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by Spike

'Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period preceding the
annual Yuletide celebration...and throughout our place of residence,
kinetic activity was not in evidence among the possessors of this
potential, including that species of domestic rodent known as Mus
Musculus. Hosiery was meticulously suspended from the forward edge of
the wood-burning caloric apparatus pursuant to our anticipatory pleasure
regarding an imminent visitation from an eccentric philanthropist among
whose folkloric appellations is the honorific title of St. Nicholas.
The pre-pubescent siblings, comfortably ensconced in their respective
accommodations of repose, were experiencing subconscious visual
hallucinations of variegated fruit confections moving rhythmically
through their cerebrums. My conjugal partner and I, attired in our
nocturnal head coverings, were about to take slumbrous advantage of the
hibernal darkness, when upon the avenaceous exterior portion of the
grounds there ascended such a cacophony of dissonance that I felt
compelled to arise with alacrity from my place of repose for the purpose
of ascertaining the precise source thereof. Hastening to the casement,
I forthwith opened the barriers sealing this fenestration, noting
thereupon that the lunar brilliance without, reflected as it was on the
surface of a recent crystalline precipitation, might be said to rival
that of the solar meridian itself, thus permitting my incredulous
optical sensory organs to behold a miniature airborne runnered
conveyance drawn by eight diminutive specimens of the genus Rangifer,
piloted by a miniscule aged chauffeur as ebullient and nimble that it
became instantly apparent to me that he was indeed our anticipated
caller. With his ungulate motive power travelling at what may have been
more vertiginous velocity than patriotic predators, he vociferated
loudly, expelled breath musically through contracted labia, and
addressed each of the octet by his or her respective cognomen, "Now
Dasher, now Dancer," et al., guiding them to the uppermost exterior
level of our abode, through which structure I could readily distinguish
the concatenations of each of the 32 cloven pedal extremities. As I
retracted my cranium from its erstwhile location, and was performing a
1800 pivot, our distinguished visitant achieved, with utmost celerity
and via a downward leap, entry by way of the smoke passage. He was clad
entirely in animal pelts soiled by the ebon residue from oxidations of
carboni-ferrous fuels which had accumulated on the walls thereof. His
resemblance to a street vendor I attributed largely to the plethora of
assorted playthings which he bore dorsally in a commodious cloth
receptacle. His orbs were scintillant with reflected luminosity, while
his submaxillary dermal indentations gave every evidence of engaging
amiability. The capillaries of his malar regions and nasal appurtenance
were engorged with blood which suffused in subcutaneous layers, the
latter that of the prunus avium, or sweet cherry. His amusing sub- and
supra-labials resembled nothing so much as a common loop-knot, and their
ambient hirstute facial adornment appeared like small tabular and
columnar crystals of frozen water.

Clenched firmly between his incisors was a smoking piece whose gray
fumes, forming a tenuous ellipse about his occiput, were suggestive of a
decorative seasonal circlet of holly. His visage was wider than it was
high, and when he waxed audibly mirthful, his corpulent abdominal region
undulated in the manner of impectinated fruit syrup in a hemispherical
container. He was, in short, neither more nor less than an obese,
jocund, multigenarian gnome, the optical perception of whom rendered me
visibly frolicsome, despite every effort to refrain from so being. By
rapidly lowering and then elevating one eyelid and rotating his head
slightly to one side, he indicated that trepidation on my part was

Without utterance and with dispatch, he commenced filling the
afore-mentioned hosiery with various of the articles of merchandise
extracted from his afore-mentioned previously dorsally transported cloth
receptacle. Upon completion of his task, he executed an abrupt
about-face, placed a singular manual digit in lateral juxtaposition to
his olfactory organ, inclined his cranium forward in a gesture of
leave-taking, and forthwith effected his egress by renegotiating, in
reverse, the smoke passage. He then propelled himself in a short vector
onto his conveyance, directed a musical expulsion of air through his
contracted oral sphincter, to the antlered quadrupeds of burden, and
proceeded to soar aloft in a movement hitherto observable chiefly among
the seed-bearing portions of a common weed. But I overheard his parting
exclamation, audible immediately prior to his vehiculation beyond the
limits of visibility, "Ecstatic Yuletide to the planetary constituency, and to that
self-same assemblage, my sincerest wishes for a salubriously beneficial
and gratifyingly pleasurable period between sunset and dawn."


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