Traditions We Share

Like Santas who shoot carbines and a play that guts the Lord but good

"You guys are the best-behaved Santa crew I've ever seen here," says the range master. Holiday cheer all around.

Back in the city, I climb into a cab driven by St. Nick. Real beard, real blue eyes, well-worn hat. I wonder if he's packing. He talks about really needing coffee, about the stress of driving this time of year, about his addiction and headaches. Somehow, I don't doubt he knows his way around a handgun.

At the Edinburgh Castle, I settle in for a re-enactment of the Nativity scene. Bar manager and playwright Alan Black's familiar voice comes over the PA: "In the beginning there was the word ... Here's a pub. I need a drink. The Virgin was filled with child ... Virgin, your egg is fertilized by me ... Plop the child on a platter of sausage, beans, and chips. Joseph, knock and ask the innkeeper if you can deliver the divine egg to humanity's plate."

Frank McGuire as Joseph yells, "Is there room for me and the trouble and the strife?"

"There is no room at the inn," cries Tay Kim. And the Lord is fucking gutted.

"What a dump," sayeth the Lord. "We'll never drink here again." Joseph is instructed to take the Virgin, author Anne Marino, to deliver the savior of man in the alley, being careful to avoid the urine, crack pipes, and dung. The Three Wise Men, played by Luke James, come bearing the gifts of this land -- booze and drugs -- saying, "Thou shalt amount to nothing, you Jesus twonk." When King Herod hears of the child's birth, we are told he sends social services, which does nothing. Angered, the Lord sends a plague, but the rich develop antibiotics for themselves to defeat it. And the Lord is again fucking gutted.

"So be it," sayeth the Lord.

"A-men. Bastards the lot of them," says Black.

"It's good to be with friends this time of year," muses a gal at the bar.

Holiday traditions and friends, you can't beat them, I agree.

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