By Erin Mitchell
This has been an amazing year of spending time with crime fiction series character friends, old and new. This is my tribute to them. I couldn't have done this without help from Jen Forbus.
Please don’t take my lack of rhyming prowess as anything less than loving endorsement for the stories in which they appear (the links lead to author sites where you can find them), or be offended on Mr. Claus’ behalf…it’s all meant in fun.
Whatever you celebrate this season, may it be joyous, peaceful, and bright.
‘Twas the night before Christmas Eve, when all through the house
All the creatures were reading, even the louts.
Clete Purcel was sitting by the chimney grasping a bottle,
In hopes that Dave Robicheaux wouldn’t let up on the throttle.
Lily Moore was nestled all snug in her bed,
While visions of vintage treasure danced in her head.
And Ellie Hatcher in her ‘kerchief, and J.J. Rogan in his cap,
Had just settled their brains for a long winter’s nap.
When gunshots rang out followed by a scream that made teeth clatter,
Will Trent and Faith Mitchell sprang onto the scene to see what was the matter.
Toward the window they moved, guns already drawn,
Tore open the shutters and saw it was bad guy spawn.
The sinister moon on the freezing snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to Matt Scudder’s wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
With a nefarious driver, neither lively nor quick,
Everyone knew in a moment he must have kidnapped St Nick.
More rapid than automatic weapon fire his coursers they came,
Tom Thorne cringed as he whistled, and shouted, and called the reindeer by name!
"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Run! Hurry up! Quickly! Before I kill you all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
Jones Cooper rolled his eyes and wondered how they knew
How to haul the sleigh full of toys, and the kidnapper too.
And then, in a twinkling, they heard on the roof
The frightened, desperate pawing of each little hoof.
As the crew took position to defend those around,
Down the chimney The Bad Guy came with a bound.
He was dressed all in black, from his head to his toes,
With a balaclava covering distinguishing features just as everyone knows.
A bundle of explosives he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
Charlie Hardie noted his eyes-how they twinkled! His dimples how creepy!
The Accident People had been busy; this was no time to be sleepy!
His droll little mouth was drawn up in a sneer,
And all Charlie could think was, “I really want a beer.”
The stump of a cigar he held tight in his teeth,
Carter Ross made a note as he ducked behind a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like an intern full of jelly!
He was fat, to be sure, but no jolly old elf,
Skin Kadash knew not to laugh lest he give away himself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave them to know they had everything to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Charlie Parker observed that he was more than a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his gun,
And giving a sigh, away into the night he did run!
After someone took a shot and the bad guy did tumble
The crew rushed to the sled to investigate a rumble.
As Santa climbed out, his red suit still in shape
He exclaimed with a laugh, "Now Christmas won't be late!"
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!