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The story you are about to read is the first short story I ever had accepted for publication, way back in the 1980s. It was scheduled to appear in a fun little magazine of humorous horror called GAS ‐‐ which was a lot like MAD magazine, only madder (the acronym, believe it or not, stood for "Gross American's Society"). I was so excited to receive editor Jeannette Hopper's fun acceptance letter, also included here, welcoming me into eternal infamy. But, alas, GAS ran out of gas and closed shop shortly thereafter. "Dear Santa" never saw the light of day. In fact, I thought the story was lost forever. And maybe for the better. I wrote this thing when I was a college student, hacking on an archaic Brother word processor ‐‐ one of the first electronic typewriters of its kind, which had a golden screen where you could actually see and change your words before they printed onto the page! Like, totally awesome! It even ‐‐ dude! ‐‐ allowed you to save your writing on something called a "floppy disk"! Let the daisy wheel fly, Brother! A lot of good it did me, though, because I now have no way to read these old disks with my first feeble attempts at fiction and poetry on them. Luckily, I printed backup copies out of paranoia. I thought I'd neglected to save a copy of "Dear Santa," because it wasn't in my usual archives. But I stumbled on this manuscript recently, and it was like discovering a funky old photo from childhood. The story isn't good, but I thought I'd share it with curious readers anyway. It's certainly not good enough for submitting to editors now in my career, some four Bram Stoker Awards and a PhD. In Literature later. I probably should have burned it, and counted myself lucky that I was able to save myself the public humiliation. But since Black Friday, I've kept thinking about what to do with this "lost" story. Against my better judgment, I've decided to scan it and share it now with you here. Call it "regifting" if you like…this is my ill‐conceived gift to you this holiday season. Merry Christmas! Enjoy this twenty‐one year old story. If you like it, you're very kind. The scribbles are authentic, as are all the stains, misspellings, and stupidity it contains. I see I scratched "old" on the bottom of every page, which presumably means that this was not only one of my first stories, but an early draft of one. Apparently, I felt the two sentences I added by hand were the only icing this terrible cake needed before I re‐submitted it to GAS. I also see that I tagged the manuscript with the publication info before I filed it away … this was wishful thinking, as no one has ever seen this story until you, right here and now. I've redacted it a bit to shield the eyes of innocent children. No; the truth is that I just wanted to blot out my old address to protect whoever lives there now, and I just kept going when I saw the curse words because I think those black bars make it look nastier than it is…like it came out of some kind of evidence file. Maybe it did, actually. ‐‐ Michael A. Arnzen, Christmas 2010 p.s. If you like this story, you're a special kind of person. You'd probably also enjoy my book 100 Jolts: Shockingly Short Stories, available on amazon.com and wherever Bizarro books are sold.
About the e Author: Michael A. Arn zen is now a college teach her by day and a orror writer by often funny, always disturb bing ho y night. His o ho orror stories h have won four Bram Stoke er Awards, an Int ternational H orror Guild award, and several "Year's Best" hort stories a accolades. The e best of his sh and poems are overbs for Mo onsters, which h won the Bra am collected in Pro oker Award in n 2007. Sto Arnzen's latest project is an instructional guide for aut thors, called Many Ge enres, One Cra aft: Lessons in n Writing Pop pular Fic ction (co‐edite ed with Heidi i Ruby Miller) ), to appear in n 20 011. He is cur rrently develo oping a new g ghost novel. T To see what he's u up to now, subscribe to Th he Goreletter: an ward‐winning newsletter o of the bizarre, , hilarious, an nd aw pit thy ‐‐ availablle free at gore elets.com "Dear r Santa" (1989 9) e the first know wn appearanc ce of this stor ry. This electronic reproduction is t Posted to h http://scribd. .com/arnzen in December r 2010. Copyright © 2 C 2010 Michael A. Arnzen A Mastication Publica ation.
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