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by Rick Hines (with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

'Twas the night before Solstice, when all around the camp site
Not a warlord was stirring, but I really wanted a fight;
The stockings were hung from the tree branches with care,
In hopes that Senticles soon would be there;

Joxer was nestled all snug in his bedroll,
While visions of three naked Gabbies danced in his soul;
And Gabrielle with her sais, and I with my chakram,
Had just settled down for some nut bread and rum,

When out in the woods there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the fireside to see what was the matter.
Away to the trees I flew like a flash,
Tore through the branches and made quite a crash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of jewels that Autolycus might know,
When, what to my wondering blue eyes should appear,
But a great big old limo, and eight guest stars I saw clear,

With a red headed driver, so lively and quick,
I knew it was Rob Tapert, and I expected a trick.
More rapid than Dryads his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

'Now, Callisto! now, Ares! now, Ming T'ien and the Horde!
On, Najara! on Caesar! on, Alti and Hope!
To the top of the trees! to the top of the ratings!
Now dash away! dash away! Xena is waiting!'

As peasants that before an evil warlord fly,
When they meet with his sword, mount to the sky,
So up to the treetop the cast members they flew,
With the limo full of scripts, and Robert T. too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard in the trees above
The prancing and pawing of the Amazons I love.
As I drew out my sword, and was turning around,
Down from the trees Robert came with a bound.

He was dressed in a suit, from his head to the mud,
And his clothes were all tarnished with sweat and blood;
A bundle of ideas I saw cross his face,
And he pulled out a contract from within his briefcase.

With a pen he drew an 'X' while flashing his teeth,
And he circled his hand round the page like a wreath;
He had a thin face and not much of a belly,
But it shook, when he laughed like ambrosia jelly.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! made me want to marry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the mischief in his eyes was all I needed to know;

He was a Yank and quite thin, a right jolly young elf,
And I flinched when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had something to dread;

He gave many orders, as though he were at work:
'We'll soak you in water; make you fall for a jerk,
We'll send in a warlord and all of his men,
And they'll kill you off once, and then kill you again!

'As if that's not enough, we'll drop you in rats;
Then maybe next season we'll make Gabrielle fat!'
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And checking his planner, up to the treetops he rose;

As he sprang to his limo, I knew what had to be done,
And away they all flew like the light from the sun.
But I heard him exclaim, as I let go my chakram,
'Happy Solstice to all, and to all auggghhhhrraaammmm...'.

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© 1999, 2000 by Rick Hines.
Material may not be used without the artist's written permission.