A short flash fiction for everyone too full of fruitcake to think! (That’s me, right about now.) Thanks for reading my blogs throughout the year. Have a safe and happy holiday season.

The Second Rudolph.

It’s not commonly known, even by Christmas aficionados, that the current Rudolf is really son of Rudolph. More a clone in truth.

All of them, Prancer, Dancer and the rest are all genetically engineered. Magic only goes so far. I have magic, but it was never meant to be the lethal hammer of lightening kind, more the penny ante sort that keeps your trousers dry under an avalanche of toddlers. Anyway, I have eight tiny semi sentient reindeer, that can travel magically fast, are amazingly strong and they are mean bastards. Rudolph was some sort of genetic mix up. It happens, the elves get a bit carried away sometimes.

I guess my story starts way back in the 1930’s, just before the uniform was redesigned by Coca Cola to red and white. I say uniform, because popular imagination – or advertising that substitutes for it – controls how I appear. Jolly and fat has been pretty hard on my knees, and don’t get me started on the freaking chimneys.

And 1932, well it was a lean year. Joyless, tired, hungry people do not imagine well, and Christmas, I hate to say was pretty threadbare. People were starving poor, eating their boots, there was a rabbit plague, and people tramped across the outback in search of work. It was the first time for the dole queue, and the shame of it ate into people’s souls. Ate away their imagination, jollity and the happiness that exists in more prosperous times.

Well, I landed on a rooftop, and the bloody thing collapsed. Long winter nights of burning every second beam made it a very flimsy structure, not even proof against eight tiny reindeer. Nor me, despite being thin and dressed in rags this year.

I looked people eye to eye for the first time in a long time. The regulations are very strong, but I had landed in their loungeroom, and there must have been twenty camped there, wrapped in newspaper and huddled together for warmth. No chance of invoking the Santa invisibility clause.

I got out as fast as I could, but the crowd was faster. The other reindeer had never liked poor Rudolph, especially since the foggy night business. Sure, they sucked up to him as leader, but I knew they still hated him. They plugged the doorway and the crowd dragged him down.

Poor Rudolph Sn. But he made damn fine sausages.

(This story was first published in Flush Fiction, 2012.)

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Merry Christmas Fiction
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