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by Louie (Barry Longyear, really)
A Tale of Redemption

It's da night before Xmas, and on da cell block ,

Da lights was shut down, da screws checkin' da locks.

Bernie 'n' me, shut up high on third tier,

Da same as we been for t'ree friggin' years,

Da rest a da cons was passed out in dere racks

Blasted out on pruno, smack, oxy, 'n' blacks.

And Bernie wit' his ear plugs, in da top bunk

An' me down below gettin' into a funk,

When from da air vent dere arose such a grumble,

I pulled out my shank and got ready to rumble.

Away to da bars I put dem to my back,

An' I yell at Bernie, "Hey, unass the rack!"

He pulled out his earplugs den stood next to me,

Den said, "Dis can't take too long, 'cause I gotta pee."

When, what to my wondering eyes should behold,

Da damn grill fell off an' black smoke came outta da hole.

Da smoke didn't smell much like fire or gas

An' da bull didn't notice da smoke when he passed.

Da smoke made a column, Bernie climbed up da wall

Den it got very solid and started to crawl.

I was goin' to shout to rack open da gate

When da smoke said to me, "Louie, it's getting late."

I thought goin' to Hell's just a thing-a-ma-bob,

To scare guys like me from goin' out on a job,

But here was Old Nick, all smoky and black

To take Louie out, an' he ain't coming back.

Den da smoke turned ta red, and me, like a jerk,

Said, "In Hell ya tink a guy like me can find work?"

Da column of red shaped itself into a man,

A red suit, white beard, but he was slender and tan.

"Dere's not much work in Hell," he said wit a smile,

"The place is full up, the way it's been for awhile.

"As for work for you both, I need you right now,

"I'm way behind schedule," and he wrinkled his brow.

"Chimneys are few, houses sealed up all tight

"Computer alarms and patrol cops all night.

"Everyone has a gun and is ready to shoot

"Dere's no time to place presents, only to scoot."

"Most times I can't get in, da sky's full of ack ack,

"I've armored the sleigh but I can't shoot them back,

"I've robots for reindeer, an elf who's a rookie,

"And now my physician says I can't eat the cookies.

"Louie, I must tell you, if I can't pick up the speed,

"Millions will miss getting da presents dey need."

"Santa," sez me, "You're in one big pickle,

"But Bernie 'n' me, we're in for a nickle,

"Can help speed tings up and keep youse from harm,

"Bernie he does the locks and I do alarms."

Well, we got brand new suits, green wit white little frills,

Den Bernie makes a crack about bringing his pills.

"Tink about dis," I said leanin up 'gainst his rack,

"All da stuff we done stole, now we can put it all back."

So, wit his two new helpers, Santa picked up his speed

All da kiddies and peoples'll get what dey need.

And when we goof up and break the wrong beam

The attack dogs are released to butcher Santa's new team

You'll hear the sleigh's speakers as to its safety we make, say,

"Merry Christmas to all, and lighten up for Christ's sake!"

—Merry Xmas from Barry Longyear
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