Hand painted on canvas
by Dreamscape Images
Return of the Grinch
[by James Ricci (with apologies to Dr. Seuss)]
Way up in his cave north of Who-ville, the Grinch Was enjoying retirement; life was a cinch. He played on his PC and tweaked other hacks And talked of old times with his aged dog, Max.
He rarely went down to the town of the Whos, Save to stock up on roast beast and Who-hash and booze. He preferred not to rub on the slow-healing sore Of his near-theft of Christmas two decades before.
Well, one day as Grinch sat keyboarding on-line, Some E-mail arrived of intriguing design: "Please, Mr. Grinch, let me come visit you." The message was signed by one "Cindy-Lou Who."
"Cindy-Lou Who," thought the Grinch, "Cindy-Lou Who, "Now, who is this Who name of Cindy-Lou Who?" He scratched his head hard till his memory expanded - Ah, she'd been the tot who had caught him red-handed.
All those long years ago when, with devilish glee, He'd been making away with her folks' Christmas tree! So Grinch swept his cave of its Grinchy debris, And combed out his fur to receive company.
This Cindy-Lou Who, who was now twenty-two, A graduate student at East Who-ville U., Her voice was no longer the coo of a dove, But firm and commanding, as if from Above.
She wasted few words in unveiling her plan: She wanted the Grinch to steal Christmas - again! "Since your last theft attempt, time has taken its toll; "Now Who-ville's Christmas deserves to be stole," said Cindy-Lou in a most righteous tone (Grinch captivated by how much she'd grown!).
"Back then when you took all the presents away, "We Whos nonetheless celebrated the day. "But now no one holds hands, and nobody sings. "All we Whos care for is getting more things. "The radio broadcasts Yule songs in July, "To pump up the Whos to get out there and buy, "Lest Christmas morn, when they rise from their sleep, "The gifts 'neath the tree aren't eleven feet deep.
"The whole, long ordeal leaves most every-Who stressed, "Exhausted, debt-ridden and deeply depressed. "Oh, we must stop this madness, we must, must, must, must! "Before the day's meaning has turned all to dust."
Said Grinch, "Heaven's sakes, Missy, why come to me? "I can't steal Christmas - I'm seventy-three." Said she, "Oh, I know that you'll think of a plan; "You did it before, you can do it again."
Then she gave to old Grinch, to ensure his enthralled-ness, A daughterly kiss on his male-pattern baldness, Making him blush underneath all his fur And vow to himself, "I will do it - for her."
So Grinchy dug out the old Santy Claus suit That, in the first heist, was his best attribute. Then he called his dog, Max, and took some red thread, And tied a big horn on the doggy's old head.
He hitched up the pooch to a ramshackle sleigh, Which he filled up with sacks for to haul loot away. Then he waited for darkness to fall on the town, And told Max, "Giddap," and began the trip down.
On the south edge of Who-ville, a newly built part, He came to a stop at the giant Who-Mart. Grinchily sly, he slunk in a side door And filled up a sack with goods from Aisle 4.
But he saw as he picked through the toys and CDs, No bag in the world could contain all of these. All Christmas was stealable two decades before; Today you could not make a dent in one store!
Just then he heard footsteps and looked up to see Security guards coming 'round from Aisle 3. He tugged on the sack, but he just couldn't budge it; And time was a-wasting, as Grinchy adjudged it.
So he ran from the store, oh, he ran, ran, ran, ran, Ran faster than ever in his whole life span. Flogging poor Max like some poor galley slave, He barely escaped to his hideaway cave.
Looking down on the town, the Grinch pondered his fix: "Surely there's more in my old bag of tricks." On what thing, he wondered, did Christmas depend, The supply of which he, Grinch, might act to suspend?
"Why, batteries, of course!" he told Max (who just looked). "Without them, this Christmas' goose will be cooked!" So, with squirt gun and mask, he headed off straight With Max and the sleigh to the new Interstate.
"When the truck full of batteries comes down the road," The Grinch-jacker chortled, "We'll hijack its load!" Max, for his part, felt unsure and afraid To be used, at his age, as a street barricade.
At last came the semi, and Grinchy yelled, "Stop!" And brandished his squirt gun like some kind of cop. But the truck just roared on, and it knocked the Grinch flat And crunched through the sleigh - and, well, that was that.
Lucky for Grinch, he'd just joined HMO - The truck broke his hinch bone and linch bone and toe. "I can still use my hands," Grinch told Max (who just snored), And sat himself down at his PC keyboard.
"I'll make a computer bug cripple and maim "Every Who-ville computer and video game. "All Christmas purists will surely admire us "When they see the effects of our cyberspace virus."
Grinch started to program, oh, he hacked, hacked, hacked, And soon had a virus all set too attack. He was poised to press ENTER and set off the plague When he heard a loud knock on the door of his cave.
"Police! Open up!" came the shout from outside The hair stood at attention on Grinchy's scared hide The cops bashed the door down, the impatient toughs; They read Grinch his rights, and then slapped on the cuffs.
Through Grinch-prints they'd traced him and made the charge stand: Attempted hijacking and larceny, grand. Another fact made Grinch's plight still more tender - He might go to trial as a repeat offender.
And so Grinchy landed in Who-ville's Who's-gow Along with poor Max, his reluctant bow-bow. They cowered in corners and tried to steer clear Of guys with tattoos and lascivious leers.
Then one day a visitor came to see Grinch; His suit looked hand-tailored, each exquisite inch. Reading his business card, jailbird Grinch saw: "Robert Shapir-who, Attorney-at-Law."
"I'm taking your case," said the lawyer, "and, too, "My fees will be paid by Ms. Cindy-Lou Who. "I'll make you a hero, role model, the works. "They'll never convict you, the slow-witted jerks."
Shapir-Who sent Grinch super-agent Mike Who-vitz, Who soon orchestrated a media-zoo blitz. Newspapers headlined, "Grinch motives were pure." Talk-show hosts called his confinement "manure."
A hurry-up movie was made of his plight. He spoke, live, with Who-prah via satellite. Everyone talked of his brave, lonely quest To bring Christmas back to an era more blessed.
His fame soon surpassed more illustrious names, And led to Grinch dolls, bikes and video games, Which all hit the shelves just in time for Yule sales, And made for store profits of unheard-of scales.
"Grinch," said Shapir-who, "with this latest deal, You're sure to be bigger than Shaquille Who'Neal." Bigger than Shaq? That thought took Grinch aback! But he did have endorsements too many to track.
At his trial, crowds applauded when Grinchy stepped forth, Looking nobly self-righteous as Who-liver North. His lawyer orated, oh, he talked, talked, talked, talked - And the jury acquitted the Grinch, in a walk.
After, a limousine whisked Grinchy home - Not too a cave, but a new pleasure-dome With thirty-four rooms and a house staff of three, Who toasted with bubbly his being set free.
Next morning, while Grinch lounged in opulent glitz, Discussing residuals with agent Who-vitz, The butler announced with pretentious ado, "A certain Ms. Who has arrived to see you."
Grinch put down his cell-phone and tightened his tie, And straightened the brow over each Grinchy eye. But Cindy-Lou scoffed at his mansion and loot, And, smirking, derided his Who-mani suit.
"I was foolish," she spat, "thinking you'd lift the curse. "You didn't save Christmas, you just made things worse." Said Grinch, in a half-hearted, mumbly way: "I tried to do right - it just happened to pay."
But his high spirits fell, oh they fell, fell, fell, fell, They could not have fallen more if they'd fell in a well. And suddenly Grinchy knew what he must do To regain the esteem of Ms. Cindy-Lou Who.
Straight off he called up his financial advisor, Knowing his wishes were sure to surprise her, And he emptied his savings and 401Ks, Got rid of his stocks and his fat IRAs.
He sold off the mansion and world-class wine cellar, Sold the cigar boat with corkscrew propeller. Grinch rented the Who-Dome and gave dinner, free, To twenty-eight thousand, eight hundred and three.
And not only Whos but all Whats, Whys and Hows from neighboring villages, cities and towns. Homeless and friendless, the rich and the poor - No living creature was turned from the door.
The menu was Who-hash and prime-rib roast beast, And plum cakes and loaves of bread baked with Who-yeast. But before the feast started, all present joined hands And sang Christmas songs played by two dozen bands.
And all, intermingling, wished all others well, And couldn't remember so fine a Noel. Impressed, Cindy-Lou gave the Grinch a great hug And planted a smooch on his Grinchy old mug.
"You failed to steal Christmas," she whispered, "and yet "You've set an example we'll never forget." And afterward, Grinchy went home to his cave, Quite pleased with himself and the Christmas he gave.
He felt that his heart, once two sizes too small, Could now scarcely fit inside Carnegie Hall. "It just goes to show," he said, nodding his head, "You get more from giving than getting ahead.
"You're richer admired than rich-and-reviled." He patted the head of old Max (who just smiled).