This is one of my stories for Tales by the Tree - A Christmas Flash Fiction Anthology
‘Twas The Fight Before Christmas by Nick Johns
E-Book - Yes
This story is dedicated to my beautiful wife, Diane.
I was in trouble. Again.
“Fighting all the time! What is it with him and the twins? I never wanted a reserve anyway. I got along fine for years with my regular crew. What am I supposed to do with him?” his voice boomed.
“You’ve got to take him.” his wife said.
“If he comes with me, I’m rewarding his hooligan behaviour.”
“... and if you don’t, you’ll never get the job done. Face it, you can’t do this shorthanded, it would be a year’s work down the drain.”
“... oh I’ll manage. Don will be fit. He’s a bit bruised and battered, but I’ll just adjust the list. That way there would be less calls to make.”
“Don’t you dare touch that list! It’s taken me over a month to get it to the stage it’s at now. And Don may be OK, but his brother will be out of action for at least a week. The delivery schedules don’t write themselves, you know, they are a finely balanced mechanism. I sometimes think you don’t properly appreciate the work that I do. It’s all very well for you, getting all the credit, not to mention all the drinks and mince pies, while I slave away here in the background...hey, where are you going?”
“I’m going to tell him to get ready. He’s coming with me.”
So I was on the team.
The others pretended to ignore me – when he was watching anyway. He’d put me in the front of course. That way I had to do the most work. No daydreaming at the back and just pulling, I had to navigate. The new sat-nav software was useless. Upgrade? I don’t think so. It never gave you enough warning.
‘At the next chimney... turn sharp left, then stop on the white roof.’
They’re all white, genius, it’s Lapland.
And every time I stopped suddenly, the others took the chance to run into me. Those horns are sharp, I’m telling you. My ass was like a pincushion by the time we reached Liverpool.
Anyway, the Boss was doing the drop when I heard voices.
“Right lads, the NORAD tracker says he’s arrived. ‘ere we go, just like we planned.”
“But Spike, what about the kids?”
“Never mind about that.”
“But Spike, ‘e’s a right big bloke...”
“He’s an old man. Do you want to be in this gang or not? Just do it!”
“But Spike, ‘e moves proper fast...”
“That’s what the net’s for, stupid! He gets tangled up, we grab the sack and leg it. Shhh ‘ere we go. Got ‘im!”
I looked down into the street and saw the Boss, flailing about, caught up, bellowing like a beached Walrus. They hit him on the head with a stick and he went quiet. The three lads then started stuffing presents back into the sack he’d dropped.
Behind me the others were in an uproar.
“What shall we do now?” Snickered Cupid.
“I could run for help” said Dasher
“Zis is all your fault. If you hadn’t landed here ve vouldn’t be in zis mess...” Donner, of course, still sore about the number I’d done on him and Blitzen.
I’d had just about enough of their whining. I bit through the traces and leapt off the roof.
I landed square on top of the first guy, He lay stunned in a big heap in the dirty snow.
I spun around and kicked out at the next guy. Caught him right in the gut. He doubled over and lay there, gasping and retching.
The third guy had a knife.
I backed up and looked at him. Eyes like a ferret and a stupid kiss curl haircut. This must be Spike.
“Hi Spike. My name’s Rudy.” I said.
He just stopped, like he’d been turned to stone.
“A talking Reindeer bothers you? That’s not even the start of your problems, Pal. I’m a fourteen point Buck and weigh just shy of four hundred pounds. My feet are superbly adapted for fighting in the snow. This red nose, you see, it ain’t jam. I fight... a lot.”
Spike shivered and I didn’t think it was from the cold. He backed up slowly.
I lowered my head slightly, the streetlights caught the glistening frost on my antlers.
“... and you’ve got what? One knife? You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”
I always wanted to say that line.
I put my head back and gave a full throated bellow. The windows rattled. Spike turned and ran.
The Old Man leaned on my neck as I helped him back to the sled.
“Next year, Boss, how about I come along anyway? Looks like you could use the protection.”
It is available to purchase at Amazon in print or for Kindle (these are Amazon Uk links but it is available at .com