Fanta Claus 3
Fanta Claus: III
(Fanta Claus is standing in for his brother, Santa.)
The toboggan puttered. And its engine died.
Fanta Claus was sober by now. And very angry. Clearly his toboggan hadn’t been serviced in all the decades that he had been away. This would have been more fun to discover standing on solid ground, rather than in free-fall, a mile above London.
London, of all places, thought Fanta as his toboggan went blades-over-keel and he toppled out of it, chased by a huge bag of gifts.
He watched those rooftops approaching, and Simonster the Lucky Chimney Sweep dancing about on them. And then he crashed down a horrible black chute Simonster had clearly not yet serviced, and there was a loud noise and silence.
He glanced up – into the white slavering jaws of two huge Rottweilers. And into the gun barrel of a man who looked just like Parker Porker-Harrington from the blog. Ironically it was a South African gun.
“Who the hell are you, old chap?” the man asked cheerfully.
Fanta got up out of the fireplace and dusted himself off. Randalph scrambled out of the ashes behind him and started abusing Parker Porker-Harrington’s leg. The man pointed his rifle at the happy reindeer and shot. The bullet went straight through Randalph’s head and out the other side, with no effect at all.
“Would you kindly remove that unsavoury ghost beast off me?” demanded Parker, annoyed. “I’d be ever so frightfully thankful!”
Fanta called Randalph and scolded him. The demented reindeer transferred his affections to one of the baffled Rottweilers. Moments later the toboggan and the bag of gifts came crashing down into the fireplace, scattering Christmas presents all over the room, beeping electronically.
“The rocking horses,” explained Fanta. “Hee, hee, hee! Ignore that!”
“Oh,” said Parker, “of course. I do recognize you now. You’re that American chap.”
“His brother,” agreed Fanta. “Heep!”
“And you seem to be having a spot of trouble?” observed Parker Porker-Harrington perceptively. “Let me know if I can help you out, old chum. I wouldn’t fancy being remembered as the bloke who ruined Christmas for America.”
Fanta opened the engine compartment of the toboggan and pored over it.
“Don’t really think so,” he muttered. “There are things broken in here.”
Parker Porker-Harrington bent over the toboggan.
“By pork, old chap! You’ve lost practically all of your inter-dimensional pseudo-pontificators! When last was this crate serviced, old chum?”
Fanta scratched his head.
“Coming to think of it, this doesn’t look like the illustrations of Saint Nicholas’s sleigh at all,” observed Parker Porker-Harrington. “Sure you are not an impostor, old fellow?”
“I’m his brother,” reiterated Fanta patiently. He had the suspicion that he’d be hearing a lot of this kind of thing. “He’s the favourite. I’m only the stand-in.” This might have a very good side to it! “Don’t get too used to me,” he added hopefully.
Parker studied him thoughtfully.
“You’re in luck,” he said then. “I’m positive I have a few spare IDPP’s in the sub-freezer. Care for a spot of tea while I’m at it?”
Fanta Claus accepted obediently, and then sat down on a barstool and watched in awe how Parker exchanged the faulty parts, swiftly and with efficiency.
“Don’t ever tell anyone about this, do you understand,” warned the Blogger. “I’d hate for my pals at the club to find out that I have an aptitude for such manual labour! There you are now, old fellow, off you go… Brutus! Leave the reindeer alone now!”
Now that the largest problem was out of the way, Fanta soared with his four reindeer and his newly serviced toboggan through the smoggy air of London. It turned into the longest night of his life. He followed the map with which Bubblewrap had supplied him, religiously; it showed where all the inter-temporary portals were. It was seriously tiring to re-live the same half-hour over and over, every time in a different house, down a different chimney. However, he eventually got it done. His suit was black by now. Bubblewrap had been right. The colours didn’t matter. But it was more important than ever that the children should not spot him.
“That was London,” he sighed. “And I used up all the portals and nearly didn’t finish in time anyway!” The trouble with those portals was, they only opened once a year, and each could only be passed through once, and you had to get the direction right. He had a costly learning experience moving through a few of those portals the wrong way and moving time ahead instead of back. It had cost him a lot more portals to fix the bungle. The other problem was that some of those portals badly needed to be oiled. He had very nearly gotten stuck in inter-temporary time in a couple of them. His post-party girth had not helped.
There was a quiet twinkling next to him.
“Oh, hello,” he said, blinking at the flashing little light. “Could you tone the lights down a bit? I can’t see you properly!”
The light dimmed marginally, and the intervals between flashes lengthened to half a second.
“Oh,” said Fanta. “You’re Tinkerbell, aren’t you?”
“Tinkerbell,” snorted the tiny being disgustedly. “What next! I’m the Christmas Fairy! I noticed your predicament and came to help!” She stared at him, dismayed. “Now that I see you clearly,” she added, “you’re not Santa! You’re an impostor!”
“Am not,” growled Fanta, who was getting tired of this. “I’m his brother.” He yawned hugely. The fairy thought she saw galaxies twinkling at the back of his palate. “I’m standing in for him,” he enlightened her. “He has a heart condition.”
“Oh dear!” The fairy paused to think, one finger on her cheek, her wings whirring nervously. The blinking slowed down some more. “That’s very bad news. Let Finkie give it some serious thought…”
“Your name is Finkie?” blurted Fanta, struggling to keep a straight face.
“Tsitsifinkanola the eleventeen-hundred-and- twenty-ninth, if you must now,” she retorted, annoyed. “Why? What’s funny? What’s your name?”
Fanta Claus shook his head and quit grinning. It wasn’t funny anyway.
“Now,” said Tsitsifinkanola the eleventeen- hundred-and-twenty-ninth thoughtfully, “the thing to do is enlist the children.”
“The children must never see me,” said Fanta, taken aback. “It’s the protocol!”
“Oh no, they never see you,” the fairy assured him. “But they can believe in you! Every child that believes in you, doubles your power and efficiency, and for every one who declares that they believe in you, another time portal opens. Every child who writes you a letter enables that all the presents for that household deliver themselves, magically and faultlessly, out of your bag! All you need to do is pass over their house. So you see, if you can get them all to believe in you…”
“They don’t,” replied Fanta glumly. “They believe in my brother.”
“Ha,” said Finkie. “This may indeed be a problem!” She thought about it some more. “We may have to enlist the tooth fairy.”
“Becauve,” explained Finkie, staring at him as though he were exceptionally thick, “if we can get vem all to fay, ‘I believe in Fanta Clauve’, it may just work! Of course it will also solve half of your problem, because all they’ll want for Chrithmath is their two front teeth!”
“Is that where you got your…” Fanta had the wisdom to shut his mouth quickly. The fairy glared at him. “It strikes me as a cruel solution,” he added. He was after all not heartless.
“Oh well,” sighed the fairy. “You’re probably right, it’s not nice.” She applied her solitary but highly efficient brain cell some more. “I know,” she said eventually. And she grinned a grin broader than her face. It looked rather strange. “Here’s the plan!”
She jumped onto Fanta’s shoulder and whispered her brilliant plan in his ear.
© Lyz Russo, 2009
(3rd of 4 chapters.)