[I] For the holiday

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Paul .Jamison

Dec 25, 2020, 1:39:24 AM12/25/20
By Clement C. Moore or Henry Livingston - take your pick

--- 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
--- Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

(A mouse appears, wearing a chef's cap and holding a dripping ladle.) Mouse: "That's what he thinks! I have to be stirring! I've got *borscht* simmering on the stove!"

--- Yuck - The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
--- In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

(Several stockings are hung from the mantelpiece – one for Paul, one for Murphy, one for Max, one for Sammy, one for Clarissa, one for Levi and a whole *lot* for the Skippys.)

--- The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
--- While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

(Three ferrets, Sammy, Clarissa and Max, wearing little scalloped baby bonnets, are snuggled together in bed.)

Sammy: "What *is* a sugar plum, anyway? Is it a plum covered in sugar or a piece of candy shaped like a plum?"
Clarissa: I have no idea, my dear. How about you, Max?
Max: "Gee, you got me. Sir – what's a sugar plum?"

--- Well, it’s – er – uh – And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
--- Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

(Paul, with a cap, and Murphy, a ferret wearing a kerchief over a blonde wig, are in bed together. Murphy sits up.)

Murphy: "Look, I didn't object to taking this gig, but has anyone told you that you *snore*?"

--- Thanks a lot – When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
--- I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
--- Away to the window I flew like a Barry Allen – I mean, like a flash,
--- Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash
(Paul sees Skippy, Skippy, Skippy and Skippy standing around the smoking Civil War Cannon.)

Paul: "Hey! Late Christmas Eve is *not* the time for firing practice!"
Skippy: "Sorry, boss. We've been busy shopping lately!"

--- The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
--- Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
--- When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
--- But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

(A sleigh, pulled by eight ferrets wearing fake antlers, comes flying through the air.)

--- With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
--- I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

(Skippy-Santa goes "Ho! Ho! Ho!" over and over and over. Skippy-Santa has been hitting the special Christmas punch quite a bit lately.)

--- More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
--- And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
--- "Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
--- On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Dunder and Blixem! - the last two are the original names; look it up.
--- To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
--- Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

(Skippy-Dasher, Skippy-Dancer, Skippy-Prancer, Skippy-Vixen, Skippy-Comet, Skippy-Cupid, Skippy-Dunder and Skippy-Blixem struggle to pull the sleigh through the air. Skippy-Santa has been hitting the Christmas fruitcake quite a bit lately, too.)

--- As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
--- When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
--- So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
--- With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
--- And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
--- The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

(The ferret reindeer frantically scramble to stay on the roof. A gable roof is really not suitable as a landing pad.)

--- As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
--- Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

(Standing in from of the fireplace is Skippy-Santa, and he's not alone. With him is Skippy, dressed in green with a peaked cap and shoes with turned-up toes.)

Paul: "Hey, who are you?"
Skippy: "I'm Skippy-Santa's helper. You don't seriously expect one little ferret to carry a big sack full of toys, do you?"
Paul: "Well, I don't expect ferrets to fly, either."
Skippy-Santa: "Look, can we get on with this and leave the philosophical discussions for later? We're working to a schedule here. Ho, ho, ho!"

--- He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
--- And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

Skippy-Santa (brushing off his suit): "You know, you really need to clean that chimney. It's bad enough to be a pollution hazard."

--- A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
--- And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
--- His eyes – how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
--- His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
--- His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
--- And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

Skippy-Santa: "White as the snow? After I came down *that* chimney? I should be so lucky!"

--- The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
--- And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath – Hey, who was talking about pollution just now?

Skippy-Santa: "Don't get personal, bud - not unless you're looking forward to getting a stocking-full of coal!"

--- Duly noted – He had a broad face and a little round belly,
--- That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

Skippy-Santa: "My cue – Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho!" (Skippy-Santa continues to laugh until a squishy plastic bag starts slipping out from beneath his red coat.)

Skippy-helper: "Psst! You're losing your gel-pack!"
Skippy-Santa: "What - *yipes*!" (Skippy-Santa stops laughing and stuffs the gel-pack back up under his coat.)

--- He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
--- And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
--- A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
--- Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

(Skippy-Santa snickers but says nothing.)

--- He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
--- And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

Skippy-helper: "Hey! I didn't come here to be insulted!"
Skippy-Santa: "He wasn't talking about you."
Skippy-helper: "Oh."
Skippy-Santa (under his breath): "Jerk."

--- And laying his finger aside of his nose,
--- And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

(Skippy-helper leans forward to look up the chimney, pulling back to dodge some dislodged soot.)

Paul: "That was a neat trick. How'd he do that?"
Skippy-helper (still leaning into the fireplace, turning to look at Paul): "I don't know. What I'm worried about is how do *I* get up there?"

(A white paw in a red sleeve reaches down from the flue to grab Skippy-helper's collar. Skippy-helper says "WHOA!" and is pulled up the chimney.)

--- I guess that answers that – He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
--- And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

(Skippy-Dasher, Skippy-Dancer, Skippy-Prancer, Skippy-Vixen, Skippy-Comet, Skippy-Cupid, Skippy-Dunder and Skippy-Blixem groan and gasp and wheeze as they attempt to get the sleigh into the air. Skippy, Skippy, Skippy and Skippy are in the back now with the Cannon, and the sleigh is a lot heavier than before.)

Skippy-Prancer: "I should've taken that job offer - *pant, pant* - with Animal Planet. Working in television sounds nice right now."
Skippy-Comet: "Hey, we're getting Time-and-a-half for this! Besides, the Medical plan is great!"
Skippy-Dunder: "We're gonna *need* a great Medical plan pretty soon! Does anyone know if it covers trusses?"

--- But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

Skippy-Santa: "Okay, back there! Ready. aim."
Skippy-Vixen: "Oh, *NO!!*"
Skippy-Blixem: "Take me now, Lord."
Skippy-Santa: "FIRE!"


(The recoil causes chaos. The sleigh tumbles around and loses half of its altitude. All of the ferret reindeer are clawing at the air, their eyes bugging and their tongues hanging out like they're demented, somehow finding enough reserves to keep her aloft. Skippy-Santa, Skippy-helper and the Cannon Crew have fallen out and are hanging on to the sides of the sleigh.)

(The charge soars to altitude and explodes, showering the group with tinsel, candy canes, glitter and red-and-green M&Ms in Plain, Peanut, Pemmican, Ferretone, Fay's Lemon Bars, Twinkie Weiner Sandwich, Alfalfa, Eggnog, Haggis, Yorkshire Pudding, Cheese and all the popular flavors.)

Skippy-Santa (climbing back into sleigh): "I guess that wasn't such a good idea."
Skippy-helper (frantically trying to get Skippy-Santa's attention): "Psst! Hey! (Points at audience) "We're not *done* here!"
Skippy-Santa: "Huh? Oh, right!


(The sleigh lurches off into the distance, to the merry sounds of "Ho! Ho! Ho!" and "Aww, button it, laughing boy!", while Paul, Murphy, Max, Sammy, Clarissa, Levi and the remaining Skippys gather together and sing a classic Christmas Carol)

"Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley'garoo!

"Don't we know archaic barrel,
Lullaby lilla boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacola hullabaloo!"

(Thank you, Walt Kelly)


Merry Christmas, everyone!
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