The City of Lives

The Truth About St. Nicholas

[Because we were missing several players and the planned adventure required teamwork and the special skills of one of the missing PCs, we instead pulled together a non-canon Christmas-themed dark comedy, in which the players portrayed versions of themselves.]

December 24th, 9 pm, Eastern Standard Time: In the University Place Safeway in Fairbanks, AK, Mindy prepared for the end of her shift, when several of her friends (Jeremy and the visiting Anna and Bill, not to mention her sister Sara) came in last-minute shopping for a Christmas Eve party at Mindy and her husband Emlyn’s house. Recently, copies of local publication “The Truth About St. Nicholas” had filled the store as impulse-buy coffee table books. Abruptly, the lights went out, and the friends heard a strange high-pitched giggling, followed by a bloodcurdling scream. Through extremely hesitant investigation, the friends discovered a deformed little man dressed like one of Santa’s elves, standing over a shopper’s corpse with a bloody butcher knife.

Bill [at this time controlled by his wife Anna] immediately hucked a can of cranberry sauce at the elf’s head, crushing its skull. Shortly, a second elf approached Mindy, Jeremy, and Sara, where they were at Mindy’s floral counter, and it attacked the rack of “Truth About St. Nicholas” books. Mindy and Sara, both terrified by the elf, as it preyed on both of their primal fears, started near-panicking: Mindy fled into her kiosk, while Sara managed to keep it together enough to call 911. Meanwhile, another elf approached Anna, and she appealed to its childlike demeanor to convince it to hand over its bloodstained knife.

Jeremy held it together quite well, and was insistent on leaving immediately out the store’s back door. However, Sara and Bill both wanted to help the other shoppers, and Mindy hadn’t pulled it together well enough to act rationally. The elf took a slash at Sara before running off, and Jeremy tore off his shirt and turned it into a makeshift tourniquet, following Sara’s instructions on how to perform first aid. Sara examined the book the elf had attacked, and found a few facts (or perhaps paranoid ramblings) about “the Truth”:

  • Santa Claus was a cruel taskmaster, having conscripted elves as indentured servants.
  • Santa had an army of killer penguins.
  • Santa was allied with the fierce barbarian clown tribes of northern Europe.
  • Santa had many military contracts, using his flying reindeer and manufacturing weapons.

Jeremy tried to research as well, but the book he picked up had been too far destroyed by the elf to discern anything useful. Mindy overcame her fear and both supplied her friends with makeshift weapons from the floral station and bandaged Sara “properly,” [as Mindy Knows Best and is a Perfectionist]. Bill and Anna approached the rest of their friends, and Bill revealed he knew about the Santa conspiracy, that much of the government money meant to go to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan actually going to Santa, and that the Army and Air Force regularly airlifted fine French cuisine to the elves (that’s all they eat).

At this time, the friends spotted several terrifying creatures smashing their way into the Safeway at the main doors: an undoubtedly evil clown, and a killer penguin (complete with gnashy teeth and a large blood-stained axe). Bill and Anna made an announcement on the PA system, Bill telling the shoppers to stay calm and make their way to the exits, and Anna appealing to the elves’ childlike nature to convince them that they had nothing to fear and no reason to commit violence on the friends. However, not everyone was convinced, and the clown hurled a cream pie into Sara’s face, and she reacted to the acidic, poisoned cream by jumping to the floral counter’s sink and flooding her eyes: “Dilution is the Solution to Pollution.” As the clown approached, he tried to seltzer Bill in the face, only for Bill’s glasses to protect him. Jeremy finally convinced his friends to make their way towards the back door, and they all started that direction. Anna made one final announcement, telling the penguin where it could find the seafood section (and it immediately waddled off in that direction).

Sara collected nuts from the nut bar, collecting them in her shirt and then dumping them all over the ground, as the clown and elf followed her. The clown blinded Anna and Bill with seltzer, but then slipped and fell, his giant floppy feet giving him no purchase on the dumped nuts. Meanwhile, Jeremy, slightly ahead, saw that while one of the elves had completely ransacked the pharmacy, it had distinctly left a basket of candy canes alone. He grabbed a few, hoping that the elves were allergic or reverent towards them.

Sara guided Anna and Bill away from the clown and into the candy aisle, where Anna used her “big-ass purse” to procure tissues to wipe away the seltzer. They were assaulted by the elf, but Jeremy hurled candy canes at it, and it erupted in boils and died of severe anaphylactic shock from the peppermint. The friends made it to the rear of the store, led by Mindy, who knew the store’s layout well. There they spotted a fearsome fat man with a whip, the Jolly Old Elf himself, approaching from the back door, and Mindy ducked into the bathroom. Thinking desperately, she remembered flipping through the “Truth” book and that Santa’s weaknesses were peppermint and flattery.

Santa strode from the back room like an angry colossus, insistent that anyone who had seen the book had to die, attacking Jeremy with his whip (which the nimble weather scientist easily dodged). Coming from the bathroom, Mindy used her long history with Jeremy to communicate silently that he should stab Santa with a candy cane. Sara used her smart phone to photograph Santa and his violence, posting his terrible secret on Facebook. Jeremy utilized his juggling skill to attempt to do so, but failed, and suddenly the killer penguin, stuffed to the gills with king crab, approached and attacked Anna. Bill, driven mad with rage, used his pocket Leatherman to undo an electrical socket and shocked the penguin to death with the electrical wires. Jeremy took a strike from Santa’s whip, but managed to slice him slightly with the candy cane, and Santa began hysterically hacking at his own arm, trying to remove the poisoned appendage. Finally, Bill hurled the penguin’s charred corpse at St. Nick, and the fat man fell to the floor, incapacitated between the waterfowl and the peppermint allergy, and the friends fled out the back door.

There they were met by the US Army, who promised them protection and financial assistance, if they would help maintain the cover-up about the Army’s association with the evil Santa. Bill refused, as his honor as a Marine wouldn’t let him…

Join the friends next time for New Year’s in Guantanamo Bay!

For those interested in the truth about St. Nicholas, please peruse the original work on the subject, “The Secret History of the North Pole” by the inimitable Chris Butler:


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