Thanks so much for your sweet letter, but it is my sad duty to inform you that Santa passed on last month, his spirit rising to the great sleigh in the sky, then he was gone forever. It was quite a year up at the North Pole, what with the ozone and the icecap and the flood of ecotourism. And when the elves went off to work on the oil rigs, I think it was just too much for his old heart to take. To say nothing of his lungs: All that chimney particulate finally took its toll.
Anyway, my dear, the hard times had cost us in other ways too: I suppose you should know Santa left me just two days short of our millennial anniversary and took up with that notorious little housewrecker, Tinker Bell. Let's just say she grew up a whole lot faster than poor, clueless Peter Pan. What's worse, Santa left her the whole of Candyland, citing her part in what he described as the ten jolliest months of his life.
It broke my heart, I can tell you, but I do believe he was not in his right mind at the end–fairydust, the vixen. I plan to sue and am looking for a good lawyer, someone really devious because the polar court system is a bit of a joke. After all, we've never had to deal with real life way up here before. The original court was designed for theatrical functions only, and the judge was rescued from a puppet production of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operettas–you can tell by the gaudy gold stripes on his robes and the way he keeps humming: "Though all my law be fudge,/Yet I'll never, never budge,/But I'll live and die a judge." Anyway, you asked after the old-timers, most of whom have moved on or passed on. Bambi wandered into Scarsdale and was made an example of by the local zoning board. Billy Badger disappeared beneath a shopping mall. Eager Beaver met up with a drunk on Jet Skis.
On the brighter side, Chicken Little is doing Larry King after all those years of being dismissed as paranoid and fluffy. Who knew she had a degree in atmospheric studies? Jack Sprat wrote a diet book called Living on Air, and his wife wrote a cookbook called Goodies to Die For. And so between them both, they have spots on Oprah every other week. Loosey Goosey is a reporter for the Foxy Network. She always did believe everything she heard, but now that there's a market for it, she's sitting pretty. Punch and Judy have updated their act and have a regular gig doing political commentary for Hardball.
Baby Bear left the forest and moved to Manhattan, where he's an investment adviser to the Internet industry. He married that hungry Goldilocks woman, and his parents are just heartbroken. Cock Robin succumbed to the West Nile plague, but not before being accidentally baked in a pie along with four and twenty infected blackbirds. The pie was served to Solomon Grundy, who took ill on a Thursday, was turned down by his HMO on Friday, died on Saturday, was buried on Sunday. The EPA was asked to investigate, but before a report could be issued, the agency's three remaining wise men put out to sea in a bowl, under very suspicious circumstances. Their jobs were filled by three blind mice, and it's been all downhill since then. Industry wolves have been huffing and puffing and getting their way.