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Santa is Missing

Santa is Missing
R. Brian Campbell

December 20: 08:45: 106.15 before 0 Hour

“Alfie. Have you seen Santa?”

Alfie looked up from the dump-truck he was assembling. Mrs. Claus was standing in the doorway of the workshop. “Sorry, but he hasn’t been in here the morning. In fact, you are the first person I’ve seen since breakfast. Have you checked the other workshops?”

“Not yet,” Mrs. Claus responded. “I’ve just started looking. I didn’t notice him get up this morning and missed him at breakfast. I just wanted to wish him a good morning.”

“I’m sure he is around somewhere, checking up on the final details,” Alfie assured her. “You know how he is.”

“Yes, I know. Thanks Alfie.” Mrs. Claus closed the door and continued her search.

December 20: 13:30: 101.30 before 0 Hour

Mrs. Claus was sitting at a long table with Alfie, Holly, Teddy, Christy, Bella, Rupert and Jules. “I don’t know what to think.  I can’t find him anywhere. It’s like he just disappeared.”  All the elves tried talking at once, so she held up her hands to calm them. “Hush. Hush. All of you. It won’t do us any good to panic. Right now, the best thing we can do is to keep production going as if nothing is wrong. Teddy, how is production going?”

“Everything is right on schedule. The lists have been read and all orders are being filled. Santa gave us the final order list last week and toy production is near completion.”

“Excellent,” Mrs. Claus said, with a jolly smile. “Jules, how is the packaging and wrapping going?”

“Like clockwork. As fast as we get the toys, they get packaged and wrapped.”

“Fantastic,” Mrs. Claus said, nodding. “Now everyone keep the production going. And please don’t say anything to upset the other elves. As far as they need to know, Santa is taking a bit of a rest before the big day.  When we are not working on the toys, we’ll keep looking for him.”

December 20: 18:00: 97.00 before 0 Hour

“What on earth?” Mrs. Claus opened her front door to find Alfie standing there, wearing a long coat and a deerstalker hat, a large pipe in his mouth. “Alfie, what do you think you are doing?”

Alfie blew into his pipe, sending a stream of bubbles into the air. He took it out with a smile. “I thought this mission needed a professional detective.”

“And what makes you a professional detective?”

“Elementary,” Alfie said, blowing another stream of bubbles. “I have watched every Sherlock Holmes, show or movie, from Basil Rathbone to Benedict Cumberbatch. I know their methods thoroughly.”

Mrs. Claus crossed her arms with a smile. “Okay, Mr. Holmes, what have you discovered?”

“I am glad you asked.” Alfie blew some more bubbles as he removed a notebook. “I’ve checked the stables and discovered that, not only is Santa missing, so are Dasher and Dancer, and one of the small racing sleighs. I deduce that, wherever Santa is, he is likely with Dasher, Dancer and the sleigh.  I’m having Rupert track them, using the sleigh’s GPS.  Rupert will also call them on the reindeers’ harness phones. By morning, we should know exactly where Santa is.”

“Excellent work, Alfie Holmes.” Mrs. Claus leaned over and kissed Alfie on the cheek, causing him to suck on his pipe and inhale some of the bubble mix. He staggered away, coughing up bubbles.

December 21: 8:15: 82.45 before 0 Hour

“What do you mean you can’t find him?”

Rupert shrugged helplessly, alternating between looking at Mrs. Claus and his computer screen. “I don’t understand. The sleigh GPS doesn’t seem to be working, and neither reindeer is answering his harness phone. It doesn’t make sense.”

Alfie looked down, sadly, scuffing the floor with his toes and crumpling his deerstalker hat in his hands.

“Keep trying guys. In the meantime, we have to keep working.  Santa may be missing, but we can’t lose Christmas. The children are depending on us.” Mrs. Claus turned and left.

December 21: 19:00: 72.00 before 0 Hour

No news.

December 22: 19:00: 48.00 before 0 Hour

No news.

December 23: 19:00: 24.00 before 0 Hour

No news.

December 24: 16:00: 3.00 before 0 Hour

“But Mrs. Claus, you can’t-”

“Alfie, someone has to go.” Mrs. Claus, dressed in Santa’s red suit, looked Alfie in the eye. “The children are expecting us tonight. We can’t let them down.  Do you want to do it?”

“Well, no, but-”

“Ho, Ho, Ho.” The door swung open and there Santa stood, wearing sunglasses, a flowered shirt, Bermuda shorts and flip flops, and sporting a dark tan. Two reindeer stood behind him, both wearing sunglasses and floppy hats. “We’re home.”

Mrs. Claus turned on him. “And where were you?”

“I was feeling stressed, so I decided to take a bit of a tropical vacation. There should have been no problems. I made sure everything was running smoothly before I left.”

“You disconnected the sleigh’s GPS and turned off the reindeers’ harness phones,” Mrs. Claus accused.

“Yes. I needed a break,” Santa insisted.  “It was all in my note.”

“What note?”

“The note I left for you. I put it on the… Well, at least I planned to… Uh, oh.” Santa fumbled around in the pocket of his shorts, and produced a crumpled piece of paper, which he sheepishly handed to Mrs. Claus. “Uh, this note. Here you go. Uhm… oops.”

The look on Mrs. Claus’ face made Alfie, Dasher and Dancer all edge towards the door.  “Oops, indeed.  Is that all you have to say for yourself?”

Out of the corner of his eye, Santa saw Alfie, Dasher and Dancer slip quietly out the door. He began backing towards the large closet where he kept his red suits, hats and boots. “I…think I’d better get ready to deliver some toys.”

Mrs. Claus glared at him. “Good idea. And when you get back, you will be sleeping with the reindeer until further notice. Got it?”

“Yes ma’am.” Santa turned and rushed towards the closet.