Tech Writer's "Night Before Xmas"

Subject: Tech Writer's "Night Before Xmas"
From: Janice Gelb <janiceg -at- MARVIN -dot- ENG -dot- SUN -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 09:53:32 -0800

[forwards deleted; author unfortunately unknown]

'Twas The Night Before Christmas
(as written by a technical writer for a firm that does US
government contracting)

'Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period preceding the annual
Yuletide celebration, and throughout our place of residence, kinetic
activity was not in evidence among the possessors of this potential,
including that species of domestic rodent known as Mus musculus.

Hosiery was meticulously suspended from the forward edge of the wood-
burning caloric apparatus, pursuant to our anticipatory pleasure
regarding an imminent visitation from an eccentric philanthropist among
whose folkloric appellations is the honorific title of St. Nicholas.

The prepubescent siblings, comfortably ensconced in their respective
accommodations of repose, were experiencing subconscious visual
hallucinations of variegated fruit confections moving rhythmically
through their cerebrums. My conjugal partner and I, attired in our
nocturnal head coverings, were about to take slumberous advantage of
the hibernal darkness when upon the avenaceous exterior portion of the
grounds there ascended such a cacophony of dissonance that I felt
compelled to arise with alacrity from my place of repose for the
purpose of ascertaining the precise source thereof.

Hastening to the casement, I forthwith opened the barriers sealing this
fenestration, noting thereupon that the lunar brilliance without,
reflected as it was on the surface of a recent crystalline
precipitation, might be said to rival that of the solar meridian itself
- thus permitting my incredulous optical sensory organs to behold a
miniature airborne-runnered conveyance drawn by eight diminutive
specimens of the genus Rangifer, piloted by a minuscule, aged chauffeur
so ebullient and nimble that it became instantly apparent to me that he
was indeed our anticipated caller.

With his ungulate motive power travelling at what may possibly have
been more vertiginous velocity than patriotic alar predators, he
vociferated loudly, expelled breath musically through contracted labia,
and addressed each of the octet by his or her respective cognomen -
"Now Dasher, now Dancer..." et al. - guiding them to the uppermost
exterior level of our abode, through which structure I could readily
distinguish the concatenations of each of the 32 cloven pedal

As I retracted my cranium from its erstwhile location, and was
performing a 180-degree pivot, our distinguished visitant achieved -
with utmost celerity and via a downward leap - entry by way of the
smoke passage. He was clad entirely in animal pelts soiled by the ebony
residue from oxidations of carboniferous fuels which had accumulated on
the walls thereof. His resemblance to a street vendor I attributed
largely to the plethora of assorted playthings which he bore dorsally
in a commodious cloth receptacle.

His orbs were scintillant with reflected luminosity, while his
submaxillary dermal indentations gave every evidence of engaging
amiability. The capillaries of his malar regions and nasal appurtenance
were engorged with blood which suffused the subcutaneous layers, the
former approximating the coloration of Albion's floral emblem, the
latter that of the Prunus avium, or sweet cherry. His amusing sub- and
supralabials resembled nothing so much as a common loop knot, and their
ambient hirsute facial adornment appeared like small, tabular and
columnar crystals of frozen water.

Clenched firmly between his incisors was a smoking piece whose grey
fumes, forming a tenuous ellipse about his occiput, were suggestive of
a decorative seasonal circlet of holly. His visage was wider than it
was high, and when he waxed audibly mirthful, his corpulent abdominal
region undulated in the manner of impectinated fruit syrup in a
hemispherical container. He was, in short, neither more nor less than
an obese, jocund, multigenarian gnome, the optical perception of whom
rendered me visibly frolicsome despite every effort to refrain from so
being. By rapidly lowering and then elevating one eyelid and rotating
his head slightly to one side, he indicated that trepidation on my part
was groundless. Without utterance and with dispatch, he commenced
filling the aforementioned appended hosiery with various of the
aforementioned articles of merchandise extracted from his
aforementioned previously dorsally transported cloth receptacle.

Upon completion of this task, he executed an abrupt about-face, placed
a single manual digit in lateral juxtaposition to his olfactory organ,
inclined his cranium forward in a gesture of leave-taking, and
forthwith effected his egress by renegotiating (in reverse) the smoke
passage. He then propelled himself in a short vector onto his
conveyance, directed a musical expulsion of air through his contracted
oral sphincter to the antlered quadrupeds of burden, and proceeded to
soar aloft in a movement hitherto observable chiefly among the
seed-bearing portions of a common weed. But I overheard his parting
exclamation, audible immediately prior to his vehiculation beyond the
limits of visibility:

"Ecstatic Yuletide to the planetary constituency, and to that selfsame
assemblage, my sincerest wishes for a salubriously beneficial and
gratifyingly pleasurable period between sunset and dawn."

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