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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Holiday · #2106666
Heart disease and diabetic complications grounded Santa. Now it's up to Mrs. Claus...
Written for "What a Character! : Official WDC Contest

Word Count 1301

Mrs. Claus hurried about the workshop, encouraging the elves to hasten with the final touches on the last gifts of the season. Christmas preparations had been a disaster this year, but she wasn't giving up yet.

"No! No! The Train Painter is down again," cried out Cherry, a ruddy cheeked elf.

Calling from across the room as she opened another case of dolly shoes, Mrs. Claus said in a firm, controlled tone, "Well, we don't have time to fix it now. We'll just have to go rustic. Hand paint the windows and wheels and leave the rest of the wood au naturel. The grandparents will love the throwback toys."

Her voice kept the rising panic at bay as the elves scurried around.

And exasperated voice in the corner was heard next, "We're running out of bows."

"Top the presents with tinsel and a candy cane. The kids will never even notice."

Mrs. Claus seemed to have an answer for every problem. But the elves were secretly wondering who was going to deliver the presents. It had taken Santa decades to get his route down so that every child got a toy within a twenty-four hour period. While she could get chocolate stains out of faux fur like nobody's business, they doubted her ability to get the delivery done.

"I'm going to check on Santa. I have my phone if anything else comes up."

Mrs. Claus walked out into the blustery wind, barely tucking her scarf around her before she reached the house. The chill of this time of year was nothing new to the Claus's or their employees. Anything above zero was considered downright balmy.

She shut the door against the wind only to find Santa's butt poking out from behind the refrigerator door.

"You'd better be getting salad fixings, Mister."

"But honey, I can't eat any more of this reindeer food. I need my natural diet."

"Your natural diet is what got us into this mess. No more! You promised me this day would never come and here it is. I'm just grateful your heart attack was so mild and didn't come a month later. I simply couldn't look after you AND get Christmas in order."

"How's it going in the workshop?"

"None of your business, young man."

Santa palmed a cookie and began to head back toward the living room.

"No, sir," she reached out her hand to take back his pilfered spoil.

"Come on...Just one..."

"Your blood sugar has been completely out of control. You'll be lucky to get toast with jam in the morning."


"No 'buts.' You're my husband and if you won't take responsibility for your health, I will."

Santa handed her back the cookie with a sideways glance and pursed lips.

"Have all the attitude you want, Mister, but you won't have a cookie. Now if you're not going to get on the treadmill this evening, I need you to stay out of my way. We still have a million preparations."

"There's no way you'll get all the gifts out in time. You NEED me!"

"Santa, baby. I need you. Those children don't. Right now they need ME to take care of things so that you can get your health under control. You're not two hundred years old any more. You have to start taking these things more seriously. The workshop is fine. The toys are being wrapped. The reindeer are resting up for the big flight the day after tomorrow. Everything will be fine. You're the love of my life and I will do whatever I have to to protect you--even if I'm just protecting you from yourself."

"Please, can't I help? I'm going stir crazy in here."

"There's only one thing you can do to help, but you won't like it."

"Anything! I just need to feel useful!"

Mrs. Claus put her arm around her husband's shoulder and guided him toward the computer. "If you want to help, I need you to make some calls."

A Quizzical look crossed Santa's face. "Calls?"

"We both know I can't get all these gifts delivered in time for Christmas. I need help."

"But UPS, DHL, and FedEx aren't open on Christmas."

"That's not who you're calling," she said in a quiet, comforting voice. She gave him a gentle peck on the cheek, then a playful swat on the behind.

"Oooo, Mrs. Claus...we're on a deadline," Santa teased.

She winked back at him and said in her most sultry voice, "Just make these calls and I'll make time." She bit her lower lip seductively.

A smile crept across Santa's face. "Hold that thought. I have some calls to make. Who am I calling?"

She paused, smiled innocently, then said, "Just some old friends...Poland's Gwiazdor the Starman, Armenia's Kaghand Papa, Ukraine's Svyatyi Mykolai, and the rest of the guys. Swallow your pride and ask them for help."

Santa waited for the punchline before realizing his wife was absolutely serious.

"Oh no, NO WAY! I will NOT call them, those traitors, those, those..."

"Love, we need their help. Besides, it's time we let bygones be bygones. You've had the glory of this time of year for centuries now in some locations. It's time to share the burden, share the joy, and share the holiday."

"I fought long and hard for this holiday! They're all a bunch of wannabes! The Starman thinks tangerines are a way to celebrate the holidays!"

"Gwiazdor the Starman also didn't become diabetic, now did he, sweetheart?"

"That's not the point! These people would have ruined Christmas if I hadn't taken over."

Mrs. Claus guided Santa into the chair in front of the computer.

"I supported your decisions then but I need you to support my decisions now. Just look up their numbers and make a few quick calls. They'll cut the work by half. We need the help."

"If you'd just let me..."

"Out of the question. Your health comes first. We can talk about next year when the time comes, but for now, if you want to help, this is what I need."

She began rubbing his shoulders and the back of his neck. "I bet half of them will be happy to hear from you. You know, you weren't entirely innocent in this situation. They were all good men just trying to bring joy to their corner of the world. It might be asking too much if I asked you to apologize..."

"Yes, it would."

"But simply telling them you've missed them, you respect them, asking how they have been, that might be all you need to break the ice. Why, I bet they'd jump at the chance to bring toys to children again!

"I bet they would, grubbers."

She leaned down close to his ear and whispered, "Just do this one thing for me. I promise I'll make it worth your while. I can drop off the toys on the morning of the twenty-fourth, giving them time to get set for their own trip." She gently kissed his ear, "You'll be doing them a big favor, really. They'll be excited to hear from Father Christmas, himself. Just a few minutes of your time and I'll make some special time just for you."

Huffing, "Alright. But if they give me any lip..."

"Thank you, my love." She kissed him on the top of his head, leaving a faint red mark among his whispy hairs. "I'm going back out to check on the workshop, then I'll be back in to give you a surprise when you're done."

"Is it a cookie?" Eagerness dripped from his voice.

"You won't even miss the cookies," she said with a smile as she headed toward the door. "I love you, Santa."

"I love you too." He dragged his finger across the mouse pad to wake up the laptop.
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