upon a time (back before the tragic events of September 11 would
have made this disgusting card seem marginally less tasteless than
it does now), there was a tiny little country in the Middle East
called Afkirabookle. It was a barren rock of a place with a devastated
economy, chaotic political system, oppressive culture, and whose
embattled and bitter populous were only kept alive by consignments
of wheat from the United States. I mean, I usually paint a pretty
nice picture of the setting of these stupid cards in the first paragraph
only to drop the other shoe in the second; but this place was just
the devil United States for all our problems! screamed Sheik
Ihavent bin Layden, Afkirabookles billionaire leading citizen
who made his money by providing the sand from his countrys
oppressive desert to make Etch-a-Sketches. Their gifts of
surplus wheat are enslaving our people and turning them against
Allah! We must destroy this demon!
responded Omar, bin Laydens devoted henchman. Dont
you think our centuries of extreme societal and religious castes
that have divided our people against each other and surrounding
nations, thereby crippling our social structure, might have had
something to do with it, too?
responded the Sheik, knowing that if they resorted to rational thinking
there wont be a story to this idiotic card. I tell you
its the wheat! We must make the devil United States pay!
attempts to unnerve them by blowing up their buildings and sabotaging
their postal system with poison have all failed, said Omar,
who realized that he was only there as an expositional device and
accepted it. Every time we strike a blow, they band together
as a people and come back even stronger. I tell you, its enough
to make you stop wanting to be a terrorist.
stole a copy of Santa Claus' delivery schedule," said
because we havent hit them close enough to the heart, yet,
said the Sheik ominously. You dont know these people
like I do because I watch a lot of American TV and have a subscription
to Tiger Beat. I thought that if we took out one of the producers
from Frasier, that would demoralize them into submission.
But I see now that the only way to beat them is to attack their
sacred tradition of Christmas.
Pole operative managed to get a copy of Santa Claus delivery
schedule on Christmas Day, continued bin Layden. Its
well-known that this emblem of the devil USs gluttony got
his obese physique through his addiction to sugar-filled syrupy
drinks. And as I suspected, hes scheduled to stop for a Slurpee
at our Seven-Eleven in Times Square at exactly 11:59 p.m. during
his run on Christmas Eve.
huh? said Omar, who thought that the inclusion of Santa Claus
into a story about terrorists seemed stupid; but knowing that if
he expressed any disagreement that bin Layden would have his eyes
gouged out, said nothing.
drinks that Slurpee, said the Sheik, holding out an ominous-looking
weed, it will be laced with an extract of a few dreaded Alecksayleez
roots, a powerful hallucinogenic. One sip and he will be unable
to keep control of his sleigh and fly it directly into the Empire
shouted Omar, who winced at the painful pun that the roots
name was, but was impressed that the story of this years card
actually seemed to center around Christmas somewhat. The devils
of the U.S. will be so bummed out by the double-loss of their fat-bearded
icon and another one of those cool, tall buildings on their holiest
of days that they will have no choice but to bend to our will!
they will stop sending us that Godawful-tasting wheat and all our
problems will be over, agreed the Sheik. There is only
one problem. All of our U.S. operatives were given two-week vacations
by their jobs over there and they high-tailed it to Hawaii, and
my place on the FBIs Most Wanted List has caused their Satanic
government to limit my student visa to only being valid during the
spring semester. We need to find someone to carry out this plot.
But who can we get thats so stupid that theyd unknowingly
murder Santa Claus and lay waste to one of the worlds most
At about this
time, a young muse named Jonny M. was being fired from his job as
a bouncer at a New York strip club. Local drunks quickly realized
that the muses geeklike frame offered no opposition to their
advances on the dancers, and tired of constantly shelling out the
dough to have Jonnys face reconstructed by the Puerto Rican
guy who performed plastic surgery and abortions in the back room,
the management gave him his walking papers. Sadly, the noble muse
opened the want ads in Backstage, only to have his eyes drawn to
a notice that read Earn Good Money While You Practice Your
Craft! Management Trainee wanted for Graveyard Shift at the Times
Square Seven-Eleven. Nudity required.
Mohammed Ahab looked dejectedly out of the window of the Seven-Eleven
in Times Square that he managed. Once a thriving enterprise, business
had fallen off drastically since the September 11 tragedy. He glanced
at the December 23rd date on the calendar; and then at the hot dogs
and nachos that he used to sell within a week of their being cooked
still sitting forlornly beneath the 110 degree heap lamp bulb, their
September 12 expiration date crossed out and revised in black marker
over and over again. The Saudi Arabian transplant was about to forget
his troubles in a cumin Slurpee and this months issue of Swank,
when he was distracted by a pencil-necked milquetoast trying vainly
to push open the stores glass door.
sir! chimed Mohammed, opening the portal for his fragile patron.
What can I get for you today? Judging from your slight frame
and pizza-like complexion, Id guess youre here to peruse
our wide selection of pornographic magazines that you might masturbate
replied Jonny, momentarily tempted by the offer. Im
actually here for you. I saw your Help Wanted ad, and Im the
man for the job.
offered to sell Jonny pornography.
skeptically at Jonnys resume: election pollster, vampire hunter,
cabin boy for a bunch of gay pirates. Certainly nothing that qualified
him for the demanding work of selling lottery tickets and looking
the other way when underage kids wanted to buy some Captain Jack.
But the manager took another look at the muses dainty physique,
and deciding that hed probably just be blown away by robbers
on his first shift anyway, decided to take a chance.
hired, said Mohammed, handing Jonny a blood-stained name badge
that read Akbar. Cross out the name and write
in your own.
smiled Jonny, making the mysterious bullet hole in the badge stand
for the O in `Jonny. Im just happy
to be on the team.
know why the head office was so insistent that I hire someone by
Christmas Eve anyway, moaned Mohammed as a brick came sailing
through the window, narrowly missing the merchants head. Business
has fallen off so badly that I can easily handle it myself. I dont
like to leave the store, since people have taken to racial profiling
ever since September 11 and start beaning me with debris from the
World Trade Center as I walk home, even though I was as devastated
by the tragedy as anyone.
said Jonny while trying to read pay rates for the new job. Hey,
is that what the minimum wage is up to now? Boy, Ive been
just lucky that the head office is on a Hire the Retarded kick,
continued Mohammed. With that Down Syndrome youve got
going on, you might even be the corporation poster boy this year!
to ignore the comment and happily went to work as Mohammed began
to put on his anti-riot armor for the two block walk to his house.
He cast one last skeptical look at Jonny, who was busy accidentally
dumping an open bucket of nacho sauce onto his head, and trudged
out to face the abuse of his
again! shouted Jonny from beneath the ooze as his new boss
disappeared into a haze of cursing and flying bricks. And
an unhappy evening in his tiny apartment. Worried that his frail
new subordinate was mispricing the twelve-packs of RC Cola or mixing
up the gay porn with the fetish stuff, he was unable to sleep. He
toyed with the idea of going to see Mamma Mia, but knew that even
the music of ABBA couldnt relieve the worrying about his shop.
After a sleepless night, the merchandiser was relieved to see the
sun come up so that he could get back to the store, dispose of the
muses bullet-ridden corpse, and have the whole incident behind
But when Mohammed
reached the Seven-Eleven, he was amazed at what he saw. Not only
had Jonny survived his shift, but he had decorated the store in
dazzling Christmas lights and ornaments. And when he walked inside,
he was even more astonished - the place was packed with customers.
was amazed at what he saw.
going on? demanded Mohammed, as he pushed through a guy who
was waiting for Jonny to gift wrap a packet of Twinkies to take
home to his wife. What have you done to my store? And where
did all these people come from?
added a little spirit of the season, beamed Jonny. In
this time of trouble, we all need to embrace the feelings of Christmas
more than ever. When people saw the lights and holly, they remembered
that there was more around them than the blight and destruction
that have been all over the papers lately. Theres the spirit
of giving and brotherhood that Christmas represents.
that to me,? spat Mohammed. Im a freaking Muslim!
isnt just about being Christian, smiled Jonny as he
handed a customer a box of latex condoms with a big bow tied around
it. If it was, Id be screwed. Christmas is about universal
brotherhood that transcends religion. Whether you celebrate Christmas,
Hanukkah, Kwansaa, or just have a birthday on December 15 like I
do in which gifts of alcohol would be appreciated, this is a magical
time of year. Would you like some K-Y Jelly with that, sir?
pissed. He was happy for the business, but these were the same people
whod been throwing rocks at him for the past four months.
He snorted, kicked aside a holly wreath that had fallen off the
Bud Lite display, and went into the back room to inventory the Cuban
cigars and illegal fireworks.
11:00 p.m. didnt
come soon enough for the merchant. Thanks to Jonnys decorations
the store had been swamped all day, and the shopkeeper didnt
get a break from his antagonistic neighbors. When Jonny finally
walked in the door to begin his shift, Mohammed was at the end of
five minutes late! snapped the merchant. What do you
mean coming in here this time of day?
Eve comes but once a year, sir, replied Jonny meekly.
excuse for picking a mans pocket every twenty-fourth of December,
Mohammed grumbled. Be here all the earlier the next morning!
out the door as Jonny looked on, confused in his bosss animosity
but happy that A Christmas Carol was in public domain so he wouldnt
have to pay royalties on those last three paragraphs. The young
muse sat by the window and let the dazzling Christmas lights and
the joyful bustle of the people in the streets lift his spirits.
He busied himself about the store, happily straightening the inventory
and making sure everything had the correct 300% mark-up, when a
bearded customer wearing a turban entered.
evening sir, and Merry Christmas, chirped Jonny to his patron.
What can I do for you this evening?
dont know, murmured the man. I suppose you could
start by letting me tie you up!
With that, the
man pulled a box-cutter to Jonnys throat. The muses
life momentarily flashed before his eyes, but after a few seconds
of reliving his hellish teenage years, Jonny decided it would be
more pleasant to focus back on the robber. What the handsome young
muse recognized astonished him: he was staring in the face of the
notorious terrorist Ihavent bin Layden!
was staring in the face of Ihavent bin Layden!
you doing here, you fiend? spat Jonny. You said at the
beginning of this stupid story that you couldnt get into the
country to pull off your evil plan!
you know that? asked bin Layden.
Jonny said nothing,
forgetting that he was the only one who got a complete script to
these asinine cards so the other cast members couldnt leak
the plot to the media. bin Layden tied the muse up and gagged him
with a piece of tape.
saw the imbecilic scrawl you used to fill out your job application,
said bin Layden as he jammed Jonny into the store room, I
knew that you were far too much of a moron to pull off my plan.
Fortunately, with air fares so affordable in the wake of September
11, I decided to wing over here and carry out the plot myself. Is
this the Slurpee machine? It only needs one more ingredient.
Lyden poured the potion into the Slurpee machine.
heart sank as the brute reached into his pocket and retrieved the
ominous vile of extract of Alecksayleez roots. The bound muse was
powerless as bin Layden poured the poison into the mix.
all we have to do is wait, intoned the terrorist. In
a few moments your devil Santa Claus will be here, and he will gluttonously
drink of the hallucinogenic. Then, he will be in my power and he
will fly his sleigh directly into the Empire State Building!
No sooner were
the words out of bin Laydens mouth than a familiar bearded
figure wearing red and white entered the store. Jonny was no fan
of Santa Claus, since the jolly old elf and his reindeer had brutally
gang-raped the muse in last years Christmas card; but since
he did enjoy going to the top of the Empire State Building and hawking
loogees on the pedestrians below, Jonny despaired.
two scratchers and a blueberry Slurpee, directed Saint Nick.
And could you make it snappy? Im double-parked.
eyes narrowed into devilish slits as he poured the concoction into
a plastic cup. The muse could feel his heart stop as Santa raised
the drink to his lips. Time seemed to stand still for just a moment
as Kris Kringle prepared to drain the tasty potable down his gullet...
raised the drink to his lips.
The noise startled
Santa into dropping the drink on the floor. bin Layden looked over
in fury to see who had interrupted his plot, to behold the breathless
figure of Mohammed Ahab!
you still have to pay for that Slurpee, said the merchant
as he looked at the mess on the floor.
you doing here? demanded bin Layden.
kidding? replied Mohammed as he retrieved the Baretta automatic
from behind the cash register. This place is crawling with
surveillance devices. You think Id let a derelict like Jonny
M. alone in my shop without knowing what was going on at all times?
As soon as I heard what you were saying in your bad guy explains
the plan before killing the hero speech, I high-tailed it
over here to stop you.
a fellow Muslim! pleaded bin Layden.
and I want nothing to do with you and your murderous ways,
replied Mohammed. You can save that kind of crap for L. Ron
Just as Mohammed
was about to pull the trigger on bin Layden, a throng of neighbors
burst into the shop to see what the commotion was. They immediately
recognized bin Layden, and started to swarm on him just as Jonny
M. managed to free himself from his gag and shackles.
usually the part in the story where I make a big speech about the
Christmas spirit and get the crowd to see the light, announced
Jonny. But this guys nothing but a freaking mass murderer.
Lets get him!
With that, the
crowd jumped on bin Layden and tore him into a pile of bloody goo.
When the last vestiges of DNA had been ground into a fine paste,
one of the rabble realized Mohammed was still standing there.
another one!" the man screamed.
another one! the man screamed. While weve got
a taste for blood, lets get him, too!
The crowd was
stunned into silence. They turned around to see the outraged figure
of Jonny M. edging himself between them and his shaken boss.
you! snapped Jonny, delighted that he was going to be able
to deliver his big speech after all. How dare you even think
of placing this good man in the same category as that murderer!
This is Christmas day, a time when we must embrace all our brothers
and sisters in the human family, and recognize them as individuals.
Anyone who would lump one man into any kind of a stereotype and
hate him on this day of days because of the God he worships to,
or the clothes he wears, or the weird-ass loud music that hes
listening to at 3:00 a.m. thats bleeding through your apartment
wall when youve got to get up and go to work in the morning,
is completely missing the point of our most sacred of days. Shame
on you! I say shame!
the irate throng glared at each other anxiously. The muse was afraid
that his profound sermon had gone for naught, when the silence was
broken by the jolly voice of Santa Claus:
scratcher paid off! Slurpees for everyone, on me!
So all was happiness
in the United States. Santa Claus completed his rounds, and later
served a five year suspended sentence for his vicious rape of Jonny
M. Ihavent bin Layden went directly to hell and spent eternity having
red-hot pokers inserted up his rectum. The neighbors accepted everyone
as individuals regardless of their ethnic background, at least until
dogs started disappearing after that weird Philippino family moved
in. Mohammed Ahab received a twenty-five million dollar reward for
the capture of bin Layden and became a national hero, and took on
a trophy wife with whom he later created a scandal when he murdered
her for having an affair with a waiter. And the United States ultimately
healed its wounds in the wake of September 11 after blowing Afkirabookle
off the map with stealth bombers, just to prove that we still had
the biggest cock of any nation around.
of all was Jonny M. As he basqued in the newfound love and acceptance
of his new friends, he took a special delight in knowing that he
was a part of it. So, taking a final look at the joy around him,
he grabbed a bottle of Schmirnoff vodka off the Seven-Eleven shelf
and disappeared into the Christmas night, only to be pursued by
Mohammed and beaten to a pulp for shoplifting moments later.
And happy holidays
to you, my friend. Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah,
Kwansaa, Jonnys 40th birthday on December 15 in which gifts
of alcohol would be gratefully accepted, or just picking up some
hooch at your local convenience store to drown your depression;
remember that this is a year unlike any other, and that we must
always keep alive the intense realizations about life and love and
our fellow humans that we felt in the wake of September 11. And
remember that you always have a loving friend in Jonny M.
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