I started this blog to have an outlet for all my work. And if you’re like me, you could use a little holiday cheer. What I maybe have’t confessed in recent posts is that I started down this crazy road as “a creative” because I grew up on steady diet of Saturday Morning cartoons, and always knew I’d be, one day making them.
Which I did.
For four glorious years I wrote, directed and produced, along with my dear partner, Andy Jones and a band of merry pranksters, a children’s television series called Pug & Zero’s Field Trip.Which for those of you who haven’t seen it, was, as we described it, “Lucy & Ethel meet Steven Hawking.” Wherein, we proved every Saturday (in syndication, remember that?) that pratfalls and string theory do mix quite nicely. Yes, we let Schrödinger’s cat out of the bag… and our 6- 10 year-old audience loved it as much as we did.
And… yes. I miss it very much.
Somehow, I got so… serious in these last few years of my career. And tho’ I wouldn’t trade my current track of serious (well, okay, we are still talking me) adult subjects, my book and the lectures, the workshops and doing everything I can to make our world a little more tolerant, a little more accepting of the diversity that is human beauty, for anything — especially since it’s become even more about life and death (is that even possible?) in these last few weeks. But, I need to refresh my spirit, so I will fight our fights with a renewed sense of purpose. I need to take a breath so I can Radiate Light, Laughter & Love anew.
And what better way time to recharge than the season of light?
So, for the next coupla’ weeks, that is my gift to us both. A big bright sugary cookie sprinkled with an extra dollop of holiday cheer. To refresh our spirits together in the form of some Christmas stories I wrote a few years back to cheer up my sister who was lonely in her new adopted England. A postcard from home (if your home is next door to Dr. Seuss, maybe).
I wrote these Christmas stories to be read aloud. The first up is an imagining of what might have happened as a sequel to a story that seized my imagination at a very early age and only furthered my addiction to animation, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer… so without further ado… Merry Christmas & Enjoy! And I promise to get serious again as soon as the sugar high wears off, cross my heart!
Rudolph to the rescue… again!
The continuing adventures of our beloved “misfit” with his infamous red nose, or what happened the morning after his famous ride…
We all know how Santa’s “ninth buck” saved Christmas back in the day… but what we didn’t know (until now) was how that storm was started or by who… and of course we also never knew how this same you know who never got over his evil plan being foiled by a rookie reindeer on his very first ride.
No… that’s his name. Bah Humbug…well, you’ll have to sit down for this one….
“what you didn’t know…”
Though you didn’t know it, the Christmas fog, the near disastrous storm of ’62 in which Rudolph with his nose so bright, guided Santa’s Sleigh that night, was in fact, a sinister act — of Evil… Uh huh! It was an ill-fated deed by none other than Bah Humbug, himself! The Nastiest, cruelest, ne’er-do-well this side of the ocean of dreams, to ever haunt the shadows of childhood.
Oh, it was him all right, accompanied by his cult of dark followers, Humbug’s motis operndi was usually to wait just outside the thorny gates of puberty — setting traps of fatalism and cynicism, to drive the myths and fantasy from the Kingdom of the Imagination with lies and conceit — destroying the magic of Christmas and Childhood. Sadly his dastardly plan had worked for years with small, ahem, success if you will. And some unfortunate souls never truly ever recovered – these unfortunate souls usually went on to lives of dreary servitude – willing slaves to a fatal view of reality, not unlike wicked school headmasters, stuffy loan officers or ostrich pen cleanliness inspectors. But as with all evil-doers intent on conquering the world, Humbug wasn’t satisfied and he wanted it all…
Truth be told, the storm ’62 was to be his greatest act ever — the final nail in the coffin, a way to once and for all destroy the very foundation upon which the warmth of Christmas had been built — belief in Santa Claus.
Oh no, you say?
And like most supervillains, his plan was almost too simple:
If Santa was thwarted by a great storm, he wouldn’t complete his rounds –
If he couldn’t complete his rounds, children the world ‘round, would cease to believe.
If the children stopped believing, their hearts would be broken and their minds would be fertile fields for the propaganda of cynicism…
And the warmth of Christmas would die forever.
It almost worked.
But while Rudolph, Santa, and team were fighting through the storm valiantly, a posse from the Kingdom of Imagination got wind of Bah Humbug’s sinister plan and caught him red-clawed in the act — they tossed him and his gang of putrid hobgoblins into the prison of desire, which, incidentally, sits atop the storm-tossed coast of the sea of confusion, perched like a festering sore on the border between Rationality and the Beyond.
And there he sat,
as the world woke-up to find that Santa had once again prevailed, aided by Rudolph and magical nose… a story we all know intimately.
Now, Bah Humbug, as you can imagine, was not about to take this lying down, and in the darkness of the prison’s slime-covered walls, he wracked his twisted, evil, alleged brain for a way of escape.
His blood-red claws scurried spider-like over every crack and crevasse in the granite and rust… searching, searching… searching… but… nothing.
Gingerly, he tested the white-hot bars of light that formed the cell door and window of his much-deserved cage…
but no… nothing.
In fact, the blazing torches of light were laser beams that fricasseed anything that strayed into their path. (A fact discovered when Bah Humbug pitched one of his hobgoblins into the door as a test pilot – his pitiful screams echoed throughout the prison for weeks after…)
It looked like Bah Humbug would have to spend his eternity under lock and key after all. But then one day…he flew into a rage and stomped about the entrance screaming to no one in particular:
“I don’t believe that mere bars of light could enslave me, of all creatures!”
“Boss, did you see that?” Asked a timid hobgoblin who cowered behind the toilet hole in the back of the cell.
“See WHAT?” thundered the incredulous Humbug, his sinister teeth flashing in the shadows.
“The bars. They flickered when you said the word belief.”
They both turned and saw that the bars remained steady. Humbug raised an eyebrow in warning.
“I don’t believe you”
The bars flickered ever so slightly. Humbug smiled an evil grin and shook his head with disdain. “You colossal IDIOT! It isn’t damaged by belief… I don’t know who is more stupider, you or the whole kingdom of goody-two-shoes. The bars are controlled by NOT BELIEVING!
He whirled around, his sharp cutting words had done the trick again, and he saw a slight, almost imperceptible interruption — a mere hiccup in the white-hot bars of light — but enough to confirm his dangerous theory.
He crept up close and with the fever of discovery, and foul-smelling beads of sweat collecting on his brow, he whispered to the silent sentinels that formed his prison, “I don’t believe in you.”
The bars of light flickered as if an evil draft had brushed the flame of a candle. “You see, my pathetic hobgoblin. My wardens are so bent on their faith in the goodness of all, that they hinge their entire Kingdom on the belief of even little ole’ me. My troubles are OVER! Squelch the belief in the hearts of men and not only am I free once again, but I will control their hearts FOREVER!”
And so it was that Bah Humbug learned of the source of the Kingdom of Imagination’s power and the key to his freedom.
As you can guess, he hatched a wicked plan of revenge…
Rudolph, the rising star of Santa’s elite Reindeer team was enjoying his vacation (a special bonus from Santa himself) in the Hawaiian Islands. It was during this lull in the action that Humbug called for his lawyer, a slimy river troll, named F. Flea Bailout and exercised his prisoner’s rights — after all, the prison was established by the Empress of Fantasy, who herself was not an unreasonable gal — and so the river troll paid his illustrious client a visit.
“Arrange to have the witch, Baba Raga brought to my cell. Tell her that I have a job for her that will repay all of her gambling debts to me.”
The River troll looked up from his faux crocodile skin briefcase and stammered, “As you wish, your despicableness.”
And so it was…
The witch, Baba Raga, reluctantly made the arduous journey to the fell prison, fearing the awful summons, of course, but eager to relieve herself of her mountain of debt. Their meeting was brief and scary with all of the usual theatrics that had formed Bah Humbug’s reputation of being an evil genius but pathetic b- grade actor. And as she stumbled back over crag and bramble to her humble abode, She had to admit, Bah Humbugs’ reptilian mind had hatched a scheme so evil, so… oh, I don’t know, what’s the word? Genius, yes that’s it! It was so pure genius, that even she, herself had wondered why she hadn’t thought of it years before.
So, of course, she took the credit for it when she gossiped with the other witches at their annual Samhain’ cotillion…
“I’m to be Humbug’s gal Friday, captaining his forces and carrying out his foul plan.”
“Oh, do tell” they shrieked with delight.
“Well if you must know, it works like this…”
And so the witch described in great detail (and far too many diversions I might add,) how they were going to “Water the seeds of discontent that everyone knew the older reindeer had for Rudolph, especially since he stole their thunder when he saved the day.”
“Oh, that’s so… effective – those ego-maniacs would do anything to get back to being Santa’s top dog… if you know what I mean. “
Baba Raga’s yellowed eyes gleamed with lust, “Donner and Blitzen especially will be ripe to help us sell that freak off to a sideshow circus, that’ll effectively get ‘ol Rudy out of the way… into a rusty old cage, giving him a taste of the medicine that Bah Humbug has to swallow every day. A HAH HAH HAH!….”
Oh… he’s so… so… deliciously evil… what then? Tell us, tell us!
Well, said Baba Raga, relishing the slimy green spotlight of her witchy sisters’ envy, “With Rudolph out of the way, Hummie will create an even bigger storm, (personally, I think he’s still convinced of his earlier genius, he really wanted the “storm-thing” to stick as his calling card, but that’s just me) he’ll send forth a fog so foul, so heavy, so heinous, that the hearts of men will shrivel under the murky mists of depression… There won’t be a “Merry,” a “Joy” or a “Ho Ho Ho” to be found for love or money.
“PERFECT!” The witches cackled, “can we help?” And Baba Raga became a celebrity in her own right.
“Of course you can,” she said between gulps of Trader Joe’s “Eye of newt pate'” We need to get the Reindeer on board to help us get Rudy out of the picture.”
“Leave that to me,” said a nasty northern witch, “Vixen, is an easy mark, nobody can ever remember his name, he’ll be happy to leave a gate open some dark and lonely night.”
And with that, Baba Raga left the cotillion that night, the talk of the coven – “the first Sistah” and feeling quite full of herself.
Chapter 2 – “and so it began…”