Last night I was part of the entertainment at a wonderful holiday party put on by the Las Vegas Writers’ Group.  The food, drink and merriment flowed — which probably helped the good reception to the poem I read.   (It was my winning entry in the 2007 Henderson Writers’ Group [HWG] annual writing contest.)

You’ll notice some big words written in all CAPITAL LETTERS in the poem.  These words were given as part of the contest rules.  We were to write a short story or a poem, that had a holiday theme, which incorporated the 12 given words.   (The truth?  I had to look up most of them!)


TWAS The NIGHT BEFORE (a HWG) Christmas     by Jan Fair

Twas the night before Christmas, when all along the Strip,

Not a casino was stirring, not even a poker chip.

The pit bosses were nestled all snug in their beds,

While the sounds of STERTOR emanated from their heads.

The complimentary TRAMWAY that originates within

The Las Vegas Convention Center, and ends at the Wynn,

Was completely and utterly silent — no movement at all.

And the monorail had stopped running, parked near the Showcase Mall.

So I with my nightcap, and mug of mulled beer,

Walked into the Bellagio and gave a loud cheer.

And into the Conservatory where stood a Santa GROTTO

I yelled, “I want to gamble and I want to play the lotto.”

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight scrungy reindeer.

The sleigh was shaped like a PATAMAR — like a giant clam shell.

And the reindeers were chewing HOMINY– and looked like hell.

With a little old driver, so sloppy and sick,

I knew in a moment it was not old St. Nick.

It was a QUONDAM mob lawyer, now the mayor of our town.

‘Twas Oscar B. Goodman, who drove the sleigh with a frown.

He was dressed in the WASHIEST colors, I’ve ever seen;

A putrid red pullover and pants slimy lime green.

Yes, they’re the colors of Christmas, I have to admit.

But surely an important man would choose a better outfit?!

Was he caught in a CHUBASCO flying along the Pacific Coast?

Or did the sleigh meet with an obstacle from Nellis army post?

But before I could ask him, he said, “What’s the matter?”

I said “I miss all the tourists and the gambling and the chatter.”

He shouted “Oh, RIGHTO!  I can fix that very fast today.

As fast as SWARF appears from the grinding axle on my sleigh!

Look here inside, I have a showgirl and Bombay Sapphire Gin,

And I’ve brought casino chips with my face on it.  See my grin?!

I’ve brought the bartenders beer taps so they can now pour.

I’ve brought the pit-bosses C-Paps so they won’t now snore.

I’ve brought crates of buffet food so all can eat with VORACITY.

Don’t worry.  Very soon, the casinos will be filled to capacity.”

Then he used his whip to URTICATE his reindeer and make them fly.

He  whistled, and shouted, and yelled, “Take to the sky!

To  the top of the Stratosphere!  To the top of the Palms!

Now dash away!  Dash away!  Dash away with no qualms.”

But I heard him exclaim as on and on he did ramble,

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all … go spend and gamble!”