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The Nocturnal Segment Preceding Yuletide
by Anonymous
art by Sherry Ashley
Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period preceding the annual
Yuletide celebration, and throughout our place of residence,
Kinetic activity was not in evidence among possessors of the potential,
Including that species of domestic rodent known as Mus Musculus

Hosiery was meticulously suspended from the foremost perimenter of the
Woodburning caloric apparatus pursuant to our anticipatory pleasure
Regarding an imminent visitation from an eccentric philanthropist among
Whose folkloric appellations is the honorific title of St. Nicholas

The prepubescent siblings were comfortably ensconced in their particular
Accommodations of subliminal repose and relaxation,
As subconscious hallucinations of variegated fruit confections moving
Rhythmically through their respective cerebrums were made manifest.

My conjugal partner and I, attired in our nocturnal head coverings, were
About to take advantage of the hibernal darkness when suddenly, upon
The avenaceous exterior portion of the surrounding grounds, there ascended
A cacophony of dissonance sufficient to induce anxiety and apprehension.

The decibelic intensity was such, I felt compelled to arise with alacrity
From my place of repose to ascertain the precise source thereof.
Hastening to the casement, I forthwith opened the barriers sealing this
Fenestration and perceived thereupon the lunar brilliance without.

Said brilliance, reflecting on the surface of a crystalline downfall of
Frigid precipitation, might be said to rival that of the solar meridian.
The reflection, aforementioned, permitted my incredulous optical sensory
Organs to behold a miniature airborne runnered structure of conveyance.

It was dawn by eight diminutive specimens of the genus Ranigifer and was
Piloted by a miniscule, aged chauffeur so ebullient and nimble that it
Became instantly apparent that he was indeed our anticipated caller
Arriving in the Nick of time (if I may beg propitiation for the pun).

With his ungulate motive power traveling at what may have been more
Vertiginous velocity than patriotic predators, he vociferated loudly,
Expelled breath musically through contracted labia, and addressed each of
The octet by his or her cognomen: "Now Dasher, now Dancer..." et al.

He guided them to the uppermost exterior level of our abode through which
Structure I could readily distinguish the concatenation of two-to-the-fifth
Cloven pedal extremities. Forthwith, I retracted my cranium from its
Erstwhile location and performed a one-hundred-eighty degree pivot.

With utmost celerity, our distinguished visitant achieved entry by way of
The smoke passage via a gingerly executed downward leap.
He was clad in animal pelts soiled by the ebon residue from oxidations of
Carboniferous fuels which had accumulated upon the walls thereof.

I attributed his resemblance to a street vendor largely to the plethora of
Assorted playthings which he bore dorsally in a commodious cloth reticule.
His orbs were scintillant with reflected luminousity while his submaxillary
Dermal indentations gave every indication of engaging amiability.

The capillaries of his malar and nasal appurtenance were engorged with
Blood which suffused the subcutaneous layers thereof.
The former approximated the coloration of Albion's floral emblem while
The latter was reminiscent of the Prunus Avium or sweet cheer.

His sub- and supralabials resembled nothing so much as a common loop knot
And his ambient hirsute facial adornment appeared likened unto small
Tabular and columnar crystals of frozen water. clenched firmly between his
Incisors was a smoking piece, gray fumes from which formed a tenuous ellipse.

The latter encircled his occiput in a manner such that would suggest a
Decorative seasonal circlet of holly. His visage was wider than it was
High and when he waxed audibly mirthful his corpulent abdominal region
Undulated like impectinated fruit syrup in a hemispherical container.

He was, in summary, neither more nor less than an obese, jocund, multigenerian
Gnome, the optical perception of whom rendered me risibly frolicsome
Despite all concerted efforts to refrain from being so. He rapidly lowered,
Then elevated one eyelid as he rotated his head slightly to one side.

This coordinated activity on his part served to convey to me the impression
That trepidation or apprehension on my part was totally groundless.
Without utterance, and with dispatch, he commenced filling the aforementioned
Hosiery with various articles of merchandise, also aforementioned.

These he extracted with gusto from his dorsally transported commodious
Cloth receptable. Upon completion of this task, he cleanly executed an
Abrupt about-face, placed a single manual digit in lateral juxtaposition to
His olfactory organ and inclined his cranium in a gesture of leave-taking.

Forthwith, he effected his egress by quickly renegotiating the smoke passage
In reverse. He then propelled himself in a short vector onto his structure
Of conveyance and directed a musical expulsion of air through his contracted
Oral sphincter to the antlered quadrupeds of burden.

He proceeded to soar aloft in a movement hitherto observable primarily
Among the seed-bearing portions of a common weed. As his vehiculation
Progressed beyond the normal limits of visibility, there was absolutely
No doubt that his parting exclamation was clearly audible, to wit:

"May there be made manifest an ecstatic Yuletide to the planetary consitutency
And to that self same assemblage my most sincere and heartfelt wishes for a
salubriously beneficial and gratifyingly pleasurable span of time subsequent
To sunset and prior to dawn."

"MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!"