Friday, November 27, 2009

‘Twas the Month Before Christmas 2009

‘Twas the Month Before Christmas

Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2009

Ah, Black Friday. Nothing celebrates the birth of the Savior like getting 30% of the last plasma screen TV at 6:00 in the morning at Best Buy. And nothing commemorates that day like our own Laughing Stalk tradition, and running reader favorite “Month Before Christmas.”

'Twas the month before Christmas, and all through the town
Halloween decorations were just coming down.

I went to the mall for a weekend reprieve
And saw such a sight that I could not believe.

The place had gone crazy, the mall was just packed.
With new clothes and new toys and cheap plastic sacks
The store owners were praying and pulling their hair
Desperately hoping we'd spend money there.

When in one of the stores there arose such a clatter
I thought to myself "Now what's the matter?"
Away toward the noise the crowd flew like a flash
And knocked an old woman right on her caboose.

The cheesy green lights and the canned Christmas music
Made me realize no word rhymes with "music"
What I saw next made me scream and turn pale
A red and green sign said "We're having a sale!"

With a perky sales clerk, so cheerful and quick
I knew in a moment I was going to be sick!
She herded us in like sheep to the slaughter,
"Come in and buy things for your sons and your daughters!"

"We take Visa and Mastercard and Discover!" she chimed.
"American Express, credit cards of all kind!
From the back of the store, all the way to the front
Everything is on sale, there is no need to hunt!"

With the power and fury of an eight-point earthquake
The people were drawn in like a fat guy to cake
And into the store, the crowd they just flew
But what they were after, I hadn't a clue.

And then with a shudder, I heard behind me.
The ear-piercing scream of a child, age three
He gave a shrill shriek that would curl your hair
He yelled at his parents, "Hey let's go in there!"

"I see lots of games and toys," yelled the runt
"Why can't we go in there and get what I want?!"
I looked at his parents, all haggard and worn.
Their faces were bruised, their clothes, they were torn.

Their eyes, how they drooped. Their coats were all muddy.
She was missing her shoes, his nose, it was bloody.
He clung to his wallet, she clutched at her purse.
They tried not to explode as they held back a curse.

"You've got enough stuff already," the two parents said.
But the child just screamed and cried and turned red.
"What's the matter?" I asked, though I wished I had not.
They said "You can guess at the problem we've got."

"We're shopping for Christmas, for family and friends,
But it seems like this madness goes on without end."
"We've been here since morning, looking for sales.
But we've spent too much money. We feel like we've failed."

"Credit cards, debit cards, checkbooks and cash,
It's only November, and our budget has crashed."
Then the child came running and shouting with glee
"Hey, I found something else! You must come with me."

And I heard them exclaim, as they left with a grunt,
"Merry Christmas to you, though it's not 'til next month!"

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