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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Comedy · #577606
Santa has hit midlife crisis. Too much naughty and not enough nice. Contest
                   SANTA'S CRISIS

         "I don't understand it", grumbled Santa to his lead elf spy. "I sent you to get my Nice List and all you bring me is 10 pages of names. Where is the other 90 pages I usually get this time of year?"

         "But, Santa, that's all there is. I've checked it twice just like you told me to. I've even had a service man in to check my computer and printer and even the fax machine. He found nothing wrong with them." The lead spy elf nervously shuffled his pointy toed shoes in the snow.

         "Fine. Go get the Naughty List. Bring it to me in the Sauna Room. I need to work on losing another 10 pounds before Christmas or I'll never get down those new fangled chimneys this year." Santa turned to his private quarters.

         An hour of sweating passed before the elf arrived with an armored truck of lists for Santa to peruse.

         Santa didn't even get to the second pile of papers when he rearranged his oversized towel and sighed deeply.

         "Unbelievable," he said. "Even these kids listed here are so naughty that they don't deserve coal in their stockings. In fact I've just thought of a new use for reindeer droppings!"

         Spy elf stared at Santa in disbelief.

         Over the years he remembered Santa as being a jolly old elf but lately he had become a cynical old man. Was he losing it or had Christmas lost it's twinkle over the years.

         Later over a cup of hot chocolate, Spy elf discussed the crisis with the Head of Santa's Internal Affairs, Jolle.

         "I think this calls for investigation," said Jolle. "Santa is losing his touch and kids are overall more naughty. There must be a reason for this sad state of affairs."

         "Right," Spy Elf agreed. "I've never seen Santa so grumpy either. He just isn't the same anymore."

         After a few hours of intense planning, Spy elf left the comfort of the North Pole Workshop and set out on the biggest spy mission ever in Christmas history.

         Days of brain numbing surveying-the-public later he found himself outside a small shop in downtown Los Angeles. The night was chilly and the moon struggling to shine past the heavy clouds that were moving in across the sky.

         Four teenage boys were strutting around going no where in particular and smoking some sweet smelling stuff that made the elf's stomach turn summersaults. One boy had just finished adding final touches to a wall painting that looked more like letters than picture.

         "What's up, shorty?" demanded one of the lads with long curly hair that covered nearly half his face. His pants were oversized and in danger of falling down but he seemed unconcerned.

         Spy elf had to restrain himself from running over to tighten the boy's suspenders - if he had any.

         "I just want to ask you fellows a few questions," explained Spy Elf.

         "Shoot," said long-hair-with-pants-falling-down. "Just make it quick cuz we gotta split."

         "Are you boys ready for Santa?" Spy Elf could see right away that he had asked the wrong question by the sneers on the faces.

         "Hey, whatsa matta shorty?" The long-hair-with-pants-falling-down boy laughed. "You makin' a joke?"

         He spat on the ground and ran his fingers through his greasy hair.

         "We don't b'lieve in Santa. Even li'l kids knows it's their dad that brings them presents. Christmas is a big farce."

         The elf stared as the boys strutted off nudging each other with their elbows and laughing. And not even so much as a 'goodbye shorty'.

         He shook his head and filled in his report of the encounter and added it to the growing pile of survey results.

         That does it, he thought. I think I see the problem.

         He made a fast trip back to the North Pole and reported back to Jolle within the hour.

         "Interesting," said Jolle after going over the results. "The spirit of Christmas has to be kept alive by the parents and kids all over the world. Maybe even Santa feels the lack of Christmas spirit these days."

         "Right. And if we don't do something about it soon Santa will just fade away, a cynical old man," said Spy elf. "And I've got a plan. Let's go find Santa."

         It took some doing to convince Santa of the idea to skip Christmas this year but he finally consented. After all, a vacation to the Bahamas for a change sounded like the medicine he needed.

         Christmas came and went and so did the puzzled looks of all the children who peered into their stockings to find little brown lumps of unmentionables (an after thought of the Spy elf and contributions of the reindeer) or nothing at all depending on what list they had ended up.

         But Santa came back to find sacks full of letters written by irate mothers and fathers demanding an explanation.

         "Well," said Santa to Spy elf. "Any brilliant suggestions?"

         "Sure,"said the elf, "Here's a contract drawn up by the Committee for the Prevention of the Decline of Christmas Spirit. Parents are to agree to start their own Community Santa Awareness Campaign throughout the year. After all, the Christmas Spirit really does begin in the home. It guarantees that parents will stop deceiving their children as to who fills their stockings on Christmas Eve. Sign it right here and we'll send it out to all the parents."

         Santa reached over to put his name by the red and green X. As he did, a familiar twinkle came back to his eyes.

         "I think I'm feeling a lot better already," he said as he began to chuckle.
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