“Well?” he demanded as he emerged in the new outfit.
The management consultants all wondered who would comment
that he’d forgotten again the image he was supposed to present.
But they all saw his terseness as a very bad portent.
“Never mind,” he did not wait for a response, “I want it in scarlet.”
“But Satan…” said a consultant. It went silent instanter.
All eyes turned. There was no chatter, no banter.
He corrected with a sickly grin “I meant to say, of course, Santa.”
Amazingly Santa grinned back “And don’t you forget it?”
“Of course not.” He didn’t know whether to nod or to shake.
“But you are known for the colour.” he added trying not to quake
“and we really don’t want people to guess that you’re a fake.”
“As if.” He was still grinning as if he was a half-wit.
And the rest all agreed that with his grasp of the role
he could wear any colour, even claim to live at the North Pole
and those gullible mortals would still swallow it whole.
“You’ll have a devil of a time tracking down this piece of kit.”
That was an imp now familiar with its new role as an elf.
“I have in fact asked Santa for one of these myself
but they just can’t keep the stocks on the shelf.”
“What’s that? No we find that the kids often omit
what they really want till they’ve seen Old, um, St. Nick.”
The elf watched the parents for the first signs of panic
then added “but I’m sure we could find you one if you sign quick.”
It flourished a contract. “If you’ll just initial this fifteen page chit.”
“It’s really just a formality.” it explained with a wink
and pushed it into their hands before they had time to think.
“Here borrow my pen. Don’t worry about the red ink.”
Santa muttered “Well aren’t you a little shining wit.”
as the last of the children wandered away
having cracked the mince pie joke about what he must weigh
that he’d heard repeated throughout the day.
“So,” he said to the elf, “How big is the profit?”
He waited while the elf struggled with its filofax.
“Six hundred and sixty five souls, plus a grand profit after tax,”
said the elf and, as Santa grinned, knew it could relax.
“And,” said Santa, “Here comes our chance to elicit
that one final soul that would give me a nice present.”
Nodding towards the entrance and an accompanied infant
“Let the child in. You go to work on the parent.”
“Now how old are you and what gift have you come to solicit?”
The child thought. “Later this month I’ll be ten.”
This seemed to be it as it lapsed into silence again.
Then “Can you grant world peace and goodwill to all men.”
The elf was hard at work, “We do easy terms and credit.”,
but was getting nowhere the parent was adamant
the child didn’t want a computer, a climbing frame, a tent.
The elf was struggling to understand the intent.
“Well little one, I think that’s a little outside my remit.
But how about a game based on the latest coin-op
or a climbing frame. Just make sure you don’t drop.”
“No thanks. I just want the wars and the fighting to stop.”
“It’s so easy. Just sign here and here. It’s not even in triplicate.”
“You’re not listening now are you? I’m not going to succumb.
We’ve already bought what he asked for, me and his mum.
I really don’t know why he was so insistent to come.”
“Now you’re just being awkward, selfish, inconsiderate.
The elves would be out of a job if there was no-one to buy.”
The child just stared at him and then started to cry.
The parent rushed in and grabbed him. Glared on his way by.
“What is the world coming to. I find this charity quite inappropriate.”
The imp happily removing his costume rushed to agree
“Well quite, I’d want material possessions if it was me.
but you just can’t trust humans they’re all mental you see.
And Santa remarked “I just don’t know what’s happened to the old Christmas spirit?”