The Last Christmas

Santa Claus finds that Christmas just isn't the same

"My God, Martha!" Saint Nicholas fell into his velvet red armchair, his glossy black boots swinging wide in the air. Mrs. Claus bustled in from the kitchen, the redolence of nutmeg and cinnamon following in her wake. Santa thrust the letter at her. As she read, her eyes widened and she drew her fingers to her mouth.

"They can't do that," Mrs. Claus cried and stamped a foot, sending a cloud of flour swirling.

Her husband turned his defeated features away. "They can, and they have. What's the use? The world doesn't believe in magic anymore. There's no place for us."

The letter, loosed from his fingers, fluttered to the floor. On it was stamped a big red FORECLOSURE. The Clauses were going to lose their house and workshop.

Bright and early the next morning a disheveled Santa Claus pressed himself into his voluminous armchair. It had been a long night, and the past few minutes quietly navigating his bulk though the house as not to wake the missus took it all out of him. He turned the television on and switched the channel to General Network News.

"Nicholas Claus!" Martha was a figure to behold, the sunrise flaming through a stained glass window at her rear to spread daggers of coloured light. She looked like an avenging angel. "Where have you been?!" Her facade of rage crumbled. "I was so worried! You weren't in your shop and I thought... I thought..." Her sentence trailed away as her awareness gradually registered the subject of the news.

"...unexplained robberies occurred last night as a man dressed like Santa Claus knocked over malls and department stores all over the nation. This is believed to be the collaborative efforts of several criminal organizations as a heist like this is an impossible undertaking for one man." The anchor waggled a finger at the fourth wall. "That is not the Christmas spirit. A lot of somebodies are gonna get coal in their stockings tonight...and that's our news for the hour. This is Ron Burgundy signing off.

"Oh, you didn't!"

"I-I couldn't do it to the kids, not this Christmas, not while I could still do something!"

She looked at him over her spectacles and crossed her arms. "When you do things like this, Nick, I start to think you've been playing that Mafia Wars on the internet thingy a bit too much!"

He seemed to deflate. "It's the last Christmas."

"Don't say that!"

"I had to let the elves go, even the midget."

"Not Tony!"

"Rudolph's in a bad state and has gotten into all the rum balls. I promised him one last hurrah." He turned to look at his wife. "Do you know what it's like to console a inebriated, weeping reindeer? It's the last Christmas." His tone was final.

He settled back into his seat and rubbed his eyelid, murmuring, "Just something in my eye."

Martha brought her husband a mug of steaming cocoa with a double whiskey mixed in. She had one herself as well. She snuggled against his bulk and they whiled away the day watching Christmas classics on TV.

The End

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