What really happened . . .

The Author

The Author

It’s all lies you know.

I never kidnapped Santa.  That’s a lie.  And I never nearly ruined Christmas for everyone either.  Sure, a few people died, and that musician would never play the violin, or do anything else requiring limbs, again, but the FBI were very efficient, and to this day everyone believes that it was a secret CIA weapons test gone horribly wrong.  And I never rescued that Sally from Oogie either, let alone had a duel with him.  Hell, I gave her to him.  Thought it would stop her nagging at me to ‘make an honest rag-doll of her’.  Me and Oogie, we’re like that, have been ever since the old days when we were Great Cthulhu’s hench-things.

So why does everyone believe all that crap?  You want to know?  Really, I’m not boring you?  I wouldn’t want to think I’m boring you.  Fine, just let me get another – oh, that’s very generous of you, it’s a special cocktail called ‘The Creeping Chaos’, the man here does it wonderfully, you should try it.  Seventeen types of rum, bat’s blood and the tears of an infant.  With a big hairy spider as garnish.  No?  Well one for me anyway.  And you might want to get another Guinness for Zero.  He doesn’t like it when people forget to include him in the round.  And then he nips your ankles.  Ever been bitten by a spectral dog?  Take my advice.  Don’t.

Ah, that’s good.  Now, where was I?  Oh yes, why people believe all that jolly, happy stuff about me and Santa and the elves.  Well, it all started in a bar, just like now.  Look are you sure you’ve got time for this, because you said you had to get to that wedding?  Okay, fine.  I was in this bar, well, not this bar, but a bar, hiding from Sally, and I met this bloke.  Like you, only he wasn’t.  I can tell you’ve got class, but he was a real scruffbag, hair everywhere, several days stubble, the works.  Normally I wouldn’t deign to speak to someone like that, but, hey, he was there, and he was a sucker, sorry, I mean terribly generous.  Who was he?  Oh, I don’t know, said his name was Burton, but to be honest I wasn’t paying much attention.  He wasn’t very interesting, you know?

So, anyway, I got to telling him about that Christmas.  Now what happened was, Santa had got bored, what with those bloody elves, and who could blame him.  You think my lot are bad?  At least they’re amusingly deranged, and they’re not jolly all the time.  You can get very bored with jolly, and Santa was.  He wanted to get away from the elves and the toddlers who argued about whether they had in fact been naughty, and Mrs Santa and spend a couple of weeks on Capri with his friend Silvio and a bunch of young women that Silvio happened to know.  Very amenable young women, if you get my drift.  You do?  Good.  If it weren’t for bloody Sally I’d be there with them now, but no it’s do this, cook that, destroy the other, and . . .

Sorry, my problems.  Not relevant.  So, like I said, Santa wanted to get away, so he and I cooked up the kidnap story as a way of making it seem plausible that he’d vanished.  So, as we arranged, I sent the kids round and Santa let himself be kidnapped, and he came round here, and we had a bit of a party, then, once we’d slept it off, he was off to Capri and I was dodging the lawyers that Sally had instructed to sue me for date rape.  Which I swear to this day I never . . .

So, then it was up to me to organise Christmas.  Oogie and I put our heads together and we worked out a plan.  It was quite simple.  We agreed that there was no way I was going to put up with the crap old Santa had to from the natives.  So the first thing I needed was a weapon.  One I could use to take out the little bastards if they happened to wake up while I was stuffing their stockings, if you get my drift.  No, I’m not saying I’m a paedophile, and I’d be glad if you wouldn’t take that tone with me, sir.  Thank you.  Where was I?  Oh yes, weapons.  Well, you know how it is: when you start building a serious weapon collection things just get out of hand, so by the time we’d finished I had a Glock 19 millimetre for close-action work, a couple of 9 millimetre machine pistols, in case I had to take out entire families, and an RPG-7, just in case I decided a house was just going to be plain trouble and needed to take it out from a distance.  And then one thing led to another, and it was late, and we were both a bit – hey, would you fancy another?  Why thank you.  Remember Zero.

That would put hairs on my chest, if I had a chest that is.  So yes, we were both a bit, er, merry, and I didn’t want to go home until I was certain Sally and her lawyers were asleep, and so when, at about 3 am, Oogie said I really needed a town-scale tactical weapon to deal with major trouble-spots, I didn’t say no.  Which I realise I should have.  And that’s how I ended up with the nuke.

Well, there isn’t much more to tell.  When I woke up I felt terrible, and there was Sally with a lawyer on one side and a registrar on the other, so I didn’t really have all the time to plan things out that, in retrospect, would probably have been a good idea.  So I barged into the first house, pistol at the ready, and there was this little bugger saying ‘Who’re you?  You’re not Santa’, so I gave him it between the eyes and beat a hasty retreat.  The next house was pretty much the same, the next I had to kill the whole family.  No, they weren’t interested in the presents, they wanted my guns.  I mean, there was this seven-year-old hanging onto the RPG like grim death.  What does a seven-year-old want with an RPG, I ask you?  So anyway, I killed the lot of them.

After that I was feeling a bit antsy, so I used the RPG on the next few houses, just to be on the safe side.  But, unfortunately, by the time I’d calmed down enough to try another delivery, the cops had been notified, and what with the gun-battle and all the demands that I take the skeleton mask off, I kind of lost my cool, and well, I set the timer on the nuke to thirty seconds and then I got out of there sharpish.

So, that’s what happened.  I got back, and because I was a bit distracted, what with the megadeath and all, I wasn’t sufficiently on my guard, and before I knew it, one of Sally’s goons had me in an arm-lock and I was given a simple choice: do the right thing or do time.  Well . . .

The film, you say?  Well, this Burton, he must have been some kind of hippy, because he kept saying ‘That’s terrible, man’ and ‘Gotta tell a story the kids can believe in’, and I was trying to explain to him that nothing’s more believable than death when . . .

Oh fuck.

Why hello my dear.  Good time at church?  Good.  I know, my dear, yes, I know I should come with you, but there’s the small matter of my having been excommunicated to deal with.  Not to mention the fact that I’m in the Book of Revelation.  Of course not, my dear.  I wouldn’t dream of it, my dear.  Right away, my dear.  Come, Zero.



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