’t a little weird to be spending a large part of my life carrying around giant, hollow chocolate replicas of myself.  Then droppin’ em off only to have the parents of these kids eat the ears off a day or two later.  It’s a heavy load knowing I’m guiding the youth of the world down the path toward obesity and diabetes.

I had to get therapy for that crap.  I finally gave up on talking to the shrink.  He blamed my issues on my father.  That was the last straw for me.  My father!?  How much of a presence in your life can your father be when you have 237 brothers and sisters?  Besides, the mental health waiver on my insurance sucked.  I’d rather spend that co-pay money on shots and beers and get my counseling from the Round Man and maybe one of his naughty girls if she has a friend.  You know what I mean?

Don’t get me wrong, the trail isn’t all sore paws and nightmares about waking up with my ears bit off.  I’ve had some good times too.  Some wild crap goes on out there.  This one time, outside of Dubuque, Iowa, this chick walks in on me when I’m hiding eggs and filling baskets.  She’s half in the bag and reeks of Malibu rum.  Anyway, she must be on her way to the head when she sees me standin’ there with a handful of Marshmallow Peeps, and she just goes nuts.  You know the whole “I can’t believe you’re really really real!”  song and dance.  She goes on to tell me how she always hoped I was real, but findin’ out -well that’s somethin’ special.  Then a little light goes on in her drunken head and she realizes that she aint wearing much more than her hubby’s Drake University T-shirt and a pair of fuzzy socks.  Well…one thing leads to another and let’s just say I didn’t do nothin’ to hurt the stereotypes about the bunny nation, if you follow my drift.

Stories like that, they happen, but it aint the usual.  The usual is more like people with hi-tech security systems and Rottweilers.  Bratty kids whose parents have convinced them that Easter aint nothin’ but Christmas in the Spring.  Chocolate and malted milk candy eggs can weigh a rabbit down, but they don’t compare to Nintendo Wii’s and bikes.  I got a couple dentists I play golf with in the off season and they aint too happy with that trend – believe you me.  My chiropractor – he’s happy as crap.

So in a few days we’ll close up shop and I can try to relax and enjoy the off-season.  Me and the Round Man are gonna hit the links and maybe do some fishing.  The trail aint no easy time, but fishin’ for wahoo and throwing back a few frosties can help me forget my tender paws and aching back for a while.

Uh oh.  Looks like a couple of frat boys are startin to bust on Irish a little.  It might be time to hit the bathroom until the smoke clears.  I’ll see you kids next year, okay?