The Night Before Christmas, 2001
Written by David A. Tarr
Originally published in Omni Magazine (December 1979)
Read by Joe J Thomas
T’was the night before Christmas, and all through my home
Not a creature was stirring, not even my clone.
The test tubes were hung by the burner with care,
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.
The androids were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of mc2 danced in their heads.
My wife in her jumpsuit, and I in my vest,
Had just settled down to some drug-induced rest.
When, out by the labs, there arose such a clatter,
My bed woke me up to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I hastened my mass,
Tore open the blast shields, and threw up the glass.
The refraction of moonlight through smog-ridden air
Gave a luster of midday to everything there.
When what to my bionic eyes should appear
But a mass-driven sleigh with some strange landing gear.
With a quick little pilot, a company man,
Who did what was asked and followed the plan.
More rapid that phantoms his coursers they came,
He impulsed the crewmen, then called them by name.
“Now, Redox! Now, Hewlett!, Now, Quasar and Photon!
“On, Laser! On, Xerox! On, Pulsar and Proton!
“To the top of the dome, by the air intake vent.
“Now dash away quickly before our fuel’s spent.”
So, up to the air vent his coursers they flew,
With a craft full of toys and Saint Nicholas, too.
And then, in a flash, on the dome I did hear
The scratching and scraping of stout landing gear.
I steadied my blaster, my chest to the ground,
And then, through the air vent, he came with a bound.
He was dressed in a three-piece he’d rented near here.
(Why purchase an outfit you wear once a year?)
A life-support system he wore on his back,
While toys for the ‘droids he took out of his pack.
A bottle of synthroid he held in his hand
(He was quite overweight from a poor thyroid gland).
He brought out the toys that department stores sell;
The elves at the Pole could not make them as well.
He checked with the base ship, while doing his work,
And filled all the test tubes, then turned with a jerk.
His anti-grav belt was secure, I suppose,
And, pressing the keys, up the air vent he rose.
He sprang to his craft, to the crew gave a shout;
The ship heaved a shudder, then blasted them out.
But I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good flight!”
A timely piece, Mr. Joe, and well read besides. OMNI magazine. Now that takes me back. I was once an avid reader of “new” sci-fi writer. David Tarr…the name is familiar. Anyone from that era might remember John Varley. He was my friggin’ favorite. Regardless…good work, my friend.
Omni some great articles back in the day, for sure!