Reprinted from New Libertarian Weekly No. 4,
December 26, 1976

“Suddenly there arose such a clatter …”

Janie White awoke with a start. She found herself on the chesterfield in front of the fireplace. She couldn’t have been asleep long for her cheeks were still wet.

Janie had been crying.

Wait! Another sound. Up on the roof? Yes, a muffled voice could be heard.

“Cool it, Rudy. Enough of the clatter of hooves from you eight tiny reindeer already. Keep watch for patrols with your ultra-violet vision, Rudy.”

That didn’t sound like the white-bearded, red-suited fellow she was waiting for. Now she remembered. It was Christmas Eve and she had been hoping to get to the gift-giver before her parents could change what she asked for, what she was supposed to really want.

What to her wondering eyes did appear? Well, one moment she was looking at the fireplace (trying to figure out how fire worked) and the next minute a somewhat rotund, sardonic elf blocked her view.

“Gosh, how did you do that?” Janie was very inquisitive.

“Simple teleportation device, kid,” said the white-bearded gent in a black suit with ermine trimmings. He stepped gingerly away from the fire. “Where did you stash your socks?”

“My stockings?” asked Janie.

“Come on, kid, we haven’t all night. My old man’s patrol could be around any minute.”

“Is your father San–”

“He ain’t the Big Red Cheese. How do you think I got these elvish abilities? Rolled them in a D&D game?”

“Gosh, Mr. Claus, are you helping out your father? Just a minute. I’ll be back with a stocking.” She ran into her bedroom. Then she remembered some of the rules of the game, and thoughtfully brought out one for her little brother as well.

“Here you are, Mr. Claus. Here’s one for my brother, Bobby, too.”

The not-so-old fellow was stoking a meerschaum pipe with various carvings on the bowl. He unslung his sack when Janie presented the sacks.

“Call me Anarcho, kid.” The ebony-clad character seemed to go into a trance.

“Okay, Anarcho Claus. And you can call me Janie, instead of “kid.” She decided he probably wasn’t doing TM. “Are you checking to see if I was naughty or nice?”

Anarcho Claus came out of it. “You’re clean, kid. Naw, I just see whether you ripped anyone off lately. No point in giving somebody property if they don’t believe in it.”

Janie felt as if she were getting away with something. “Well, there was the time when I pushed Bobby away from my construction …”

“That’s okay, Janie. Your parents shoved him on you and told you to share!” He spat out the last word as if it would cause your mouth to be soaped. “Now that was wicked. Nothing for them this Christmas.”

“How do you know all that?” said Janie.

“You mean ‘Read Morality at a Distance’? An esper-related ability, natural to high elves. I inherited it, of course.” He snorted and reached into his sack. “Don’t you read SF?”

“Oh, every chance I can sneak it under my covers!” bubbled Janie. Then downcast, she added, “But my parents say girls don’t make good scientists or starship pilots.”

“Ah, that’s it,” said Anarcho Claus. He pulled out a Deluxe Model Chemistry set. “Groove on this and next year I’ll run in some acids they won’t sell with this to kids.”

Janie was overjoyed. Her wish had come true. “But … but what will my parents say?” She hid the set as they were talking.

“They should know? Kids are entitled to privacy, just like other people.” He dug around in his sack again.

“You mean parents can be wrong?”

“You better believe it, Janie. You know something, I’ve been smuggling in forbidden toys to hard-core girls and boys since I read Tucker in the 1880’s. And I’ve never been finked on.”

“That’s why nobody’s heard of you!”

“Right. OK, mind you, don’t go making bombs or lasers for the State with that.”

“Oh, golly, Anarcho Claus, I’d never make War! My parents don’t believe in it.”

That’s no reason, Janie. You do something ’cause it’s right, not because your parents tell you. Or even ’cause I tell you.” He pulled out a realistic-looking model submachine gun. “And this is for Bobby.”

“Wow!” jumped Janie. “Mom and Dad are pacifists. They’d kill him if they found him with a gun!”

“Breaker 77 for the one-A-C!” A faint crackling voice could be heard around Anarcho Claus.

“Say, Anarcho Claus, I thought you didn’t believe in war? So how come you’re encouraging Bobby’s gun trip?”

“Hey, pretty good, Janie. I bet you sound just like your mother! Actually, a fair question, if not well put. Let me ask you one, Janie. Do you think you should decide for your brother whether or not he should use his new gun to practice for war?”

“Well …,” said Janie, “if it’s so wrong …”

“And should he decide whether or not you should have the chemistry set …?”

“No!” shouted Janie, then put her hand over her mouth. Did she wake her parents?

Again the faint, crackling voice was heard in the silence. This time Anarcho Claus answered. “I read you, C.B. Double score down here. How’s up top?”

Janie leaned close to Anarcho Claus to hear the voice. It was awfully deep.

“Another sleigh sighted by Black Nose on Ultra-Vision. The Redcoat is coming!”

“10-4. C.B. Pull me up and out. Over.”

“Who’s C.B., Anarcho Claus?” asked Janie. She tugged on his sleeve and …

She was standing in the snow on a roof! And there were nine reindeer, a sleigh full of toys, and a white polar bear on the sleigh with a radio set … or whatever it was.

“Oh, oh! Another kid snagged on to you during beam-up,” said the polar bear in a not-unfriendly growl. The ninth reindeer, with a glowing black nose, was not attached to the sleigh, and he was making sounds to the bear.

“And Rudy says we haven’t time to beam her down, or Redcoat’ll see us.”

“Gosh, Anarcho Claus,” volunteered Janie. “I’ll get down somehow. You get away and keep doing your good things. Maybe Santa will help me down … but don’t worry, I won’t tell him about you!”

“Janie, I wouldn’t let you fall into that phony junk-dealer’s hands. Tell you what, how would you like a ride in our sleigh? Make a few stops with us? And I’ll give you a Revisionist History of Christmas.”

“Oh, wonderful!” exclaimed Janie, jumping up and down and clapping her hands. She hopped up on the sleigh, then slowed down as she approached the polar bear, who had put down the set and was scanning the sky where the black-nosed reindeer was pointing. Anarcho Claus jumped in after her, and his bulk pushed her right up into the warm, white fur of the bear.

“Let’s go, team!” called Anarcho Claus, and the reindeer began walking motions … right up into the air. “They’re a telekinetic breed,” said Anarcho Claus to Janie.

The lead reindeer, still not attached, flew back. “Rudy has an ultra-violet projector/detector in his nose,” explained Anarcho Claus helpfully. “You know, black light? C.B. here watches out for the other kind of bear — the Smokey kind.”

“What’s so bad if San–er, Redcoat catches us, Anarcho Claus?” asked Janie, now trusting the black-suited gentleman not to leave her in mystery.

“Let’s begin with the Elvish Economy of the North Pole,” said Anarcho Claus. “You see, objects of human amusement are a waste product in our industry, damaging to our ecology.”

“Objects of …” wondered Janie. “You mean toys?”

“Sure, the old geezer dumps our waste on you, and gets you kids to toe his line, follow his altruistic policies and serve the establishment parents he’s backing. Simple imperialism.”

“Rudy said he’s spotted us. Now what, A-C?” broke in the polar bear.

“Keep her warm, C.B. Only one chance, we’ll have to outrun him to the Pole and hope we can get behind our anti-detection systems. Hold on!”

And that’s how Janie got to see the Other Side of the North Pole. But that’s another story for next Christmas.

–Samuel Edward Konkin III

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Video On Demand. If you like the way I think when I’m not publishing an old friend, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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