Sunday, December 23, 2007

Jerry Edling's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas in L.A.

Well, with no television to review tonight - not because of the WGA strike, but the time of year - I thought I would share this poem with you. It was written by Jerry Edling - producer of my weekly media interview on KNX 1070 all-news radio out of Los Angeles. A shorter broadcast version was nominated for a Writers Guild Award in 2006.

Enjoy ... and have a wonderful holiday, everyone!

Jerry Edling's ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in L.A.

’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through L.A.
The Starbucks served scones and cafe au lait;
The stockings were hung by the mailbox with care
In hopes that residual checks soon would be there.

The actors were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of callbacks danced in their heads
Mamma in her bikini and I in my Speedos
Had just left the jacuzzi and were munching Doritos.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I put down my cell phone to see what was the matter.
Someone had breached the property’s border
In violation of my latest restraining order.

The mushroom lights glowed on my circular drive.
I hoped security would catch this burglar alive
When what to my bloodshot eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh--- and eight pre-owned reindeer.

A little old driver was manning the sleigh.
I knew it wasn’t the parking valet.
He yelled at his reindeer, tried to get them to rally.
I thought, "He needs a shrink. I know one in the Valley."

"Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen.
To the top of the guest house! To the edge of the pool!"
But the reindeer eyed him like a jolly old fool.

Comet said, "Santa, you tell a good story.
The problem is, you’re not a Guild signatory.
For hours of overtime we pull your sleigh,
Without a meal penalty coming our way."

There was bickering, arguing, much consternation;
I expected a grievance, perhaps arbitration.
It was Blitzen who finally said, "That’s enough,"
And led his union brothers away in a huff.

I watched as eight reindeer clopped off toward the fence.
(One of them got a little too close to my Benz.)
Santa yelled, "That’s all right. You won’t listen to reason?
I’ll see to it you’re blacklisted, beginning this season."

So production shut down, and the sleigh sat on idle;
Where the reindeer had been, there were eight empty bridles;
And Santa Claus, looking all portly and odd
Like that silver guy on the Third Street Promenade.

He was chubby and plump... a right jolly old soul.
I thought of calling the Bel Air Patrol.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his back
Made me wonder how he ever got past the guard shack.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Lugging the sack by himself like a jerk
He said, "This is good exercise. Good for the abs,
And if I get too winded, I’ll just hire scabs."

He mounted the chimney, slid down with a crash,
Landed flat on his duff in the soot and the ash
It was then that he learned, with considerable alarm,
That my security system hadn’t been disarmed.

The alarm whooped and whistled and summoned the cops.
Santa ran out the door with a bound and a hop.
I wondered what could cause such trepidation
and thought he might have an unpaid citation.

"On Dasher! On Dancer! We’ve got to get out,"
Santa shouted as the reindeer gathered about.
"The cops are coming! We have to move."
But the reindeer just stared and dug in their hooves.

"Not so fast, " said Comet. "Are you ready to talk?
We need a new contract, or we’re gonna walk."
"A three percent raise," Santa said somewhat gruffly.
"Vision and dental and a meal penalty."

Comet said, "That‘s a good starting point, though
What we really all need is a new PPO,
Major medical and a much smaller co-pay,
Two weeks off every year and a 401(k)."

"We want hay and a promise to build a new stable.
Then we’ll talk about ancillary rights and cable."
"Not now," seethed Santa as he paced about.
"Here come the cops. We’ve got to get out."

"What’s the rush?" said Prancer. "We have nothing to hide.
Why outrun the cops? They’re on our side."
"Not exactly," said Santa. "See, what we’ve got
Is a sleigh that’s been sleigh-jacked. This sleigh is hot."

Kids all over the world were astonished to see
Santa Claus being chased by the L.A.P.D.
On Sunset, on Vine, and on the 405,
Cops chasing Saint Nick, trying to catch him alive.

Choppers hovered above, and in the spotlight,
Santa screamed, "Get away. Let me ride out of sight."
He lashed at the reindeer with the tip of his whip
Until Donder and Blitzen hit the spike strip.

The sleigh and the reindeer careened all about
And came to rest in a bush, where Santa jumped out.
So the image was televised, over hill and dale
Of the jolly old fat man on a foot bail.

He threw off his jacket, tossed away his shirt,
And a cop yelled, "Lie face down in the dirt."
Santa knew he was licked, and he huffed and he puffed
And surrendered, and waited until he was cuffed.

It was just then that I awoke with a start,
In front of the fireplace, with a heavy heart
Wondering how I could get so carried away
And believe that Santa could hijack a sleigh.

He’s all about goodness and sharing and toys
And putting some smiles on good girls and boys
I must have been dreaming. It’s the only way.
Of course, anything’s possible. This is L.A.
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