A Few Good Reindeer

What many people don’t know about the foggy Christmas Eve when Santa asked Rudolph to guide his sleigh, is that a small faction of North Pole residents deeply resented the elevation of Rudolph to lead reindeer.  They felt that Rudolph should’ve continued to be called names and excluded from reindeer games, and certainly shouldn’t have been given the most prestigious position ahead of a long-time veteran like Blitzen.

Even more, there was a conspiracy theory that Santa didn’t really care about the fog at all, but that Yukon Cornelius promised him a cut of a large vein of gold if Santa would put Rudolph on his reindeer team.  According to this theory, Santa sacked Blitzen in what was called a “Code Red & Green” and used the fog as a convenient excuse.

The theory gained so much traction in the North Pole community that a trial of sorts was held a few months after Christmas.  King Moonracer – from the Island of Misfit Toys – was called in to oversee the trial and interview witnesses.  The very credibility of Santa and his management was at stake.  If Santa was found to have ordered the Code Red & Green, everything about Christmas likely would have changed forever.

The trial’s climax and determination really rested on the testimony of the last witness called – Rudolph himself.  Since it was so instrumental in the verdict reached by the King, the transcript of his final testimony is reproduced below.  On these words the very future of Christmas lay.

Moonracer:  Mr. Rudolph, you mentioned in your earlier testimony that when Santa gave orders all the reindeer followed them – no questions asked.  Was that always the case?  The reindeer never decided on their own to perhaps half-listen to Santa but not follow through completely?  Are you saying that all of Santa’s orders were followed to the letter every time?

Rudolph:  Have you ever spent time in front of a sleigh, son?

Moonracer:  No sir.

Rudolph:  Ever served in a foggy area?

Moonracer:  No sir.

Rudolph:  Ever put your life in Santa’s hands, ask him to put his life in yours?

Moonracer:  No sir.

Rudolph:  We follow orders, son.  We follow orders or children cry.  It’s that simple.  Are we clear?

Moonracer:  Yes sir.

Rudolph:  Are we CLEAR?

Moonracer:  Crystal.  I do have another question, however.  You said in previous testimony that Yukon Cornelius left the North Pole days before Christmas Eve and thus couldn’t have bribed Santa to put you on the reindeer team.  However, his quarters were searched after Christmas and all his belongings were still in his room.  Can you explain that?  …You’re smiling.  Is this funny?

Rudolph:  No, it isn’t.  It’s tragic.

Moonracer:  Do you have an answer to the question?

Rudolph:  Absolutely.  My answer is I don’t have the first dang clue.  Maybe he was an early riser and didn’t like to pack in the morning.  And maybe he didn’t have any friends.  I’m an educated reindeer, but I’m afraid I can’t speak to the travel habits of Yukon Cornelius.  What I do know is that he was gone days before the sleigh lifted off.  Now, are these the questions I was really called here to answer?  Packing practices of Yukon gold miners?  Please tell me you have something more, King.  Santa is on trial for his life.  Please tell me his mediator hasn’t pinned his hopes on a gold digger’s travel plans.

Moonracer:  You’re calling Yukon Cornelius a gold digger?

Rudolph:  I meant it in the literal sense.

Moonracer:  Did Yukon Cornelius promise a vein of gold to Santa for making you lead reindeer, and did Santa order the Code Red & Green on Blitzen?

Rudolph: You want answers?

Moonracer:  I think I’m entitled.

Rudolph:  You want answers!?

Moonracer:  I WANT THE TRUTH!

Rudolph:  YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!  Son, we live in a world that has fog, and that fog has to be penetrated with light.  Who’s gonna do it?  You?  You, Hermey?  I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom.  You weep for Blitzen, and you curse Santa.  You have that luxury.  You have the luxury of not knowing what I know; that Blitzen’s demotion, while tragic, probably saved Christmas.  And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves Christmas!  You don’t want the truth, because deep down in places you don’t talk about at Christmas parties, you WANT me to lead that sleigh, you NEED me to lead that sleigh.  We use words like ‘red’, ‘nosed’, ‘reindeer’.  We use these words as the backbone of a life spent delivering something.  You use them as a punchline.  I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a king who rises and sleeps freely on an island because of the misfit toys I deliver, and then questions the manner in which I deliver them.  I would rather you just said ‘thank you’, and went on your way.  Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a present, and deliver it yourself.  Either way, I don’t give a flying reindeer what you think you are entitled to!

Moonracer:  Did Santa order the Code Red & Green?

Rudolph:  He did the job he…

Moonracer:  DID HE ORDER THE CODE RED & GREEN???

Rudolph:  No, actually.  He really selected me because it was foggy and because of the horrible storm.  Just like the song says.  It’s all in there and it’s true.

Moonracer:  He actually said, “Rudolph, with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight??”

Rudolph:  He likes rhymes.

Moonracer:  Well, OK then.  Case dismissed!  Santa’s innocent, Christmas is saved, reindeer can shout with glee, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer goes down in history.  We’re done!

Rudolph:  Sweet dreams, son.

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