T'was the (ever)night before Christmas

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T'was the (ever)night before Christmas

Postby Karhedron » Mon Nov 12, 2007 3:01 pm

My rambling christmas game suggested introduction... thought i'd post it here as it seemed more suited (and noone read it in Unity ;)) Also, was thinking i might add to it and expand it as the holiday spirit works on me... Fill out the story, etc.



T'was the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse...

BANG

The door was slammed closed against the blizzard outside.

"Buggerin' Reindeers and their Buggering' pay rises!"

His jolly red-nosed face didn't look so jolly at present.

"What's that you say Nicky dear?

His petite wife asked as she made her way into the kitchen, her face the picture of joy...
Always the picture of Joy, he mused... never anything else... Even when she was telling him off for treading snow through the house, or nagging him to start itinerising the lists earlier this year 'cos he always leaves it until the last minute'... It was uncanny, it was unchanging... It was bloody irritating that's what it was.... after a few centuries of it at least. But he did love his Mary, very very much.

"It's that bleeding Rudolf that puts them up to it, i know it is."

"What,shoesoffpleasenicky,'s that dear?"

She was already mopping up the wet patches the melting snow was making in the five steps he'd taken from the door.

"The pay rises. As if getting 1 out of every 5 mince pies wasn't enough? You know now they're asking for the Brandy! The Brandy!!! The cheek of it!"

He sat himself down in one of the chairs by the fire, recognising it as one of the thousand or so he had made this year (it got rather boring between january and november, and he'd gotten rather good at chairs over the past two centuries), and after chucking a leg of one of last years' into the fire, began to unbuckle his big black boots.

"They used to make do with carrots.."

Before he was even done unbuckling the second boot, they were both whisked off to a cupboard, taking the sock from his left foot with them.

"..But it's not been the same since Rudolf started that bleeding Union of his.."

He plucked an overly intricately knitted stocking from where it hung above the hearth and used it to replace his absent sock... He noted the minute details Mary was now putting into them after twenty-decades of practice: the Reindeers now had finely pointed antlers, and you could see all 5 of the each elves tiny fingers.

"...And of course by leaving it this late, it's not like i have any bleedin' choice is it? Bloody fog... woulda never hired him otherwise... Roll on Global warming i say... I told you that Patch was onto something with that car of his, but you wouldn't have it."

He called to her as she disappeared into another cupboard.. He only then noticed she'd managed to remove his snow covered red and white coat without him noticing.

"Mmm... no dear..."
She reappeared with another identical one.
"But you have to think about the tradition of it. And you don't want to get stopped for drink driving - you know they only let you off the last time because there's technically no law against drink-sledding."

"Mmpph" Santa grunted in agreement.

He looked over at the clock, an extremely ornately carved seven foot mechanical cuckoo he'd made entirely in his tea break that very same morning, and realised he'd best be on his way soon. Busy night ahead of him.

He reached over and picked up a particularly large piece of wood - probably a part of one of last years dinner tables he'd made - and chucked it to the back of the fire hoping it might keep it burning til he popped in for his greenwich meridian coffee break (a few million Brandies and you needed a bit of sobering half way through). As the wood hit fire a spark flew up and set part of his beard alight.

Bloody thing, he thought, 'least I'll get to shave it off in the morning.

"Right then..."

He said, rising out of the chair

"Best I be off dear... Have you got my..."

His coat was back on before he was fully standing, and with a flask of hot coffee "you know how that Sake effects you" thrust into one hand, a bumper-size packet of Pepto Bismol into the other, and a quick peck on the cheek, Mary Christmas disappeared out of the Kitchen and into the dining room.

She did have the table to set for tomorrow, he mused... And with hundreds of Elves to feed, and the guest list growing every year (for over two hundred years) it really was a fair amount of work. They'd had to build a new extension to fit all the Turkey ovens in... But then Santas 'Grotto' was more like a small, exquisitely quaint (all wood, frosted glass, icicles and lintels) industrial mega-complex these days. Little did the rest of the world know a major cause of the whole 'o-zone issue' was the three massive great furnaces and skyscraper sized chimneys used to burn all the gift-request letters each January.

Why, he wondered, hadn't he got himself online yet.

Finding new shiny boots already on his feet (little note with "leave on the doormat" attached to the big gold buckle) he made one last practice 'Ho-Ho-Ho' to ensure all his catarrh from that nasty chest infection had truly cleared up, before heading out the door.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rudolf was just waiting for the last weather reports to come through on the bank of monitors infront of him, each one reflecting his glowing nose straight back it him... Bloody thing. Still, it looked like it was his lucky night: only a couple of reports of heavy fog, meaning if his luck held, he'd only have to make a couple of trips.

And it looked like his luck was going to do just that, as he noticed Santa appear from his grotto, his face set with jolly, but grim, resignation.

He nudged the two Reindeers next to him - their jacket nametags read Blitzen #57 and Comet #83 - and headed to cut him off at the sled.

"So?"

The big man ignored him as he settled his ample frame into his sled.

Rudolf tapped his hoof impatiently... which considering the thick snow did little but create a puddle of slush where he was standing...

"One in Thirty."

"Fifteen."

"Twenty-Five."

"Done."

A cheer went up from the Reindeers all around him, and he got a number of -rather painful- hoofs on the shoulder.

He smiled at the big mans Jolly-peed off face, before turning to the team of Reindeers already hitched up the the sleigh.

"You guys are good to go."


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Finally, Santa thought. Those few seconds wasted negotiating meant he was already behind schedule... Luckily there wasn't too many drop-offs to be made in South-East Asia compared to the rest of the world.

He glanced behind quickly at the massive sack of presents pressing at him from behind to ensure there weren't any stow away Elves - he'd heard those little blighters were trying to start a Union/Civil Rights group of their own now - before gathering up the reins, and taking a deep intake of breath.

"Come Dasher, Come Dancer, Come Prancer, Come Vix..."

"Sorry Sir..."

One of the Reindeers near the front had raised a hoof.

"-en" He sighed, then waited for the Reindeer to continue.

"Sorry... Only it's just that Prancer herself wasn't able to make it tonight, maternity leave you see, and see, well... I'm Prancer Number Thirty-Four, you see, so i thought perhaps, as it's my first night on first shift, it'd be nice if... well..."

Santa nodded, sighed, and once the Reindeer had settled itself back into place, took another deep intake of breath.

"Come Dasher, Come Dancer, Come Prancer Number Thirty Four, Come Vixen, Come..."

This has to stop, he mused as he finished the traditional pre-game speech and felt the Sleigh lurch forwards beneath him.
As he passed over the North Pole (the once-comical, now tiresome name he had given to the tallest of the three letter-burning chimneys) he decided things had gone too far. The shift work was one thing - in fact the use of eight hundred rather than just eight reindeers had speeded things up no end... But now Rudolf had taken things to a new level.

Next year things would be different.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Next year, things would be different, Rudolf told himself inwardly.

None of this bartering, haggling, strikes, etc. He and his Reindeer Rights group had made good progress... But none of his subordinates had the slightest of inklings of where Rudolfs' true aspirations lay.

Carrots, Mince pies and Brandy were one thing... But that was far less than the Reindeers deserved. They -made- christmas happen. They did all the work... and yet, every year, HE took all the credit. HE sat in the big cushy sled while they hoofed their way around the world, faster than the speed of light for him... Not once getting to sit in the sled themselves...

And so as the sleigh made its way over the currently dormant 'North Pole', Rudolf kept his eyes on that cushy soft sleigh seat...

Next year things would be different.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile, somewhere in Northern Russia...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Babushka made her way into her warehouse... and shook her head slowly in disappointment... and because any faster and her arthritis would flare up again.

Barely seven hundred thousand baskets of gifts.

She remembered when she had delivered more than seven million.

Sure, the commies had made things quieten down a bit, but once that passed she thought she'd find herself back in full swing again: but in fact quite the opposite. The end of the reds had simply seen rise to a new 'Red Menace', only this one was but one man, in a silly suit.

Damn Coca-Cola, she thought. Damn them.

She'd heard even Father Frost was beginning to suffer now, and he didn't even have direct competition like she did, working on New Years Eve rather than Christmas.

Her ancient scrawny legs tottered her over to the window. It took about .00001 of a second. She'd had to get FAST at tottering when demand had gotten large in around the 1700s.

Gazing outside, beyond her perfectly snow-less out garden (she'd had to go out a dozen times already today to sweep every single snowflake off of it) she ran her eyes over the street beyond.

Not a single person was in traditional dress. Not even a single one dressed up as an animal...

No...

Wait... Could that be someone dressed as a bear?

A flicker of hope ignited in her long-suffering ticker...

...She squinted hard with her ancient eyes, trying desperately to ignore the footprint she had just noticed in her furthest flower bed, to see whether there was some tradition left in this little corner of Mother Russia.

He was large. That worked.
By the shadows, she could tell the costume was furry. That was good too....
... And then, as the figure stepped under a street lamp, she could see the costume was red.

Her heart sank. Bears weren't red... and they certainly didn't have white trimmings.

The false beard was hanging wonky and she could see the pillow sticking out from under the jacket... but there was no mistaking it for what it was.

Oh no. Not in her town. Not even a fake one.

For tonight there was little she could do - it was already time for her to get going with her deliveries (straight after she'd smoothed out that flower bed).

But she couldn't stand for this any longer. Russia was her turf.

Next year... she thought as she picked up her first basket, her joints creaking and popping in protest...

Next year things would be different.
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