Little-Known Santa No. 20
This quivering, shivering, shaking, quaking, bugging, chugging, dipsy, tipsy, puckered, tuckered Little-Known Santa No. 20 sure looks like he’s just about the world’s worst addict, doesn’t he?
Well, that’s exactly what he is. He’s a premier coffee addict, THE premier coffee addict, in fact, hooked on the world’s most widely used — and abused — drug: caffeine. It was not uncommon for Sanka Claus to regularly imbibe 22 to 24 cups of tar-like liquid high each day — more than double the consumption of your average night-shift air traffic controller. (Though, thankfully, at last, SC is now in the latter more manageable throes of withdrawal, with a full 11 days, 9 hours, 16 minutes and 42 . . . er, make that 43 . . . .44 . . . . 45 . . . . seconds off the insidious kava.)
Yep, this skinny old elf is a junkie for coffee. Kaffe, Black Tar. Qahwah. Java. Caffé. Kahve. Joe, Chaoua. French roast. Mud. Filtré. Wake-Me-Up. Coffea. Whatever you happen to call it, this guy happens to drink it. He’ll have it green or roasted, iced or hot, crema or black, mocha or java, espresso or cappuccino, $8.25 per vente or free refills, with finger cookies or without, latté or frappé, con leche or au lait, steaming or tepid, macchiato or hazelnut, demitasse or tureen, canephora or arabica, freshly brewed or reheated after 17 days on a greenhouse windowsill.
He’s even been known to savor the occasional cup of kopi luwak, the supposedly sumptuously smooth, exotic and pricey brew made from digested beans that have been extracted from the spoor of the Asian Palm Civet, a decidedly unfriendly little arboreal feline from the jungles of Sumatra (especially if you’re trying to steal its poop).
It seemed that increasingly year after recent year, this Little-Known Santa was being delayed longer and longer as he delivered presents to the families and children of Brazil. It is not merely coincidence that Brazil happens to be the world’s largest producer of high-quality arabica coffee beans, with a brew master or barista under just about every third serape. But Mrs. Claus finally caught onto him, realizing he wasn’t sleeping between Christmases, but was instead out back in the toy shed, banging wheels onto wagons, packing up flatscreens, and glueing eyelashes onto Frilly Millie dolls, 24/7 365.
That’s when she laid down the law. She cut ol’ Sanka Claus off, cold turkey. (I understand she also insisted he stop drinking coffee.) With the aid of some sneakily surreptitious elves, she was able to jump the jittery, skittery Mr. Claus one evening, leaving him fitted with a bright orange plastic collar and matching wristbands. These orange rings — global cues to waitstaff everywhere for decaf service only — have kept Sanka Claus deprived of his drug of choice for the better part of two weeks now.
Perhaps now the scrawny dude can finally begin to put some pounds back on that frail frame of his, and resume his rightly roly-poly character of yore.
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