It is a beautiful day. Forty degrees below zero with a light wind, snow piled in drifts, some twenty feet high. An exquisite crystal clean white on white as far as the eye could see, with the muted sound that only snow can create. Santa loved days like this, pleasant days before the bitter cold of the perpetual midnight to come. He turned to his senior Elf manager and asked. “Is everyone back from summer vacation?”
“Yes sir, tan and rested.” Answered Hitphen Icicle.
Santa took another long look around. The North Pole ice was becoming thinner and increasingly unstable. A few more years and he would have to abandon this toy factory. Fortunately he had started off-shoring the work some years pass. Now he had a substantial presence at the South Pole with more in the Russian Tundra, his favorite the well hidden toy factory in a Norwegian fjord.
The work force had been another problem. The elf population had not kept up with the world’s growing population of children. Finding the leprechauns had been pure luck and then that young lady with her seven dwarfs. Strange name that one, Sleeping Beauty. Mixing elves, leprechauns and dwarfs created one problem after another, and those princes following Sleeping Beauty around created even more problems. He couldn’t find anything they knew how to do, handsome young men with no useful skills. Things just keep changing for Santa and it was all he could do keeping abreast. He thought about what that young lady from Wonder Land had told him yesterday.
“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you'd generally get to somewhere else — if you run very fast for a long time, as we've been doing.”
It was all becoming so complicated. The young ladies had taken to Mrs. Claus, and now the three were always together. Any disagreement with Mrs. Claus and he would be running to save his skin. With a sigh he headed to the primary military defense line.
Setting up military defensive positions had been an endless waste of time and resources. First the elves kept turning the guard towers into doll houses and rocking horses, and those princes prancing around the parapets got in everyone's way. The unexpected solution came when the leprechauns had found out that the gold paint in the warehouse contained real gold. The leprechauns had assumed full responsibility for security, becoming ferocious sentries. All this useless effort because some politician claimed Santa had cost him an election. As he approached the concertina wire Patty Luckleaf popped out of nowhere and saluted. “All secured, Mr. Claus.”
Santa frowned. “Any problems this evening, Patty.”
“None,” Patty replied. “Most the enemy be dancing for cameras and the rest be shooting each other. There be no danger from junior bush leaguers, Mr. Claus.”
“How are the sentries?” Santa asked.
Patty smiled. “Most be sober, Mr. Claus, enough to keep the gold safe.”
“Patty,” Santa sighed, “We must protect everything.”
Patty snapped another salute. “That what I did mean, Mr. Claus.”
Santa started back to the administration building. He needed to hire more seasonal workers and was interviewing Arabic Genies and Japanese Avatars this afternoon.
Then he had to make his list and check it twice.