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The Ratcracker and ten other sad endings to Christmas stories

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Everyone knows The Nutcracker, but few people know the story -- and that's for a good reason: It's is so slight, it's almost incoherent. Yeah, there's a pseudo-plot in the first act about a battle with a Rat King or something, but that's all wrapped up by the second act, which is devoted pretty much entirely to denouement, where random characters, you know, do dances and stuff. Not so in The Ratcracker. In Boulder troupe Frequent Flyers Productions' version, the Rat King wins.

Because we're twisted, hateful scrooges, we like that idea. So in the spirit of misanthropy, here are ten more "alternate" endings to your favorite Christmas stories. Bah. Humbug.

10. Frosty melts Of course, Frosty melts in the original version, too, but then he's restored to life by Santa, because he is made out of "Christmas snow," which can never truly melt away. We know this is bullshit, because Santa can deliver toys to all the children in a single night and has a flying sleigh and everything, but it's not like he's Jesus, raising folks from the dead. Frosty will not be back on Christmas day. 9. Grinch actually steals Christmas Whoville awakes Christmas morning to find all their shit absconded with. Enraged, the Whos gather torches and pitchforks, assemble an angry mob and storm up the mountain, where they find their holiday ham eaten and their decorations unspeakably desecrated. The Grinch's heart, unfortunately, proves two sizes too small to display on a stake outside the village as a warning to others. 8. Ralphie shoots eye out His mother warned him it was going to happen. The shame of missing an eyeball causes Ralphie to mature into a basement-dwelling neckbeard, the only bonus of which outcome is that his eye-patch compliments his piracy of role-play video games and obscure fetish pornography. 7. Good King Wenceslas not so good Bitter disappointment ensues when the heat miraculously radiating from the footsteps of the good king turn out in fact to be a flaming paper sack full of dog poo, providing a historical precedent for the tragic career of Adam Sandler. 6. Future revealed by ghost of Christmas future is actual future Scrooge dies and nobody cares. Then Tiny Tim dies. Shitty. 5. Polar Express derails Excessive North Pole snow causes the train to tragically derail while passing over a gorge. Even more tragically, the story of the crash is later made into a feature film starring Tom Hanks and a bizarre CGI elf version of Steven Tyler. 4. Rudolph's nose bright, but not bright enough Elated by his increased status in the social hierarchy, Rudolph becomes overconfident and steers Santa right into the sheer cliff-face of his untimely demise, the remains of which are later eaten by the abominable snowman. On a happier note, Hermey fulfills his dream of becoming a dentist, but his shrewish wife, career boredom and multiple mortgages lead him to a life of spiritual bankruptcy and bitter ennui. 3. Charlie Brown kills tree Charlie Brown's ill-fated Christmas tree pick turns out to be the linchpin of his social alienation, leading to a horrifying, Carrie-like scenario involving a bucket of pig's blood and an ironically disquieting mantra. 2. George Bailey offs himself After George Bailey wishes aloud that he were never born, Clarence shows him that scenario, to his own dismay revealing that very little has changed, other than Bailey's wife is married to someone richer and less hapless, and the money of the citizens of Bedford Falls is, in fact, right here. 1. God and sinners not reconciled Baby Jesus just ends up getting crucified.

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