Don’t expect to keep the CDs your girlfriend gave you either. I’m just going to slide down the chimney later this month and take those gifts with me! Ho Ho Ho! But that’s just a personal matter between Honzo, me, and the Czech Mafia.

Now that your Christmas tree sits on the curbside, a neglected, brittle, combustible skeleton of its former self, Santa has some free time on his hands. So I accepted Think’s generous offer to edit this post-holiday edition. Just when you thought you couldn’t take another jingle bell, bough of holly, or stinky, cheese-filled basket, I burst back into your lives.

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So where’s that leftover rum? Buttered rum can take the edge off an old war wound. It seems like yesterday…

I was up to my chest in mud covered in leeches. I was miserable, but I was on a mission. I was deliverin’ a bit of Xmas cheer to my buddies. My buddies stuffed down a stinking hole in a bamboo cage. Deserted by the US government. No Rambo there to save them, just me.

Heading toward the camp, I picked my way around the bamboo spikes Charlie had left sticking out of the ground along the trail. They smothered these shoots in cow sh*t. Infection takes hold quickly in the jungle. Donner was foaming at the mouth, screaming something about betrayal and mercy. I almost shed a tear when I had to shoot him.

When I got to the camp, I found the others waiting for me. Our plan was simple: me and some of the boys were going to go in airborne, land on the roof, and blow up the command center.

It was my job to drop down the fire hole and leave a “present”. I had to get out of there before the whole thing went up in smoke. Then Rudy was to go around the perimeter and shine that damn red light around, diverting their attention from our mad dash to the pits.

I slid down the roof and dispatched the lazy guard with a silent twist of my stocking around his throat. I dropped off the goods and was about check out of Hotel Hell when I saw them. The cookies. Now I know I shouldn’t have been thinking of cookies at a time like this, but out in the jungle I hadn’t had any in a long time.

And they looked good. Sure, they were those chinee fortune cookies, but they were cookies all the same. I fed my face with ’em, not even stopping to take out the fortune. Then I washed ’em down with some of that tea crap the Chinkies love so much. I would’da killed for a glass of fresh milk. Hell, I’d already killed today for nothin’.

It was then I remembered I had set the timer on my packages to splatter Yuletide cheer all over the joint in less than a minute, only I was still feedin’ cookies up my greedy little yap. So I hauled back in the St. Nick of time, got in the sled and took off just as the building erupted in a fine light show.

Those yeller fellers sure looked stupid, the way they ran around shouting their monkey jabber. In the fog of war we set down again with a clatter over by the dung-heap where we would find our men. But it was too late.

Those good American boys were nothing more than a puddle of half-melted flan. Those dirty half-animals, half-men had torched ’em when I was busy eatin’ the damn cookies! Those commies weren’t going to get away with this.

I was checkin’ my list for the third time and these boys were still naughty. They deserved to pay. Hell hath no wrath like a Santa spurned.

But the rest of my story is for another day. Let’s just say I never forgot those boys I lost due to my cookie habit. No amount of egg nog can erase those memories. I hope that your next Christmas won’t be as painful as mine! Ho Ho Ho!

– Santa H. Claus

Note: The opinions of Santa Claus do not reflect those of Think Magazine, nor any of its wholly owned subsidiaries. It does represent the opinions of one Judy Wenton of Spiro, Pennsylvania, but she has no way to prove this.