The Little Drummer Boy as told by Fred Schiller

Sleepy Newborn Baby + Drum Solo = Disaster

(Written in the Mad Magazine spirit of Jack Davis, Don Martin and Mort Drucker.)

We open with a wide shot of the desert at night that shows a long line of people waiting to get into THE MANGER. Huge billboards (like the kind you see on the freeway—Wisconsin Dells This Way—You’re Almost at Garlic City—Only Ten More Miles To The Biggest Ball Of Twine In Alabama) announce THIS WAY TO SEE THE NEWBORN KING and YOU’RE ALMOST AT THE BABY JESUS and PLEASE FORM A SINGLE LINE TO SEE BABY JESUS. Walking up and down the line of people are vendors with carts selling FRIED YAK ON A STICK and CUP O’HUMMUS and FAR-FROM-AWFUL-FALAFEL.

Standing in the middle of the line is the LITTLE DRUMMER BOY. For some reason I picture him as a 60’s kind of British punk, with a shaggy haircut covering his eyes and a punkish stance. He’s got a snare drum balanced on his hip, hanging from a strap around his shoulder. He twirls drumsticks in both hands and looks bored. He stops twirling when he sees a sign that says PLEASE HAVE GIFTS FOR THE NEWBORN KING READY UPON ENTERING MANGER. He taps the guy in line in front of him on the shoulder with a drumstick and asks, “Oh, man! We were supposed to bring a present?” The guy he’s talking to is one of the Three Wise Men. He’s kind of a stoner. He’s the one bringing frankincense and it looks like he’s been smoking some of it while he waits. “If you know what’s good for you, you’d better bring something. The child is our new king!”

The Drummer Boy sort of recites a line from the song. “I have no gifts to bring. I’m but a poor dude too!” He thinks for a moment then he snaps his fingers and declares that he’ll just play the little baby a wicked drum solo. The kid ought to like that.

The Wise Man shakes his head and points to the very front of the line where see the LITTLE TRUMPET BOY is blasting out a trumpet solo for the baby Jesus. The baby screams so loud the Trumpet Boy’s face looks like he’s pulling ten G’s in a centrifuge. Then a dozen lightning bolts hit the Trumpet Boy, leaving only a smoking cinder of a skeleton standing there. When the smoke clears, the next guy in line, who is visibly jittery, gives his present to the baby. It’s a little kitten, and when the baby coos with joy, the guy wipes a roll of nervous sweat off his face.

Back in the line the Drummer Boy knows his goose is cooked. Or at least it will be when it’s his turn. Everyone else in line seems to have something reasonably good to give. A wooly sheep, a potted plant, baked goods, a cow, homemade toys, and such. Drummer Boy asks the Wise Man to save his spot and he’ll be right back.

We cut to Drummer Boy popping into the Jerusalem version of an AM/PM mini-mart. He scours the shelves for something good to give. There’s a tin of Camel Wax, a robe that has ‘MY PARENTS WENT TO JERUSALEM AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS CRUMMY ROBE’ lettered on it, a rack of crude baseball caps and sun visors (woven out of palm fronds), yak jerky, chunks of flint with novelty sayings on them, and stuff like that.

Then he sees it. The perfect gift. It sits on a shelf, in a glowing angelic halo of light. It’s a can of MYRRH (it’s about the size of a gallon of paint). Slogans on the can read NEWBORN BABIES LOVE IT! and IT’S THE INCENSE THAT CHOOSY VIRGIN MOTHERS CHOOSE.

We see the Drummer Boy reach for the myrrh, but at the same time another guy reaches for it. Each have a hand on it and a tugging match ensues. (The guy that Drummer Boy is fighting with should be dressed in the same sort of fancy robes as the Wise Man he was in line behind earlier. It turns out that he’s Wise Man #2)

Push comes to shove and fists are thrown, but then the Wise Man holds up his hands to call a truce. He reminds the Drummer Boy that this day isn’t about the two of them, it’s a day to celebrate the newborn king. Today is the day of all days to put petty differences aside.

While the Drummer Boy is pondering these profound words, the Wise Man grabs the can of myrrh and races off with it. The Drummer Boy chases after in hot pursuit.

We cut to later that night, back at the manger, where we see Mary and Joseph examining yet another gift that has been given. It’s a scuffed up and slightly dented can of myrrh. The note attached to the can reads, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NEWBORN KING and signed below are the names LITTLE DRUMMER BOY and WISE MAN #2. Mary and Joseph look up and see Drummer Boy and Wise Man #2 standing there, arms around each other, with torn robes, missing teeth, a couple of black eyes, bandaged limbs, and maybe a crude pair of crutches made out of a tree branch. They’ve been through hell but they still smile at the little fellow they see down in the manger.