Contents - This Great Society - Issue 5, Mythology - December 2009/January 2010
Creative Writing
Mark Gunderson
Joel Bentley
Illustration by Mark Gunderson

It’s like you put on a pageant and cast your ex-girlfriend as Mary. She has the right mixture of warmth and scandal. Everyone keeps asking, Who’s the father? Who’s the father?

You handpick the whole cast: your best friend’s dad is there dressed as a shepherd with a sheep draped over his shoulders, telling everyone about the rack of lamb he’ll be barbequing tonight. The vegans are upset, you laugh freely. Your pot-smoking philosophy professor is cast as the lone wiseman. He flies through a snowstorm in Chicago just to be there. Oh the stories he tells! Your nephew plays Charlie Brown. He’s mastering his shoulder shrugs as we speak. Isn’t there anyone who knows the real meaning of Christmas? he implores. Your father argues and complains about being typecast as Scrooge, but after a long and loud debate, he begrudgingly accepts. An old friend from elementary arrives to request the role of the innkeeper. Hey! How are you! It’s been seven years! You both agree it’s been far too long, and recollect in short, humorous anecdotes. Everyone you love is joining in, helping out. Even your mother is there. She has baked three pies just for the occasion, offering everyone a slice with tea.

Then there’s grandpa, off to the side playing Santa. No beard, no belly, just a red hat and a handful of puns. Your new crush sits beside him, dressed as an elf and laughing politely at his jokes.

It’s all so perfect. It’s all so grand. You’ve got it all planned out. There’ll be hundreds of balloons, singing animals, a dramatic entrance by Joseph’s long lost son, an organ solo, Muppets, nutcrackers, confetti!

Then George Bailey, played dramatically by your friend the actor, bursts in shouting Zuzu’s petals! Zuzu’s petals! He steals the show.

No one is listening. Your buddies, who’ve been cast as farm animals, sit in the back laughing through their snouts, smoking constantly. Your old boss, the one who laid you off and you still bear a grudge against, is playing Herod, the baby killer. He struts around barking commands like he owns the place, usurping your authority. It’s all too familiar. You try to keep order, but it’s no use, the whole cast and crew delve into chaos. Everyone is crowding around, scrunching together, trying to see baby Jesus. He’s here! He’s here! they all shout, buzzing with anticipation. They all want to see him!

Suddenly you hear an angelic voice behind you, slow, faint at first, but growing in volume and confidence. You turn around and there’s your sister, singing all on her own. You never knew she had such a beautiful voice. Everyone joins in: the farm animals, Santa (loudly), your mother, even Herod the baby killer. They’re all singing the words you wrote, but in a new melody, a rising tune.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! What a lovely world we live in!



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