Sorry old St Nick fuming in dismay over messed-up Link Reit

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 December, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 December, 2004, 12:00am

'TWAS THE NIGHT before Christmas, when all through the S-A-R

Not a creature was stirring, not even Long Hair.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that Link Reit scrip soon would be there.

The residents of Hong Kong were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of good governance and a 7 per cent return danced in their heads.

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter's nap.

When down in the car park there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The neon lights on the breast of the concrete parking lot

Gave the lustre of mid-day to all objects in eyeshot,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so bumbling and thick,

I asked myself: 'This is St Nick?'

Slower than turtles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

'Now, Donald! Now, Henry! Now, Michael and Sandra!

On, Elsie! On York! On, Arthur and Fred Ma!

To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!

Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!'

As soggy leaves that before the pouring rain droop,

So up the tower block the coursers did reluctantly troop,

With the sleigh full of prospectuses, and St Nicholas too.

And then I heard on the roof so near

The hemming and hawing of each little reindeer.

As I drew in my hand, and was closing the sash,

Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a god-awful crash.

He was dressed all in rags, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

A bundle of stock certificates he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a beggar just opening his sack.

His eyes - how tired!

His face puffy and red!

His puckered little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the brush-cut on his head was as white as snow.

The butt of a cigarette he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled Hong Kong like a wreath.

He had a sad face and a little round belly,

That shook when he sighed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was hunched and drawn, a right sorry old elf,

And I gasped when I saw him, in spite of myself.

A glare of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had much to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, the Link Reit scrip turned all to coals.

He slunk away to his sleigh, to his team gave an angry whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, 'Sorry for the shambles, though there's no one to blame,

'See you next year, when we'll try it again!'

With apologies to Major Henry Livingston Jr.