combat writing badge C O M B A T
the Literary Expression of Battlefield Touchstones
ISSN 1542-1546 Volume 06 Number 01 Winter ©Jan 2008

The Terrible Incident at the North Pole

"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus ... Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."
by Francis Pharcellus Church [The Sun editorial (21 September 1897) in reply to a letter from Virginia O'Hanlon]

          The sled dogs had somehow gotten loose and joined the havoc. Some huskies were squabbling over parts of dead elves, while others were feasting on reindeer carcasses. Dasher and Prancer were still staggering around with entrails dragging, trying to gore one of the nimble dogs, but their deaths were inevitable – just like Comet and Blitzen and all the others. Rudolph, with his nose so bright, had been immediately hit by an RPG, as was Santa's sleigh – torn wrappings and ribbons, shattered toys and gifts lay strewn about, an alien litter almost more devastating than the carnage itself. It was a terrible desecration.

          Color it crystal clear and sparkling bright.

          Two terrorists stood over Donner, arguing about the distinction between caribou and reindeer – they were used to arguing about the finer points of doctrine without any basis or substance, convinced that their devout opinion and cherished conviction was sufficient persuasion. Such bigotry had inspired others to conquer vast territory, so their ambition to rule the whole world was not untenable, at least in their own cosmology. Their disagreement was only pro forma – in another time and place, like the Americans and Russians they loathed, they'd be complaining about food or women or sports – but their enmity was focused, if only temporarily spent.

          Color them black.

          The story could be read in the frozen blood that painted the snow. It could also be read in the detritus scattered by ruthless commandos, careless of effect, intent upon their objective. All of the structures were dilapidated and exposed to the elements. Santa's workshop was, quite simply, trashed – nothing worthwhile was salvageable. The Christmas kitchen was utterly destroyed with sugar and flour mixing indistinguishably with drifting snow, so white and clean in many places, so tainted in others. Candy canes were unspeakably striped. Colored sprinkles mixed indiscriminately with ice crystals while chocolate chips were scattered among the moose pellets. A disarticulated baby doll, torn and ragged, was propped up beside a one-eyed lop-eared teddy bear in a serendipitous tableau that made them witnesses to this obscene vivisection. A solitary raven, the traditional prankster of arctic climes, hovered in the pale sky above this defilement, as if in command. Faraway satellites also watched, but no one in charge noticed. Good people had always been hostages to radicals, regardless of their excuses, and this was just another episode in the decline that had befallen this remote outpost of Americanism.

          Color us white.

          Most of the elves had died bravely at their posts, dedicated and diligent to the end. A few had tried to resist, but toys were no threat to genuine weapons, and improvised barricades were no match for modern armaments. Although riddled, Mrs. Claus had probably suffocated in an avalanche of cookies. Santa, in his stocking feet and still clutching his old pipe, had been decapitated by the mullah commanding the lead assault force. That smiling countenance, representing the Evil Empire of Extravagance, would never more send forth a hearty "Ho, Ho, Ho!" in greetings of the season. The severed head of this secular god of infidel America would be paraded for the delight of the faithful as proof that Allah was great – the greatest! These righteous soldiers would praise Him far and wide by slaughtering the giaour!

          Although the intelligence services of the various departments, from DHS and DoD to DoS and CIA, had alerted the nation to a probable attack, escalating the readiness level and curtailing military leave, the repeated cry of wolf had dulled everyone's attention – the warnings had become more of an inconvenience than a valid prediction of vague harm that no one could isolate. The politicians had milked the Cold War for decades, keeping the pot stirred and everyone upset in anticipation of re-election to pork barrel ripoffs – and then one day, when nobody was looking, the threat vanished. But these medieval zealots were too primitive to be ignored and too rich to be co-opted. They were too unsophisticated to comprehend the back-scratching of go along to get along realpolitik, so the Great Consumer Society might actually have to change a few of its habits before this little annoyance – a trifling sand flea nip – could be forced to disappear.

          Color us pink.

          In the North Pole region, for example, the reservists were called to duty and the bases were locked down, but nobody expected a dog sled assault on an innocent target – and until Christmas Eve, nobody realized that the strike had been so effective. Instead of awakening to a glut of presents crammed under decorative trees, all of Christendom awoke from sugar plum dreams to the grotesque display of Santa's head in Mecca! Intercontinental missiles and stealth bombers were useless against a fanatic Islamist wielding a jambiya! While we had big ticket Star War fantasies, they had visions of Muhammad riding down the kafirs on his white horse – bloody sword in hand! These bathrobe-wearing camel jockeys were trying to turn our most reverent celebration into a travesty, turn our merrymaking festivities into a horrible spectacle, turn our dreams of green into a nightmare of red!

          Color us blue.

          Having beached under the cover of fog amidst the clutter of ice flows, trekking inland to their objective, their departure was as inconspicuous as their arrival. A pale moonlight illuminated their operations, but they were too far under the radar for the gadget hunters to even suspect their nefarious activities. Although they yearned for martyrdom, their discipline was enviable – they would live to fight another day, they would have another chance at paradise. This commando contingent, shrouded in secrecy and operationally undetected, could teach the braggarts of America's finest alot about technique. And if they refused to learn, then they too would become true believers – terminally convinced!

          Color them crimson.

          America had begun as a Land of Opportunity, but somewhere along the evolution that all peoples undertake, its live and let live brotherhood had become a license – freedom was just another word for no limits. And the privilege of do your own thing had become the grossest vulgarity in every form of indulgence and manner of excess. We had not only lost our perspective but lost our compassion – and we had no idea why the rest of the world hated us. For the sole superpower, it was an amazing accomplishment – the Leader of the Free World went from the most beloved to the most detested in a single generation! Our immorality would be laughable if it weren't so pathetic. Our gluttonous profiteering had developed an international killing machine so efficient, so implacable, so relentless that our enemies preferred suicide to coexistence.

          Color us green.

          Our solution to this dilemma is to build a better bunker while fighting unpopular wars as cheaply as possible. Our adversary's solution is to let the final battle – what the People of the Book call Armageddon – begin here. They believe it is God's will, so they praise the Lord! Annuit coeptis.

          Color us yellow.

"And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day: And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst."
Amos 8:9-13 KJV Bible

by Achill Kerne
... who is a combat disabled veteran and freelance writer of enigmatic works published in obscure literary magazines, evanescent chapbooks, and other cultural ephemera; his home is a haven to wildings, host to misfits, and hostel to other societal detritus.

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