Santa’d had enough. Two years in R&D, three weeks from the launch, and the new game console shows up in the freakin’ Sony catalog? That, and suddenly Fydor, the nerd elf from IT, is zipping all the elfettes around on $8,500 worth of Arctic Cat?
“The Caymans, boss. Mid six figures.” Vito, from security.
Santa just nodded. Sure, he could do jolly and he had his brand to consider, so away from the Pole, it was ho-ho-fucking-ho all day long. Fuck with him on his home ice, though, and Santa was gonna fuck back.
* * *
The Hard Boys had had themselves a time, Santa could see that. He forgot sometimes that those cute little hammers were only little if you weren’t. Fydor was.
“You get it all?”
“Yeah,” Vito said. “Got the pass code, money’s in your account in Geneva. Found a couple other accounts, too. Tickle-Me-Elmo and that Wii leak? Fydor.”
Fydor was spread-eagled and nailed down to a wooden pallet in nothing but his fur-trimmed red-velour briefs. “Santa,” he shivered, “Can’t you give me some rhythm here? I mean, it’s Christmas.”
“You dealt the play, Fydor. Sometimes a lump of coal in the stocking just doesn’t make the point.” Santa nodded to Vito, who chained the palette to the back of Fydor’s new sled. Santa jumped on, fired up the Pro Sno 500 and lit out across the ice, Fydor rattling along behind.
* * *
Twenty minutes out, Santa unchained the pallet and pulled a wineskin full of seal blood out of his pack.
“Jesus, Santa,” chattered Fydor, “not that.” Fydor blue like a smurf now.
Santa dumped the blood on the elf. “You knew the rules. If you’re lucky, the cold’ll get you before the bears do.” From out in the darkness, a low growl. “But you don’t sound lucky.” Santa jumped back on the sled and headed home.
* * *
Santa took a nice, slow circuit, cruising Fydor’s sled past the reindeer, past the workshop. He’d spilled some of the seal blood on the side for effect. Some whining lately – hours, working conditions even the damn oats.
Cocoa and cookies later, little goodwill, but sometimes you had to remind people. You don’t fuck with Santa.
Daniel B. O’Shea is a Chicago-area writer. His first novel, Unto Caesar, is represented by Stacia Decker at the Donald Maass Literary Agency. You can visit his blog at www.danielboshea.blogspot.com.