Twas the Night Before Christmas 2008
after Clement C. Moore
by Jeff Goode
copyright © 2008
(Interrogation room. JIM, a two-bit hood, and TWO POLICE OFFICERS.)
#1. Where were you on the night of the 24th?
Jim. What do I look like, a calendar? How the hell am I supposed to remember where I was on the 24th? Was that a Tuesday? I was probably home. I want my lawyer. This is harassment! I aint sayin nothin.
#2. Its gonna be a quiet night then.
Jim. Quiet as a mouse.
#1. It was Wednesday.
Jim. Wednesday the 24th?
#2. Yeah, where were you?
Jim. Hold on, wait a minute. That was the night before Xmas, right? This is about the toys, isnt it?
#1. We got break-ins all over the city. Top brass is breathin down our necks. Somebodys goin down for this. And unless I hear otherwise, I think youre good for it.
Jim. Okay Maybe I do remember something that can help you with your investigation.
#2. Were all ears.
Jim. But I want immunity. And you gotta get me protection. And I want it in writing, or Im not saying a word.
#1. Listen, I can talk to the D.A. about a deal. But you gotta give us something first. As a show of good faith.
#2. Yeah, good faith. Christmas spirit.
Jim. All right. Off the record.
#1. Off the record, sure.
Jim. It was the night before Christmas, see. And I was at home, like I said. My old lady can alibi me. She was with me the whole time, you ask her. We never left the house.
#2. What about your kids?
Jim. You leave them out of this. They were asleep the whole time!
#1. The whole time what? Youre not gonna be much of a witness if you try to tell us you didnt see nothing.
Jim. Okay, but maybe I heard something. Out on the lawn.
#1. Like what?
Jim. Like a clatter.
#2. What, like a pizza pan?
#1. Let him talk.
Jim. So I go to the window to see whats what, right? And what do you think I saw?
#2. I dont know, what do you think you saw?
Jim. Right there out front, clear as day.
#1. In the middle of the night?
#2. There was a full moon that night, you remember?
#1. Okay, what did you see?
Jim. Maybe I saw a sleigh.
#1. A sleigh?
#2. Didnt we get a 9-1-1 call about a sleigh?
#1. I need a description.
Jim. Late model sleigh. Red, I think, with silver and gold interior. One o those little European compacts. Mini-Boggan, I think they call it.
#1. Did you get a license number?
Jim. No, but this Boggan the one that I saw had eight tiny reindeer pulling it.
Jim. Yeah, reindeer.
#1. What about the driver? Did you get a look at him?
Jim. No, he was too quick. But you get me a line up I can identify every one of those reindeer. There was Dasher. Dancer. Prancer and Vixen.
#1. You know them by name?
Jim. I seen em around the neighborhood. Theyre always hangin around with this old guy.
#2. What old guy?
#1. Hold on, Im writin this down.
Jim. Comet and Cupid. And Donder and Blitzen.
#1. And this old guy you seen them with. Whats his name?
Jim. I think they call him Nick.
#2. Nick the Saint?
Jim. Nick the Saint! Thats him! Thats the guy! I mean could be him. Now are you going to get me my protection?
#2. Holy Christ! Nick the Saint! Chiefs been after him for ages.
#1. Are you sure it was his reindeer?
#2. Then it had to be him was drivin. Who else is gonna be hangin out with his known associates unless its the man himself, or somebody way up in the food chain.
#1. And you can testify it was him driving?
Jim. No way. I told you, I didnt get a good look. Youre gonna have to get one of the reindeer to flip on him cause I cant make a positive ID. Im tellin the truth. They lit out of there so fast it was like eagles in a hurricane.
#1. I see.
Jim. Now can I speak to an attorney?
#1. That wont be necessary. Youre not under arrest.
Jim. Im not?
#1. And you didnt seen nothing.
Jim. I didnt.
#1. So youre free to go.
Jim. No, you cant!
#2. Have a nice holiday.
Jim. No, you cant just let me go. You gotta get me into witness protection.
#1. Well, maybe if I had a witness to protect. But right now all we got is a family man spreadin unsubstantiated rumors about Nick the Saint.
#2. Boy, when word o that gets out on the street, hes not gonna be a family man for long.
Jim. All right, okay. Ill tell you what happened.
#1. I thought you might.
Jim. So I think hes gone, right? But as Im pullin my head back in and turnin around, I hear something up on the roof.
#1. A clatter?
Jim. No, its like prancing and pawing. Like 8 tiny hoofs up there.
#2. You mean 32 hoofs. 8 deer, 4 hoofs: 32 pairs of hoofs.
#1. You mean 16 pairs of hoofs. 32 is 16 pairs.
#2. I thought one hoof was a pair.
#1. You mean like pants?
#2. Yeah, like a pair of pants. Pair of hoofs.
#1. No, I think its just pants that does that.
#2. And hand cuffs.
#1. Yeah, but theres two in a pair of handcuffs.
#2. Two cuffs, one pair of handcuffs.
#1. So whats a pant? Is it like one leg?
Jim. So I run downstairs, cause I realize this guy up on the roof, whoever he is, is about to Mission Impossible his way down my chimney. Which is exactly what he does. By the time I get downstairs, hes standin in the middle of my living room.
#2. But you cant make a positive ID?
Jim. Ill tell you what I know. But I swear I didnt get a very good look.
#1. Go on.
Jim. He was about 56" / 57". Dressed all in fur, head to toe.
#2. Hes wearing fur? And this guys crawling around a chimney?
Jim. I didnt say it was clean. He was covered in ashes and soot. And he had a big bundle of toys slung on his back. He looked like a burglar when he opened his pack.
#2. But you didnt get a good look.
Jim. Maybe a little good.
#1. So he was 57" Eyes?
Jim. He had rosy cheeks. And merry dimples.
#1. So Caucasian. Any other distinguishing marks?
Jim. Nose like a cherry.
#2. Guy with a red nose? Shouldnt be too hard to find.
Jim. He had a broad face and a little round belly.
#1. All right, Im gonna put you with a sketch artist.
Jim. And it shook when he laughed like a bowlful of Jello.
#2. So a funny lookin guy?
Jim. Oh, yeah. I laughed when I saw him, in spite of the danger to myself and my family.
#2. Thats Nick the Saint, all right.
#1. So what happened next?
Jim. He winked at me, and kinda twisted his head. And I took that to mean if I stayed out of his way and didnt cross him, he wasnt gonna kill me.
#2. He told you that?
Jim. No, he didnt say a word. He just went straight to work.
#1. Doing what?
Jim. Filling the stockings.
#2. With what?
#1. So he broke into your house and he left toys.
Jim. Yes. For the kids.
#2. Well, this definitely links him to the toys.
#1. Its enough for a search warrant.
Jim. Then he turns to me again. And Im thinkin: Thats it, now Im dead. This guys gonna cap me right here in my living room and theres nothing I can do about it. But instead, he lays his finger aside of his nose.
#2. Gang signs.
Jim. And just like that up the chimney he goes.
#1. Were gonna have to dust your chimney for prints.
#2. You cant dust a chimney.
Jim. Then he sprang into his sleigh, whistled to his team, and off they go.
#1. And thats it?
Jim. Yes. No, wait. One more thing. I heard him say something, just before he drove out of sight.
#2. Whats that?
Jim. It sounded like
Jim. "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"
#1. (writing) "Happy "?
Jim. "Christmas to all."
#1. (writing) "Christmas to all "
Jim. "And to all a good night."
#2. He didnt say "Merry"? "Merry Christmas"?
Jim. No, "Happy". I remember that. "Happy Christmas."
#1. To all?
Jim. To everybody.
#2. And then hes gone?
Jim. Like the wind.
#1. And thats your story?
#1. All right, well, I just have one more question.
#1. If you were in the living room, and he was on the roof, how did you see him jump in his sleigh?
#2. Yeah, how do you know he whistled?
Jim. Well, um
#2. A guy just broke into your house. With your kids asleep. And all of a sudden youre up on the roof waving "Merry Christmas" to him.
#1. (correcting) "Happy Christmas"
#2. Yeah, not even Merry Christmas. A Happy Christmas.
Jim. Thats what happened.
#1. Your stories full o holes, Toy Man.
Jim. Maybe I wasnt on the roof.
#2. Youre gonna fry for this one.
Jim. No, wait, Ill tell you what really happened
#1. You had your chance. Take him away.
Jim. "Merry Christmas!" He said, "Merry Christmas!"
#1. Youll be Mary when youre serving 8 to 10 in Leavenworth.
#2. Unless youd rather be Gladys.
#1. Get him out of here!
(POLICE OFFICER #2 drags JIM out of the room.)
#1. Heh heh heh. Gladys Christmas.
(FADE TO BLACK.)THIS SCRIPT IS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AND MAY NOT BE DOWNLOADED, TRANSMITTED, PRINTED OR PERFORMED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR
Performed by Jeff Goode, Frank Ensenberger & Joanne Casey.