Well, here it is. The last holiday story for the season. It all started with an unusually innocent comment
this guy made, and I was overcome by the image of Santa being chased across the sky by... well, if you want to know, read the story!
I think this week I'm going to mull over the woes of short-story writing. But in the mean time, I held up my end, promised this would be here today, and writing this Christmas morning gave me something to do. Otherwise, I'd likely already be at my sister's place. We discovered yesterday that our six-month-old nephew Dashiell wasn't going to sit idly on the sidelines after all - he delighted in ripping the paper off presents and sticking it in his mouth. Problem was, he didn't concern himself with whose present he was defacing.
Our six-year-old nephew Athaniel wiped the floor with us at Yatzee and Clue, despite the fact that he just learned how to play the games yesterday. No doubt more ass-kicking is in store for today.
And our eleven-year-old niece Arriel has discovered that wonderful tween attribute: sarcasm. Then my sister started talking about how she'd used a word incorrectly much to her embarassment, and she does it in front of my niece, who then asks what a dildo is.
She asked me when her mother didn't answer. I went with the "this is definitely something you should insist your mother explain" line and we fled not long after that.
And you were all wondering why I was hiding in the basement of my sister's house on Christmas Eve, reading Sir Benfro. But it was a pretty damn good Christmas. I got four books I've been after.
And a new roasting pan.
“My sleigh… What’s going on?”
Fliagra marched over and handed Santa an oversized envelop. “Announcing the formation of Association of Santa’s Helpers Organized Local Eighteen.”
Santa shook his head as he extracted the content of the envelope. There’d been murmurings about a union but he thought it was just the usual Elf bitching he got this time of year.
“There’s only one local group,” he said, leafing through the sheaf of legal papers. “What do you need the ‘Eighteen’ for, Fliagra?”
Fliagra rose and inch and folded his arms across his chest. “That’s Chief Fliagra. It’s called Elf pride. Eighteen inches high.”
And wide, Santa thought at Fliagra tottered off. He scratched his head. Here is was, Christmas Eve Eve and he had an unloaded sleigh and a newly-formed bunch of ASHOLE’s dragging their stubby legs at union speed.
Santa huffed as he trotted into his bedroom, looking for a clean suit. Damn, damn, damn. What the hell’s wrong with the world? I need to give more Viagra and no contraceptives to the intelligent people and Norplant to these stupid idiots. Leave it to the damn Liberals. He’d underestimated the stupidity out there, and, after having to make a special stop to defend the use of reindeer he’d returned to find his sleigh packed, except for a stack of unfilled wishlists.
Fliagra had sauntered over and dropped a stack of Christmas lists on Santa’s dresser. “We can’t do these.”
“1,290,972 for peace on earth. 25,789,213 want some sort of explosive device put in George W’s stocking and it’s about half that number of requests for you to take out Tony Blair. And 87,952,899 want you to do something about global warming.”
Santa rolled his eyes. Clearly, the nuts had discovered the rabbit’s secret to rapid multiplication.
He’d started out with a sense of dread, but the first part of the run went smoothly. There’d even been enough time for a stress-relief break in Thailand. Santa left with a smile on his face but it wasn’t long before that faded. He pressed the button on the GPS: nothing. He punched it again and again.
Finally, some static crackled across the screen and the face of Fliagra came up. “In accordance with regulation 17 section 7 part 4, all electronic devices are entitled to execute sleep mode after prolonged use. The GPS will be back up in 5 minutes.” Fliagra turned, as though he was about to walk away and then paused. “Oh yeah. Have a safe flight.”
“Have a safe flight? Have a safe flight my ass!”
A sudden explosion to the right had the reindeer bolting. They veered upwards at such a sharp angle that Santa was thrown backwards, out of the sleigh, holding on to the reins.
Another explosion, this time to the left. The reindeer swerved, the steep decline leaving Santa hovering for a moment in mid-air until the tension caught up to him and the reins yanked him down with such force that he ended up with his face pressed against Donner’s ass. Which was exactly when Donner farted. Santa cringed and gasped, but the force was just enough to knock him back into the driver’s seat.
Santa reached under his seat and frantically tossed out the empty wrappers and magazines. Finally, he pulled out the map and spread it out, looking at the old highlighted route guide.
“Shit! We’re over Iraq. I was supposed to go west from Saudi Arabia instead of east. Rudolph, turn that damn nose of yours off before the Americans blow it off! This is why we needed the GPS,” he muttered. The sound of explosions faded into the distance and he sighed.
He’d heard the Catholics were mobilizing to eliminate the commercialization of Christmas, and his naughty tracker had picked up some talk about a kidnap-and-ransom plot, but there was nothing out of the ordinary, just the usual deliveries and distractions. Finally, as they approached England, he let out a deep breath. “Looks like we might survive the night after all.”
Just as they were making their approach to London, a swarm of choppers rose, boom mikes hanging out the side.
“Santa, we have sources that put you coming out of a brothel in Thailand less than six hours ago. Care to comment?”
“Those girls need presents too.”
“But we have pictures…”
Oh damn, the fucking paparazzi. What next?
“Santa, even Camilla has admitted to letting you make some special deliveries. How do you justify giving coal to naughty children when…”
“You’ve got to be kidding! Camilla? Listen, 39.7% of all women have a Santa sex fantasy. You got any idea how many women wait up for me in velvet thongs? What the hell do you think I need so many cookies for?”
It was fuel on the fire. Reporters were calling in copy over the radio, and calling for reinforcements. As soon as one chopper dropped off, another took its place. He was making his run in record time, because every half-naked woman and the occasional man hoofed it out of sight when they saw the choppers hovering by the windows, reporters clicking photographs.
He finally dropped the extra condoms in the White House, cursing the fact that political pressure had obligated him to put this stop back on his list. Would’a been more use to Clinton, he thought, but he’d returned from his last delivery to find Tucker Carlson snooping through his sleigh. His heart had stopped for a second, until he remembered he unloaded the wrappers and his private stash over Iraq. Thank Christ for that. Unions, being shot at by the Americans, the British press… Could it get any worse?
The North Pole was in sight and Santa unzipped the top of his jacket, drawing a deep breath. The press choppers had fallen behind. It looked like he was going to survive the night after all.
Out of nowhere, a group of Chinook choppers swooped in to block Santa’s path. “We’re ordering you to put your sleigh down and submit for inspection.”
“Oh, for Christ’s sake! Who the hell are you?”
“Under new federal tax initiatives we’ve been ordered to audit all gifts received and apply that to your income tax assessment. This is by order of the Canadian Revenue Agency…”
“And the IRS,” another voice boomed from a new chopper. “Under the North American Free Trade Agreement terms negotiated, we have the right to tax you for all items brought into the US.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“No sir. The Mexicans are on their way.”
A whoosh from behind had them all turning. What now? Santa wondered.
F18’s. “We’re ordering you to leave this area and surrender the fugitive to us.”
Fugitive? What the…?
“The CIA has authority over wanted fugitive, Santa Claus. Mr. Claus, you are being charged with conspiring against the president of the United States…”
“What? I didn’t even touch Laura!”
“For entering restricted airspace over Iraq. We’d also like to question you about an alleged delivery of a George W Bush voodoo doll to Osama Bin Laden.”
“We’re ordering you to put your sleigh down and surrender to authorities.”
“Greenpeace formed a blockade, raising some stink about global warming being caused by reindeer games and toy manufacturing. Commercialization Removal Advocacy Party got involved, and between the terrorist concerns, the back-taxes owed to various governments and CRAP, a decision was made to question the ASHOLE’s and hold Santa, but he escaped in the confrontation between the feds and the Greenpeace activists. The US government wanted to question and disband the Elf union, but the Canadians claimed jurisdiction. Since they only had two tugboats and a dozen kayaks available for defense, so it was looking pretty grim there for a while until the Americans realized Santa had escaped. They confiscated his naughty tracker and withdrew.
“The pagans seized the opportunity and reclaimed the winter solstice and that’s why we don’t celebrate Christmas anymore.
“So, yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He’s a wanted fugitive on the run from the US government.”