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Black Lamb

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Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.

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Keep Christmas like Cratchit or die!

December 1st, 2004

dickenscaricature.jpgBY GREG ROBERTS

We sat in the airport lounge and ordered two seven-dollar draft beers. “I’ll be glad when this whole Christmas thing is over,” Dick said. “So senseless. I’m drained by all the fuss.”

“But Nat King Cole ways ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year,’” I told him. “Don’t fight it. Enjoy the celebration.”

“No, I can’t. I hate being forced to buy someone a goddamn electric fruit leather maker because it’s the only thing they don’t have.”

“You poor bastard, you’re doomed to live in a rich country where you’re overwhelmed with goodies. Instead of the fruit leather machine, maybe you should buy lobsters or a bottle of Armagnac. Nobody has Armagnac.”

“It’s not just the stupid gifts. It’s the Jesus angle — the whole religious thing is ugly. I just want it over.”

“I don’t understand you. You flew to Nepal and got ecstatic over some starving religious fanatics parading through the streets with snake masks. And you came back with red welts on your ass from jungle leeches. That’s bullshit.”

“It’s not bullshit, it’s discovering another culture.”

“It’s bullshit. The Buddhists are just as stupid as ten thousand Mexicans worshipping a tortilla that looks like the Virgin of Guadalupe. And that reminds me, you went down to Puerto Vallarta at Easter and celebrated with the most fanatical Jesus freaks this side of the nailed-up Filipinos. Is there any consistency at all in your thinking?”

“You don’t understand. Our Christmas is a bunch of white-bread Billy Graham types trimming their gables with lights and swilling hot toddies. And staring at each other’s wives. It’s lame.”

“You knucklehead. The Mexicans are swilling tequila and staring at each other’s wives. What’s the diff?”

“I can’t explain it, but I feel it. Christmas sucks.”

“It sucks for you because you’re brainwashed. You went to Berkeley in ’69, and they turned you against everything but Mao and Che. You see a guy walking out of a Walmart with a string of Christmas tree lights, and you want to shoot him.”

“You’re right. I would like to shoot him, because he’s a fat ass who has too much, and the rest of the world has so little, and he doesn’t give a damn.”

“Okay, then, so he doesn’t buy the tree lights. That means the Chinaman who makes the lights goes back to his hut and eats dog guts for Christmas. Is that what you want?”

“Listen, why are you defending this Christmas crap? You know it’s hokey. You haven’t been to church in thirty years!”

“I defend it because the alternative is worse. Anti-religious zealots are going nuts in this country. They are sick iconoclasts. They are filled with loathing for themselves and their culture.”

“Please, not the ACLU thing. Please don’t talk about the lawyers in gray ponytails and the L.A. county seal.”

“They won the case! They got the cross removed from the county logo. Like it or not, the name of this town is Nuestra Señora Reina de los Angeles. The founders of this place named it for the Virgin Mary. Here’s one agnostic who says leave it alone, you godless assholes. You can’t turn L.A. into a Stalingrad.”

“Fat chance. It’s more likely that Ashcroft will be rounding us up and forcing us to go to church.”

“Right. All the paranoid intellectuals have been saying that for years, even though it hasn’t happened since 1960. Fine, don’t listen to me. Do what you want. Hate Christmas. Be an existentialist. Maybe you should read more Sartre and Artaud. Nothing matters, right?”

“You know I’m not like that. I’m an up guy. You’re talking about a death trip.”

“Bingo. I can name a thousand of them — Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison — all choking on their own vomit. Not too Christmassy — the idiots. I remember the Christmas when an acquaintance, Terry McGovern, checked out of this world. She was hanging out with the cool hipsters in Madison, partying down, wondering what the hell it all meant, and they found her body in the snow in an alley outside a bar. Looks bad for you, George. You were so busy flashing the peace sign you didn’t notice your daughter offing herself in the snow.”

“She was an alky. She died. What the hell does that have to do with Christmas?”

“Everything, dickbrain. Read Dickens. 1843. It’s all there.”

“I gotta go. Happy solstice, you pin-headed Pat Robertson moron.”

“Happy solstice, happy Hannukah, have a krazy Kwaanza. And most of all, Merry Christmas, you godless gob of monkey meat.” •

Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Christmas Issue, Roberts | Link to this Entry

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