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IT’S CHRISTMASTIME IN WEST LAFAYETTE

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GUESS WHO’S BACK AND MOSTLY CLEAN

[SCENE: outside the closed Sears in a mall that’s seen better days]

SHOPPER #1: Boy, this place has seen better days.

SHOPPER #2: Lot fewer stores. Lot more outpatient medical offices.

SHOPPER #1: Huh, there seems to be a crowd gathered over by the old Sears. Wonder what that’s about?

SHOPPER #3 [hustling by]: This strange man is giving out gifts to everyone! He says it’s “Christmas in October”!

SHOPPER #1: Hmm. Disgraced businessman doing image repair?

SHOPPER #3: Didn’t look like a businessman. Smelled like he’d been drinking copier toner.

SHOPPER #2: [sighing] I know who this is.

PURDUE SANTA: OH HO HO MEEEEERRRRRY CHRISTMAS, YOUNG MAN! AND WHAT A GLORIOUS CHRISTMAS SEASON IT IS! THE YOUNG MEN FROM WEST LAFAYETTE STORMED INTO VICTORY THIS WEEKEND AGAINST OHIO STATE, FELLING THE MIGHTY, JUST LIKE THE BELOVED CHRISTMAS STORY OF RUDOLPH AND GOLIATH!

SHOPPER #2: That’s definitely not a Christmas story, or a story at all.

PURDUE SANTA: RUDOLPH STOMPED HIM WITH HIS MIGHTY HOOVES, CRUSHING HIS-

SHOPPER #2: Dude, c’mon, there’s kids around.

PURDUE SANTA: AND THAT’S WHY I’M HERE, CELEBRATING THIS MAGNIFICENT VICTORY WITH GIFTS, JUST AS THE WISE MEN BROUGHT TRIBUTES FOR THE NEWBORN CHILD GIFTS OF SKOAL, FRANKENBERRY AND MYRRH

SHOPPER #2: Why do you have to be like this?

SHOPPER #1: Wait, do you know this guy?

SHOPPER #2: Ugh, yes. He tried to scam me last summer by jumping out in front of my car and claiming I hit him.

PURDUE SANTA: YOU WERE GOING VERY FAST!

SHOPPER #2: I was inside my garage. You were stealing leftovers from the garage fridge.

PURDUE SANTA: NO MAN CAN OWN LEFTOVERS, MY BOY, NOW-

SHOPPER #2: Does Sears know you’re using their space? They probably still own this.

PURDUE SANTA: TECHNICALLY I OWN SEARS NOW. ANYWAYS, TO HONOR PURDUE WINNING A GAME OVER THEIR HIGHEST-RANKED OPPONENT SINCE 1984, I’M TURNING BACK THE CLOCK AND GIVING AWAY SOME OF THE MOST POPULAR GIFTS OF THAT HOLIDAY SEASON!

SHOPPER #1: Listen, I know a therapist, and I want you to consider-

PURDUE SANTA: YOU THERE, SIR! WITH THE CHILD! COME, REAP IN THE GLORY OF THAT WHICH BROHM HATH GIVEN.

DAD WITH CHILD: Uh, hi. I was just wandering her around while her mom’s in Sephora.

PURDUE SANTA: DO YOU REMEMBER 1984?

DAD: Well, sure, I was 4 and I really wanted-

PURDUE SANTA: YOU WANTED A CABBAGE PATCH DOLL, DIDN’T YOU?

DAD: Wow, how did you know?

PURDUE SANTA: I AM SANTA. I KNOW EVERYTHING. WHO’S BEEN NAUGHTY, WHO’S BEEN NICE, WHAT-

SHOPPER #2: He’s Purdue Santa and he digs through your garbage. He probably knows your social security number.

PURDUE SANTA: WOULD YOU LIKE A CABBAGE PATCH DOLL, LITTLE GIRL?

SMALL CHILD: Uh... sure?

PURDUE SANTA: THEN HERE YOU ARE. HO HO HO!

DAD: Okay this is just an actual bag of cabbage.

PURDUE SANTA: SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED. FILLING AND NUTRITIOUS. NOW, YOU THERE, BOY, WHAT DAY IS IT?

8-YEAR-OLD BOY: It’s Tuesday, October 23rd.

PURDUE SANTA: NO, MY BOY, IT’S CHRISTMAS! NOW, DO YOU LIKE TRANSFORMERS?

BOY: Yeah, I love transformers!

PURDUE SANTA: [hands over large box]

BOY: [peeking inside box] This is an actual transformer. Did you rip this off a power pole?

PURDUE SANTA [we’re just noticing the singed beard]: I CALL HIM ZAPPY.

SHOPPER #2: [on phone] yes, Detective Murray, please. Tell him it’s Bill, it’s about the same issue as last time.

PURDUE SANTA: MA’AM, HELLO. DO YOU REMEMBER POUND PUPPIES?

WOMAN: Oh, I wanted those so bad when I was a little girl, I’d love for my daughter here to have-

PURDUE SANTA: [reaching behind chair for box] WELL,

SHOPPER #2: [holding hand over phone] Ma’am, turn and run right now. I don’t know what’s in that box but I have a feeling and there aren’t any air holes in the box, just run and don’t look back

PURDUE SANTA: YOU KNOW WHO ELSE SHOULD HAVE RUN? URBAN MEYER.

SHOPPER #1: Listen, just because you’re right about this one thing

PURDUE SANTA: I SHOULD HAVE A BEER WITH THAT GUY, COMPARE NOTES ON INEXPLICABLY DISAPPOINTING PEOPLE ONCE A YEAR. REALLY ADMIRE HIS WORK.

SHOPPER #2: [hanging up phone] Okay, listen, the police are on their way. Honestly, I don’t want to stick around to see any more of this. I’m really happy for Purdue, that was a heck of a win over Ohio State this weekend, something hardly anyone could’ve predicted. Jeff Brohm’s doing a great job there. Heck, with games still to come against Iowa and Wisconsin, and early-season struggles seemingly behind them, the Boilermakers might truly still be in the hunt for the Big Ten West title. It’s a different era - and that’s why I don’t understand why we still have to deal with you. You’re a relic of the Hazell era, a relic of teams that’d win one conference game a year. It’s brighter times in West Lafayette, and it’s time for you to crawl back into wherever you came from.

PURDUE SANTA: MY BOY, DID YOU LIKE GHOSTBUSTERS?

SHOPPER #2: What? Well- I mean, uh, yes... yes, I loved Ghostbusters.

PURDUE SANTA: I BET YOU ASKED YOUR PARENTS FOR A PROTON PACK IN 1984, DIDN’T YOU.

SHOPPER #2: How... how did you know that

PURDUE SANTA: BUT THEY WEREN’T ABLE TO GET ONE FOR YOU, DUE TO FACTORS OUT OF THEIR CONTROL

SHOPPER #2: [squinting] Dad?

PURDUE SANTA: TIMES CHANGE, AND PEOPLE CHANGE, BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN WE HAVE TO CUT THEM OUT OF OUR LIVES FOREVER

SHOPPER #2: DAD?!?

SHOPPER #1: Should I go?

PURDUE SANTA: SON, I WANT YOU TO HAVE THIS PROTON PACK, AND UNDERSTAND THAT THINGS CAN BE THE WAY THEY WERE IN 1984 ONCE AGAIN

SHOPPER #2: [sobbing] they told me he went out for cigarettes and the gas station exploded

PURDUE SANTA: ELEMENTS OF THAT STORY ARE TRUE, THERE WAS AN EXPLOSION

SHOPPER #2: [still sobbing] it’s been 34 years, you’ve missed so mu-[accidentally turns on proton pack, which thrums to life] wait a second this is a toy, isn’t it

PURDUE SANTA: PURDUE IS A FINE ENGINEERING SCHOOL BUT NO SCIENCE LAB IS EVER TRULY LOCKED IF YOU KNOW HOW TO SHIMMY THROUGH DUCTS, MY BOY

SHOPPER #2: did you steal a working nuclear reactor

PURDUE SANTA: A NEW ERA, MY BOY. HO HO HO