My son and Santa Claus have been pen pals every Christmas since he first learned to write. Traditionally, letters to Saint Nick are stuffed in the stockings hanging over the wood stove we call our "fireplace," and are answered via the same mysterious process that allows the jolly old elf to descend down a six-inch stove pipe every Christmas Eve.
Here is this year's exchange:
For Christmas this year I would like a guinea pig. I have other stuff I want, but I wanted to get the guinea-pig request in early.
Signed, the Best Boy in the World
Dear Best Boy:
You are not getting a guinea pig. Are you forgetting what happened to the goldfish you had, and also to the mice you were given for your birthday? Please ask for something reasonable, like a new rake to help your father in the yard. That request I can fill immediately.
Well the directions never said you can't take goldfish into the bathtub with you so how was I supposed to know? And the thing with the mice was not my fault, it was the cat's fault.
I also want a go-cart.
Dear Pet Boy:
Surely you knew that sitting on the fish would not be good for them. And I hardly think the cat can be blamed for its instinctive pursuit of the mice once you left the cage door open. I'm sorry, but you may have no more rodents, and that's final.
Regarding your new request: You have already demonstrated an unnerving tendency to succumb to the gravitational pull of the earth, hurling yourself headfirst off of your bicycle and your skate board. A go-cart would merely accelerate this process. How about instead of a go-cart you get a wheelbarrow to help haul the leaves you'll be raking.
Dear so-called Santa:
A guinea pig is not a rodent, it is a member of the pork family.
How about you get me a little trailer for my go-cart and I'll haul leaves in that.
Plus I also want a drum set.
Oh, and I think you should know, my dad is not using the exercise bike you got him last Christmas. I guess it goes against his instinctive pursuit of getting fat.
Dear Drummer Boy:
No pigs of any kind, including those related to rats. No catapulting yourself headfirst from a go-cart into the emergency room. No banging on drums, or doing anything to create any noise except the sounds of yard work.
And your father is planning on starting his exercise program just as soon as his schedule settles down.
Dear Saint Nick Picker:
Well excuse me for thinking that Christmas was for something besides better homes and gardens.
If I can't have a go-cart, I want a snowmobile.
Oh, and I think you'd better take another look at my dad: All he has on his schedule is watching TV and drinking beer. If he settles down any more, he's going to slide off of his chair and onto the floor. Mom says the only way to tell that he's still alive is by his belches.
Dear Incorrect Boy:
Your father works hard and occasionally takes in a game on TV to relax. There is nothing wrong with this.
And a snowmobile? Are you crazy? Not only are they dangerous, do you have any idea how much a snowmobile costs? Please pick something affordable.
Dear Santa Flaws:
Well why do you care what it costs? I thought you had a bunch of dwarfs working for you who built everything in your workshop.
If I can't have a guinea pig I want a monkey.
A monkey? You cannot have a monkey.
Dear Chris Crumple:
I'm the only kid in my school without a pet.
I refuse to believe anybody in your school has a monkey. It is illegal.
Dear Santa Laws:
Well then can I have a guinea pig?
Well... we'll see.
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Copyright W. Bruce Cameron 2000
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