‘Twas a night in December, when all through New York,
Lovers were home freeing wine from the cork.
Stockings were hung, and trees decorated,
Cookies set out to keep Santa elated.
My roommates were sloshed and passed out in their beds,
While I had decided to wander instead.
I threw on my scarf, pea coat, and flap cap,
And leapt into the cold without aim or a map.
Out on the streets, rats chittered and scattered;
I tossed a few coins to a man dressed in tatters.
Away down an alley I heard a great crash;
I called to the darkness, “I have no more cash!”
The moon and the buildings all lined in a row
Made a patchwork of luster and coal-black shadow.
When what did my two straining ears surely hear,
But the rattle of chains and the slurping of beer.
With a sickening belch, so vulgar and slick,
I knew it was Krampus, and he was probably sick.
His arm ‘round a beast I thought couldn’t be tamed,
He burped, and he shouted, and called it by name!
“Now Winthrop, you bastard! Now shut up and listen!
You’re a worthless beast of burden. I’m a man on a mission.
I don’t care if you’re not used to walking through snow!
We’re not heading back without hookers and blow!”
As dry heaves subsided, Winthrop lifted him high.
(For a velociraptor, he seemed like a pretty good guy.)
So out of the alley in search of more brew,
The Krampus spotted me and said, “You can come, too.”
And then, in a moment, I was riding a lizard
Who bounded with boldness straight into the blizzard.
As I drew up my scarf and was holding on tight,
The Krampus bid we stop at the first bar in sight.
He was covered in fur, from his waist to his paws,
Which were cloven like hooves and were sharper than claws.
A sack labeled “boys” he had flung on his back,
He had branches for girls, with which he gave them a THWACK!
His eyes—how they burned! His horns—massive and scary!
His arms were like tree trunks! His chest was so hairy!
His mouth was drawn up in a villainous grin,
And a coarse stripe of fur ran the length of his chin.
A serpentine tongue tumbled out from his teeth,
And his spit gave off steam as it seeped underneath.
He had pallid green skin and was terribly smelly,
Like putrid roast beef in petroleum jelly.
He dismounted Winthrop, and he steadied himself,
Led me into a pub, and demanded top shelf.
He ordered us rye, and he ordered us gin;
He ordered tequila—I felt the room spin.
We drank, we laughed, and I asked about his work:
Why he kidnapped children like some kind of jerk.
And perching his chin on the top of his fist,
He said “Don’t worry. You’re not on the bad list.”
He sprang from his stool and waved to Winthrop outside,
And walked toward the door with a lumbering stride.
I begged him to stay, but I heard him refuse—
“Merry Christmas you schmuck, and thanks for the booze!”