When I was young, I read Omni Magazine. It was billed as the magazine of science fiction and fact. Unfortunately, it presented UFOs and paranormal investigation as far more factual than the topics deserved. Even at that age, it annoyed me. But on the plus side, the fiction was often very good and the art was always interesting.
The December 1979 issue presented a reworking of the classic Christmas poem by Clement Clarke Moore called, A Visit from St. Nicholas, first published in 1823. You probably know it as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, but that wasn’t the name at the time it was first published.
Yes, I know 2001 was eight years ago, but this was published thirty years ago, now.
The Night Before Christmas, 2001
by David A. Tarr
T’was the night before Christmas, and all through my home
Not a creature was stirring, not even my clone.
The test tubes were hung by the burner with care,
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.
The androids were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of mc2 danced in their heads.
My wife in her jumpsuit, and I in my vest,
Had just settled down to some drug-induced rest.
When, out by the labs, there arose such a clatter,
My bed woke me up to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I hastened my mass,
Tore open the blast shields, and threw up the glass.
The refraction of moonlight through smog-ridden air
Gave a luster of midday to everything there.
When what to my bionic eyes should appear
But a mass-driven sleigh with some strange landing gear.
With a quick little pilot, a company man,
Who did what was asked and followed the plan.
More rapid that phantoms his coursers they came,
He impulsed the crewmen, then called them by name.
“Now, Redox! Now, Hewlett!, Now, Quasar and Photon!
“On, Laser! On, Xerox! On, Pulsar and Proton!
“To the top of the dome, by the air intake vent.
“Now dash away quickly before our fuel’s spent.”
So, up to the air vent his coursers they flew,
With a craft full of toys and Saint Nicholas, too.
And then, in a flash, on the dome I did hear
The scratching and scraping of stout landing gear.
I steadied my blaster, my chest to the ground,
And then, through the air vent, he came with a bound.
He was dressed in a three-piece he’d rented near here.
(Why purchase an outfit you wear once a year?)
A life-support system he wore on his back,
While toys for the ‘droids he took out of his pack.
A bottle of synthroid he held in his hand
(He was quite overweight from a poor thyroid gland).
He brought out the toys that department stores sell;
The elves at the Pole could not make them as well.
He checked with the base ship, while doing his work,
And filled all the test tubes, then turned with a jerk.
His anti-grav belt was secure, I suppose,
And, pressing the keys, up the air vent he rose.
He sprang to his craft, to the crew gave a shout;
The ship heaved a shudder, then blasted them out.
But I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good flight!”