The portly man shuffled into the room, the chains that bound his wrists to his feet clanking with each step. He was dressed in an orange jumpsuit and it looked wrong on him. You wouldn’t be able to explain why, but you would know that he should be wearing red, not orange. He took a seat in front of the 3-person panel in the room, scratched his white, bushy beard and peered at the panel from behind his half-moon glasses.
“Good morning,” said a mousey looking person seated in the middle. “My name is Mr. Mouse, but you may call me Mickey. This is Mr. Ronald,” he pointed to a red-haired man dressed in yellow on his left, “and this is Mr. Pilsbury,” he pointed to the final person on the panel, a doughey looking man in a sailor outfit. “For the record,” continued Mickey, “this is the second parole hearing for Mr. Claus, who faces 10 life sentences for selling counterfeit products. The last hearing happened a 100 years ago and it was decided at the time that you did not qualify for a parole since you had not adequately shown remorse for your actions. Today, we will be discussing and ascertaining if anything has changed in that situation. Mr. Claus, your comments?”
“I feel no remorse. I would do it again. I wasn’t and will never allow multi-national corporates to profit off or interfere with my magic. If a child asks me for Lego, they don’t actually mean the brand. They mean building-blocks. And that’s what they’ll get.”
“I see,” said Mickey dryly. “If that is still your position, Mr. Claus, I’m afraid we have no option to deny your parole. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?”
Santa Claus sighed and looked up at the panel. Mickey and his friends were sucking out all of the magic from the world. They had started first by appropriating all of the old tales of the Grimm wizards and of the Norse shamans, and turning them into nothing more than entertainment, movies & toys, destroying all of the magic in them. And, when that hadn’t been enough, they had imprisoned all of the magical creatures. Santa had been the last one to be captured. There was no one coming to save them, save magic and there wasn’t anything he could do about it, except make a plea to his captors.
“Yes. You need to think of the children. That’s my only plea. Think of the children. They deserve presents on Christmas time, the good ones anyway, and every year that I am kept imprisoned, is a year that another generation of children stops believing in magic. And I can’t explain the exact details to you, but we can’t let that happen. There’s already a whole generation that has gone without Santa Claus, don’t let there be another!”
“Noted,” said Mickey, “and if there are no objections from the rest of the parole committee, I move to strike Mr. Claus’ last comments from the record as any reference to magic is protected under the Homeland Security Act.” The others panelists nodded. Mickey continued, “We are denying the parole application for Mr. Claus, until the next hearing in a hundred years. Bailiff, please escort Mr. Claus back to his cell. And Mr. Claus,” Mickey paused and added with a snide, “Merry Christmas.”
The portly man got up and shuffled out of the room, the chains that bound his wrists to his feet clanking with each step. And the world went another year without real Christmas presents and real magic.