And so in the spirit of the festive season, here's my offering to you all this Christmas. Merry Christmas, and may you all know the true spirit of peace, from him who is the Prince of Peace,
The B Team
Twas the night before Christmas and at the North Pole
There was moaning and groaning and stoking of coal.
“Get off me,” said Dancer, “and stay on your side!”
“Can’t avoid you!” sniffed Prancer. “You’re five miles wide!”
“Stop squabbling,” said Dasher. “It’s nobody’s fault.
Here – try this with lemon – or maybe some malt.”
“That’s disgusting,” said Vixen. “I can’t drink that stuff!”
“Then STAY ill,” snapped Comet, “Let’s see who’s so tough!”
“This swine flu’s a nightmare,” groaned Cupid. “I’m hot!”
“And everything’s running – I’m pouring with snot!”
“Well, who cares!” bit Donner. “That’s not my concern!
My problem’s that sleigh and who’ll take my turn!”
“We’re all in the same boat,” said Blitzen with gloom.
“Be quiet!” hissed Rudolph. “He’s in the next room!”
“I don’t care!” snorted Vixen, tossing his head.
“I won’t pull that sleigh! I’d rather be dead!”
“That’s always an option, that snow’s deep, I’m bettin’.”
“That blizzard I’m seein’ shows no signs of lettin’!”
Said Rudolph, “Each year it’s the same sad depression,
The same ugly outfits of leather and hessian.”
“The fact that he’s paying us time and a half
Means naught when it’s all I can do not to barf!”
Dancer threw himself down on the floor in a snit,
Kicked in Prancer’s direction who returned a sound hit.
“Hate th’ hol’days,” said Cupid, from a mountain of tissues
“All those presents to haul and those brats and their issues!”
“I say that we strike, give ourselves one night off,”
“I cant work with this fever, this sneeze and this cough!”
And so it went on – all the grumbling and bitching
Interspersed with their moaning and groaning and itching.
And none of them noticed the crack in the door,
And the man who was there now who wasn’t before.
As they cursed at the flu and their jobs and the weather
Santa drew his great bushy brows down hard together.
“*Enough!*” he cried out, “you ungrateful deer!
You haven’t the tiniest scrap of Yule cheer!”
“I’m taking the B Team,”said Santa with ire.
“By all means stay home and complain by the fire!”
“The B Team??? You’re joking!” (said through laughter and wheezing)
“Oh come on now, Santa, you’ve got to be teasing!”
“Do I look like I’m joking?” – and their laughter grew quiet.
“Frankly, some of you pudgies could go on a diet!
You’re not the crack squad that you once used to be;
Not so much of an A now - you’re more like…a D!”
“SO GET ME MY B TEAM! And be quick about it!
My word here is law, despite how you flout it!”
For a second a shocked sort of silence ensued;
“GET MOVING!” yelled Santa, his anger renewed.
Ten minutes passed quickly, then ten more, then five….
Till finally the B Team began to arrive.
“Hello Santa,” said Slasher, “How’s the wife and the kids?
Nice to see you…I wouldn’t have missed this for quids!”
“Er, yes, hallo Slasher…now where is your mate?
Why is it the B Team is always so late?”
“They’re coming, they’re coming – we had no idea
That we’d be on duty for delivery this year.”
“I’m pretty sure Vomit is stuck in the john,
But Gonner and Stupid will be right along!
I last saw ol’ Screwdolph wedged under a bar
While Splitzen cajoled him to let go the jar!”
“The rest…I’m not sure, though it might be worthwhile
To check the casinos along Vegas Mile.
You know what they’re like, Nick, - they’re fine in the pink -
Best reindeer alive…till you give ‘em a drink!”
“They’re here!” said Saint Nicholas, relief plain in his voice,
It was clear that he questioned how wise was his choice.
“Line up in two’s please, we have work to do;
The A Team’s got swine flu – I’m counting on you!”
“Who? Us?” “He say me??” The deer whispered in doubt.
“Yes, YOU!” bellowed Santa, who’d started to shout.
“You’re reindeer, it’s Christmas, now LINE UP EACH PAIR!
“Not a word! Not a whisper till we’re up in the air!”
“Ok Nick, we’re going, there’s no need to yell,
We didn’t expect this and hangover’s hell.”
Mumbled Splitzen, “I’d have dropped a few pounds if I’d known,
These days, after take-off, I’m pretty much blown!”
“Are you sure we can do this? I’m not all that certain…
Just thinking of exercise makes me start hurtin’…”
“Of course you can do it – you were born for this task...
But if you need some directions make sure that you ask!”
“Now Slasher! Now Chancer! Come on Necromancer!
Stop Vomit! Wait Stupid! Move, Gonna and Pantser!
And Splitzen, stop squirming – I know it’s too tight –
Lead us out, Reindeer Screwdolph…NOT LEFT! NOT LEFT! RIGHT!!
The hours ticked past and back at the house,
It wasn’t worth talking – not even to grouse.
Each reindeer was basking in knowing for sure
That – compared to the B Team! – they were cool to the core.
That bunch of no-hopers hadn’t one single chance
Of having the stamina to make it past France!
As for circling the globe – there was no chance of that!
The B Team was ugly and most of them fat!
They laughed to themselves as they pictured the scene,
And the more that they laughed, the more they grew mean.
They imagined the mess on each person’s front lawn -
Broken gifts, reindeer droppings - that would greet them at dawn.
And then as the sun had just started to rise
A horrible sight met the A Team’s cruel eyes.
As the night sky turned blue and the morning clouds red,
A golden glow shone in their sights, dead ahead.
Nine reindeer shot out of the last of the night,
And pulled up on the snow as the scene turned to light.
Nine reindeer as never had been seen before!
Glowing coats, deep, strong chests, and antlers galore!
“Who are you? What happened?” they asked all aghast,
And finally they saw he who rode them at last.
Saint Nicholas, our Santa, leapt out of his sleigh,
His heart bursting with joy on the fresh Christmas Day.
“Don’t you know them?” he asked his struck dumb caribou.
“Don’t they rather resemble…well, look like…well, you?
Oh – not as you now! – so judgmental and cruel,
When even God’s Son looks to you like a fool."
“But you as you once were – or were meant to be.
Before you chopped down your first Christmas tree.
When you understood giving was the one single reason
To be filled with real joy at each sacred Yule season."
"Well, this B Team, made up of the dumb and the slow,
Grasped the lesson that only the wise ever know.
As we traveled the world, met its children, its poor,
The B Team worked out what each Christmas is for."
"They gave of themselves, poured their hearts out for all,
The young and the old and the big and the small.
And with each gift they gave, I gave them one too;
From the inside I remade each one of them new."
"Each one of the B Team a new start received,
For each of them looked at the world and believed
That Christmas is not for a small, select few,
It’s for all men! And so Merry Christmas to you!"
Yours with joy this Yuletide season,