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All a huge misunderstanding

Hush, now Tom. Be quiet there or he’ll hear us. Have you got the bag of gifts? Good. Hand ’em over here to me. Good lad.

For Santa “Frog” Claus, it was just another working day. His feet ached. His back hurt from climbing drainpipes, and he had a big weeping graze on his arse from getting caught in a relined chimney. It pissed him off that people only ever talked about Christmas and his work with children, though of course he loved kids, and he loved Christmas too.

But every now and then, he wished somebody would mention his other work, with the elderly farmers of Mayo. Why, oh why, he wondered, just once couldn’t somebody talk about this?

Wait there, Tom, and if he spots you, tell him we’re looking for an old car to buy. That’ll give me enough time to get down the chimney and leave this bag of clean underwear and a few decent prepared meals for him. Poor old bachelor farmers never look after themselves. I have a few toys for the nieces and nephews in there too, in case the old guy forgot to buy them presents.

With that, he was gone, the bag of gifts over his shoulder.

Tom settled back into his seat to listen to Lyric FM playing his beloved Chopin. Suddenly there was a violent hammering on the car door. Tom jumped up, terrified, to see an elderly man waving a single-barrelled shotgun at him.

What are you up to? demanded the white-haired farmer.

Remembering what Santa “Frog” Claus had instructed him to say, Tom smiled at the man. Ah now, don’t be worryin’ yerself there, Boss. We only came to look at th’ould car like. D’ya want ta sell th’ould car, do ya?

Rage flared in the farmer’s eyes. Where is he? Where’s the other fella? he demanded.

Terrified, Poor Tom could only mumble some stuttering reply. He, I mean, that is, I, he, oh God.

The angry farmer stared at him for a few seconds. I’ll find him myself! he shouted.

At the back of the house, Santa “Frog” Claus was having trouble. He couldn’t fit down the chimney and now the back door wouldn’t open. To make things worse, he feared that some of the clean shirts in his sack would become wrinkled and Mr Nally wouldn’t be looking his best for Mass on Sunday. Oh why wouldn’t the door open? If only the door would open, he and Tom could leave the gifts for Mr Nally and be on their way. He smiled to himself as he imagined how pleased Mr Nally would be to find the gifts.

What are you doing there? a loud voice demanded.

Oh no!! He was caught!

Standing up, he turned to face the farmer.

How’s it goin’ there? he greeted Mr Nally I brought ya a few oul’ things. He reached into his bag, pulling out a toy Jackhammer shotgun.

Out in the car, poor Tom didn’t know what to think. If Mr Nally caught Santa, that would be the end of his career. That would be the end of all his gift-leaving and all his kind acts. What to do? He’d have to follow the farmer and distract him somehow.

But as Tom opened the car door, there was a loud bang, a scream, and Santa staggered from the rear of the house, holding a toy shotgun. His red cloak was stained red.

It’s all a terrible misunderstanding, Tom! shouted Santa. Tell the world it’s a terrible misunderstanding.

And with that, he keeled over and died.

The End