Fitz column mug

David Fitzsimmons, Tucson’s most beloved ink-stained wretch.

The jolly old elf appeared in the fireplace of the oval office right on time. Vice President Mike Pence gestured for Santa to sit down at the coffee table in the center of the room across from the president, who was busy tweeting.

Santa spoke. “Tell me again why we’re meeting?”

Trump scowled.

“Is this about the first lady banning mistletoe from the White House? That’s between you and the first lady, Mr. President.”

“Quiet, chubby. I’m tweeting: ‘He sees me when I’m tweeting. He knows when I’m awake. He knows if I’ve been bad or good? Could Santa be Deep State?’

“That one will get a bazillion retweets. Listen, chubby, I should tell you right now I have questions about you. I don’t like beards. What are you hiding behind that beard? You a Muslim? Show us your birth certificate. Know what I heard on Fox and Friends? You’re not an elf, you’re a Syrian suicide midget casing every home on the globe.

“And what’s with Mrs. Claus? You like eating cookies baked by Wilford Brimley in drag? If I was you, Kringle, I’d cut back on the cookies, dump the old ball and chain, fire your lazy elves, stiff the kids and turn your toy factory into a casino.”

Santa laughed.“Ho, ho, ho! And I thought you asked me here to tell me what you want for Christmas.”

Trump arched an eyebrow.

Santa pulled an enormous ancient journal from his bag and dabbed a quill on his tongue to dampen the ink. “Have you been a good boy? Let’s check my Naughty and Nice notes. Adultery. Lying. Ridiculing the least among us. Lying. Overlooking murder. Lying. Cheating. Lying …”

“Fake news, chubby! I don’t need your pathetic presents. I can buy anything in the world I want, a hundred times over.”

Trump scowled at Santa. “And I apologize to no man. Or elf. Or Syrian suicide midget. And my tweets are read by millions.”

Santa scribbled as Trump babbled.

“What are you doing, Kringle?”

“Adding your name to my ‘Naughty list’, with notations.”

“Well, write this down. Your ‘toy makers’ are illegal immigrants from the south pole and a raid is coming.”

Santa sighed. He stopped taking notes.“When did you stop believing in me?”

“It was 1968. Wharton. College roommate told me. I was devastated. It was bad. Very bad. Listen, Kringle, you can’t just fly over America’s borders. I’m going to see to it that every last bag of yours passes through customs. Every last one, Kringle. I don’t care if it takes forever. Go ahead, chubby. Cancel Christmas. I’m securing our borders.”

Trump looked at his twitter feed. “Giving. What a ridiculous idea. And why can’t we open all the little windows on your dumb Advent calendars, right now, today? I hate waiting. I’m banning them.”

Pence sat under the Christmas tree and occupied himself by playing quietly with the nativity set and talking to the tiny figurines while Trump raged.

“Speaking of bans, I’m banning all elves from traveling to America until we get this Christmas thing figured out. And the children of America are with me on this. Those children outside aren’t crying. They’re singing how much they love me. More than they love you, chubby.”

Santa spoke. “Donald, at this time of year …”

“Shhh. I’m tweeting. Listen to this one: ‘North Pole real estate? Now’s the time to buy. Don’t believe the climate change hoax!’ Good, right?”

Santa shook his head. “My North Pole is shrinking, you ninny! I’ll have to relocate. Frosty the Snowman is in an intensive care freezer! And the polar bears —”

“You want hush money? Is that what this is about? I never touched Mrs. Claus, Miss North Pole 2015 or the Ghost of Christmases yet to come.”

Santa despaired. “Donald, as much as it pains me to give up on a naughty soul, this Christmas I have no choice but to put coal in your stocking.”

“How much coal? Tons of it? Mountains? Enough to open some dead mines in Kentucky and West Virginia?” Trump slapped the coffee table. “Deal!”

He leapt to his feet. “I just made a killer deal! You’re free to go, chubby. What a sucker! By order of me, the president of the United States, I hereby grant you impunity.”

Pence coughed. “Immunity, Mister President.”

“Whatever.”

Santa stood up, wished President Trump “a very merry Christmas” and disappeared in a zillion points of twinkling light.

Trump turned to his vice president. “We didn’t even talk about the kids in tents and cages on the border. What if Santa tries to slip Christmas gifts to them, behind the barbed wire? I’ll shoot him myself. Think I’m afraid of a ‘Trump shoots Santa!’ headline?”

Pence put down the baby Jesus figurine and smiled. “No, sir, Mr. President. You’re Donald Trump.”

Contact editorial cartoonist and columnist David Fitzsimmons at tooner@tucson.com.