On the run up to Christmas a hot and sweaty Santa emerged from his workshop wearing trainers, joggy bottoms, and a vest. He didn't mind the cold, he was used to it, but in a few weeks time he would be heading to somewhere warmer, as soon as he got Christmas out of the way. He deserved a well-earned rest, they had booked all inclusive, with all the food and drink they could manage. Patting his stomach, he knew he could manage a lot. He leaned against the wall, lifted a leg, farted, said "Good arse" and digged into his pocket for his fags. 

            "You can't smoke that here," said a voice.

            Repressing a sigh, Santa looked round at Lewd Behaviour or LB as he was known, shop steward to the Elves.  

            "It's against the rules."

            "Not outside it isn't." 

            From somewhere, LB produced a well-worn copy of Labour Relations Rules of the Workshop and Grotto, and began to leaf through the pages.

            "Okay, I believe you," said Santa.

            "Good," the Elf said. "I was in your office today." 

            Santa managed to keep the smile on his face though his heart was sinking. "Why?"

            The Elf shrugged. "Oh, looking for some staples, and I found these."

            He held up a Pixie Dictionary and a sign. 

            "Ah," said Santa.

            "I'm not good at reading Pixie, but looking at the dictionary the sign seems to say DANGER MOVING PARTS. Now why would you need a sign like that I wonder?"

            "Okay," said Santa, holding up his hands. "I'm thinking of bringing in pixies next year. They are hard workers."

            "And they're cheap you mean," said LB. "My members aren't going to be happy about this."

            Santa pointed at the elf. "I really don't care what you think, LB. I need two weeks notice of a ballot for industrial action. It's nearly the 25th, so you can't fuck up Christmas this year.

            "I can always fuck up Christmas," the Elf promised. "Don't you forget it." 

            "You think?" growled Santa. "I saw off that take-over attempt by Jack Frost and another one from the consortium led by the Easter Bunny. I even prevented Simon Cowell from owning Christmas."

            "Yeah, and it ruined your health, didn't it? Getting down in the gutter to fight dirty like he does."

            Santa pulled his belly in as best he could and stuck out his chest. "I'm as fit as I ever was." 

            "Listen, Santa," said LB, pointing the rule book at him. "We need someone who values the labour force in here, like the Easter Bunny or one of the other Seasonals. You don't see an Easter Egg production line do you? That rabbit knows the value of sticking to the old ways. Anything happens to Christmas you get the chop. Sack the manager and keep the players, that's what always happens. We just get a TUPE transfer, that's all."

             "Yeah, yeah," muttered Santa. "It'll never happen."  He turned away, as the door to the workshop slammed shut behind him. I hate elves, he thought. Sell their soul for a fast buck. He knew he would be able to handle Pixies. They were small, you could give them a clip round and ear and they wouldn't bite you back, well, not above the knees anyway. 

             *                                  *                                  *

            "Oh, Nicky-baby, relax," Mrs Claus told him later as he sat in his rocking chair in front of a roaring fire. "It's nearly Christmas, then holiday time. Magaluf here we come." She wiggled her bottom. "Pub quiz and karaoke at the Red Lion, plus all-day full English breakfast, I can't wait."

            "I just hate elves, I hate them," he snarled.

            She handed him a glass. "Here's a nice little Buckfast and coke." 

            He smiled. "Thanks, Shazza."

            She leaned closer to him, and he could see she had been using the bleach as tooth polish again. "And I've got a surprise for you. It was supposed to be one of your stocking fillers, but I can see you've been under stress. Close your eyes." 

            He did, and something was pressed into his hand. He looked down at the pouch of Lung Rot, his favourite tobacco.

            "You just have a nice pipeful and relax," she told him.

            "I think I will," he said, reaching for his pipe. 

            Soon he was sitting below a thick cloud of lethal smoke. He rocked back and forward enjoying the pipe and thoughts of Magaluf. Shazza going topless, and getting a good tan, well, except where her jewellery was. Magaluf would be hot. He peered through the murk at the fire.


            He yawned.


            His eyelids fluttered.


            He fell asleep.

            When he opened his eyes the fire seemed awfully close and even hotter, then he saw the end of his pipe sticking out of his burning beard and he leapt up, flapping at his beard with his hands. He reached for his glass of Buckfast and coke but it was empty.

            "Shazza! Shazza!" 

            His wife rushed into the room and threw up her hands in horror. "Don't move, Nicky-baby, I'll fill a basin!"

            "I'll be cremated by then," he replied and trailing flames he rushed upstairs and stuck his head down the toilet and flushed it.

            "Are you okay," Shazza said behind him. 

            "Me heads stuck," he gurgled back at her.

            *                                  *                                  * 

            "Look at the state of you, got no choice but to cancel Christmas now," LB said with a satisfied grin on his face.

            Santa winced as he looked into the mirror on a Princess Buttercup dressing table. Part of his beard was gone while other parts were black and twisted and his eyebrows had been burned off.

            "Can't have you going out like that," LB added. "Suppose someone sees you?" 

            "No-one ever sees me."

            "They might this year and we have a reputation to uphold. What you do reflects on us." 

            "I'll shave it all off," said Santa. "Grow some designer stubble, that's trendy."

            "Yeah, back in the day," an elf muttered and the others laughed. 

            Santa snapped his fingers. "I know," he said, digging into a sack and taking out a fake plastic beard which was attached to a false nose and glasses. "How's that?" 

            "You look like a dick."

            "Or a pervert." 

            "Or Groucho Marx's dad."

            "Face it, Santa," said LB. "Christmas is cancelled." 

            "No, it's not," Santa insisted. "I'll think of something."

            "You better," the elf told him. 

            *                                  *                                  *

            The solution came to him when he shaved the rest of his beard off. He sprayed some foam into his hand, smeared it across his chin and kept adding more and more foam to it, then stuck his head out of the window where the foam froze instantly into a vague beard shape. He could hear coughing above him. He looked up. His reindeer were flying around in circles, getting in some training for the big night, although they didn't seem to be very energetic. 

            "You lot okay?" he shouted.

            "Just a bit of a cold," Rudolph replied, looking down at him, nose looking more pink than red. "I'm saving myself for the big day." 

            "Good idea," said Santa, moving back inside to look in the mirror. Okay, the beard was a bit wavy in places and looked a lot like a Mr. Whippy cone, but it would do, and two spurts gave him new eyebrows.

            He beamed as he walked into the workshop. 

            "Who turned the heating down?" shouted LB. 

            "I did," said Santa. "It needs to stay cold so my beard doesn't melt."

            "Hey, you look like the Santa in the coke adverts," an elf pointed out. 

            "We can't work in these conditions," said LB. "I'm calling a union meeting."

            "Fine," said Santa. "Go on strike, then no pay, and no Christmas party which means no lap dancing from the nymphs." 

            "You're kidding?"

            "Put a jacket or a jumper on, the heating stays off."

            *                                  *                                  *

            The heating did stay off, but that didn't stop his foam beard from melting very slowly whenever he was in the workshop.  Suddenly a cold drop would run down his neck and inside his clothes and he would shiver and wait for the next drop. The anticipation was worse than the Chinese water torture, like waiting for an expanding balloon to burst, but it was nearly Christmas, and then it would be Magaluf, and a month in the sun to grow a real beard. 

            "We got a problem," said LB, sticking his head around the door.

            Santa smiled. "Nothing we can't handle." 

            But he wasn't so sure as he followed LB to the stables. Rudolph looked at him bleary-eyed from his stall, red nose now a dull grey colour.

            "What's wrong?" 

            "I feel like shit," said Rudolph.

            "Me, too," said Prancer. "I've got aches and pains all over."

             "And I can't stop coughing," said Donner, and made a horrible rattling sound to illustrate the point.

            "Reindeer flu," said LB. "Gotta cancel Christmas now." 

            "We'll get some other animals to pull the sleigh," Santa said. "They just need some fairy dust sprinkled on them and they can fly."

            "Might work," admitted LB. "What sort of animals?" 


            The elf laughed. "Flying pigs, no chance, besides working with pigs there would be a risk of swine flu, I'm not having my members exposed to that." 

            "Cows?" suggested Santa.

            "Naw, they shit themselves and everything else, and they make a racket mooing all the time." 

            "How about dogs?"

            "Mmmm," went LB, pursing his lips together. "Might work."

            *                                              *                                              * 

            "Not got much left right now," the man at the cat and dog home admitted. "Come after Christmas and we'll have loads of puppies."

            "I need big strong dogs," Santa told him. "Right now." 

            "Well, let's have a look. I know we've got some pit bulls."

            Santa and LB looked at each other.          

            The man opened the door to the kennels. Immediately the dogs inside began to bark, snarl and howl.

            "Cows would be quieter," said LB.             

            They stopped at the first kennel. Something dark with sharp teeth lunged at the bars. "This is Satan."

            "Sounds like you," LB whispered. 

            "Shut up," Santa whispered back.

            "And that one's Razor, and we have Psycho and Ball-crusher, and a couple more over there. We were going to rename them for the kids, but kids want your cute Andrex puppies, not something that will bite their face off. But they are big strong dogs, just like you said." 

            "Do they come with muzzles?" asked Santa.

            The man nodded. "I'll even give you a free cattle prod to keep them under control." 

            "You're too kind," Santa told him.

            *                                  *                                  * 

            And so it came to pass, that on Christmas, Santa's sleigh was pulled by a collection of bull terriers, Rottweilers, a greyhound and something that looked like a German shepherd, but probably wasn't

            "This has got disaster written all over it," LB told him. 

            "Don't let them eat any satellite dishes," an elf said.

            "Or any kids," added another. 

            "We'll be fine," lied Santa, climbing into his sleigh.

            "Good luck," said Shazza. 

            He nodded and cracked the reins. "Go, Satan! Go, Razor! Go, whatever you are called that tries to bite my balls off all the time! Go! Go! Go!" 

            They rose into the air and lurched towards civilisation. He could hear the elves laughing below. They'll be history next year. It was the dawn of a new age. Pixie power. Maybe not even that, he thought. He had a mate who worked in Argos who could get him 10% off everything. That was the way to go, maybe even internet shopping, let someone else have all this delivery shit.

            "Hey, Satan, stop savaging Razor's ear!" he shouted, reaching to his side and wondered if they would still fly if he gave them a friendly nudge with the cattle prod. 

            *                                  *                                  *

            "And that was the last I saw of him," said Shazza, blinking back tears before she sipped her Vodka and Buckfast through a straw. 

            The young tanned local looked at her, managing to keep the smile on his face. Too much sun, he thought, or too much Buckfast. The local officials were trying to ban it. Commotion Lotion, they called it in the newspapers. Makes the tourist go loco.

            "Oh, he phoned me from the police station," she continued. "Seems a couple of the dogs were banned, then they found the cattle prod on him, and when he started to say he was Santa., well that was that. Under observation, he is, and the sleigh has been confiscated by the military who want to find out how it flies."

            "Unbelievable," said the youth. 

            "I blame Lewd Behaviour myself," she told him as she took another sip of her drink.

            The young man sucked in some air. Ah, lewd behaviour, now everything was making sense. The old man was some sort of pervert, dressing up as Santa to get to young children. Well, he only had himself to blame. 

            "It'll be different next year," Shazza said. "Pixies are a nicer class of...people!"

            The Spaniard nodded slowly. 

            "It's so unfair. This place is our dream holiday and he works so hard. Still it would have been a shame to let the holiday tickets go to waste," Shazza told him, smiling widely, making the young man stare at her and wonder how her teeth could be so white, while the rest of her mouth looked raw, almost scorched, and he thought he detected a whiff of something on her breath. Bleach, he thought, frowning. Surely not, but then anyone who believed in Santa enough to think they were married to him was capable of anything.



By: Ian Hunter On Saturday, 01 December 2012 Comment Comments( 0 ) Hits Views(32532)