“John takes shirt off for office moose? Eric sleeps with Marjorie the house in the puptent prison? Girly Dan uses pen instead of razor blades? Happy blades lazily sulk? What the hell does that mean?” wondered Kris Kringle as he zipped up his fly. “Told those damn elves not to write in the stalls. Santa’s jolly elves…right. Gettin too jolly. All those damn drugs,” Kris mumbled as he sauntered out of the second floor bathroom. Of course, what did they care? They were immortal after all. So long as productivity kept up and creative new products were engineered they could fry their brains and bliss themselves out all they wanted. It’s not like they were popping E anymore. That was quite a debacle. As long as he could avoid—“Damnit Kris!”—the wife. “Don’t pretend like you were headin that way. I know you saw me. ‘Laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.’ Course they did. Look at you. No wonder it takes eight reindeer to pull that dumb sleigh. Where’d all the crumb cake go this morning? You know that’s my crumb cake. I hate when you take my crumb cake.” “But, honey, I would never take—” “Don’t lie to me ya big tub. I know you ate it. Probably swallowed it whole, too. Maybe I can’t stop ya from munching on all that crap the kids leave out for you, but I can at least keep you from being a slob around here. Are you listening to me? You’d better be. You may be the one everyone wants to run and hug, but you know I keep the show moving. You ain’t the one movin it. With that gut, you can barely keep yourself movin. Mrs. Claus may be a peachy old sweetheart full of warm fuzzies in the stories, but you know the real me, and I can get nasty, so no more of this—” “Honey,” for some reason her name just wasn’t popping into his head so he kept going, “honey, honey. Calm down. I was just going to the bathroom, and—“ “I know what you were doing. Everyone knows what you were doing. You think it’s a secret? You stink up the whole factory. No wonder those poor elves are always drugged out of their minds. I’d wanna be too if I had to smell that all day. Speaking of stinky, that’s why I need to talk to you. One of those damn reindeer got loose and decided to mark the Wrapping Department as his territory. What the hell do we keep them around here for anyway? It’s about time we used something else.” “But honey,” Kris started in his most reasonable, logical voice, “we’ve gone over this before. For one, they have a shorter take off an—” “Don’t give me that same old crap. You’ve been feeding me these lines for a century. They have a shorter take off and landing need. They’re quieter than other platforms with similar capabilities. You ask me, that’s a load of crap. Any immortal who can alter time and space for twenty-four hours, make reindeer fly, and do all that other mystical crap you do, can sure as hell come up with a less smelly and disgusting solution than nine wild animals pulling a zillion year old sleigh. You even gave one of them a shiny nose for better visibility! What kind of psycho are you? Let go!” Kris felt wounded by the accusations. “But they’re our babies—” “Your babies. Always hated the damn things.” “They’re like part of the family. How could I just get rid of them like that? And the children—what would Santa be without his sleigh and eight tiny reindeer?” “Tiny reindeer? Tiny reindeer? They’re monsters. Behemoths! And don’t give me the kiddie angle, cause you know they can’t see the reindeer through the dimensional cross rip anyway. If you wanna keep’em, fine! Put those temperamental stinkers in a barn or something. But for heaven’s sakes, get them the hell out of the Shipping and Transportation Department. We’ll figure out a better way of carting your sorry fat butt all over the world later.” Mrs. Claus stormed away angry yet satisfied she had been able to throw her two cents into the matter. There was no way he was going to let her win, though. He’d move the reindeer, but he’d come up with a perfectly good and practical reason to do so that had nothing to do with what she wanted. He pinched a bit of the tummy of which he was very proud. It had taken a long time to develop that puppy. Of course he had one. Wouldn’t any married man with no fear of death stuff himself the same way? That thought made Kris smile heartily. He grabbed his big fat gut, his big old belly, and it shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly—and a little crumb cake, too.
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