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Santa's Dilemma
by the Winamop Elves



A few days before Christmas in a land far away.. in the North.. where it’s cold and dark at this time of year..

“It’s always the same” grumbled Santa as he stared at the dashboard of his power-sled. A tiny orange emblem of a Sled with a line through it glowed defianty back at him. "Only two years and it's already flumped. What a pudding." He'd made the switch to electric after his reindeer fell foul of more stringent emissions regulations.

“I knew I shouldn't have drunk all that Sherry on last year's run, maybe I'd have taken better care of my stuff if I wasn't so basted all the time.”

He turned it off and on a few times in vain, the orange light merilly beaming away each time, all that stood between him and one billion mince pies. He pulled his phone from his pocket.

“I’ll call Brenda, she’ll know what to do.”

The phone wasn't working. It required four new AA batteries.

“Oh, Baubles!” cursed Santa and stomped off towards his house, leaving the garage open.

Inside, beard frozen, he dialed Brenda from the tundra-line, small avalanches of snow rumbling down his big red tummy as he did so.

“Brenda? Oh hello it’s Nick here, do you remember who fixed the sled last year? It’s dead again.”

“Nick you idiot! Don't tell me you forgot your annual service! You only have two to remember!”

Santa looked at his jolly red boots. His beard dripping on the carpet. “Well," he muttered, “it was nearly new, I thought it'd be alright for a few years..”

“You were busy sleeping off the Sherry before jetting off on your holidays, weren’t you? Well your only option at this time of year is Elfords. I don't think they trifle with these new fangled electric Sleds much, mind." She gave him the number. “Best call them soon, I think they close at five for the holiday.”

“Thanks, I’ll call them in a minute, although I seem to remember they charged me a fortune last time.” Santa said, then he had a good grumble to Brenda about the general state of things before wishing her a Merry Christmas and plonking the phone back into its cradle.

“Flump!” he said as he took off his coat and boots, flopped onto his big comfy chair, and promptly dosed off, snoring loudly.

Some hours later he was awoken by the rattling of the kitchen window.

“Must be windy outside” he thought as he rose unsteadily from the chair. “Flump! That bothersome window is ajar again. I’d better shut it and go up to bed.”

He trudged into the kitchen and trod in a pile of snow on the floor with more blowing in through the half-open window. “Flump! My best slippers are wet now!”

Having shut the window and swept up the snow it occurred to him that he probably hadn’t shut the garage door when he came in earlier.

“Flump! I forgot to call Elfords and a sled full snow isn’t going to help it start!”

Having put on his weatherproof red coat and boots he went outside, it was blowing a blizzard, he couldn’t even see the garage.

“I really should move from here, there’s no need for me to suffer this awful weather, with 21st century logistics I could operate from anywhere!”

As he staggered through the snow drifts he thought he could see a dim red light. Was it another warning light on the sled, maybe he’d left the ignition on?

As he approached the light he heard a snort. “So it’s you is it? Come to ask for help I suppose?”

“Eh? Rudolph? Is that you?” Exclaimed Santa, “I haven’t seen you for ages!”

“No of course you haven’t, since you put us out of work we’ve had to hawk our reindeering services around the zoos and Christmas theme parks. Dancer's halfway up a lamp post in Evesham covered in lights, and Blitzen is doing reaction videos on Youtube. I’m only here visiting my old mum before leaving for Ho! Ho! Ho! Christmas World in Stockport.”

Santa scratched his beard. “I’m sorry about that but we just couldn’t carry on with the old sleigh, we needed something greener and faster, with bells on.”

“I’ve heard all about your fancy power-sled,” said Rudolph. “It’s not really Christmassy, is it? You're supposed to be Father Christmas not the blooming milk man. I bet the range is terrible too, I expect it needs a charge every few thousand miles!”

“Well, I have plenty of AA batteries. Look, this year’s going to be very quiet if I can’t get it fixed. Sled-Ex are delivering all the toys here tomorrow and I’ve no way of distributing them!”

Rudolph looked thoughtful for a moment. “I might have a solution to your predicament, if you’re prepared to do something for the reindeer.”

“Well, yes, of course, it’s Christmas after all! What’s the plan?”

“In my travels around the world I have realised that there are millions of deer out there; Roe, Elk, Red, Sika, Fallow, Moose, Muntjac, Indian Hog Deer..”

“Indian Hog Deer?” broke in Santa, “You’re kidding!”

“No, they're deer. There are loads of them, and they’re all jealous of the reputation of reindeer at Christmas. I reckon they’d jump at the chance to help.”

 “You think they could pull the sled?”

“Better than that, there’s so many that you could have a fleet of sleds using deer with local knowledge, Moose in North America, Fallow in Europe..”

“Indian Hog Deer in India!” Santa exclaimed. “What a good idea!”

“I’ll get on to it then.. if you promise to keep us in employment as team leaders.”

“If your plan works then we can put all the batteries in the toys this year!” nodded Santa and he stumbled back towards the light of his kitchen where the snow had piled up inside the open door.


So if you see a sleigh flying past this Christmas, see if you can identify the deer pulling it, they may not all be reindeer! (just the one at the front..)




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