Friday, December 19, 2014
A Christmas Story - Part 1
Santa Claus was drunk in his jacuzzi, brandishing a great bottle of fragrant liquor that came from Elf C-sector 3 of the the North Pole distillery, while bellowing his loud "Merry Christmas everybody!" as practice for the coming festive season. Mrs. Claus was in the jacuzzi with him. It had been a hard day of work and the elves for the time being were not to disturb him with updates of the ongoing duties.
"Ho! Ho! Ho! Maaaaaahhhrryy Chrishmush everybody!"
The bottle caught the edge of the tiled jacuzzi with a sharp clink as he swung his arms out in gesticulation.
"That almost broke, honey. Now, now, I must say, that was the best one yet. The jolly gusto is ever with you."
Santa took another long, deep swig from the bottle by way of self-congratulation.
"Ho! Ho! Ho! Maaaaaaaaaaaaahhhrry Chrishmish evvvreeybodeeeiii...."
"Oh deary, you'll do just fine. The night-sky will reverberate and snow the wondrous crystals in response."
The bottle went as vertical as the pole marking the North Pole, and the liquor went down his gullet like dishwater down a sink when the stopper is pulled.
"Ho! Ho! Ho! Maaaauuuuiiiiiii Quishmish evweeebodiiieeee...."
"Should we roll in the snow?"
"Nah, nah...oh sweety pull the bell now."
Mrs. Claus reached for a rope lever just behind her and within seconds a pert elf came through a hidden door without a handle.
"Oh, the cinnamon has come in a swirling burst of twinkle-twangle!" said the elf excitedly.
"Good! Good!" said Santa as he threw the empty booze bottle away into the distance of the snow where it dashed into crystalline pieces of never-cutting glass. These pieces became one with the frost and the ice, for the frost and the ice were something of the glass that held the booze of the North Pole. The elf began sniffing the air with delight.
"Ah!" he said, "That's the lemon-guava with the secret spice #5!"
"Yes, it is--er, it was", said Santa, and started laughing. "Bert, now tell me, how has Ernie come along on those chocolate coffee beans?"
"He's all done. He's ahead of schedule. The aroma from the coffee roaster went down three shops and the D-Sector 8 elves came up with a new and brilliant idea for train connector tracks."
"Yes, I thought it would do something like that", said Santa with a sly, knowing grin. This sent Bert into a fine fickle of happiness, such that he gathered himself up and gave vent to a question that he had been hesitant to keeping plying Santa Claus with, but which nonetheless had been growing in him to ask.
"Now come, Santa! I keep wanting to put the question to you; what elves are going to be at the sleigh launching; what elves will ride with you? The time has come certainly to decide. There's Bob and Hank and Roger. Pawter they say has performed some marvelous feats in the past years of the workshops, and his name seems to come up quite a bit in the talk of elves when they start whispering about who gets to go this year - among a host of others of course: there is Tom, Poppy, Giles and..."
"Pawter eh? Harrie? Harrie Pawter? No..." Santa fell to deep thought. "No, no, not him. I'll take George for sure, but not Harrie. Roger, yes. Tom, yes..."
He heaved himself out of the jacuzzi and grabbed a towel from a peg, wrapping himself. "Codger, yes. Runty, yes. Jimminy, yes. Cricket, yes. Filbert, yes..."
Bert's face fell. He realized that Santa was not really answering his question but was just rattling off names of elves for no particular reason. Santa stopped, turned with a smile on Bert and said, "Come Bert, let us call the elves to supper time!"
No sign anymore was there of drunken stupor. Or perhaps one just couldn't tell whether Santa was drunk or not, for he was always so merry. But that was also the way of liquor in the North Pole under the Santa-Elf distillation process: you could drink and drink and get really smashing drunk without either loss of sense or the repercussions that one gets from heavy drinking. Isn't that wonderful?
Down several candy cane poles from Santa's house, Bert came to the shop for flying toys - Elf B-Sector 2. Coming up the pathway he could hear the merry din from within. On opening the door a host of elves were fully engaged in something like an orchestration or dance, each elf looking to his own business, but all woven together by parts of toys that went flying from one end of the workshop to the other, one hand to the other, in a continuous flow that was hypnotic to behold.
There were two dozen elves here at work. Bert, who was one of Santa's messengers, rang a special bell. All the elves knew what the sound meant: suppertime!
"There is only 6 months more until Christmas Eve, as you all I'm sure know," exclaimed Bert. "Codger, are we up to speed?"
"We are ahead of schedule", answered Codger with glee. Being ahead of schedule was fairly regular in the North Pole. Though being ahead of schedule was ever treated as though it was a pleasant surprise.
"Dandy!" Bert said, clapping his little hands. "It's to the Supper Hall! Wash up!"
Rounds of cheering went up as the elves began bustling out of the shop, in groups or pairs. Bert cast a glance to one in the exiting crowd that was approaching him. "Hi ya Harrie! Delightful evening isn't it?" said Bert, giving him a wink.
"Bert, Bert, what did Santa say?"
Pawter had a directness about him that tended to set him apart from the other elves. He could rattle out more toys in less time than anyone, and yet - and this was a frustration to him - somehow time in the North Pole favoured the efficiency of no one particular elf. Being ahead of schedule happened like the falling of snow, and it was ever surprising as a burst of twinkle-twangle.
"Come now, am I to ride?"
"My Harrie, it's my special pleasure to tell you that Santa..."
Here Pawter's face blushed and grinned with the bliss of something long hoped for and sought after being eminently satisfied.
"...that Santa has given you the noble task of feeding the reindeer before the sleigh launch!"
Pawter audibly choked. "What! Er, the - reindeer...feeding? Do I go with Santa's ride?"
"Other elves, as yet to be confirmed, will ride with Santa. You, Harrie, will feed the reindeer for their journey."
"I am out of the ranks of those yet to be confirmed?"
Bert, perceiving Pawter's obvious disappointment, added, "But so am I, 'out of the ranks' as you put it, though I see no reason to see it that way. And so are a great number of other elves, speeding Santa along his way! Suppertime!" Bert gave him a great smile, turned and left for the Supper Hall.
Harrie Pawter remained, stunned, alone, in the empty shop. He glowered into space. His face grew more strangled with an awful look by every second. His hand reached for a toy airplane that had just been completed.
There in the shop of flying toys something happened that had never happened in the whole history of the North Pole, neither by accident, and certainly never on purpose: an elf broke a toy. Pawter threw the airplane down to the hard floor with a furious violence. The toy smashed into flying pieces in every direction.
"Damn him! Damn him! Damn the man! DAMN HIM TO HELL!!!"
End part 1.