Jessica Claus rolled a page of the naughty list into a thin tube, slipped one end up her nose, and then snorted a long line of coke. When she was done, she carefully wiped under her nose with a red fleece handkerchief and passed the tube to Emilio, her Columbian pool boy. She had no idea now why she had put up with Santa’s perverted fantasies and lived all those years isolated at the North Pole. Her new career as an actress was flourishing, here in L.A., as a house-guest of the producer Don Pablo Sanchez. Her latest release, “North Pole Hijinx” caused her to shudder with delight whenever she remembered the 200 yummy little elves and their delicious candy canes. Santa had sent down the entire, insatiable, eager-to-please staff of the action figure department for the shoot. She wondered if she should get her hair done for her next release, “Kringle Family XXXmas.” Turning to Emilio, she smiled coyly before asking him to unfasten her bikini top. It just wouldn’t do to have tan lines in her line of work.
Dasher had to admit that, though somewhat extreme, Santa’s solution to the outbreak of Northern Spongiform Encephalitis (a.k.a., Mad Reindeer Disease) had been highly effective. Culling the herd of any animal that showed signs of madness had quickly eradicated the problem, as well as providing a pleasing alternative to the beef they traditionally ate at the annual North Pole July 25th Barbeque. Reindeer discipline was much improved and there was no more talk about animal rights when they considered the options. It seemed that Rudolph burgers were mighty effective in achieving behaviour modification. Santa still raved about the delicious flavour of hickory smoke and the slightly gamey tang of freshly slaughtered reindeer marinated in bourbon, with mayonnaise, caramelized onion, and Dijon mustard on a sourdough bun. And, now that the egotistical Rudolph was gone, he was back in charge of the Reindeer Games. His mouth watered as he thought of Prancer’s son and the games he was going to play with the young buck.
Surveying the scene on the shop floor below, Uncle Mario “Tommy-Gun” Tinsel was generally happy with what he saw. Finally, things were going his way, as they rightfully should. He’d had various problems to contend with, the most significant being the elves unionization, around ’88 or so after they had gotten all caught up in the Solidarity movement of Poland, though why the elves had even been involved with that was beyond him. After those two years in Sicily learning management skills with La Cosa Nostra, he was much better prepared as the toy-shop foreman and was more than able to ensure that the workers would behave. Oh, a few went missing every now and then and wound up at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean with concrete pixie boots but it was necessary to maintain the fear that kept the staff on their toes. He somehow regretted not taking this approach earlier and all the years he had used ineffective methods. They still laughed at him for that time he’d tried Dr. Phil’s family therapy approach, but he’d gotten the last laugh. He still got a thrill when he remembered how his family had dragged Bob Kringle out onto the shop floor, poured gasoline on him and set him afire for suggesting that he was being worked too hard. Well, that sort of pesky talk had soon died, much like his cousin Tommy Tinsel, after he’d gotten machine-gunned trying to ski off to Sweden. Ahhh, praise be to Pietro Beretta’s fine Italian firearms.
In the wrapping room, “Sugar Daddy” Danny kept a careful eye on the automated monitors, ensuring that all systems were running smoothly. Today, the assembly line was wrapping defective video games to be delivered to boys on the naughty list. In today’s economy, broken Chinese electronics were cheaper than coal to purchase and deliver, thus earning him a significant annual bonus, as well as considerable freedom from Santa. He’d even managed to reduce costs further by replacing the soundtracks on the most popular video games with Hannah Montana’s Greatest Hits, which he was able to license for next to nothing from Sony EMI. Giving a quarter of his cut to Mario, for “Business Insurance” he was indeed a master of his own destiny. Feeling his cell phone vibrate, he looked down and read the text message on the screen before dialing Kristina’s number.
“Kris, the big man wants you after his nap. Slip into that little black latex outfit he likes. You know, the one with the stiletto heeled knee boots. And make sure you charge him extra if he wants to whip you again. Got that, honey?”
All was well at the North Pole as the well lubricated machinery of world’s toy capital functioned with only a brief hiccup or two.