Billy Keane: 'Marzipan Man hasn't to look far for his comforts with seasonal songs now added to banned list'
The secret marzipan thief is the man who ate the icing on the cake, off the cake.
And the strange case of the man who eats marzipan late at night is inextricably intertwined with the proposed banning of the Christmas anthems 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town' and 'White Christmas'.
I'm sure that by now most of you will have figured the marzipan thief is a man.
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Marziman strikes at night when the rest of the family are asleep. There's the second clue. The man hopelessly addicted to marzipan is a nocturnal creature.
The worst part of being a marzipan addict is the taste stays in your mouth for ages afterwards. Marzipan is like gin in this respect. The colour of marzipan is tooth yellow. The texture sticks to the teeth like edible Velcro but Marzipan Man can't help himself.
I know something of the poor man's background. He has form.
It seems that when the thief was a boy, he was involved in the Great Yule Bourbon Cream Heist.
He became known subsequently by his family as The Boy Who Robbed the USA even though the child never stole America, or from America, or any part thereof. His target was the Christmas box of USA biscuits.
The boy who stole the USA could not bear to listen to 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town'. The boy used to sneakily remove the Sellotape from around the tin of biscuits while his parents were working downstairs in their pub.
The sugar-hungry boy surreptitiously ate a purloined bourbon cream. He then replaced the Sellotape. The boy would have never been caught out, but he ate the most of a box of USA one night and was very sick all over his brother in the lower bunk bed. The Boy who Loved Bourbon told his story to The Man Who Knows Everything (TMWKE).
"'Santa Claus is Coming to Town' is not good for Santa," said TMWKE surefootedly. TMWKE goes on and on, as he often tends to do.
"The song," says TMWKE, "is about covert surveillance and is in breach of privacy."
TMWKE sings: "He knows when you're awake, he knows when you're asleep."
Now TMWKE speaks. "Then there's threats like, 'You better watch out, you better be quiet.' And the line, 'he knows when you are good or bad' is surely a breach of the GDPR regulations which are very strict on data protection."
TMWKE swears an oath: "I will fight for that song to be banned."
But Santa is no spy and Santa is no informer. If he was he would have been seen off years ago here in Ireland.
We will get back shortly to the marzipan mystery but in the meantime the story must be told of another Christmas song in danger of the silent treatment.
'Jingle Bells' is next to be added to the no-play list. I was told as much by TMWKE.
"Why?" asks I, innocently. "The song seems harmless enough to me."
The reply from TMWKE is instantaneous and sharp, as is often the case with people who are certain they are right. "'Jingle Bells'," says TMWKE, "is doomed because of dirty talk."
I eat another lump of my marzipan, for shock. I always loved 'Jingle Bells'. It's a very easy song to remember and sing. Everyone joins in.
TMWKE speaks out, as if from on high, in the fearless forthright voice of the righteous and the undamned.
"The line 'Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way' is fine. The next line has to be banned. I'm not saying what the line is, but there's a dirty word in it. If you sing the dirty word will jump out at you. Sing 'Jingle bells, Jingle all the way' and then go on to the line beginning 'oh what fun…'"
I do as I am asked, and gasp.
I feel a marzipan and bourbon confession coming on, but first I must tell you of the next song to be banned.
"'I'm dreamin' of a White Christmas' is a drugs anthem," said TMWKE, categorically.
"I'm sorry but I don't quite get that," says I, as I dip my Bourbon cream in the hot tea.
"The secret to dunking," said TMWKE, "is to take the process like as if you were testing the temperature of the bath water with your big toe."
I eat another undunked bourbon cream and then another.
"You have me there on 'White Christmas'," I admit.
"You shouldn't speak with your mouth full," says TMWKE.
"'White Christmas'? White? Snow? Get it?" asks TMWKE rhetorically, as he often does. People who know everything tend to ask a lot of what they think are rhetorical questions but are just plain, straight forward questions to the rest of us ordinary people.
"I'm lost," says I.
Before we get to his answer, I must tell you I have put on a good share of weight over the Christmas. It was the bourbons and the marzipan that did it. I'm worried I might not be able to fit into my dress.
I'm wearing one for the Listowel Christmas panto which takes place from January 2-5 next in aid of local charities. You can book on 087 7027871. I have only a very small part but it's driving me nuts trying to fit into the very small dress.
But enough of the plugs as the electrician said at his retirement party.
TMWKE was aghast at my ignorance. "The 'White Christmas' line is an obvious reference to a cocaine party. And what is snow another word for?"
He asks the question very slowly, like when a teacher gives a child time to think.
"Frozen water?" hazards I.
An exasperated TMWKE shakes his head and then buries his face in his hands. He makes me nervous. The bourbon cream slips from my shaking fingers and into the cup like an alligator entering a murky lagoon.
"I told you dip, not slip," says TMWKE angrily. He continues in an exasperated tone: "Snow, our ill-informed, so-called columnist, is another word for the highly addictive and illegal drug known as cocaine."
This is all too much. I fumble through my pocket and find the last of the marzipan. I eat it quickly by way of sedation and comfort food.