Not So Merry Christmas
Santa is dead, say unconfirmed reports coming from Greenland. And it wasn't old age or heart disease that nailed the jolly old fat man, they say — it was a botched raid by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).
Early rumors of a mid-air collision with US Air Force jets over Afghanistan were quickly scotched. "What in hell's name would Santa be doing in Afghanistan," said one Air Force general. "That's pagan country."
Official sources close to the North Pole have hinted at complications from a "chimney-related injury" sustained during the last holiday season. He was also known to have sustained a number of wounds, mostly from 9mm rounds, when he ill-advisedly called out his trademark "Ho-Ho-Ho" in Harlem, two years ago.
However, some commentators have noted the public involvement of Customs and Coast Guard officers in the investigation into Santa's demise.
"This is a guy who flies through national airspace and across borders without ever being stopped or searched," said one. "And he's carrying large numbers of packages in his vehicle. It's possible there's a drugs angle to this and I wouldn't be surprised to find some kinda Colombian connection."
A Greenland-based journalist says he had evidence of a massive, combined DEA and ATF operation in that country just a few days ago. "My sources say the agencies, supported by both of Greenland's police officers, hit a covert base way to the north," he said. When asked if this could have been at the North Pole, he added: "It's possible."
Noting the involvement of the ATF, he went on to point out that cigarettes, cigars and booze are among the most common Christmas gifts, "Though we have no reason to suppose Santa was carrying weapons of any kind."
A White House spokesman refused to comment on the rumors of Santa's death, but did issue a statement that: "Federal agencies have recently been engaged in a surge of operations aimed at non-sanctioned groups involved in cross-border delivery operations."
He added: "Parents should make contingency plans in the event of the non-arrival of gifts. Happy holidays."
Now that Ken Lay has been declared innocent ('Late Enron boss's verdict quashed'), sources close to the corporate crook say that the former Enron boss might be making a comeback.
"Now that he's no longer a criminal, there's no point in him staying dead, is there?" said a loyal aide. "It's only common sense."
"Besides," he added, "it'd be a shame to let all that money he collected go to waste."
Harry Bitta, a former engineer with Enron who saw his pension disappear and who now exists on welfare, said: "If that son-of-a-bitch comes back to life I'm gonna get my gun and send him right back to hell."
Reports of Lay's imminent second coming are strongly denied by his family. It's rumoured that his window, Linda Lay, said: "I can't possibly afford to have him back. I'm barely making ends meet as it is, with an annuity of only $32,643 a month coming from that $4 million he squirrelled away. So I feel the pain of those poor suck... I mean, poor old people who don't have pensions any more."
There is some confusion over how Lay might make his comeback. "He might just turn up and say he'd been having a terrible dream," said an ex-Enron marketing executive. "Or maybe that he'd been in a coma. Or perhaps on a golfing holiday."
Several US corporations have expressed an interest in hiring Lay.