Archives for posts with tag: parody

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The Night Before Christmas

by Raymond Chandler as told to CJ Ciaramella

It was the night before Christmas, when I first saw the red man. I was settled in my chair in the midst of a long bourbon nap, hand still clutching a highball glass of the stuff, when I heard a clatter, like a body tumbling down a flight of stairs.

I sat up in the chair to see what was the matter. The room was dark, save for the glow of Christmas lights on the tiny tree by the window. At first I thought it was nothing but a dream, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but the outline of a heavyset man creeping slowly out of the fireplace and into the room.

Then I thought about my gat, but it was in my suit coat, which was hanging by the doorway with care.

I sized him up as he moved closer. He was about six-foot-even, dressed from head to toe in a heavy red suit, like some two-bit hustler. His face was hidden under a thick, white beard. Under the suit I could see he was a big man. His belly jiggled like a bowl of jelly as he crept through the apartment. He moved quiet for his size and age. He had a big bag slung over his shoulder. I pegged him for a professional cat burglar or something.

He was halfway to the Christmas tree by the window when he spied me sitting in the chair. We had a nice, quiet moment where we considered each other’s presence.

“Expected me to be in the bedroom, I’m guessing,” I said. “What’s in the bag, Mac?”

He turned his head and laid his finger aside his nose with an impish grin. I stood up slowly from the chair and put the glass on the table.

“Okay, funny guy,” I said. “Okay.”

I went for the coat. He was on me as quick as a flash, awful fast for a big man. The bag clocked me in the back of the head as I reached the coat. Lights popped behind my eyes, and stars and sugar-plums and other silly things danced in front of them.

When I could see straight again, the red man was hoisting me to my feet. He spoke not a word, but went straight to work, planting one of his big, gloved mitts in my stomach, which doubled me over, and another on my chin to straighten me out. Then he tossed me, casually as he probably tossed that bag around, across the room.

“Merry Christmas, shamus,” the red man said real jolly like, throwing me a wrapped package from his bag as I sprawled on the floor. “Have a swell night.”

“How about next time just mail a card,” I said, rubbing my jaw.

He ignored that, walked over to the table, drank my bourbon, and walked out my door, leaving it swinging open.

The package was addressed to me from “St. Nick.” The name meant nothing to me. Inside was a new hat and an emptiness that only gift boxes on dark, solitary nights possess.

I put the tag in my pocket, the hat on a hook, closed the door, and poured another couple fingers of bourbon into the glass. Sat in the chair and waited for dawn or sleep, whichever found me first.

###

CJ Ciaramella has written for the Washington Free Beacon, The AwlThe Daily Caller, the San Diego Union-TribuneThe Weekly Standard, the Oregon Daily Emerald, the Oregon Quarterly and the Oregon Commentator, among others.

Illustration: Sodahead

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A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS IN THE HEMINGWAY MANNER
New Yorker Story
(Dec, 24, 1927)
by James Thurber

It was the night before Christmas. The house was very quiet. No creatures were stirring in the house. There weren’t even any mice stirring. The stockings had been hung carefully by the chimney. The children hoped that Saint Nicholas would come and fill them.
 
The children were in their beds. Their beds were in the room next to ours. Mamma and I were in our beds. Mamma wore a kerchief. I had my cap on. I could hear the children moving. We didn’t move. We wanted the children to think we were asleep.

“Father,” the children said.

There was no answer. He’s there, all right, they thought.

“Father,” they said, and banged on their beds.

“What do you want?” I asked.

“We have visions of sugarplums,” the children said.

“Go to sleep,” said mamma.

“We can’t sleep,” said the children. They stopped talking, but I could hear them moving. They made sounds.

“Can you sleep?” asked the children.

“No,” I said.

“You ought to sleep.”

“I know. I ought to sleep.”

“Can we have some sugarplums?”

“You can’t have any sugarplums,” said mamma.

“We just asked you.”

There was a long silence. I could hear the children moving again.

“Is Saint Nicholas asleep?” asked the children.

“No,” mamma said. “Be quiet.”

“What the hell would he be asleep tonight for?” I asked.

“He might be,” the children said.

“He isn’t,” I said.

“Let’s try to sleep,” said mamma.

The house became quiet once more. I could hear the rustling noises the children made when they moved in their beds.

Out on the lawn a clatter arose. I got out of bed and went to the window. I opened the shutters; then I threw up the sash. The moon shone on the snow. The moon gave the lustre of mid-day to objects in the snow. There was a miniature sleigh in the snow, and eight tiny reindeer. A little man was driving them. He was lively and quick. He whistled and shouted at the reindeer and called them by their names. Their names were Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen.

He told them to dash away to the top of the porch, and then he told them to dash away to the top of the wall. They did. The sleigh was full of toys.

“Who is it?” mamma asked.

“Some guy,” I said. “A little guy.”

I pulled my head in out of the window and listened. I heard the reindeer on the roof. I could hear their hoofs pawing and prancing on the roof.

“Shut the window,” said mamma.

I stood still and listened.

“What do you hear?”

“Reindeer,” I said. I shut the window and walked about. It was cold. Mamma sat up in the bed and looked at me.

“How would they get on the roof?” mamma asked.

“They fly.”

“Get into bed. You’ll catch cold.”

Mamma lay down in bed. I didn’t get into bed. I kept walking around.

“What do you mean, they fly?” asked mamma.

“Just fly is all.”

Mamma turned away toward the wall. She didn’t say anything.

I went out into the room where the chimney was. The little man came down the chimney and stepped into the room. He was dressed all in fur. His clothes were covered with ashes and soot from the chimney. On his back was a pack like a peddler’s pack. There were toys in it. His cheeks and nose were red and he had dimples. His eyes twinkled. His mouth was little, like a bow, and his beard was very white. Between his teeth was a stumpy pipe. The smoke from the pipe encircled his head in a wreath. He laughed and his belly shook. It shook like a bowl of red jelly. I laughed. He winked his eye, then he gave a twist to his head. He didn’t say anything.

He turned to the chimney and filled the stockings and turned away from the chimney. Laying his finger aside his nose, he gave a nod. Then he went up the chimney. I went to the chimney and looked up. I saw him get into his sleigh. He whistled at his team and the team flew away. The team flew as lightly as thistledown. The driver called out, “Merry Christmas and good night.” I went back to bed.

“What was it?” asked mamma. “Saint Nicholas?” She smiled.

“Yeah,” I said.

She sighed and turned in the bed.

“I saw him,” I said.

“Sure.”

“I did see him.”

“Sure you saw him.” She turned farther toward the wall.

“Father,” said the children.

“There you go,” mamma said. “You and your flying reindeer.”

“Go to sleep,” I said.

“Can we see Saint Nicholas when he comes?” the children asked.

“You got to be asleep,” I said. “You got to be asleep when he comes. You can’t see him unless you’re unconscious.”

“Father knows,” mamma said.

I pulled the covers over my mouth. It was warm under the covers. As I went to sleep I wondered if mamma was right.

NoteErnest Hemingway came to prominence in 1926 with the publication of his novel The Sun Also Rises. By Christmas of 1927, the book — and Hemingway’s style — had gained enough renown to inspire Thurber’s Yuletide parody.

Illustration: New Yorker cover (Dec. 24, 1927) by Andre de Schaub

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A CHRISTMAS CAROL RETOLD IN THE MANNER OF ERNEST HEMINGWAY

By New Street Communications

1: Marley’s Ghost

Marley was dead to begin with. Ten years dead. He had carried every weight the world could lay upon a man, but in the end he died all the same – in fact, made his own exit in his own time – and did so without complaint. He wanted more. There was none. And so he departed. He was cold in the ground, his eyes closed to all things, his feet pointed east.

Scrooge no more thought of his old friend, however, than he did of his second divorce or of the time (on a Christmas Eve, just like this) at Havana’s Floridita when he’d matched drinks one-for-one with a man who was a coward. Each downed glass after glass of rum; neither got drunk. The coward, who claimed to be a good Catholic, was long gone. Over the course of six decades, one left much behind and could count many graves. But, if one was honest and unflinching, he understood that there was no tragedy in this.

The snows of Idaho were as beautiful as they were silent. Light from the full moon fell across the Big Wood River. Sprays of pine rose with great dignity amid the white of the valley and the white of the distant Boulder Mountains. Cottonwoods stood naked. Trail Creek, Warm Springs Creek, Silver Creek and even the river itself lay frozen on their surfaces…

BOOK DESCRIPTION (FROM AMAZON): Ketchum, Idaho – Christmas, 1959: Blizzard-bound, Ernest Hemingway occupies himself with wine and prose, recreating his own rendition of Charles Dickens’s classic A Christmas Carol. The story he spins carries echoes of himself. Afflicted by depression and concern over what he feels are his failing artistic powers, he reaches back to a timeless story of renewal, and to memory, to kindle a sense of joy and redemption. (Note: The book is 48 pages in length.)

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‘TWAS THE DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING

by Greg Caggiano

‘Twas the day after Thanksgiving, it has come at last
The memories of yesterday’s feast, they are all in the past
Getting up at midnight to do your shopping
The blood vessels in your eyes are sure to be popping

The turkey you ate, it has not even been digested
And you know hundreds of morons will soon be arrested
Rush your family out of the house, you need to get your rest
Will you become immersed in Black Friday madness, the ultimate test?

Who really cares about Thanksgiving, it’s just an ordinary day
The pilgrims who we celebrate, they were murderers anyway
So come on, get your wallet, and fill it with cash
5 a.m shopping at Wal-Mart is going to be a bash!

When you cannot buy your favorite items, you are filled with sorrow
You’re too dumb to realize, they’ll be there tomorrow
You lash out at the cashier, you attack your loved ones
A barbarian you look like, even to Attila and his Huns

Running through the store you go, a maniac with a cart
Like a killer you pounce, with a black hole for a heart
In the sporting goods section, someone was strangled with a fishing net
Hey, it beats getting run over by a shopping cart in Target

Every store offers such great discounts
In hospitals and trauma centers, the number of wounded amounts
People just don’t understand, this is the American way
Destroy all that you want, just make sure that you pay

The stores open so early, they call it “Moonlight Madness”
The crazed psycho shoppers fill me with sadness
Trampled to death someone will be
As they always are, by a 400-pound woman who has a bum knee

When you get to the checkout line, you realize the store told a lie
Remember when you came through the turnstiles wondering if you were going to die?
But you don’t care, you got what you came for
Just make sure to get dad’s gift at the discount liquor store

The Macy’s Parade, you had watched it the day before
When all you wanted to do was shop, my, what a bore!
You come home late at night, and watch the news reports of all the shoppers that died
But you got your child the latest toy, and are more than satisfied

Pretty soon, it will be the Christmas season
We have to call it the “Holidays”, for a non-offensive reason
A month later, the stockings will be hung by the chimney with care
As I hope the apocalypse soon will be there

Note: Reblogged from gcaggiano.wordpress.com

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Zen Yo-Yo
by Tom Robbins 

Brown spider dangling
from a single strand.
Up down, up down: 
Zen yo-yo.

Photo: O. Takizawa, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Note: This haiku and several others appear in Wild Ducks Flying Backward: The Short Writings of Tom Robbins (Bantam, 2005).

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The Night Before Christmas

by Raymond Chandler as told to CJ Ciaramella

It was the night before Christmas, when I first saw the red man. I was settled in my chair in the midst of a long bourbon nap, hand still clutching a highball glass of the stuff, when I heard a clatter, like a body tumbling down a flight of stairs.

I sat up in the chair to see what was the matter. The room was dark, save for the glow of Christmas lights on the tiny tree by the window. At first I thought it was nothing but a dream, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but the outline of a heavyset man creeping slowly out of the fireplace and into the room.

Then I thought about my gat, but it was in my suit coat, which was hanging by the doorway with care.

I sized him up as he moved closer. He was about six-foot-even, dressed from head to toe in a heavy red suit, like some two-bit hustler. His face was hidden under a thick, white beard. Under the suit I could see he was a big man. His belly jiggled like a bowl of jelly as he crept through the apartment. He moved quiet for his size and age. He had a big bag slung over his shoulder. I pegged him for a professional cat burglar or something.

He was halfway to the Christmas tree by the window when he spied me sitting in the chair. We had a nice, quiet moment where we considered each other’s presence.

“Expected me to be in the bedroom, I’m guessing,” I said. “What’s in the bag, Mac?”

He turned his head and laid his finger aside his nose with an impish grin. I stood up slowly from the chair and put the glass on the table.

“Okay, funny guy,” I said. “Okay.”

I went for the coat. He was on me as quick as a flash, awful fast for a big man. The bag clocked me in the back of the head as I reached the coat. Lights popped behind my eyes, and stars and sugar-plums and other silly things danced in front of them.

When I could see straight again, the red man was hoisting me to my feet. He spoke not a word, but went straight to work, planting one of his big, gloved mitts in my stomach, which doubled me over, and another on my chin to straighten me out. Then he tossed me, casually as he probably tossed that bag around, across the room.

“Merry Christmas, shamus,” the red man said real jolly like, throwing me a wrapped package from his bag as I sprawled on the floor. “Have a swell night.”

“How about next time just mail a card,” I said, rubbing my jaw.

He ignored that, walked over to the table, drank my bourbon, and walked out my door, leaving it swinging open.

The package was addressed to me from “St. Nick.” The name meant nothing to me. Inside was a new hat and an emptiness that only gift boxes on dark, solitary nights possess.

I put the tag in my pocket, the hat on a hook, closed the door, and poured another couple fingers of bourbon into the glass. Sat in the chair and waited for dawn or sleep, whichever found me first.

###

CJ Ciaramella is currently a reporter for The Washington Free Beacon. He has written for The AwlThe Daily Caller, the San Diego Union-TribuneThe Weekly Standard, the Oregon Daily Emerald, the Oregon Quarterly and the Oregon Commentator, among others.

Illustration: Sodahead

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Credit: New Yorker cartoon by Leo Cullum

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A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS IN THE HEMINGWAY MANNER

New Yorker Story

(Dec, 24, 1927)

by James Thurber

It was the night before Christmas. The house was very quiet. No creatures were stirring in the house. There weren’t even any mice stirring. The stockings had been hung carefully by the chimney. The children hoped that Saint Nicholas would come and fill them.
 
The children were in their beds. Their beds were in the room next to ours. Mamma and I were in our beds. Mamma wore a kerchief. I had my cap on. I could hear the children moving. We didn’t move. We wanted the children to think we were asleep.

“Father,” the children said.

There was no answer. He’s there, all right, they thought.

“Father,” they said, and banged on their beds.

“What do you want?” I asked.

“We have visions of sugarplums,” the children said.

“Go to sleep,” said mamma.

“We can’t sleep,” said the children. They stopped talking, but I could hear them moving. They made sounds.

“Can you sleep?” asked the children.

“No,” I said.

“You ought to sleep.”

“I know. I ought to sleep.”

“Can we have some sugarplums?”

“You can’t have any sugarplums,” said mamma.

“We just asked you.”

There was a long silence. I could hear the children moving again.

“Is Saint Nicholas asleep?” asked the children.

“No,” mamma said. “Be quiet.”

“What the hell would he be asleep tonight for?” I asked.

“He might be,” the children said.

“He isn’t,” I said.

“Let’s try to sleep,” said mamma.

The house became quiet once more. I could hear the rustling noises the children made when they moved in their beds.

Out on the lawn a clatter arose. I got out of bed and went to the window. I opened the shutters; then I threw up the sash. The moon shone on the snow. The moon gave the lustre of mid-day to objects in the snow. There was a miniature sleigh in the snow, and eight tiny reindeer. A little man was driving them. He was lively and quick. He whistled and shouted at the reindeer and called them by their names. Their names were Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen.

He told them to dash away to the top of the porch, and then he told them to dash away to the top of the wall. They did. The sleigh was full of toys.

“Who is it?” mamma asked.

“Some guy,” I said. “A little guy.”

I pulled my head in out of the window and listened. I heard the reindeer on the roof. I could hear their hoofs pawing and prancing on the roof.

“Shut the window,” said mamma.

I stood still and listened.

“What do you hear?”

“Reindeer,” I said. I shut the window and walked about. It was cold. Mamma sat up in the bed and looked at me.

“How would they get on the roof?” mamma asked.

“They fly.”

“Get into bed. You’ll catch cold.”

Mamma lay down in bed. I didn’t get into bed. I kept walking around.

“What do you mean, they fly?” asked mamma.

“Just fly is all.”

Mamma turned away toward the wall. She didn’t say anything.

I went out into the room where the chimney was. The little man came down the chimney and stepped into the room. He was dressed all in fur. His clothes were covered with ashes and soot from the chimney. On his back was a pack like a peddler’s pack. There were toys in it. His cheeks and nose were red and he had dimples. His eyes twinkled. His mouth was little, like a bow, and his beard was very white. Between his teeth was a stumpy pipe. The smoke from the pipe encircled his head in a wreath. He laughed and his belly shook. It shook like a bowl of red jelly. I laughed. He winked his eye, then he gave a twist to his head. He didn’t say anything.

He turned to the chimney and filled the stockings and turned away from the chimney. Laying his finger aside his nose, he gave a nod. Then he went up the chimney. I went to the chimney and looked up. I saw him get into his sleigh. He whistled at his team and the team flew away. The team flew as lightly as thistledown. The driver called out, “Merry Christmas and good night.” I went back to bed.

“What was it?” asked mamma. “Saint Nicholas?” She smiled.

“Yeah,” I said.

She sighed and turned in the bed.

“I saw him,” I said.

“Sure.”

“I did see him.”

“Sure you saw him.” She turned farther toward the wall.

“Father,” said the children.

“There you go,” mamma said. “You and your flying reindeer.”

“Go to sleep,” I said.

“Can we see Saint Nicholas when he comes?” the children asked.

“You got to be asleep,” I said. “You got to be asleep when he comes. You can’t see him unless you’re unconscious.”

“Father knows,” mamma said.

I pulled the covers over my mouth. It was warm under the covers. As I went to sleep I wondered if mamma was right.

Editor’s Note: Ernest Hemingway came to prominence in 1926 with the publication of his novel The Sun Also Rises. By Christmas of 1927, the book — and Hemingway’s style — had gained enough renown to inspire Thurber’s Yuletide parody.

Illustration: New Yorker cover (Dec. 24, 1927) by Andre de Schaub