Christmas with Leather Goods

The Leather-Goods-For-The-Discerning-Customer Fairy, or, as she was now learning to call herself, Queen Virginia the First, was, as was her custom of a morning, perusing the Royal Gazette as she lay in bed, wearing her pince-nez and her morning crown.  She frequently found this perusal a painful experience, because her friend the Tabloid Fairy, who was editor of the journal in question, was not the brightest bulb in the shop, and her way with the language was often a cause of distress to the Queen’s delicate sensibilities.  However, on this occasion what was causing her to glare at the paper as if it had personally insulted her was not some vile solecism, or further evidence of just how dumb a blonde Tabby was.  No.  What was getting her all riled up was an editorial column in which Tabby said “And once again we look to our great, glorious and incredibly sexy ruler to follow royal tradition by leading us in making this the best Christmas ever.”

Now, the problem wasn’t that, as an immortal, the Queen had philosophical difficulties with the idea of ‘the best X ever’.  It wasn’t the description of her has incredibly sexy: that was simple truth and she knew it.  It was that, despite her having, prior to her recent marriage, had a long-standing liaison with the Archbishop, she didn’t know what Christmas was, and so had no idea how to make it the ‘best ever’.  However, being a resourceful woman, she didn’t let that stand in her way.  Tabby was calling for the ‘best Christmas ever’ so she must know what a Christmas was.  So, with a wave of her hand, the Queen summoned her to the royal presence.

Tabby materialised on the bed, naked and crouched over the Queen’s crotch, mouth formed in an ‘O’, for all the world as if she were sucking something.  She uttered a wild ‘Gah’ and looked around, desperately trying to locate herself.  Which she did, very quickly, on seeing Queen Virginia looking down at her over her pince nez.  She may have been a dumb blonde, but Tabby was very quick on the uptake in some very specific ways: she flung herself at the Queen and tried to lock her in a passionate embrace, but the Queen disconnected herself from the suction pump that was Tabby’s mouth and said,

“Look Tabby, I’m pleased to see you as well, but calm down.  You don’t want to upset Gerry, now do you?” she added, pointing at her wife, the former Princess Geraldine, who was lying curled up, fast asleep after her exertions of the night before.  Tabby didn’t see that at all, but she didn’t want to argue with the Queen, in case she got turned into something nasty, so she suggested,

“We could always do a threesome.  I like threesomes.”

“Yes, I’m sure you do,” said the Queen, “But, though you may find this hard to believe, I didn’t bring you here for sex.”

“Why not?  Don’t you like me any more?” said Tabby, pouting.

“Oh Tabby, of course I do,” said the Queen, sighing, “But right now I want you to explain this to me,” holding up the offending page of the Royal Gazette.

Tabby gazed at it in a self-satisfied way.  She was pleased that her Queen liked her work and said so:

“That was one of my better ones.”

“Fine,” said the Queen, “Blow the trumpets, ra-di-bloody-da.  But what does it mean?”

“Eh?” said Tabby, nonplussed.

“What,” said the Queen, “Is the ‘best Christmas ever’?  For that matter, what the hell’s Christmas when it’s at home?  And what’s it got to do with me?”  Tabby didn’t answer, and so the Queen continued, “I mean, just think about what you’ve done.  Here I am, only on the throne a few months and already you’re setting me up to look stupid, or, God help us, worse than my predecessor.  It’s not fair I tell you.  So come on, you’ve dropped me in this Christmas thing, you’ve got to help get me out of it, or else . . .” at which point, Tabby’s brain, which had gone away to play, leaped back into action and she confessed the fell truth,

“Well, er, actually, I don’t, that is, well, know.  I just copied it from last year.  It’s what the leader column says this day of every year,” and then closed her eyes, awaiting sudden transmogrification or worse.  When nothing bad had happened after a few seconds she opened one eye in a cautious way and saw that the Queen was looking at her, if not benevolently, that at least not with active malice.

“So,” said the Queen, “All we need to do is to find out what this Christmas thing did last year, and do it again.  Okay, I can live with that.  So what was it then?”

Again, Tabby was nonplussed and, once again, she was forced to admit her ignorance.  Not that this was not an everyday experience for her, but most of the time she had underlings to say things like “Don’t you worry, Ma’am, we’ll sort it out for you” or else her beloved husband Jeremy was there to tell her what to do.  Without recourse to underlings or husbands, and faced with the ever-present threat of the Queen turning her into something nasty, she was left unable to do anything other than stare, speechless, at the Queen, pouting all the while.  After a while, the Queen got bored and said,

“Let me guess.  You don’t know either?”  Tabby nodded, relieved at finally coming across a question she could answer.  “Well that just takes the biscuit.  You don’t know, which isn’t very surprising really, but then neither do I.  What is this Christmas thing?  Some sort of mortals-only conspiracy?  So how am I meant to do anything about it?  I’ve never been mortal.  Not even slightly.  I’d sooner be dead,” at which rhetorical contradiction-in-terms, Tabby interjected,

“Perhaps we should ask one.”  The Queen stared at her in shock.

“My God, Tabby, have you been taking lessons or something?  That was actually relevant.  Well done.  Come here and have a kiss for being such a good girl.”  The kiss turned into a quick cuddle, which became a more protracted cuddle, after which one thing led to another, climaxing in Tabby crying,

“Oh if only Jeremy could do that to me.  Not,” she added, anxiously, “That he’s not perfect in every way, but that was . . .”

“Yes, yes, I know,” interrupted the Queen, “I’m good at it.  Stop the presses.”

“Oh, do you think I should?” asked Tabby, ever anxious to bring the most interesting and exciting news to the masses.  The Queen sighed again and pinched the bridge of her nose, saying,

“No, my dear, it was a thing called sarcasm.  Remind me to explain it to you one day.  Anyway, back to this Christmas thing.  So all we need to do is find a mortal and ask them about it.”  Tabby knew just the person,

“My Jeremy knows everything,” she said fondly.  The Queen begged to differ,

“Relatively, my dear.  Only relatively.  Compared to you, yes, he’s a fount of wisdom.  But then you’re a dumb blonde and proud of it.  Some of us have higher standards.  No,” she continued as Tabby’s eyes widened in awe at the idea that there were people more knowledgeable than Jeremy, “I know just who we want,” and, turning her attention to her wife’s sleeping form, she kicked her and shouted, “Gerry, wake up: I need you.”

Geraldine stirred and uttered an incoherent noise, before turning to face her wife.  Knowing Virginia, she expected that the expressed need was for Geraldine to once more give her all, and so she was somewhat startled to see another naked woman in the bed, apart from herself and the Queen.  At first she felt terribly, terribly jealous, that her Virginia had allowed her legendary promiscuity to go so far as to start infiltrating random floozies into the marital bed.  Then, as her eyes got into focus, and she identified the random floozy as the Tabloid Fairy, her feeling of betrayal turned to exasperation: Tabby’s urge to get busy with the Queen was equalled only by her unreasonable passion for Jeremy, and was almost as irritating.  Groaning a little, Geraldine said,

“Tabby, can’t you at least leave off trying to seduce Virginia until I’m out of the room?  I mean, how would you like it if I came round to your place and tried it on with Jeremy?”  That was fighting talk: Tabby’s jealousy of Geraldine (what with her being Jeremy’s ex and all that) was legendary.  Tabby’s eyes narrowed as she hissed,

“Just you try it, you bitch, and . . .” and a nice cat-fight might have ensued had not the Queen caused a small thunder-bolt to go off a metre above their heads.  As Geraldine and Tabby cowered, she said,

“Now that’s enough, you two.  You can work out your differences later, though personally I don’t know what either of you see in the man.  Right now, we’ve got serious business to deal with.  Gerry, what’s a Christmas and how do you have a good one?”

Geraldine did a double-take at this apparent non sequitur, but she was a bright young woman, and always willing to please, especially if doing so made her Virginia fonder of her and therefore less likely to trade her in for a more up-to-date model.  So she turned her intellect to the problem and thought about Christmases past.

“Well,” she said, “For a start Christmas isn’t a thing, it’s a day.  The twenty-fifth of December, I think.”

“Good stuff, Gerry,” said the Queen encouragingly, then poking Tabby she added, “Are you getting this down?”  Tabby looked about vaguely for something to write on, and then helplessly at the Queen, who grumbled, “I don’t know, so-called journalist and she doesn’t even have a pad and pencil.  What are things coming to?  And I suppose it didn’t occur to you to magic one out of thin air?”  Tabby shook her head.  The Queen continued, “My God, they aren’t lying when they call you a dumb blonde, are they?  Here you are,” and, after a pad and paper appeared in Tabby’s hands, “Now get that down.  Christmas is a day late in December.  Probably the twenty-fifth, though I wouldn’t bank on it.  Right.  So, Gerry, what do you do on Christmas?”

“Well,” said Geraldine, racking her brains, I know people used to send me presents.  You,” she said, pointing accusingly at the Tabloid Fairy, “sent me a gift voucher for a free boob job, as if I needed one,” to which Tabby replied,

“Well you did then,” in a nasty insinuating tone of voice, to which Geraldine replied angrily,

“Are you trying to imply that these are falsies, because if you are . . .” The Queen sighed, again, and repeated the thing with the thunder-bolt, before saying, “Look, can you both try to stick to the point?  I don’t care if you have a cat-fight.  It might even be fun to watch.  But not now.  Now we’re trying to work out what the ‘best Christmas ever’ might be, a mess, I might remind you Tabby, that you got us into, so a bit less with the sarcy comments about Gerry’s boobs, if you don’t mind.  Now, you,” to Geraldine, “Were saying something about presents.  People gave them to you, right?  And then what?”

“Well,” said Geraldine, “I used to open each one up to see what it was, then I’d write a letter to whoever had sent it saying why I refused to accept it, and generally damning them to Hell for having thought it suitable to give it to me in the first place.  Then I’d put the letter in with the present, seal it up again and return it to sender.”  At which point Tabby felt moved to join in, saying,

“She told me that I was a false Jezebel, and a temptress and that I should repent now, plus she suggested I use the voucher to have my own boobs reduced, so as to remove a source of terrible temptation from the world.  You always wanted me, really, didn’t you Gerry?”  with which she wriggled in a disturbingly erotic way.  Geraldine snapped,

“Maybe I did once, but now I’ve got Virginia, so what would I want you for?”

“I don’t know,” said Tabby, “Perhaps you’d like some variety.”

“Why don’t you see if Jeremy wants some too,” replied Geraldine, “I’m sure I could fit him in, for old times’ sake.”  That did it.  Tabby yelled,

“Bitch!” and flung herself at Geraldine, who said nothing but made a spirited attempt to bite Tabby’s right arm off at the elbow.  This carried on for a few seconds and then, as one, the two contestants realised that they’d been told not to do this sort of thing by a woman who could turn them into cheese and eat them, should she put her mind to it.  So, breaking off in mid struggle, they looked at the Queen and said,

“Sorry Virginia,” and,

“Sorry, your majesty.”  But in fact, the Queen had failed to notice the spat.  She had been dumbstruck with astonishment at what Geraldine had said about Christmas and presents, and she continued to stare blankly into the distance for a few seconds after hostilities had ceased.  Then, shaking her head as if to bring herself back to reality, she said,

“So, these presents were sent back to the people who sent them.  Am I following you so far?”  Geraldine nodded, “And you didn’t do anything with them, like play with them, or pop down to the cosmetic surgeon with them to try them on for size or anything like that?”

“Oh no,” said Geraldine, “That would have been wrong.”

“Right then, so what we’re saying,” said the Queen, “Is that people sent you things and you sent them back again.  With a rude letter.  That sounds like a complete waste of everybody’s time.  Right, Tabby, make a note: this year there are to be no presents.  That’ll make everybody much happier than usual.”

Geraldine felt that she ought to disagree, because somehow she felt that basing a plan for the ‘best Christmas ever’ on her past behaviour was not necessarily a sound plan, but she had no real idea how normal people did Christmas, and for all she knew it could have been the case that the people who had sent her presents had expected to see them back again within a few days.  She considered asking Tabby, as she was clearly the author of at least one Christmas present (the boob job voucher), but a moment’s consideration made it clear that Tabby was sufficiently ditzy that she may well not have known it was Christmas at all, and have simply sent the present because she had felt like it at the time (which, as it happens, was true).  So she remained silent, until the Queen, satisfied that the presents issue was now properly dealt with asked,

“Okay then Gerry, what else happened apart from the stuff with the presents?”  Geraldine racked her brains and thought back to family Christmases with her parents.

“Well,” she said doubtfully, “Mother always used to blow something up,” but as the Queen pointed out,

“Yes, but she does that every day, so I don’t think it counts.  Make a note, Tabby, explosions optional.  Right, what next?”  Geraldine continued,

“And then Father, always spent most of the day having sex with Deidre . . .”

“But,” interrupted the Queen, but Geraldine could see where this was going, so she interrupted herself,

“And yes, I know he did that every day, but I think she charged him more than usual.”

“Okay,” said the Queen, “So obviously prices go up for Christmas.  Write that down Tabby, by Royal decree I ordain that all prices for everything are tripled until Christmas is over.  That should make the buggers happy, if nothing else does.  Right.  Anything else?”

“That’s about it, really,” said Geraldine, “Except that I know I always used to think there was something religious about the whole thing,”

“Yes,” said Tabby rudely, “But you used to think that everything you did was religious.  Remember, you used to call yourself the hammer of God.”

Geraldine emulated Tabby by pouting. “You don’t need to remind me.  But I think I used to take extra trouble over being religious at Christmas, so I think there may have been something special going on, like some kind of festival or something.”  This seemed to gel with something in the Queen’s mind, for as she said,

“You know, you may be right.  I do recall that the Archbishop always gets especially morose round about this time of year.  I used to think it was seasonal affective disorder, but it could be a Church festival or something like that.  He always hated high days and holy days and other religious stuff.  I know,” she said, sitting up, “I’ll ask him.”  She reached for the telephone that resided on her bedside table and spoke into it, “Get me the Archbishop.  Hello, are you there?  Hi, it’s me.  I want you.  No, I didn’t mean that, don’t get excited.  Tabby and Gerry and I are trying to work out what Christmas is, and I thought you might be able to help.  Are you busy?  No.  Right then,” and with that the Archbishop joined them on the bed (fully clothed too, which was unusual for this gathering).

“Now then, as I was saying,” said the Queen, once things had settled down, “Thanks to little miss Editor here, I have to make this the ‘best Christmas ever’, and Gerry says she thinks there’s something religious about Christmas, so I’m hoping you’ll be able to tell me what it is and what I need to do, Godwise, to make this a good Christmas.”  The Archbishop brooded a bit, trying to keep his mind on religion and off contemplation of the fact that here he was in a room with the first, third and fourth sexiest bodies in the Queendom, plus their owners, and eventually said,

“Well, it’s a religious festival, I’ll grant you.  But I was never sure what it was about.  Something to do with somebody being born.  Or dying.  Or something like that.  Sorry.”  But before the Queen could take him to task for such a useless contribution, the door slammed open and the company was joined by the possessor of the second sexiest body, his wife, Deidre, who confronted the Queen saying,

“What do you think you’re doing with my husband?  Hands off.  He’s mine now.”  The Queen was a little startled, but she gained control of herself almost immediately, saying,

“Why hello, Deidre.  How nice to see you.  I was just asking the Archbishop what Christmas was.”

“A likely story,” sneered Deidre, “Next you’ll be saying you were asking about its religious significance.”

“Oh but I was,” said the Queen, “And a bloody useless answer I got too.  Really, I might have expected better from the so-called head of my Church.  Somebody was born, or somebody died, or something like that.  Really.  And for that the man gets to wear a funny hat and get called ‘My lord’ by religious nutters.”

Hearing this, Deidre found herself, much against her will, and much to her surprise, forced to accept the Queen’s story as it was.  So she felt herself moved to put out feelers of enquiry, asking,

“So why do you want to know?”

“Well,” said the Queen, “Like I said just before you came in, oh and could you shut the door please, it’s a bit draughty, thanks, I have to deliver the ‘best Christmas ever’ and Gerry says it’s a religious thing, so I thought I’d better find out what that meant, so I can do it properly.”  Deidre harrumphed.

“You should have come to me in the first place, then,” she said.  “I could have told you no trouble.  Basically, Christmas is the birthday of some guy who lived a while back.  He wandered around and picked up a gang of followers and then after a bit they got cocky and made for the capital.  Just like Gerry and her lunatics, if you think about it.”

“And then what happened?”  Asked the Queen, led astray by the reference to Geraldine.  “Did he see through his preconceptions and realise that this life was all he had and that he should make the best of it and end up marrying the King?”

“Er no,” said Deidre, sorry to shatter this pleasing misconception, “Actually he insisted that there was a higher cause, and got himself killed for saying it.  Er, that’s it.”

It took a while for this to sink in, but when it had the Queen stared, dumbstruck, at the Archbishop and said,

“And you believe this stuff?  Are you seriously saying that I let a man who worships a loser sleep with me?”  The Archbishop wasn’t sure where to begin, but Deidre defended him, saying,

“Now you and I both know that the only reason he became a priest was because it was indoors work with no heavy lifting.  The poor dear never believed anything.  If you want to castigate somebody for believing in this stuff, have a go at me.  I only lost my faith when I started at Tarts-R-Us.”  The Archbishop was interested: he had never had any faith himself, but he felt that he should have a proprietary concern for faith in others, so he asked,

“So what made you lose it?”  Deidre just fluttered her eyelashes and said coyly,

“You of all people should know,” and while he was still trying to work out what episode in their tangled past she was referring to, the Queen spoke.  She had been doing some hard thinking during this trip down memory lane, and had come to the conclusion that:

“You know, on second thoughts, I like it: delusional loser on a stick.  Think about it.”   Deidre thought and nodded; it had possibilities. “So,” continued the Queen, “We find somebody delusional, tie them to a stick then kill them, right?”  Tabby and Geraldine couldn’t see anything wrong with this as a way of celebrating Christmas.  The concept was entirely new to Tabby and while Geraldine in her former life had been ostensibly very religious, her religion had always been of a somewhat self-centred variety.  The Archbishop, who one might have expected to be relied on for the orthodox view on any proposed religious event said,

“Well, I always used to just read a sermon, but this sounds much more exciting,” and so it was left to Deidre to raise the obvious objection,

“Yes, but you can’t go killing people just because they’re delusional. If you could do that then we’d have killed Gerry years ago.”

“Ah yes,” said the Queen, “But I nearly did.  Several times.  Do you remember, my darling?”

“Please,” said Geraldine, who had spent months in therapy trying to forget, “Don’t remind me.  I still flinch when somebody points at me.”

“But anyway,” said the Queen, “I see you’re point.  After all, I’m meant to be the nice one.  So how about we just string somebody up and pretend to kill them?”  Deidre nodded.  “Okay, so where do we find somebody with religious delusions?  I know,” she said after a brief pause, “We could use your Jeremy.”

Tabby, who had fallen into a private reverie, in which she and Jeremy were accompanied by a large vat of tartare sauce, was abruptly dragged to full awareness.  She squealed,

“What!  You can’t mean that.  I won’t let you.  Use me instead.”  The Queen patted her down a bit and said,

“My dear, we need somebody delusional, and your only delusion is your absurd thing for this Jeremy.  I’m sure that Gerry’s therapist would say that it is vital for you to look the delusion squarely in the face, and how better to do that than by the symbolic execution of the object of that delusion, hence separating it from you for ever?”  Tabby looked on aghast, hands to her mouth, while Deidre said,

“Hey wait a minute.  This is my son we’re talking about,” but Tabby’s hope of support from that quarter was squashed when the Queen said,

“Yes.  So?” and Deidre replied,

“Nothing.  I just thought you ought to know.  Nice bullshit, by the way.”

“Thanks,” said the Queen, continuing: “So really, Tabby, though you may be unhappy now, I’m sure that in the long-term you’ll agree that I’m only doing the right thing by you.  Think of this as a new beginning.”

“But I don’t want a new beginning,” wept Tabby, “I want my Jeremy.  And I don’t want him killed for Christmas, I want him with me and making love to me and . . .”

“All right,” interrupted the Queen, “We won’t use him,” on hearing which Tabby cried,

“Oh thank you, thank you, thank you.  You have heard my prayers.  Whatever can I do to thank you.  Here,” she kneeled upright on the bed and spread her arms wide, “Take me, I’m yours.”  The Queen looked on in good humour and said,

“Oh don’t be silly, Tabby.  I was going to say we won’t use him because I’ve thought of somebody better.  What we’ll do is we’ll get hold of old Eau-de-Nil from wherever she’s being kept, tie her to a tree outside the Cathedral and offer a free go at Tarts-R-Us for anybody who succeeds in actually killing her.”

“But,” said the Archbishop, who had no objections to this plan per se, but who had some minor quibbles about its execution, “She’s a Fairy, doesn’t that mean she’s impossible to kill?”

“Yes, but they won’t know that, will they?” said Deidre, who as CEO of Tarts-R-Us wholly approved of competitions which were impossible to win.

“Plus,” said the Queen, “People can have a whole heap of fun trying.  It could be a real attraction.”  Deidre’s eyes lit up as she thought about the commercial possibilities,

“We could sell weapons, and I’m sure some of my girls could do special massage to get people ready for slaying.  And, of course, we could have a Tarts-R-Us screw-while-u-wait tent.  Oh, I like this.  Let’s go do it.”

“Right then,” said the Queen.  “That’s sorted, so where were we?  Tabby?”  Tabby, wrested from another of her reveries, jumped and then read out,

“No presents, triple prices, tie Eau-de-Nil to a tree and get people to try to kill her.”

“What’s this about no presents?” demanded Deidre, “Who said there’d be no presents?”

“That was Gerry,” said the Queen.

“And what would she know about doing Christmas properly?” retorted Deidre, “She was mad, no offence dear, I know you’re better now, but you must admit you were a bit strange back then, and her parents were / are perverts the pair of them.  I know what a proper Christmas is like, and it means lots and lots of presents, so there.”

“What,” said the Queen, “Everybody has to give presents?  Even me?”

“Especially you,” said Deidre.  “You are the Queen after all.  How else do you show your love and affection for all your subjects?”  The Queen was thoughtful,

“You know, I don’t think I do feel love and affection for all my subjects.  Two or three of them, perhaps, but not all of them. Won’t bemused toleration do?”

“No,” said Deidre, dogmatically, “It’s got to be love and affection.  Christmas is the time for giving, and good cheer, when we’re all meant to be happy, and what better way for you to make sure your subjects are happy than to give each of them something that’ll make their miserable little lives just that bit special?”

The Queen thought about this.  Though, on the surface, what Deidre was saying sounded reasonable, the way she was saying it couldn’t help but raise the suspicion that she had some specific kind of gift in mind, a gift that the Queen on principle objected to giving for any reason other than that she felt like it at the time.  She was just about to start delicate probing to see whether Deidre meant what she thought she meant, when Tabby, never one for subtlety, barged in and said,

“So you’re saying that you think Virginia should fuck them all?”

“Why, what a good idea,” said Deidre, with exaggerated surprise, “I’d never have thought of that myself, but it does seem sort of appropriate, doesn’t it?  That’s absolutely brilliant my dear.”  Tabby blushed at this high praise, and was about to say that it was nothing, and she only lived to serve, when the Queen said in a tone of rigidly controlled calm,

“Well, I think it’s an absolutely,” suddenly switching to full volume, “ridiculous idea.  You all know what happened last time we tried anything like this: we ended up with a civil war on our hands.  Do we want another one?  Plus, I am fed up with telling you this Deidre, so I will tell you just once more and then the next time you try it on I’ll just turn you into cheese and feed you to his,” pointing at the Archbishop, “pet rat.  I fuck people because I want to, not just because they’re there.  If you expect me to have sex with everybody in the Queendom you’re fucking mad or else just out to get me, which I would expect from you Deidre, but as for you, you, you,” words failed her as she gestured wildly at Tabby, who was currently trying to hide under the bed-clothes, “you traitor.  If you weren’t immortal I’d kill you.  And if it wasn’t that I can’t think of any punishment worse than living with that milksop spawn of these two idiots, you’re ‘one great love’, I’d really put the boot in.  But I can’t, so I’ll just do one thing.  There,” she waved her hand, “Now the bugger’s immortal so you’re going to be stuck with him forever.”

Deidre was not at all happy at being called an idiot, and said so at some length.  While this was going on, deep ratiocination was going on in what, in Tabby, passed for a mind. She hadn’t been expecting her punishment to take this form.  In fact she wasn’t sure it was a punishment at all.  So, as soon as there was a suitable pause in the flow of vituperation from Deidre, she said,

“Oh thank you Virginia, thank you, thank you.  Would you like me to do you now out of gratitude?  Because I will; just say the word,” and so on and so forth.  The Queen, her temper gradually returning to its normal equanimity, shook her head sadly and said,

“Poor, dear, Tabby, you are such an air-head.  But anyway,” the tone of command returned to her voice as she surveyed her collected councillors, “I’ve made a decision.  If Christmas can get us arguing like this, with death threats and disagreements and the like, God only knows what’ll happen to ordinary people if we let it go ahead.  So this year, Christmas is cancelled.  We’ll just all behave perfectly normally.  So there.  Now bugger off, you lot.  Gerry and I have some serious intimacy to catch up on.”


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