The month of December was barely poking its cold head out of the calendar when a foreboding feeling awoke Santa. At first, he could not put his finger on what had changed. As he quickly suited up and tried to get his boots on, he realised what was missing: the noise of the toy manufacture, which droned on and on, twenty-four hours a day, and became a noise so constant that no one noticed its presence anymore… until it went silent that is! What could be wrong? As any manufacture of this size, production lines regularly broke down, closed for retooling, or otherwise became inactive for some time, but it had never occurred in Santa’s memory that the entire complex was stopped. Santa moved out to the door of his little cottage, to be met by a blizzard of remarkable magnitude for this time of year. That weather couldn’t explain the silence from the toy shops. Bad weather never had any effect on it, and even the last mini ice age did not bother its output. Santa went back inside and used the tunnel to reach the First Production Line, the oldest of them all. As he opened the door he was met with a sight he had not expected to ever see: all the elves were standing in line facing away from him, and … no, it couldn’t be! They were mooning him! And there was a big sign hanging from the ceiling: ‘Bye-Bye boss!’
“What’s the meaning of this?” he thundered.
“We won the lottery and we’re tired of working like slaves, seven days a week, three shifts. So we decided to resign! We all voted to do so, unanimously I might add,” replied the oldest of the Elves.
“But it’s almost Christmas, and it’s the rush!”
“Well, reduce the number of toys; don’t you think it’s time you really changed your “bad boy” gift from a piece of coal to something more susceptible of disposing of bad elements? Some kids sent back the piece of coal with a letter complaining it did not contain any fossil!”
“Very well! I’ll outsource to China!”
The Elves scoffed and the elderly one again replied:
“We have decided to create a union, and the toy workers have decided to refuse taking our work off us!”
“But you resigned! So you can’t be working while being out of work; and to be a member of a union, you must be workers! I didn’t fire you, you fired yourselves!”
“Talk to our lawyer!” said the elf, “He has a good shark suit!”
With that the elves walked out. The labour dispute between Santa and the Elves took a turn for the ugly when the newspapers had wind of it:
Elves Threaten Christmas Season!
Santa Promises Toys for Everyone!
Santa Tries to Hire Scabs!
Elves Picket Santa Manufactures Blocking Scabs!
Santa Tries Outsourcing Toy Production!
Federal Trade Commission Blocks Outsourcing
China Calls on World Trade Commission to Protest
Santa Not Seen in Days, Is the Old Man Sick?
Reindeer Left Without Care!
Green-Peace Joins Elves on Picket Line!
Elves Union President: Working Conditions Atrocious
Santa Near Meltdown?
Santa Coal Cause of Global Warming - Green-Peace
FTC: Elves are Children – Santa Using Child Labour
Elves Hundreds of Years Old – Santa Legal Rep. Claims
FTC: Elves Should be Retired!
Eternal Elves Can’t Retire – Santa Legal Rep. Replies
FTC: Santa a Slaver! Never Paid Elves!
Santa Toys Free – Santa Legal Rep. States
FTC: Freedom of Toys no Justification for Shoddy Labour Practice
FTC: Santa Sweat Shop Practices Illegal
Never Warm Enough to Sweat – Elves and Santa Legal Rep agree
EUP: Summer Condition Abysmal – Insects – Mud
Free Mosquito Repellent Supplied – Santa Legal Rep. Says
WTC: Santa Not Bound by US Labour Laws!
State Accuses Santa of Dumping
State Imposes 500% Import Tariff on Santa Toys!
State Blocks Santa Products – Shoddy Work
Children March on Congress Asking State Change Position
“Children have no vote!” Senate Majority Leader
“We have no vote but we got a voice!” Yell Back Children
Senate Session Abrogates – Children Pelt Senators with Snow Balls
Children Leadership Arrested By National Guards
Homeland Security: Children Leaders Terrorists!
Families of National Guardsmen Holds Guards Hostage – Release Leaders or Else!
President Declares State of Emergency!
Christmas: Terrorist Plot to Undermine Parental Authority – Homeland Security
State of Emergency Unconstitutional – Supreme Court
State Deprived Children of Basic Rights – Supreme Court
Children Leaders Released, Senators Arrested!
Try as he might, Santa couldn’t find a single company willing to take his backlog, so he decided to do the toys himself. He worked hard, day in, day out, twenty-four hours a day, losing weight, belly, waist, and colour. His suit sagged from everywhere, his beard was unkempt, but he worked and worked. The Elves picketed the shop’s main entrance, and Santa had to improvise toys with the stock he had in his storerooms. For the first time in years, simple was the rule of the house.
As Christmas Eve came, Santa looked a changed man. Eyes black from fatigue, he had to wear his old pair of glasses, his newest one having fallen in the sand bag dispenser for the sand bag throwing game. Santa loaded the toy bag and pulled it onto the sled. He opened the sled-shed door and whistled. Immediately twelve reindeers came to the call. As they landed, one of the reindeer sneezed.
“Now what? Oh no! You guys got a cold! I hope you’ll be able to fly! This has been the worse Christmas ever for me! What’s wrong with me? I’m talking to reindeers! I must be sick.”
Santa readied the attachment for the twelve reindeers, checked the sled, and called for the animals to take the position facing south, for takeoff. It was then that he noticed that the ice floe was way short and that the end of the runway was too close for comfort.
“What did I do to deserve that? Global warming is melting the runway! What next?”
The first bad surprise did not even wait for the takeoff to complete itself. The reindeers began to run but then farted one after another. Coughing hard, Santa tried to clear his eyes from the water and missed the tip of the ice floe. The sled skids hit water and shook violently as the reindeers tried to attain the proper speed to lift. Finally, after hitting a free-floating ice floe and damaging the left skid, the sled took off.
The reindeers climbed fine until they hit the cloud cover. The cold had not only affected their nose, therefore their sense of direction, but their ears, and they did not have a proper sense of the vertical and horizontal. They began spinning and doing drum rolls as Santa tried to hold for dear life. As they climbed out of the cloud cover, Santa noticed they were flying upside down. The toy bag was held in place by straps, but was dangling dangerously. The reindeers repositioned themselves properly and the toy bag fell back on the sled with a big thud, as Santa went flying up the seat; lucky for Santa, he had installed a seat belt the previous year! The night started on the wrong foot!
The problem suddenly took a turn for the worse: the reindeers began having the flu, and puking their last meal in mid-air! Poor Santa got the end result. As he tried to clear his glasses, he dropped them and they fell in the ocean. Now Santa is old, really old, and his eyesight was not what it used to be. Nonetheless, he had a mission, and nothing would stand in his way.
The first delivery brought Santa to an igloo, but his bad eyes made him mix it with the doghouse! As he walked in, the dog pack tried to tear him to pieces, and he had to jump on Rudolf and escape that way. A dog grabbed the leather seat-belt and Santa had no choice but to cut it off to get rid of the un-welcomed passenger.
“It can’t possibly get worse?” Oh yes! It can! Santa decided to drop the toys for the high north straight into the entrances from a low, almost ground level flight… Bad idea! As he was busy aiming for yet another home, he did not see the snow bank and the rear of the sled hit it hard, ejecting Santa in a parabolic flight that had him fall back on the toy bag hard.
“Oh my poor back. I’m too old for this work!”
As Santa sped further south, he shook his head, hearing bells in his ears from the repeated commotion. As he was taking a slight breath, the sled began rolling on itself uncontrollably.
“No! No! No! The gyro is dead! What am I to do?”
Santa held to the reins not to fall off the sled, and he used his belt to grab to the seat. Unfortunately his pants caught in the wind and the only things that prevented them from flying off were the tight boots! Santa pulled himself back on the seat, pulled his pants up, and, tying the reins to the armrest, managed to make a makeshift seat belt from the toy bag’s rope to replace the damaged one.
As he tried to land to do some repairs, the now severely damaged skids decided to tear off as he touched down, bringing the sled to an abrupt halt and sending Santa flying head first right over the reindeers into a thick snow bank. Santa had forgotten that the rope closing the toy bag had a Magic Knot system and that no knot, however frozen by ice, would hold on a tug!
It took Santa an hour to replace the gyro, and another hour to make makeshift skids. By then he was two hours late on his schedule! Emergency situations required drastic measures. As he sped up, Santa stayed at treetop and threw toys overboard at every house, not really caring about the toy list anymore. Anyway, with the strike, he had about a quarter of his clients that would be unhappy.
As he entered American airspace, Santa noticed F35 jets, which tried to force him down, were following him.
“The hell with these Americans! If they weren’t so toy-greedy, I wouldn’t have had that strike! They even consider these tools of death as toys! I even had an American General ask for a star fighter!”
As he landed once again on a roof, Santa, too preoccupied with the fighters, failed to notice it was slanted and icy. He started sliding and only his quick reaction, using his belt buckle to grab he TV antenna, stopped him from falling off. Santa decided he really needed a snack and he crawled down the chimney. He immediately noticed his red suit was covered with soot, and he really got pissed. Santa decided to use the soot for a good reason and wrote on the wall, in big letters:
“CLEAN UP YOUR CHIMNEY!”
He then noticed the big glass of milk and the box of cookies. Starved, he ate the cookies and drank the milk without afterthought. It was only after finishing the last cookie when he noticed a note at the bottom of the cookie jar. Picking it up he read:
I laced the milk with a poison and made the chocolate cookies with Ex-lax. If you want the counter-poison, you better give me my motorbike.
Just then Santa felt an urge and rushed to the bathroom. He barely made it before he had to let go. So, Andy wanted a motorbike and was so evil he had tried to blackmail Santa? The old man decided to get even and give Andy his motorbike… in a Mecanno set, with instructions to assemble it… in reverse!
Just as he thought he was done with that house, a little girl walked on him.
“Santa I want the entire collection of Barbie dolls! It’s either that or I start crying rape and you do have your pants down!”
Santa had stood up too fast, and the suspenders were set too long so the pants sagged to Santa’s knees… Remember: his belt was tied to the antenna outside, and he had lost several dozen pounds over the last month! Santa looked at himself and he admitted he wouldn’t stand a chance in court. So he obliged and gave the girl the Barbie dolls…with cooties! Where were the children of old? Totally disgusted, Santa nonetheless resumed his toy distribution. As he came to the bottom of the list, he saw the last address: Hades! What was wrong with this list? How could a good boy be in Hell? And a boy, which had the best good score at that?
Curious, Santa descended to Hades and met his twin brother, Satan. He asked to talk to one Freddy Murphy.
“Ah, our new resident. He joined us a few days ago. Follow me.”
Freddy was surprised to see Santa in person but decided to play along.
“How come you have landed in Hell, you have the best score of the list!”
“I’ll tell you if you get me out of here!”
“Another blackmail? What’s the problem with you children nowadays? Greedy, murderer, blackmailers, avarice! It’s like the world has turned over!”
As Santa finished his comment, Satan laughed hard.
“You better shut up old man! You may not have a beard to pull on, but you got a tail!” thundered Freddy.
The twins looked at each other, astounded. A resident of Hell threatened the Guardian of the place! That was unheard of!
“And what is it you want, Freddy?”
“A cooler place.”
The two old men snickered.
“You have my word your wish will be. Now, what happened?”
“You should have put a better anti-virus and fire-wall on your computer, Santa. I changed the sign on all the data, and all the bad kids got toys and the good kids coal this year. I’m a computer crack!”
Santa looked at Satan, who was laughing his heart out.
“He is one of my brightest recruits!” said Satan between two bouts of laughter. “I’ll be sad to see him go. But a promise is a promise!”
“Yes. Come with me, Freddy…”
Freddy gingerly climbed into Santa’s sled and the two sped off. Santa landed in the Antarctic, brought Freddy to a big hole in a glacier, and taking the last wood sled, pushed Freddy into it before giving the sled a mighty push. The sled gained speed and descended deep in the glacier.
“You wanted a cooler place, Freddy. Here you are! Is it icy enough for you? You should have learned the word anagram, boy. Santa is an anagram for Satan, and we are family after all! Never mess with Santa!”