It’s twenty-one degrees outside the cab of this BearCat SWAT vehicle. The wind shrieks and the waves of rain pummeling the cab are slowly turning into torrents of ice…soon to be snow – a lot of it. The truck makes its way through the maelstrom. It’s thirty miles outside Buffalo. Christmas is two days away.

To say it’s cold to the bone is an understatement. This reporter is dressed in layer upon layer of crippling clothing, more stuffed than the kid brother in “A Christmas Story,” and his lungs are wheezing out the first chords of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” in all its frozen glory.

Lieutenant Sammy Klass is at the wheel. “I’m glad we’re hitting this gang before the snow goes nuts. We could see over twelve feet. We’re going to just amble up to this joint and get these stooges out of there. I have had it with idiots making all these domestic terrorist threats.”

And those threats?


“To show that Santa’s mean,” he frowns from beneath his face hood. “In the last two weeks, three Toys for Tots stores were robbed after midnight. Four more neighborhood toy banks were hit as well. And the sickest thing? The crooks left hundreds of Easter eggs and Easter candies behind.”

“Freaky,” this reporter surmises.

“Oh, there’s more,” the Lieutenant. “In the middle of all this, we start getting all these calls about monsters lurking in the woods. They varied in height; most being between five feet and six feet tall.”

“Too short for Bigfoot.”

“But not for…Big Bunnies!”

This reporter’s mind begins to reel. He can’t believe what he’s hearing. He chalks it up to the icicles hanging from his ears.

“So,” Klass continues. “I figured there was no such thing as six-foot-tall bunnies walking upright like men. So, I concluded that these were men dressed as big bunnies for whatever terrorist cell they belonged to. After a lot of surveillance, we discovered a man in a rabbit suit casing a Toys for Tots storefront in broad daylight. We swooped him up and the bunny sang like a canary.”


“What are we facing, here?”

“A group of longtime friends. They were disappointed because in 2001 they didn’t get what they wanted. So, they figured to punish Santa by replacing him with the Easter Bunny! We found fliers picturing an Easter Bunny statue rising in a field. Beneath it? A logo reading: “Braveheart Bunny says: ‘Santa hates! The Bunny loves.’”

He raises a flier, crumples it and tosses it away. “Grrrrr,” he theorizes. This journalist pockets the paper.

The BearCat slows down. The lights are cut. Fifteen feet below is an old cabin. It’s lit from within. The Lieutenant raises his walkie-talkie. “Sgt. Chuckles, Sgt. Snarky, get the battering ram. Officers Blather, Mopey and Blisters get your gear and follow us down. Hold your fire unless provoked.”

Within seconds, the other BearCat pulls up behind us and three short officers fully suited and armed scramble out. “Should we take the sacks with us?”

The Lieutenant nods ‘yes.’

This reporter, shivering and freezing and with the mobility of a 1930s robot, tumbles forward to where the Lieutenant, Chuckles, and Snarky stand next to the battering ram. This newser finds himself tipping over and reaching up for something to support him. Your scribe embraces the battering ram as he hits a long stretch of ice leading down toward the cabin.

Screaming like a little girl, this brave messenger of truth rides the battering ram like a bobsled into and through the cabin’s door, spinning into a group of men in bunny suits who go flying but for two. A 7-10 split. Before long, the SWAT team enters. This journo rocks himself back and forth like a roly-poly doll in order to sit up and pull out a pad and pen. All over the cabin, I see stolen presents.


Two things about rocking back and forth in sitting position while wearing six layers of clothing; 1) no matter how cold it is, you’re going to get friction burns on your butt. 2) You’re definitely going to experience a groin pull, which causes your screaming to get louder.

This reporter is lifted up and placed in a chair by the Lieutenant who is mid-harangue, facing the bunny men. The dozen men, having taken off their bunny heads, seem totally embarrassed.

“You idiots! You’re still P.O.’d about 2001? That was the year you brainiacs decided that your parents were ignoring you, so you opted to have Christmas together in this cabin. You snuck out. Stayed out all night. Your parents called the cops, frantically. When you finally went back home, there were no presents under the tree. Santa left them but your parents were punishing you. They hid the toys in the attic!”

The Lieutenant tosses a sack in front of the bewildered men. “My men picked them up today.”

“How do you know all this?” one bunny man asks.

“I’m SWAT. We know everything. I also know that all of you wished for the best Christmas ever this year. If you put on these outfits and return the toys, I won’t press charges and you will have the best Christmas ever.”

SWAT tosses the bunny men Santa Claus costumes, which they quickly don. The rest of the SWAT team gathers up all the stolen gifts and places them in sacks in a blink of an eye.

One bunny man is worried. “I don’t know if we can make it, with the weather and all.”

The Lieutenant chuckles. “My men are used to much worse Right gang?”

The rest of the SWAT team yell “right” as they pull off their SWAT gear to reveal themselves at elves. The ex-bunny men/now Santa’s helpers are excited as little kids. They and the elves load the toys into the BearCats and roar off, the horns playing “Jingle Bells.”


This reporter watches as Lt. Sammy Klass pulls off his SWAT outfit, revealing himself to be Santa Claus. The real one! The one who always drinks Coke! He chuckles, “the Easter Bunny is going to love hearing about this. We’re buds. We go way back.”

Santa Claus looks at this reporter.  “I know you’ll get a good story out of this, Brick. Now, let’s get you home. There’ll be something special under your tree this year.”

“But I don’t have…”

He tosses what looks like a handful of glitter in my direction. This reporter closes his eyes. When I open my eyes, I’m in a freshly cleaned apartment. I’m in dry clothes. A fire I didn’t start roars in the fireplace, reflected in the ornaments on a beautiful Christmas tree I didn’t put up. At that point, there’s a knock-knock at the door.

This newshound swings the door open. I’m immediately greeted by a lovely woman in an elf suit. She’s struggling with a gigantic gift basket. This correspondent grabs it.

“Hi,” says the woman. “I’m your new neighbor, Velma. A little man in an elf outfit left this for you at my apartment. It’s impressive; a gourmet treat.”

“Come in, Velma. You must be freezing. I’m Brick Rivers.”

“Sorry about the costume. I just got off work at Macy’s.”

This journalist places the basket under the tree. There’s a Santa hat already there. He places the hat on his head and turns to face his new neighbor, warming herself at the fire.

“How would you feel about sharing Santa’s gift basket in lieu of dinner? Just a casual night in front of a fire.”

Velma smiles. “Well, I suppose there’s no harm in Santa and one of his elves breaking bread.”

At that point, the sound of sleigh bells fills the air, and in the distance, rises a merry “Ho-ho-ho.”

Velma glances in this reporter’s direction. “Brick?”

This journalist heaves a happy sigh.

If you look hard enough, life gives you all the presents you need.

(Visited 849 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.