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Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Comedy · #2310758
Or, What Really Happened On That Certain Evening Before that Winter Holiday
Randolf the Rude-Nosed Reindeer

Or, What Really Happened On That Certain Evening Before that Winter Holiday

JJ Robinson II

[Trigger warning: Light-hearted violence]

Before we start, go to your favorite online information source and look up "Byzantine" and "willing suspension of disbelief". These are the only terms used here that aren't likely to be in your vocabulary list from your public school education. Also note that the author will be adding some things that aren't strictly necessary to this story, to pad it out to the customary length for flash fiction.

It wasn't really Santa's fault that events spiraled so completely out of control. It was, apparently, what the Fates allowed.

You've been told, in the heavily censored story popularized by the likes of Burl Ives, that he was called "Rudolf". He actually came to be known as Randolf the Rude-Nosed Reindeer.

When he first arrived at the luxurious reindeer enclave, it is true that the other reindeer rejected him. Less known is the fact that the "reindeer game" at the time was 5-card draw, and the pot set a local record. The sight of Randolf's seriously deformed nose, in fact, caused Dasher drop his cards (two aces and three eights, if it matters), fall out his chair, and roll about on the ground, laughing uncontrollably.

Now, about that "suspension of disbelief". In a Universe where an overweight elf stops time to deliver the mass of a small neutron star in personally targeted gifts to billions of children in one evening, levitated by magical domesticated caribou, is it so hard to believe that a reindeer's nose could conceal a 1.7 megawatt plasma cannon?

Yes, the other reindeer shouted out with glee, but it was a glee born of stark, manic terror.

They gave Randolf the pot, and the cards, and invited him to play any game he wanted.

The sanitized popular children's version of the story relates that the night of the Event was foggy. Many would come to wish fervently that this was true. It was in fact, a clear, fully lock-on amenable, target rich evening around the World.

Santa was now faced with a dilemma. He had to deliver almost twice the usual mass of gifts that evening, and he was a reindeer short-unless you count a carbonized caribou skeleton in a pile of organic combustion products as a "reindeer", which Santa most certainly did not.

Worse, due to the Byzantine (did your homework?) licensing regulations of the North Pole DMV, it turns out Randolf was the only surviving reindeer in the world who was qualified to fly lead on a levitating snow vehicle. (How did an openly demonic organization like the North Pole DMV come to be incorporated into the Clausian empire? That's another story. This is, after all, flash fiction.)

The evening started as most Winter Holidays, and Santa began to relax into his usual delivery schedule. Then it happened. It was the Event that would lead Santa to reassign the Naughty List to "Need to Know", and move the records from a locked room in his vacation villa to an armored underground bunker.

Before anyone had a chance to react, the home of the first entry on the NL was enveloped in a 20-story mushroom cloud of flame.

You'd say it "glows"? How about "incandesces with the heat of a miniature sun"?

Now Santa realized that the youngling in question had been exceptionally naughty, and that the occupants of the surrounding homes destroyed as collateral damage had been complicit in not reporting the miscreant to local law enforcement; but as the night progressed, he realized that Claus, Inc. was facing a cataclysmic public relations nightmare.

The expense of the public relations clean up and compensation of the victims-naughty or not-and all the other necessary means to ensure their silence nearly bankrupted the dear old elf, but it had to be done. "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" entered the public imagination and popular Winter-holiday music.

So, you're probably wondering how a naturally-occurring domesticated caribou could produce enough power for repeated discharges of a 1.7 megawatt plasma cannon. It's flash fiction. Relax.

Oh well, 688 words; it'll be self-published anyway.

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