The Tenth Reindeer

Everybody knows Rudolph, with his amazing fog-piercing nose. The other reindeer, shallow and vindictive as they were, also earned their places in the stories by redeeming themselves, admitting their mistakes and accepting Rudolph into their midst. Dancer, Vixen and Prancer, Dasher and Donner and Blitzen and Comet and Cupid, they’re all beloved and valuable parts of the Christmas myth.

But there was a tenth reindeer.

Ian was without doubt the laziest and most cynical rangifer solis invicti in the history of the noble magical species, if indeed you can call a group of immortal capreolinae numbering fewer than fifty to be a ‘species’. He was part of an ill-fated second string Christmas line-up in the early 70s, when the starring team was rotated out in favour of a team including anger-management-issues-bearing Slammer, incontinent Striker, tunnel-vision-suffering Clipper and – most spectacularly troubled of them all – Cupcake.

Ian was the only survivor of the sequence of accidents on Christmas 1974 that was in later years referred to as The Great Yuletide Pooch-Screw. He had been at the rear of the team – another factor contributing to his borderline-sociopathic ennui – and so had avoided all of the wind shear, all of the culpability, both of the burning jet engines, the garbage barge, most of the seagulls and some of the flying shit. None of the others survived.

The first string team had returned in ’75, The Claus had declared that he was sticking with the big nine from then on with no further experimentation with backup teams taken from among the widely-dispersed herd, and Ian had not worked the Christmas route since.

On a number of occasions, Rudolph situations had offered Ian opportunities to step up and possibly gain a similar ticket to acceptance and respect. The first time he refused on grounds of only having one glowing-red piece of anatomy in his possession and not being able to fly with it pointing forwards. The second time, he was rude about it.

He wasn’t asked again. He seemed quite happy with that.

That’s why he was the only reindeer with hooves on the ground on Judgement Day.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
This entry was posted in Chuck Dickens’s “A Christmas Carl”, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Tenth Reindeer

  1. aaronthepatriot says:

    Oh I love teasers like this. Yeah, I think Cupcake crapped on my head one time I was out distributing “reindeer food” on our back deck in preparation for pretending Santa is real with the kids. *shakes fist at sky* Curse you, Cupcake! From the smell of your Espoo, I have NO idea why they call you “Cupcake”!

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