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Alive 2

A (Late) Xmas Tale..

It is very very early on Xmas morning,  the whole world sleeps,  little
children slumber, their dreams punctuated by fond imaginings of all the
presents  they will be getting in just a few short hours.  Adults sleep
too, but none with less certainty, and more tossing (ahem!) and turning
in  their  bed,  than  the software mogul and  multi-billionaire,  Bill

"Oh  woe,  US  Supreme court,  Russian Hackers,  and Linux,  why are you 
tormenting me so!?"

Another deeper voice cuts in. "Because they think you deserve it Bill?"

Bill Gates suddenly snaps back to a fully awakened state.

"Wh-who  are  you?  Is this some modern day re-run of  Charles  Dickens 
'Christmas Carol',  with myself playing the scrooge figure.  Are you my 
mysteriously deceased, but no-one was able to prove anything against me 
former business partner,  J.C.Marley jnr? So where are the three ghosts 
of Xmas's past, present, and future?"

(Unimpressed) "Hell no, that's just too obvious! Nice of you to tell me 
that  stuff about your business partner though,  I'm sure someone  else 
can use that later.  Now look closer at me, and you'll soon realise who 
I am.."

Bill gawks myophically,  he really isn't very good,  first thing in the


"Santa Claus, yes, that's right Bill."

"But yo-you..."

"Don't exist?"

Indeed,  it  is  the  familiar red-coated and beared figure,  known  as
'Sinter  Klaas'  in the Netherlands,  and originally as 'St  Nicholas'.
Bill is not too happy, and more than a little bit frightened.

"But you really don't exist!  You're just a figure of myth, legend, and 
the corporate imagination.  What I'm seeing in front of me,  the modern 
image  of  so-called 'Santa Claus',  is the poster boy for Coca  Cola's 
1931  Xmas  campaign!  You  don't properly exist,  so I must  still  be 

Bill pinches himself,  hard. A small bruise wells up on the flabby skin
of his forearm. Santa, real or not, remains distressingly in view.

"That doesn't usually work Bill!" Santa taunted.

"But I told everybody that you're not real..."

"Ahh,  so you remember back all those years,  to when you were a smart-
arsed seven year old who thought he knew everything back then.  Haven't 
really changed that much, have you Bill?"

Through the magic of the state of the art pocket DVD player, that Santa
has  brought  with  him,   a  crucial  scene,  long  buried  in  Bill's
subconscious,  is  stirred  back  to  life.  It is a  typical  American
suburban  living  room,  sometime in the early 1960's.  It is decorated
heavily  for  Xmas,  a couple of adults,  who turn out to be Bill Gates
parents,  and a group of small children,  who are his friends,  are all
gathered excitedly around the Xmas tree.

"So  when  Santa  comes,  he knows who's been naughty,  and who's  been 

(In a chorus of childish voices.) "And Santa only gives presents to the 
good children!"

The  view cuts to a sharply unimpressed seven year old version of  Bill

"That just isn't true!"

"How is that so Bill, everyone knows that Santa Claus is real!"

With  something of a triumphant gleam in his eye,  the young Bill Gates
puffs himself up, and then lets forth..

"It's so ridiculous.  Santa Claus can't exist. He would have to deliver 
presents  to at least 256 million households,  between midnight and six 
am.  To  do this,  his sleigh would have to have a carrying capacity of 
five  hundred  million  cubic feet.  This would need a  team  of  forty 
million  flight-capable  magic reindeer to pull them,  and  256,000  of 
these would have to have a shiny nose."

"Even  allowing  for different time zones,  the so-called  Santa  Claus 
would  have to break Einstein's laws of relativity in  several  places, 
and average a speed of three million miles an hour,  assuming a present 
delivery time per household of two minutes per visit."

"As  for  the additional complications to the flight  dynamics  of  the 
magic  sleigh,  imposed on it by the 50,000 tonnes of mince pies,  that 
Santa  consumes  en route,  that will have to wait for a more  detailed 
calculation next year!!"

"So it is clear to any logical clear thinking intelligent person, Santa 

Bill's  parents stand there,  open-mouthed and aghast.  The rest of the
children gathered there aren't too impressed either,  one or two of the
smaller ones start to cry... The scene finishes, and Santa folds up the
pocket DVD player.

(Pedant  note:-  The above  "facts"  are not strictly  accurate,   just
illustrative, so don't even THINK about writing in to complain!)

"Since then,  you have been in denial about the magic of Xmas,  and the 
story of Santa Claus.  It seems to have affected you so much,  that you 
sought  to take my place,  and be loved by all the children around  the 

"The  problem is,  that you could only go about doing this one way,  by 
producing  and selling progressively crappier software.  You wanted  to 
dominate that industry totally, and take over Xmas yourself, which is a 
time of year when most new computers,  game consoles,  and software are 

"Now  I'm back to prove to you that I DO exist Bill.  The war is  over, 
you don't have to keep on smashing through the same old Windows!"

Bill is almost blubbing himself now,  it is a strangely touching scene.
"So you mean, I have a second chance Santa?"

Santa is back to his traditional old and sunny 'Ho ho ho!' self...
"Yes of course Bill.  You don't have to keep Microsoft on, you can come 
to work for me, as one of my toy-making elves!"

Bill almost jumps out of his skin with joy..
"Thank  you  Santa!  When  can I start,  can I have a go on your  magic 

As they leave together, Santa turns, as if to an invisible audience..
"A  merry Xmas to all you Alive!  readers,  and a happy non-Windows new 

If only it were that simple :)

 CiH - For Alive! magazine - Dec '00

Alive 2