Shelley WhoHead of Whoville Chamber of Commerce

The night he first walked into town was our during our summer concert series. We’ve always had a little bohemian community of artists up here. Our beautiful mountains attract many a writer, painter, slew-slumper and flung-flooper! I’d planned that concert with some of the other gals in the Whoville Chamber of Commerce and I remember thinking Oh no, Buster. We couldn’t just have some random stranger waltzing in here right before the last couple acts.

Big Joe WhoOwner of the Who’s Hungry Diner

Shelley asked me to round up some friends and see if the guy was gonna cause any trouble. He was off to the left of the stage, just sorta taking it all in, and I said to my buddy Tommy, “This dude’s huge.” I’ve always been big for Whoville. You’ll see me dead before I turn down seconds on roast beast. But the Grinch was a different breed. I’d put him at 6’4”, maybe just south of 200. He was also green.

Mayor Harold WhoFormer Whoville Mayor

I had just introduced the last drum-dinker and thanked everyone for coming out, which was a pretty big deal for me at the time. It was my first public appearance since the election and over half the town still had my signs out on their front lawns. We’d run the campaign on reinvestment in infrastructure, opening our borders to the outside world and buying a larger Christmas tree for the center of town. And there was just all this hope in Whoville, especially for young people.

Langley R. WhoGreater Mount Crumpit Area Historian

Harold Who defeats incumbent Ulysses Who just two weeks before the Grinch first steps into town, so you have to keep in mind that this is a time of rapid change for Whoville. Ulysses Who had long won votes by emphasizing family, community and safety. Whoville for the Whos. His policies were isolationist and outdated, but the conservative, largely patriarchal Whos didn’t seem to mind. So Harold Who’s victory is actually a bit of a surprise. When he takes over, the town’s trade routes are quiet, there’s little tourism to the region, and no matter what the Whos of the time may tell you, a visit from a foreigner is a big deal.

Big Joe Who

So we meet the Grinch and it’s clear the guy’s not trying to pull anything. He’s mainly just exhausted. Says he’s been traveling for a while, and followed the lights and sounds of music once he got close to Whoville. Seems like a nice guy, all polite and everything. Compliments the music. I ask him if he wouldn’t mind a couple flapjacks for dinner and his face lights up.

Shelley Who

The concerts wraps up, total success, and everyone’s headed down to Geisel’s Pub for a few drinks, but I stopped by Who’s Hungry to meet the Grinch. He was sitting with the Mayor and Big Joe, eating some of Joey’s pancakes.

Mayor Harold Who

Oh, Big Joe knew how to make a stack of pancakes, yeah. I used to stop by for three blueberry every morning. He liked to tease me by yelling the polls from the kitchen. So that night I met with the Grinch, who went by his given name, Gerald at that time, and he tells me he’s just passing through. It’s clear he’s one of those outdoorsy types, off on a little backpacking adventure, and he asked a ton of questions about trails on Mount Crumpit, nearby lakes and such. After dinner I walked him over to Muriel’s and put him up for the night.

Muriel WhoOwner of Muriel’s Inn

We had to put two beds together, he was so tall! I told him breakfast was at 8:00, but he assured me he’d be gone long before then. I have to admit, I’d never met a non-Who before, and at the time I was a little nervous to have him in my inn. I locked the door to my room that night.

Danny WhoHost of Who’s Up, Whoville? on 103.2 FM

I’m usually up at ungodly hours for the show, and I was walking across town square when I saw him. Bright green, and carrying a massive backpack on his shoulders. He was headed straight for Mount Crumpit, and he must’ve felt me staring because he turned to give me a thumbs up. I’d never been given a thumbs up before and I knew immediately that I liked it. The show starts at 6:00AM, and I hopped on to talk about what I’d seen. Soon Big Joe and Shelley were calling in, explaining how he’d arrived the night before, at the concert. You could tell the town was titillated by his visit.

Langley R. Who

There is one trail to reach the top of Mount Crumpit on the north side of the summit, which faces Whoville, and one trail heading down on the other side, into another, larger valley formed by prehistoric glacial sediment. Only six Whos have actually summited Crumpit, the first of whom was Ephraim William Who. He completed his expedition in 1802. Ephraim stood about 3’8” and was renowned for his natural prowess in nearly every facet of Whoville society. He singlehandedly built Whoville Hall, which stands to this day, won 16 gold medals in the Whoville Olympics and even wrote a series of award-winning essays, discussing everything from cheesecake to fatherhood.

Shelley Who

A couple months pass and things die down a bit. The leaves changed. We all assume he’s just climbed the mountain, gone on his way to another adventure. I thought about him sometimes. There were times I’d be outside hanging laundry from clotheslines or inside rinsing green eggs out of a bowl and I’d wonder where he was, imagine what he was climbing or seeing. My husband Frank had just started working long hours on the Whoville Stock Exchange, and he’d usually come home past midnight. I’d wake up with a book on my lap, and he’d already be gone for the day. We were making more money, and the kids were doing well in school, but I felt lost. I’m not sure what I wanted. Intimacy? Adventure? Both? Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t want the Grinch. I do know some gals who did, though.

Muriel Who

Oh, it came up quite a bit. I host a champagne brunch at the inn on Saturdays, and this one girl Christine admits she’d had “thoughts” about the Grinch. She hadn’t even seen him when he was in town. The girls started peppering me with questions about what he looked like. I said the usual stuff. Tall, fit, green fur. A little smelly. I knew I’d made a mistake when I mentioned his journal. The Grinch had a moleskin and a couple pens with him when he stayed the night, and he was journaling just before he went to bed. Christine could barely handle that picture.

Danny Who

I remember hearing that Christine was really into the Grinch. I, of course, was very into Muriel at the time.

Mayor Harold Who

My first couple months were going fine. We had negotiated an agreement with neighboring valleys to join a trade route called The Thneed Road, and money was coming into the town. With new trade partners would come the largest Christmas tree Whoville had ever seen, plus more foreign visitors. That’s how we first met Max.

Langley R. Who

Max was a lot of things. A dog, first and foremost, and from a portion of the world where the canine still runs wild and free. But he was also a high school standout in track & field, and an on-again, off-again smuggler and crook.

Big Joe Who

I had a couple beers with Max when he first came into town. Really good guy, you could tell he just had a tendency of falling in with the wrong people. He owed a whole lot of scary names a whole lot of money, that was for sure. Came to Whoville on the run. I offered the spare room over the diner, and he thanked me, but said he’d only need it the one night. He was headed into the mountains.

Shelley Who

Max leaves Whoville, and at that point, we’re getting used to this little song and dance. Travelers are stopping by constantly.

Muriel Who

Most of the visitors were headed west through town, and I remember mentioning to one gentleman, a large cat who spoke in exhausting rhymes, that a couple men I’d met had both gone up into Mount Crumpit. He let out a knowing sigh and cut the rhyming crap. Said of course people would still be seduced by the “heart” of the mountain. I asked him what he meant by that. He seemed genuinely surprised by my question, then mumbled it was probably best Whoville didn’t know. He left for good the next day.

Mayor Harold Who

The Christmas tree arrived in late November and it was an absolute doozie. Had to be almost 40 feet tall. The next day I went on Who’s Up, Whoville? and told the town this year would be our greatest Christmas celebration in decades. Whos generally need little encouragement to throw a good party, but I really wanted to rev up the town. We’d come so far! My approval rating was through the roof.

Danny Who

I emceed the tree lighting that year, which Shelley organized, and we had a couple of the kids sing some carols. My niece, Cindy Lou, was just a toddler at the time but she already had the most amazing voice. A little cherub. It was a magical night. We had hot cocoa while the kids were still up, then switched to ale and whiskey at Geisel’s once everyone was put to bed. I thought I caught Muriel glancing at me a couple times through the evening, but it was probably all in my head. We were in the sandbox together, did you know that? Best friends in middle school and all that, then drifted apart as we got older. Her dad didn’t like me much. The she married that guy, and he ran off with whatever her name is a couple years ago. She went through a tough time. I’d never talked to her about it. I don’t know why. I had this daydream where I’d show up to her inn to book a room, and she’d lead me up the stairs and pause at each door, saying no, that’s not right, before leading me to her bedroom. Yeah. I don’t know. I was a nervous wreck. I could talk to the whole town on the radio, but couldn’t sit down with Muriel for a drink. Go figure.

Big Joe Who

Around the holidays I make a dish called Ginger Bread Toast. It’s French Toast doused in chocolate fudge and crushed graham crackers. I then smother it in in pure Whoville Forest Maple Syrup. Everyone around here goes crazy for it. On Christmas Eve I know the whole town’s gonna come stop by at some point for a a couple so I cook ‘em up outside under a tent. My cousin plays a mean one-nozzled nozzler and he’ll play all the hits. I usually give him 10% of the earnings, but that year I threw him 15.

Shelley Who

We had a gathering at our house the afternoon and Frank invited a lot of people from work. Usually events like that came so easy, I’d planned enough of them myself, but I remember having to step outside and take a breather. I lit a cigarette and stared out at Mount Crumpit. I remember seeing something odd. Towards the top of the mountain, where all the other trees were either bare, or covered in snow, was something vibrantly green. Facing the village. Sort of … peering down at us.

Cindy Lou WhoWhoville Child Actor, Reality Star

Look, I just wanted a glass of water. People always ask me if I remember hearing the ornament hit the ground. No. I was overheating and thirsty. Shocker, the room gets hot when you’re sleeping in a bed with nine siblings. I was walking to the other room to wake up Mom and Dad. That’s when I saw him. He was right there in our living room. Red hat. Red suit. Green fur. He said he was Santa, and he said he was fixing our tree. Anyone that young would’ve believed him.

Mayor Harold Who

Worst wake-up call I ever got. My Chief of Staff calls the house at 4:30 in the morning. He’s yelling. Loud. Harold! Harold! It’s gone! It’s all gone! I tell him to calm down, ask him what’s he talking about, and then I start looking around the house. Tree gone. Presents gone. Fridge empty. I ran outside, literally, I ran outside into the freezing morning. The Mayor in pajama bottoms and nothing else. Whoever had done it had taken everything. Even our tree.

Muriel Who

So Harold comes banging on the front door to the inn at 6:00 in the morning. Now, I don’t have kids. My Christmas doesn’t start before 8:00, and it certainly doesn’t start before 7:00. I meet him down there, ask him what the hell’s the matter, and then notice all my decorations are gone. The garland, the wreath, the mistletoe, all gone. Harold wants to know if anyone from out of town is staying at the inn. He says there’s been a massive robbery. Someone had stolen Christmas.

Big Joe Who

By 9:00 everybody’s in the square. I mean everybody. You’ve got kids screaming crying like you wouldn’t believe. Teens breaking into fights, pointing fingers and all that. The Fuzz shows up and they’re completely overwhelmed. Police celebrate Christmas too, ya know. It was complete, utter madness.

Danny Who

It starts getting scary. A couple of big wigs, Frank Who and the Stock Exchange folks, start accusing some of the town’s construction workers. Say they’ve caught them stealing things here and there in the past. Then the construction workers start blaming all those foreigners who’ve been passing through. And then people are yelling at Muriel, asking her if she’s harboring criminals at the inn. I’m looking around, and I see the Mayor. It’s absolute chaos, and you can just see his knees are about to buckle. Four months in, and everything he worked for burning down on Christmas Day. I felt a strange calm rush over me. I can’t explain it. I locked eyes with him and gave him a thumb’s up.

Shelly Who

It’s funny, how many times a person has to show you who he is before you believe him. Frank was arguing with the man who mowed our lawn and I just walked away with the kids. He didn’t even notice. Meanwhile Danny was standing in the center of the square with the Mayor.

Daniel Who

It was a song Muriel and I had learned back in the second grade. We used to sing it while walking back from school. I whispered the first few words to the Mayor. I’m not sure he fully understood what I was saying. He was a bit delirious. But you’ve got to give him credit. He straightened his back and started singing.

Muriel Who

Fahoo fores, dahoo doores, welcome Christmas, come this way.

Big Joe Who

I always loved that stupid song. My pops used to sing it in the kitchen. He was singing it when he first taught me how to make Ginger Bread Toast.

Shelley Who

It’s a lovely song.

Mayor Harold Who

That song saved my career. But more importantly, that song saved this town.

Danny Who

It was an armistice. A reminder of what we hoped for from each other. Of what we loved about the day in the first place. We gathered in a circle, and I ended up next to Muriel. She squeezed my hand, and I remembered second grade. Walking home.

Langley R. Who

And that, ladies and gentleman, is when the Grinch returned Christmas.

Shelley Who

There was no warning. We’re wrapping up the chorus of “Welcome Christmas” for the fourth time, and then you look up, and it’s the Grinch standing on a massive sleigh, being pulled entirely by Max. You have to keep in mind, none of us have seen the Grinch for a decent five months. Nor Max for maybe three or four. But these two have somehow got everything. Presents, food, wreaths. The tree!

Mayor Harold Who

The immediate aftermath is a blur. The Grinch is hailed by the town as a hero for “finding” all our gifts and such, and festivities begin not long after, as he’s dishing out all the food, booze and decorations. People were coming up to me, half laughing, half crying, slapping me on the back. Thanking me for keeping my cool and helping the town stay under control in its darkest hour. Only I knew the truth. The song was entirely Danny’s idea. I kept looking around to thank him, but couldn’t find him. Someone said he had gone off to the inn with Muriel.

Big Joe Who

So the town’s gone crazy again, only this time with happiness. But something don’t sit right with me. I’ve been around the kitchen too long to not smell something fishy from the freezer, and there was a weird look on the Grinch and Max’s faces as they dished the goods out. That night the Grinch is an honorary guest at the State Dinner, hosted by the Mayor. He gets to cut the roast beast. I cater the thing every year. Everyone’s slapping the Grinch on the back, thanking him for catching the robber, asking him how he did it. He keeps saying it was no big deal, they say he’s being too modest. Blah blah. You get it. I’m coming out of the kitchen and I hear him in the hallway talking to Max. I catch two words. And they rhymed with “We’re shucked.” Sure enough, two weeks later he’s on trial.

Langley R. Who

The People vs. Gerald Grinch is a watershed case in Christmas litigation canon. The landmark witness, of course, was Cindy Lou Who, a two-year-old girl who had sactually interacted with the Grinch on the night he stole Christmas. Her claim was backed up by a single green hair left on a glass cup, which the prosecutor famously presented as “smoking gun” evidence that the Grinch had been in Whoville the night of the robbery.

Big Joe Who

And then the whole thing just started to unravel.

Langley R. Who

The Grinch was born Gerald Grinch III, twenty-six years before the events that transpired in Whoville. He inherited a name of near-biblical proportions in his portion of the world. Both his father and grandfather were renowned treasure hunters, and the Grinch was expected to join the family business. It’s a sink or swim industry, and for any looking to manage a bit more than a doggie paddle, the first step is leaving one’s home behind. The Grinch, though, made friends along the way.

Shelley Who

Max had been the Grinch’s partner for a number of years. He was exceptionally athletic. Running 90 degrees up Mount Crumpit while pulling a two-ton sleigh speaks for itself.

Muriel Who

The Grinch had headed up first to scout for buried treasure. If he didn’t return, Max was instructed to follow him. That’s what the tall cat had been referring to. A fabled city of gold, hidden within our mountains.

Danny Who

Only, the Grinch didn’t find anything.

Langley R. Who

Gerald Grinch found a cave, nothing more. The truth is, Ephraim William Who had discovered the treasure over a hundred years earlier, and used it to finance most of the buildings in Whoville, along with his extensive collection of spices and monthly bacchanals. Realizing he had failed, and at this point nearly six years and over a thousand miles from home, the Grinch fell into a deep depression. He and Max started mixing moonshine. They reminisced on the old days, cursed their fathers and talked about what they’d have done with all the loot. It’s right around then that they noticed the treasure directly below them, ripe for the picking. On December 24th, washed in a drunken stupor, the two friends pulled off one of history’s greatest heists. They left each home in Whoville utterly bare. And they did so with incredible efficiency and care, I might add, considering they were both absolutely sloshed.

Big Joe Who

They woke up embarrassed. When I heard that part of the story, my heart softened a bit, ya know? Who of us, any of us, have not had one of those nights? I’ve never stolen a holiday from a town, but it’s all relative. The point is, they woke up embarrassed and brought it all back. The Grinch ended up getting four years in Whoville Penitentiary, and Max got two. They both got released in just one, for good behavior.

Danny Who

I still talk with him. He married Christine and lives around the corner. I’ve had him on the show loads of times over the years. Really bright guy. And Max is always good for a laugh, too. Max even has his own podcast now you guys should check it out. I haven’t had time to listen to it, Muriel and I are so busy with the kids and the inn, but I’m pretty sure it’s called Not a Reindeer. You can download it off iTunes.

Shelley Who

Frank and I split not long after that morning. It’s been so long I don’t even think about him. My kids and I go somewhere new every year. I thanked the Grinch for that years ago at a dinner party. He didn’t know what I was talking about, but it felt good.

Cindy Lou Who

You don’t wish for fame that young. It’s been a tough road, growing up a tabloid headline. People want to talk to you about the sitcom character you barely remember playing, or a picture they saw of you smoking a J in St. Bart’s. I’m not perfect. But I’m getting better. In case you were wondering, I do have an album coming out soon. It’s called Thirsty.

Muriel Who

Some of Cindy Lou’s singles for that album are stone cold bangers.

Mayor Harold Who

The Grinch has lived in this community now for several decades. He’s a valued member of this community, as is Max, as is Big Joe, Muriel, Danny, Shelley … even Cindy Lou. He may not have found the treasure he was looking for up in that mountain, but I know for certain he found it down here, right in Whoville. Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day. Is that going to be the final line? I’d be cool with that.

Follow Points in Case on Twitter.

Join The Second City writing classes on satire, sketch, and TV - 10% off with code PIC.

Check out events at The Satire and Humor Festival in NYC March 22-24.