Short Story Fiction
The Substitute Santa
Scott A. Gese

Santa is out of commission. Someone needs to step up to the sleigh and make Christmas happen.

SantaImage Source/Piqsels

It was December 21st, three days before Christmas eve. Santa was busy in his workshop going over some last minute details before the big night. He was busy putting a few finishing touches on a new gizmo he had been working on.

Last year his delivery calculations had been off. There were more stops to be made due to a housing boom the year before. That was expected. What he didn’t expect was the smaller than usual number of bad boys to be removed from his list. Those numbers were way down and between the two, it threw his calculations off.

He ended up overshooting his delivery time by more than an hour. He was hoping to make up the time this year by shaving a few seconds off each of his entry and exit times.

Santa wasn’t getting any younger and he certainly wasn’t in the best of shape.

Too many cookies and glasses of milk along the route last year had added a few extra inches to his belly. Plus the delicious baked goods Mrs. Clause fed him didn’t help his weight problem.

A recent trip to the doctor found him to be borderline diabetic and lactose intolerant. It looked like he would have to cut back on the cookies and the milk this year. That was a disappointing thought.

Last Christmas Mrs. Clause bought him the exercise bike he had asked for. He rode it a few times, but after the new year he grew tired of it. These days it just sits in the corner collecting dust.

He was thinking about posting it on Craigslist but he doubted if anyone would be able to find his place to pick it up.

Santa still had the magic he needed to get in and out of those tight chimneys, but his weight was beginning to concern him.

The new gizmo he was working on was a booster to help him get up a chimney with ease.

He decided to compensate for his extra pounds by upping the lift-off power. It needed to be just right. Not enough and he could get stuck. Too much and who knows what might happen.

Once he had made the final adjustments on his new toy, he decided to give it a test run using his own chimney. He needed to be absolutely certain it was going to work.

This would be a full dress rehearsal.

He put on his suit, grabbed up a bag full of toys, stepped into the fireplace and activated the booster by twitching his nose.

He blasted up the chimney like a fourth of July bottle rocket.

Two of his elves were outside shoveling snow at the time. They happened to be facing in the right direction and looked up just in time to see Santa shoot out of the chimney like a cork out of a champagne bottle. There was even a loud POP when he cleared the top.

Santa over shot the roof by a good fifty feet. The elves couldn’t believe their eyes. They had never seen Santa get that much air before.

It was impressive.

Unfortunately, the flight back down was less impressive. Santa lost his grip on the sack. Teddy’s, Tonkas and toys went flying every which way.

He showed very poor form all the way down to the roof, which he hit with a loud thud.

He slid down to the gutter and dropped over the edge. When he finally hit the ground, he didn’t move.

The elves ran to his rescue, laughing all the way.

The laughing turned to panic when they realized Santa was out cold. One of the elves ran to get Mrs. Clause. She knew first aid and would be able to help.

When Santa came to, it took half an hour to get him up and back into the house. He had a slight concussion, a broken arm and a sprained ankle.

Santa was hurting bad. Mrs. Clause gave him some Valium to ease the pain.

“A little too much oomph,” was all he could manage to say.

Christmas eve was coming up fast. Santa was not in any condition to be out driving the sleigh on Christmas eve. The elves were beginning to panic. Something needed to be done in a hurry.

Mrs. Clause decided to take matters into her own hands. She had the head elf show her how to use Santa’s oomph magic. He made a minor adjustment so she wouldn’t overshoot the chimney like Mr. Clause did. It took her a few practice runs up and down her chimney, but she got the hang of it fast enough.

On Christmas eve she had the elves load up the sleigh. she hitched up the reindeer and told the head elf to hop in. He knew the route and she needed his help. When she flew out of sight, the rest of the elves took bets on whether she would make it to the end of the route before morning.

Not only did she make it, she beat Santa’s best time by over an hour.

© Copyright 2023 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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