Straightening my belt, I peered through my glasses at this ridiculous to-do list. Mrs. Claus was a tough taskmaster at the best of times, but when I’m about to spend 24 hours in a row drinking with Rudolph and the boys she seems to go out of her way to make my life miserable. As the scroll unravelled and hit the floor, I did a double take. Didn’t she understand that I have work to do even now? I grunted with frustration, rolled up the scroll, and tossed it over my shoulder towards the crackling fireplace. As usual, it bounced off the wall and to a stop at the feet of Ezuri, my lead Elf.
“Wide right. You should ask yourself for some skills, old man.” Ezuri always was a bit of a renegade leader. “You ready for the morning’s visitors?” Ezuri conjured up a leather-bound tome in his right hand, a giant wooden pen in the other. Flipping to the penultimate page, he looked expectantly at me. How does this fool still look twelve? Must be that regenerating serum he keeps using.
“Oh I suppose so. Let’s get this show-ho-ho on the road.”
I hauled my considerable girth to that beautiful padded ergonomic chair and steeled myself for what was to come. Yeah, I’m fat. You would be too if a billion cookies were left out for you each year. No sooner had Ezuri opened the door to the office than a pair of young girls tried to fit through the very narrow entrance at the same time. Both were dressed as Warriors, one pale and almost dead-looking, while the other bore intimidating war paint and kept smiling at the pale one. The pair pushed and shoved and yelled at each other while Ezuri took pictures on his Myrdroid phone.
“This is going on Vine of the Vastwood,” he chuckled.
I gave him my most disapproving look just as the dead-looking one levitated over the painted one and into my lap. She was cold. So cold.
“Well hello, young lady! Merry Christmas! What’s your name? What can Santa get for you?”
“My name’s Drana. I want to see play!”
“Hey! That’s what I want!” shrieked the other girl, who had slipped past Ezuri while the Elf lord read the comments. She jumped up on my other leg and stuck her tongue out at Drana, then smiled. The smile was possibly even colder than Drana felt.
“Now now little girl, no need to get angry! Santa has plenty of time for everyone. What’s your name?” Damn it’s tiring pretending to be happy.
“Alesha. I smile at death.”
Who smiles at Death?
Ezuri finally finished reading the comments on his Vine of Vastwood and darted over to try to restore some order. “Sorry boss, these two always seem to strike first. Come on you two, get back in the binder and wait your turn.”
“No fair! She’s got longer to wait than me!” whined Alesha, somehow still smiling at Drana as Ezuri ushered them out the door. Well, that was a great start. Surely it can only get–WHY IS THERE A FREAKING SNAKE???
“Ssssssanta. Forgive me if I do not get on your lap. I have isssssssues with climbing. My name is Sssssdisssssi. For Chrisssssstmasssss I want Anafenza to go away.”
Not this again.
“Well little…girl? Sure, let’s go with that. For most, Anafenza is a lovely young lady who provides a valuable service. It’s not nice to wish bad things on people.”
Not that I care. I’m wishing bad things on Jackalope Herd the Easter Bunny all the time. I have to work all year making gifts for everyone and what does he have to do? Make eggs. That’s it, just eggs. Must be nice. “Perhaps you’d like something else? Braces, perhaps?” Yeah I get passive-aggressive sometimes. Deal with it.
“Zombiessssss. Lots of them. And a good reanimation sssssssspell.”
A snake that likes dead things. My agent is so fired. I guess sharing him with Erebos was a bad idea.
“Ezuri, send in the next one. No, not the Rhino. He’s not welcome here. He already has everything, and every time he comes in I feel drained.”
“But Santa!” it yelled from the other room. “All I want for Christmas is some time off! I haven’t had a weekend to myself since September!”
“Aww, muffin. Look, here are your choices. Suck it up or eat a ban. I promise that if you just stick it out for a few more months, you’ll get plenty of time off. OK?”
“Okay, Santa. Thanks, I guess.”
Who else is here?
“PHYREXIAN OBLITERATOR TURN! OBLITERATE ALL THE THINGS!”
Not this guy again.
“Ho ho ho, Obli! What can I get for you this year?”
“DAMAGE! ME WANT OBLITERATE! RARGHHH!”
You want people to hurt you for Christmas? I think I dated you back in college.
“Listen Obli, I’d love to help. Let’s find you a nice home first, okay? Then we can get people to hurt you all day long. You just need the right Arena and some people to Prey Upon.”
“SANTA HURRY OR HE GET IN PIT WITH OBLITERATOR AND FIGHT.”
“Ezuri. If the next person through that door is not humanoid, I am going to incinerate you. Kapish?”
“No worries, boss, it’s Tasigur! That should a-peel to you.”
This skinny emo guy walks in, wearing a string vest and eating a banana. Somewhere in the multiverse, a Hot Topic is short staffed.
“Hello there, Tasigur! Merry Christmas! What would you like?”
“Ugh, could you be any more commercialised? Look, fat man, all I want is for Silumgar-senpai to notice me. I feel like I am just hanging around, dangling at his whim, like he doesn’t even care. I used to be a big deal! Now I’m just an accessory. I really don’t feel like they’re delving deep enough into my skills, you know?”
“Alright Tas, I feel you. I’ll see what I can do. In the meantime, here’s a sun lamp. Maybe try turning it on until you feel like you can, you know, go outside some time.”
“Hey, Santa? Uhh, Silumgar’s back again.”
“Look Ezuri, you know the rules. No Dragons. Besides, he’s on the naughty list this year and he’s getting Coal Golem. All he does is take things from other people. Stealing is bad, mmm kay? Plus he smells, he kills all my poinsettias every time he touches them, and I don’t want him to see Tasigur. Poor kid has serious daddy issues and I don’t want to leave him hanging.”
“In that case, Void Winnower is next.”
Are you serious? Why do I feel like I’m being Punk’d? Where’s that insufferable tool Ashton Kutcher? Where are the cameras? Is someone writing about this for some website somewhere?
Void Winnower is one odd dude.
“Hello, my friend! What can Santa get for you this year?” Sometimes you have to play it safe with the whole gender thing. I don’t know how you discern the gender of giant alien mana-eating monsters, but I also don’t want to find out.
“Pumpkin spice lattes. Just…all of them.”
Of course. I should have known. Next!
“Boss, I’m not sure who this is…” Ezuri I swear to Urza if you send in one more Ooze I will literally give my life to Dismember you. Wait…what on Dominaria is that?
“Hello! Ho ho ho and a Merry Christmas! Who might you be?”
Seriously, this gender thing. It’s almost like gender is a non-binary, socially warped construct that is more internal than external.
“Santa sir, I am a Clever Impersonator. All I want for Christmas is to find myself. I feel like I have no identity, like I lost myself. Sometimes I feel like I’m all zeros, you know? Other times I just want to be an inanimate object, like a Sword or a field of stars. Other times I feel like I’m just somebody else.”
Oh great. What am I now, a shrink? Does my door say Dr S. Claus? I should get a couch and charge for this stuff.
“Well, my Clever friend, you can be anything you want to be. All it takes is timing and a little investment. Be your best you!”
I feel like such a sellout. Hallmark couldn’t top this stuff.
“Ezuri, you’re on break. The Archdruid is here to relieve you. Archie, who’s up?”
“An old friend, sir.”
“Misty! Come on over here and sit on my lap! How the Yawgmoth are you my dear? Still splitting rocks?”
“Yeah, I have to work on my Legacy these days. Modern times just haven’t been for me. But that’s why I’m here. Last year I asked for more toys and you couldn’t do that, but you did promise to promote me. I’m excited for that, but I want to get back in to Modern times. Can you fix that for me?”
Some people have sensible requests. Some ask for the world. Some of them just have no clue how crazy they are.
“Misty, honey. Your best work is with the older stuff. You’re a standout. You know I can’t modernize you while it’s still around!”
“Maybe It doesn’t have to stay around. Besides, I just want my shot. Maybe the environment isn’t right for me. Maybe that idiot Kolaghan will command me to do less, and I won’t be able to resist. He’s pretty persuasive.”
“I’ll think about it. No promises, okay? At the very least, I will make sure plenty of people see your new shiny promotion.” There is no way I am letting this chick get modernized. She’d ruin everything, even if we stopped her from battering skulls as she is wont to do.
Almost done for the day. Just three more visitors and I can pop the top on a cold one and chill out and catch up on listening to some podcasts. Santa loves him some wrestling! Oh my Heliod it’s a giant mound of spaghetti.
“I am Emrakul. I am eternal. I am immortal. You cannot begin to imagine my immenseness. I devour worlds. I tear aeons. I transcend time, space and colour.”
“Cool story bro. What do you want for Christmas?”
“A Rainbow Bite Shopkin and a Link Amiibo. Also a lounging Brian Kibler playmat. He’s so dreamy!”
Sometimes words fail me.
“Sure, I can do that! Merry Christmas, Emrakul!” Wait, why is she coming back?
“I get an extra turn because I am forever. I also want a new personality in the spring. One that looks nice. And not too expensive.”
“Let’s wait and see, eh? The shadows are still long over that part of the multiverse. Run along now!” Or glide, or fly, or whatever the heck you do, you freaky plate of pasta. Okay Santa, let’s power through this. We’re almost there. You can taste that eggnog.
“Santa? Can I come in now?”
Wait, a normal Human? Something must be very wrong here.
“Of course little boy! What’s your name?”
“Well Cedric, what would you like for Christmas?”
“I’d like my writers to stop saying ‘manlands.’ I want them to stop putting a comma in Ob Nixilis Reignited. I want a new fuse for the hot take cannon and a title for LeBron. I want Sensei’s Divining Top banned, playable Kithkin, Goblins to be tier 1 in Legacy, more Korean BBQ, a Chipotle gift card, six more hours in the day, the Kings to make the playoffs, and a speedboat.”
“Is that all? You sure you don’t want to throw in a title for the Indians, a Pro Tour qualification, and a winning lottery ticket while you’re here?”
Yeah, that’s what they all say.
“Okay, Archie, send in the last kid.”
“My name is Jace.”
Your name is Jace.
“I will continue to dominate Standard and see play everywhere.”
You will continue to dominate Standard and see play everywhere.
“My value will remain higher than Nick Diaz.”
Your value will remain higher than Nick Diaz.
“I will be unbanned in Modern.”
Get rekt kid. Even you aren’t that powerful.
I hope everyone had a very Happy Holiday.