delicately milking mind-altering toxins
from Sonoran Desert toads, RED’s crack journalism team enjoys
avenues of research not available to crappy reporters who can still
handle exposure to strobe lights.
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but not in our
dimension. Earth Beta 12B enjoys that honor.
Time and space exists within layers of realities in which every
possible action and reaction plays out in a mind-boggling number
of alternative worlds.
On Beta 12B, population control remains a high governmental priority.
Queen Ilsa of Hoboken allows her North American minions to partake
of sexual intercourse only on Christmas and for three hours during
the Spring Equinox. They still deck the halls on 12B, but not with
boughs of holly.
The United States on Zulu X.9 seems almost identical to ours. Their
main distinction its that holiday celebrants take “The Twelve
Days of Christmas” a little too seriously.
A foreign journalist reports: “Drug-addled geese just can’t
stop a-laying. Trees creak under the weight of countless partridges.
“The annual Christmas festivities make America an ornithologist’s
wet dream. During a trip through Central Park, I counted 534 calling
birds, 219 French Hens and 116 turtle doves.
“Before today, I didn’t know what a calling bird was.
“Many of these ‘gifts’ lose their charm after
the holiday and are cast away. Homeless animals swarm city sidewalks
looking for ever-disappearing sources of food. Swans have taken
to a-eating pigeons.
“Most disturbing is the nauseating trade of human beings.
Helpless maids are wrenched away from their a-milking and their
families only to be shoved into boxes on the eighth day of Noel.
Professional ‘Lords’ binge on methamphetamines and bouncy
shoes to enhance their chances at leaping auctions.
“Over the din of pipers and drummers, I managed to derive
some joy from this catastrophic celebration. With golden rings being
doled out with such frivolity, I managed to trade a pair of blue
jeans for a small fortune in gold.”
A personal log entry from Beta-Max 5.0 tells an entirely different
“There ought to be something special about this season.
I mean, the season isn’t even given a ridiculous Christian-centric
name. I love Christian-centric names. Look at the snow in the tree
branches and the way it covers the ugly city in a sparkling blanket
of white. It’s almost as if I’m walking in some kind
“Just hear those sleigh bells jingling—ring-ting-tingaling,
too. Everybody seems oblivious to the special feeling in the air.
I hear in some countries, women injure one another with greed in
large retail stores while stampeding to get their hands on cheap,
low-quality DVD players. That would be swell.
“The mall seemed especially empty and cavernous today. What
we really need is some bastardization of a pagan ritual to make
people feel obligated to buy stuff for people whom they don’t
“Where is the tedious, non-stop drone of sugary seasonal music
emanating from mall speakers. I love being driven insane.”
Some worlds dread Christmas. Santa Claus gets horrible press
in Tango 2. It portrays him as an insane recluse and amateur genetic
“Evidence points to Santa’s efforts to breed an
army of super-elves. In the meantime, he uses his ill-gotten riches
to manufacture frightening flying machines, capable of traversing
the globe in a single evening. These sleighs of death could easily
deliver a nuclear warhead anywhere in the world,” President
Donald Rumsfeld said.
“I’m going to dye my hair purple.”
Nougat One, a ship of wayward Hasidic Jews discovered the New World.
Christmas is hardly mentioned. However, they boast a fantastic collection