CHRISTMAS FUTUREby Emma Sohan
Timothy: "This ain't workin', boss."
Santa: "I know."
Timothy: "This ice floe is only 5 miles across. That's big enough for us . . . now. But we ain't attached to anything. We're starting to float into the Atlantic."
Santa: "I know."
Timothy: "It's gonna shrink to nothin'. And there's no bigger floes in the whole Arctic Ocean. "
Santa: "DAMMIT, TIMOTHY, I KNOW!"
Timothy: "I'm just sayin'."
Everyone was sitting around, drinking fruit punch. Santa had called the meeting.
Elderod: "Maybe we could move to the South Pole."
Sebastian took another sip of punch. "We looked into that. All that's left there is a few huge ice glaciers sliding off the continent. It would be like living in a permanent earthquake. If we somehow survived, in maybe 20 years we'd just find ourselves out in the ocean again."
Timothy: "South Pole. Jeez. It wouldn'ta been right."
Santa: "You're not drinking any punch, Frankish."
Frankish: "This is too discouraging, Santa." A tear came into his eye. "We've been making presents for what, hundreds of years? And now they've melted the North Pole? What kind of thanks is that?"
Santa: "Drink some punch. You'll feel better." Frankish took a large drink, then smiled. The elves were always suckers for the sweets.
Sebastian: "They're trying to reverse the global warming now."
Frankish: "Yeah. Using techniques that would have worked back in 2015. Not now."
Santa watched the elves talk. Mrs. Claus said nothing. The elves were depressed. So was he. Everything was ending – the home they loved, the work they did. They were lucky North Pole Land was on a large ice floe; they easily could have been in the cold water by now.
Like Rudolph. Last week Rudolph fell through a thin spot in the ice. No one could have saved him, really, and no one even noticed him fall in. He died, alone, of hypothermia. Or drowning; it didn't really matter.
Their so-called luck couldn't last forever. No one had had a White Christmas in the last 15 years. When the ice and snow were completely gone from the earth, all of his suits would be too warm.
His suits. What a silly thing to worry about, what with disasters everywhere. But he couldn't do anything about those. Maybe he was small-minded, but all he cared about was Christmas. Spreading joy and happiness; for one day making the world a bright place – mostly for children, but really for everyone. Yes, he saw how adults smiled when their children were happy.
Then everyone, even Mrs. Claus, started to reminisce. The good times. Making presents. Everyone in the world looking for Santa, waiting for him. The year Rudolph saved Christmas with his red nose. All the pretenders dressed up like Santa Claus with fake white beards, but in their own way also spreading the Christmas cheer.
And he watched them slow down, and they finally stopped drinking punch, but they were too late on that also. They were dying a peaceful death, surrounded by friends, remembering the good times. This was the best for everyone. His present to them.
Mrs. Claus was dead. He loved her so much. And maybe he was just an old jolly fat man, but she had loved him too. He looked at the beatific smile on her face. He remembered her always making cookies for him. With milk, whole milk, not that skimmed stuff kids started leaving him. That was how she showed her love – a happy smile, and endless giving, giving, giving.
And the elves were dead, their small bodies sprawled around the room. They worked so hard. And they were always so happy and excited about Christmas. He could not have ask for better employees. Hell, they weren't employees. They were his friends. Partners. Together they all created the magic of Christmas. It was always a team, with the reindeer too.
The reindeer. He opened the top cupboard and took out his rifle – it was time to shoot the reindeer. He chugged a large glass of punch and went outside to make his last delivery.