(Originally published in Tokyo Today Magazine, Dec. 92, by Paul Abramson)

A few weeks ago one of our reporters made a phone call to Jolly Old St. Nick at the North Pole. We hope our exclusive telephone interview will help brighten your pleasant, wholesome holiday season.

Elf answering phone: Well hello there! This is the North Pole. Say, is this an adorable child calling for Santa?

T.T.: Ah, no. This is a magazine reporter from Tokyo. I was-

Phone Elf: Another one! Jeez. Hey Chip, I just got another reporter! Yeah pal, what can I do ya for?

T.T.: Well I was wondering if I could speak with Santa Claus for a few minutes...?

Phone Elf: Chip, I'll betcha can't guess why he called.... Okay pal, hold your reindeer, er.. horses.

(Put on hold) ("Hold music" is Jingle Bells, performed by the barking dogs.)

Bartender Elf: (Click) North Pole Pool Hall. This is Ralph. (music in background) We're kinda busy so make it snappy.

T.T.: ... Umm.. I'm, ah, trying to call Santa Claus?

Bartender Elf: That's Mr. Claus, if youse don't mind. Yeah well he's busy testing out a new snooker table. Should be a big hit this year. Of course it's only for the good boys and girls you understand. -Oh, hold on. You're in luck, he's comin' this way. ...Santa, another one of Mrs. Claus' special egg nogs?

Santa: That Rudolph sure is lucky today! I can't believe he keeps beating me.

Bartender Elf: Well, here's a little somethin' to deaden the pain. Oh and ah, someone on the phone here wants to speak with you.

Santa: Not the FAA again!

Bartender Elf: Ah naw, it sounds like one of those reporter-types. You know, kinda pushy, cheap suit and probably as liberal as the amount of soot in a chimney. ...Anyway here's the phone.

Santa: Ho, ho, ho! How can I help you?

T.T.: Santa, is this really you?

Santa: Yes sonny, it's me. Have you been good this year?

T.T.: Oh yes, of cour-, I mean, well pretty good I guess. As much as the next, umm... Ahh, well compared to my publisher I haven't been too bad...

Santa: Well, well, that's just splendid then. Ho, ho, ho!

T.T.: Say, Santa, I realize you're pretty busy this time of year but I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions. See, I'm a reporter for Tokyo Today Magazine.

Santa: Yes. That would be fine. Oh hold on a minute. One of my accounting elves just brought a few papers for me to sign.

Bean Counting Elf: Yep, there and there. ...Press hard while signing please. There are 4 copies, Santa. ...Okay. Oh and this one's just a little R & D project. Go ahead and just sign -

Santa: Oh, now hold on. This is the same project that I disapproved last year.

B.C. Elf: Oh, but they assured me that-

Santa: Ho, ho. I don't know where you elves get your ideas from. Developing this line of string lingerie for Barbie just isn't ... quite...

B.C. Elf: But Santa, the boys in R & D are willing to put in some of their own time on this project. Mr. Claus, sir, we all feel that the benefits would…

Older Woman's Voice: (Click) Oh, hello? Hello? Is someone already on this line?

Santa: Yes dear, I'm using this one.

B.C. Elf: It's a low appropriation...

Mrs. Claus: Oh Santa, since you're on the line here - could you talk to those elves down in the bakery? It seems that someone's been biting the gingerbread toes off again. I wish they'd stop that.

Santa: Of course dear. Oh sweetheart, I'm on the phone with a reporter right now. So maybe we can talk about it later.

Mrs. Claus: Certainly dear. And remember to tell those reindeer to do their calisthenics. They've only got a few weeks to get in shape, you know. They need to work off those big deer-bellies in a hurry!

Santa: Yes dear, I understand.

Mrs. Claus: Dear, try not to let Rudolph's nose get too red today. And the sleigh would be a lot lighter if you'd stick to that diet-

Santa: Ahem. Ah, yes dear. Good bye now.

Mrs. Claus: Well okay. I won't worry then. See you later dear. (Click)

Santa: We'll discuss these papers later. I need to answer this reporter's questions. Ahem, I'm sorry young man. Now, where were we?

T.T.: Oh, well Santa - I was saying that I know how busy you are, and…

BartenderElf: Say Santa, Rudolph's lookin' kind of bored over there. And I think he wants a rematch. ...Hey Rudie, a couple more of those 'nogs and Santa might start catchin' up. Whoa, tone down that nose! Hey Santa, isn't he supposed to save that for-

T.T.: Ah Santa - my first question - what about in Japan, the lack of chimneys, is this-

Santa: Tell Rudolph to warm up his cue and rack the balls.

Bartender Elf: Yeah, you been on the phone for a long time now....

T.T.: Ah, Santa, is it true that you're going to use a more aerodynamic sleigh this year? We've received some unconfirmed reports that M.I.T. has been under contract to-

Santa: Ho, ho ho... well, let's just say that- Oh, hold on a moment. One of my maintenance elves here has a quick question. Yes...

Maintenance Elf: Santa, those expensive graphite runner blades aren't tracking right. And we're a little worried about the lack of friction in the first place. Your sleigh might just coast right off some of those short condo roofs. Can we show you our scale model and the computer simulation we've got running down in maintenance?

Santa: Oh, well, I-

Bartender Elf: Santa, that reporter's been on the phone with you a long time. Hey, and Rudolph's ready. Right now, look over there, see?

T.T.: Ah Santa, can I ask just one ques-...?

Maintenance Elf: Santa, just a couple of minutes in maintenance. Then you can get back to this new type 'ah pool game you been playing down here.

Santa: Ho, ho!, - well I'm afraid I have to go now. I'd like to talk longer, but.. Well, you know how busy things are these days.

T.T.: Ah, I...

Santa: And you tell everyone to have a MERRRRY CHRISTMASSS!!   (Click)

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