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  Texas : Features : Humor : Column - "A Balloon In Cactus"


by Maggie Van Ostrand
Maggie Van Ostrand

Associated Press reports the U.S. Department of Immigration apprehended Santa Claus attempting to illegally enter the United States from Mexico. He was caught maneuvering his sleigh over a fence recently erected by the Border Patrol.

When Santa lived up north, his transportation consisted of eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. Not any more.

After his historic move to Mexico, Santa hired flying burros named Marguerita, Josefina, Maria-Louisa, Esmeralda, Concepcion, Bonita, Carmelita and Lupita. They were stranded on the U.S. side awaiting further instructions.

The AP reports that a ninth burro, Rudolfo With The Nose of Red, accidentally caused Santa's sleigh to get caught when he forgot to put in his contact lenses and failed to see a fence where there had never been a fence before.

As we know, Santa, a cheerful, chubby, bespectacled gent in a fashionable red suit with fur cuffs, appears each year to distribute toys once created in his North Pole workshop, but now made in Mexico. He is ably assisted in this endeavor by dozens of anonymous elves and his long-suffering wife, Evangelina Garcia-Claus.

The Clauses relocated to Mexico in the late 20th Century due to marketing stress from Walmart, always harping for more speed and demanding "newer, better, cheaper." And there was a second reason to move south.

"You just cannot continue at this rate," said Mrs. Claus. "Your blood pressure is already sky high and if you get sick, who will make the toys?" She reminded her absent-minded husband that the elves could not work without direction as their focus was easily disabled by such things as were common at the North Pole: cold toes and runny noses. "Their union rep wants them relocated to a sunny climate and who can say they are wrong?" After contemplating this conversation as Santa always did when his wife remembered to remind him, he vowed to relocate the entire work shop south of the border.

Deciding upon Mexico was relatively easy, although they had once considered Hawaii. They changed their minds because three elves suffered from an allergy to poi, while not a single elf had an allergy to tequila.

There were many things to consider in such a move -- the acquisition of property vast enough to accommodate the woodcarving shop with attendant banding wheels, assorted hammers, screwdrivers, mallets, saws, adequate space for kilns and pottery equipment, another building devoted solely to books, with printing presses and a bindery, sewing frame, and leather storage facilities, additional buildings for the Art Department with drafting tables, airbrushes, palettes and paints, and a separate Barbie section.

There were also the Embroidery, Weaving, and Sewing departments with their diversified looms, and needlework facilities. With population growing at an alarming rate, pinking sheers alone took up an entire wall. Yes, moving south would be an enormous undertaking, admitted Santa to himself.

Realtors managed to find just the right building compound in a secret Mexican location, announced the Claus's public relations rep, who's best known for his outstanding coverage of the Tom Cruise- Katie Holmes wedding. The Mexican property's purchase contract stipulated the villagers not disclose the compound's location to the National Enquirer, the New York Times, or the French paparazzi. Mail addressed to "Santa Claus, North Pole," would be forwarded.

Neither the trusting Santa nor his wife was aware that their activities were being monitored by immigration's Covert Operations. Santa's private phone calls, mail, and movements were carefully noted in Washington's infamous "Stealth Activities" ledger." American authorities had never been suspicious when Santa entered the U.S. from the north but from the south, it was a reindeer of a different color. When a bewildered Santa got stuck on a fence that was never there before, he was summarily detained.

"But," cried Santa through the chain link, "Superman doesn't have a green card or a pilot's license either and you let him in. Why not me?"

"You may not enter," said the supervising agent, patting Santa's deportation papers which were tucked in the pocket of his taco-stained vest, "because you're not registered with any political party and therefore cannot vote. So either fall back now, or we're authorized to dispatch you and your burros to Guantanamo for further questioning. Displeased at the agent's attitude at this time of year, Santa thought for a moment and made his decision.

Santa spoke not a word, but went straight to his sleigh
Checked all the presents, turned his head away
And laying a finger aside of his nose
With a nod to the burros, o'er the fence he rose

He sat straight in his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle
And away they all flew like a NASA-made missile
They heard him exclaim aloud, through the dark
"From London to Baghdad and then Central Park."

As his sleigh rose high to the sky way above
He shouted "The most precious gift is called love.
No fences, no walls, no problems, no fight
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

Copyright Maggie Van Ostrand
"A Balloon In Cactus" >
December 19, 2006 column
Email: maggie@maggievanostrand.com
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