The grandson even put on a clean t-shirt.
With a “Ho-ho-ho” echoing through the North Pole and jiggling his rotund belly, Santa proclaimed, “It’s time to get this Christmas show on the road. Tell Rudolph and the gang to go do their business, once we start there won’t be time for potty stops. And load all the toys into the Super Sleigh.”
Now, little known outside of NSA and a select party of few, Santa’s Super Sleigh is powered by a quantum engine even more powerful than the one on the acclaimed Boldly Go Enterprise. Hidden deep inside the sleigh bells lay a device powered by Higgs boson mixed-up particles and teeny-weeny quarks no sane brain can conceptualize. Funneled through reindeer noses, – and hope they don’t get a cold – these quanta bend time and space into a pretzel resembling a Mobius strip. Allowing Old Saint Nick to visit all the World’s boys and girls in a single wintery night.
With a smile on his face, for where else would a smile go, Santa looked around for his number one elf. Since before the time known as “way back when”, Santa has relied on Semgnorf The Organized. As the North Pole is one of only two places in the World bereft of irony, Semgnorf The Organized is, in true fact, very systematic. And organization is critically wiggly to the spread of joy, what with the quadrillion and one details arising on each Christmas Eve night.
In Christmas past, Semgnorf wrote down the naughty and nice and optimized the sleigh’s path long before a top-of-the line GPS lay on the dash. But times had gotten tough because of government shutdowns, furloughs, and such. Much to his chagrin, Santa had been forced to replace Semgnorf with Justin, a temporary elf. Justin had an excellent ear for making play lists for tweens and poorly sung musicals for those with an ill-tuned ear. But truth be told, Justin’s elf hat was not the most pointed of the bunch.
Confused by all the cables and ports and buttons, Justin plugged Santa’s iPad’s USB into an electrical socket. With a flash of fire and puff of smelly smoke, the selfie of Santa dissolved into a nightmare before Christmas as all the carefully organized bits and bytes turned into something resembling a Salvador Dali bad dream.
Seeing the deletion of the names of all the good boys and girls, Santa’s white hair flashed with electric anger. Bellowing in an uncharacteristic rage, “How do I find all the children that went to sleep with sugar plum dreams? What type of World doesn’t have presents under the tree? Not to mention cookies for me?”
Before he could continue his tantrum, Santa was distracted by Mrs. Claus wearing Victoria’s Secret. “Now don’t you worry” she said in a voice as intoxicating as a big cup of hot buttered rum. And proceeded to pull from her bosom an ornate key made of candy cane stripes. Holding the key, she purred, “Follow me and I’ll give you what you need, if not what you want.” With Santa and all the elves transfixed, she proceeded to a secret door hidden right there in full sight. With one turn of the candy-cane key, they entered Old Saint Nick’s Warehouse Thirteen.
From the base of the red and white staff geolocated at the North Pole, the warehouse spread far to the east and far, far to the west, and then to the south and, well not to the north since there was no more north there to go. But it did span both up and down and round and round. Caverns of rooms all crammed full like a seamstress’s closet with artifacts of Christmases past. From Tiny Tim and Ebenezer and a blue, blue Elvis to Rastafarian Santas dressed out in red, yellow, and green. Even the old home movie of Santa with the Martians, though the general consensus was that still wasn’t long enough ago.
At the center of the treasures lay Santa’s first gift. Really nothing more than a stick given to a Paleolithic boy long ago on a horizon-spanning African plain. Given in a time before Hallmark and trees decorated like traffic warning signs. Showing once more that smiles and good cheer are timeless universal forces, like Higg’s bisons and all those other quirky quarks.
Walking quickly past the list of very, very naughty girls, their numbers and vitals glistening in hot pink, Mrs. Claus uncovered a Rolodex stuffed with yards and yards of hand-written cards. Blowing off layers of heirloom dust, she purred, “This is all you need, you big silly.” Giving the cards a spin, Santa saw names of children and grown-up kids in Hubbard, Waldport, Boston, Lake Stevens, Portland, Hobbsville, Kalama, and Seal Rock. Cities and towns in Australia where Santa always gets turned upside down. Even lists from faraway places like Sudan, Afghanistan and Timbuktu. Gosh, so many places, but I bet you could add some too.
With a big grin on his face, for as you know where else would a grin go, Santa proclaimed, “Yes, this will do. Do nicely, too. Now I can spread cheer and good will. And eat cookies until my belly is full.” Giving him a kiss on his rosy cheek, Mrs. Claus whispered, “Yes dear, go spread good cheer. Just remember my present – when all else fails, your wife is there for you.”