I’ve been awake for about an hour. The roar of Christmas over, and the comatose haze of turkey and stuffing slowly lifting. The carcass of last night’s bird bubbling on the stove. I look out the back window and what do I see, eight majestic reindeer in the park and a sleigh in my tree.
“What the…’ I throw the door open and head out back to find presents and wrapping strewn across the yard. Upside down laying mostly on his head, a man dressed in red, leaning against my shed. It looks like Santa, but I couldn’t be sure. Shouldn’t he be back at the North Pole with a hot toddy in his hand, cooled out for another year with Mrs. Claus by his side.
I approached the heap, “Excuse me, are you ok?” I poke his shoulder because I wasn’t sure he heard me or was even alive. Much to my relief, he let out a long moan.
“Help me,” he said. He was clearly in shock.
I quickly check him over. Other than a lot of bumps and bruises he appeared to still be in one piece. I helped him turn right side up and covered him with an old warm blanket I found.
“I’m going to call the paramed…”
He stopped me mid-sentence, shaking his head and arms emphatically, “No doctors.”
I attempted to convince him it was the best option but he was adamant. “Okay, no doctors Mr. umm, what do I call you?
After a pause, he said “Mr. Claus, but you can call me Nick.” His wits appearing to return.
“All right Nick, this is a bit of a mess. Are you sure you don’t want a doctor?” I asked again.
“No, I gotta get those presents delivered,” he said. “I can’t have kids missing out, come Christmas morning. That would be disastrous.”
“You do realize Christmas was yesterday?” I shot back.
“What, not possible? Where did all my time go? How long have I been here?” He kept reaching for his pocket.
“I assure you it is San… I mean Nick.” I was still considering calling EMS. This guy, Nick, was certifiable but how could I explain the sleigh in the tree, the reindeer or the presents everywhere if this wasn’t Santa. They’d think I was off my rocker.
“Where are my reindeer?” he asked with panic in his voice.
I took a quick look over the fence to the park beyond my yard. It had been a green Christmas and there in the field were eight reindeer grazing on the grass of the ball diamond.
“Over there, Nick.” I pointed out over the fence. A small crowd of people had gathered on the path to watch the majestic creatures that had taken over the park.
“You have to find my phone,” he said, still grasping at his pockets.
I chuckled wondering if Santa was an Android or Apple guy. The phone had come to rest just out of reach on the roof of my gazebo. I set up my ladder and climb up until I could grab it. This was not Apple or Android, it wasn’t like anything I’d seen before. It was a slim and sleek unit with a state of the art navigation system. The GPS contained 3D imaging that jumped out of the display showing the exact location three dimensional coordinates of the sleigh lodged in the tree overhead.
“Search for an app called ‘Find My Sleigh’. He said
I searched through his app list with included ‘NPMS’ aka North Pole Music Service, no doubt all your holiday hits streaming on loop, ‘Reindeer Games’ and ‘The Naughty and Nice List’. I considered checking the list to see where I landed on the naughty-nice scale. No time though, Santa needs help.
“Okay, found it, Nick.”
“Open it, there will be a red button flashing across the bottom.”
I open the app and locate the button he described. It sits about 4 mm above the screen and reads ‘For Emergency Use Only’. This was an emergency, so I pressed it. Of course, a second box pops out of the screen, ‘Are You Sure?’. Yes I’m sure, I think to myself as I press the button. Almost instantly a vortex begins to form in the yard. Within moments several dozen elf like creatures are surveying my yard. Several began collecting and organizing the boxes. A group that looked like farmhands head into the park to gather the reindeer. A third group, the engineers no doubt, stand beneath the suspended sleigh talking amongst themselves, presumably concocting a plan to safely extricate it from my tree. Lastly, a team of half sized doctors work feverishly on St. Nick. They thoroughly examine the old man and when they finally step back he looked as good as new.
“Santa, this was a doozie. You have to stop playing with the time continuum like that,” the Doc scolded. “We all know a few wobbly pops and a frenetic worldwide trip can make you get a little crazy.”
Nick winked at me and said, “It’s hard not to push the envelope when ‘Born To Be Wild’ is playing on the stereo.”
Before I could respond the Doc chimed in, “…and what happens to Christmas, one of these times you’ll end up locked in a vortex with Father Time? Think of the children!”
It wasn’t long before the elves had everything in order. When they were ready to go, the Doc pulled a device from his pocket and pressed a button. The vortex re-appeared and moments later everything was all gone. Like none of it has ever been here. Just before the vortex vanished I could swear I saw the sun moving west to east in the morning sky.
It’s Boxing Day and I’ve been awake for about an hour. Christmas is over, and the comatose haze is lifting. Turkey frame soup bubbles on the stove as I take a peek out into the backyard. All is calm but I can’t shake this feeling. Déjà vu sweeps over me like a wave. I’ve lived this moment before.
After it passes I think nothing more of it and head back down to the living room. My ears are filled with a faint ringing coming from my Christmas tree. Sure enough, tucked in the branches I find two tiny bells attached to the front of an envelope. Strange, I think, this wasn’t here yesterday. I take the envelope and open it. Inside, a note that reads:
I ring the bell once, twice and my head fills with the image of eight reindeer grazing in the park behind the house.