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Excerpt fromBeneficial Murders
"Rudolph, instead of sending coal to the naughty people for Christmas, Iíll be launching ICBMs. Theyíll be heading south in ten minutes." I slapped my knee. "Haw! Everything is south from here."
Rudolphís red nose glowed bright. "Sir, we have nuclear missiles? Nuclear missiles? How did we acquire nuclear missiles?"
"My furry friend, what do you think my elves build in their workshop every January and February? They do a good job. Every one of my missiles can strike anywhere in the world." My hands traced a blossoming mushroom cloud.
Rudolph shook his antlers. "No sir, donít do it. I take great pride in guiding your sleigh every year. You know how you love giving gifts to all the nice kids. Maybe you are just having bi-polar issues."
"No," I said, "Iíve been taking my meds."
"Santa, Sir, things are not so bad," said Rudolph, "you shouldnít be so cranky."
"So cranky. So cranky," I said. "I have great reason to be cranky. The Elves are on strike, demanding I stop outsourcing jobs to India. I might have to move to the South Pole because of global warming. Mrs. Claus has gone to Peru to get in touch with her inner self and Prancer has just come out of the closet."
Rudolph nuzzled me. "Still, thatís no reason to nuke the world."
I sighed. "No, my friend, thatís not the real reason. I used to put "caught being good" marks by most peopleís names whenever I spied on them. Now people for whatever reasonĖ-drinking skim milk maybeĖ-design perpetually jamming printers and fire surface-to-air missiles at anything that flies by. Why, last Christmas, I couldnít even fly my sleigh through the night skies without a little F-16 escort from my friends at NORAD."
"Oh," said Rudolph, "I think youíre exaggerating. Iíll bet there a lot more nice people than naughty."
"Oh yeah," I said. I turned on my Little JohnnyTM computer and brought up my Santaís Naughty or NiceTM software. I pointed toward the monitor. "Look, look. Over four billion people are naughty and fewer than two billion are nice."
Rudolph did peruse the screen. Indeed, many more naughty acts were being caught than good ones by my extensive global network of satellites.
As Rudolph said nothing, I continued. "If people want any more presents from me, heck, if they want merely not to be nuked, Iím going to need to find at least as many nice folks as naughty by Christmas Eve. But I doubt if I can. Thatís why Iíve set the launch times."
"Wonít you miss the milk and cookies that the good little boys and girls will give?" asked Rudolph. "Can you really break their little hearts? Substituting nuclear winter for seasonal snow?"