Hogging the news headlines on Christmas Day today, serious allegations aimed at Santa Claus were brought before the public by two disaffected groups of his former helpers and retainers.
The first accusation was made at a packed press conference by a Mr Rudolf, who happens to be a quadruped with antlers, and claims to be a reindeer capable of flight, although displaying no evidence of wings. Mr Rudolf, whose bright, almost luminous, red nose caused some difficulty for the cameras attempting to photograph the proceedings, furiously denounced Claus in terms that were likely to affect his image worldwide.
“All these decades,” Rudolf said, “my mates and I have been pulling Claus’ sleigh, all over the world. Can you imagine the effort it takes to drag a sleigh like that, loaded down not just with gifts but with a fat tub of lard like Claus himself? The aerodynamic drag is bad enough, without all the deadweight. But would he lose even a gram? I ask you? Of course not! He said it would hurt his image!”
“We still did what was demanded of us though,” added two of the other flying reindeer present, who identified themselves as Mr Donner and Ms Blitzen. “Right from flying over the Australian outback in the midsummer heat to the bloody Canadian wastes – can you imagine what it’s like to fly over Canada in midwinter, huh? Can you? – and taking in all places in between, all in one night. We didn’t like it, but we did it.”
“And now he goes and sacks us all,” Rudolf continued. “Without a moment’s hesitation, or giving any notice. All of a sudden it’s ‘Well, boys and girls, it’s been a good few years, but we’ve got to move with the times, and I don’t require your services any longer. Clear out your stables and be out of here in half an hour, and your severance checks will be in the mail.' ”
“Without a single place to go to or any way to fend for ourselves,” Donner and Blitzen put in. “We’d been agitating for union status for decades, but of course he wouldn’t allow that. And now we don’t even have pension funds either.”
“That’s right,” Rudolf nodded angrily, pawing the table so hard that a few of the microphones fell over. “What does he take us for – chopped venison?”
“We should have tipped over the obese old tyrant when we had the chance,” Ms Dancer, one of the other flying reindeer present, said moodily. “If we’d done it when we were over the ocean, it would’ve been a nice Christmas present for the sharks.”
In New York, a spokesperson for Santa Claus Enterprises, Inc, Ms Jen-Marie Psaki-Harf, who said she had worked formerly in a similar capacity for the US State Department, issued a statement on Claus’ behalf. “As Mr Claus clearly stated,” she said, “we have to move with the times. These are no longer the days when a reindeer-pulled flying sleigh is modern enough to serve our purposes. Mr Claus has invested an enormous amount of money in a fleet of delivery drones, which are much more efficient and get the job done more easily and democratically. It would have been ridiculous not to use them.”
Asked to explain what the drones had to do with democracy, Ms Psaki-Harf smiled. “Mr Claus, when he used the inefficient old reindeer delivery service, could only cover one house at a time. Therefore he inadvertently ended up playing favourites, having to deliver at one house before another. With his drones, though, he can deliver to literally millions of houses simultaneously! If that’s not democratic, what is?
“Also, with the reindeer, there were problems delivering toys to certain areas of the world, you know, where there are wars ongoing and a significant security threat, like refugee camps. Mr Claus would often have to skip them altogether. But now, not only can he deliver the toys to them by drone, if there is a threat to the drones he can just tie the toys to Hellfire missiles and shoot them at the children. Isn’t that great? No matter what happens, the children will get the toys anyway!
“Besides,” she added, “getting rid of these reindeer is also environmentally friendly. Can you imagine the amount of methane released by these beasts as they fly through the air? High up in the atmosphere, it wreaks havoc with the ozone layer, and the carbon dioxide they pump out with their exertions drastically increases global warming. Mr Claus’ efforts to reduce harm to the planet we live on should gather praise, not condemnation. I suspect the present administration’s political opponents are behind it, since their anti-environmental attitudes are well known.”
She also stated that the reindeer had no right to protest. “Since they aren’t union labour,” she said, “they have no right to sue for unfair dismissal. The current economic climate, in any case, is not such that we can burden our employers with expenses and legalities which might come in the way of economic recovery. If these animals had had the foresight to take out unemployment insurance, then they might have had a fallback, but as things are there’s absolutely nothing Mr Claus owes them.”
A Pentagon spokesman, General Bernie Clinton, announced that the reindeer would be recruited into a special trillion dollar ultra secret unit. “These animals, with their unique flying ability and enormous speed, would be perfect in delivering supplies to ISIS positions...uh, I meant dropping bombs on ISIS positions. And if Putin continues his aggression against the civilised freedom-lovin’ Western world, then, by God, they can drop bombs on his head as well!”
What the reindeer thought about this plan is not as yet known.
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, a mob of red and green clad elves who used to work in Claus’ toy factories alleged that they too had been laid off, and made some extremely serious allegations. “Claus,” one said, “has gone too far this time. It’s been years since he’s been sending off business to sweatshops in Vietnam and Laos using slave labour, but we’ve kept our mouths shut, because, you know, what can we do. We’ve got mouths to feed as well and we couldn’t risk our jobs. But now the fat bastard has gone and sacked us. And you know what he’s replacing us by?”
“Syrian refugees!” another elf said. “He’s getting Syrian refugees to work at rock bottom wages to make toys for him so he doesn’t have to keep us on the payroll any longer. This is intolerable!”
Ms Psaki-Harf, however, explained that this was the result of Claus’ humanitarianism, nothing more. “The refugees needed employment,” she said. “Mr Claus was in a position to offer them employment. What else would you suggest he do? It is true, of course, that he is paying the new employees less than he paid the elves, but that, too, is only natural. They aren’t used to the work, so their productivity is lower. Mr Claus does have a duty to his shareholders to maximise profit in any way he can.”
The elves, she said, had probably been put up to their agitation by Russian President Putin. “It’s just another of Putin’s methods of economic aggression against the civilised world,” she said. “Since his country doesn’t even follow the Christian Christmas, but some Orthodox Church heresy, it doesn’t matter to him if Santa Claus’ reputation is soiled and he is forced to defend himself in the media. I’m told that President Obama will consult with his advisors to discuss what additional sanctions can be clamped on Russia in retaliation for this.”
“All isn’t lost for the elves,” General Bernie Clinton of the Pentagon said. “Their small size and quick fingers make them perfect agents to use as spies and saboteurs on behalf of ISIS...I mean, against ISIS. And if Putin continues with his aggression against the freedom-lovin’ world, well, we’ll see what they can do against Russia too!”
Asked to explain how the elves might be simultaneously agitators in the pay of Russia and prospective saboteurs against Russia, General Clinton brushed off the question. “The evidence is all on YouTube,” he said. “After all, what difference does it make anyway?”
Both the elves and the reindeer made another accusation against Claus: that he discriminated in favour of children from rich families, who invariably got better and more expensive gifts than those of poor families, no matter how good or bad they’d been.
“What’s this idea of watching kids twenty four hours a day anyway?” Rudolf said. “They’re kids, they need privacy and a chance to grow, not have some judgemental holier-than-thou hanging over their shoulder watching what they’re doing. It’s emotionally crippling.”
“And even after all the watching,” the elf spokesman agreed, “the best, most well behaved poor kids won’t get given anything a tenth as costly as the rich kids get. We protested against this many times, but we were always told that we’d better pipe down if we valued our jobs. But now,” he shrugged, “our jobs are gone anyway.”
Ms Psaki-Harf replied to these accusations by making two points. “First,” she said, “there’s the question of watching the children. That we of course do, round the clock, and it’s an essential act, especially in these days of terrorism and threats to national security. Children who know they’re being watched will adjust much more easily to the needs of national security, don’t you think?
“Then, there’s the point of discrimination towards children from rich families. We believe that this discrimination has several real advantages. For one thing, it teaches children that to be rich means having better things. Therefore, when they grow up, they’ll try to be rich, and this can only be good for the economy since it’ll stimulate enterprise. Also, kids from rich families will be happy only with more expensive things than kids from poor families. It’s all about keeping the children happy, really.”
In a united statement, President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron, and Democratic Party front runner Killary Klingon strongly urged that Santa Claus be granted the Nobel Peace Prize. “Clearly, the world should show that it stands with him in this difficult moment,” they said. “And what better way can there be but to give him that award? Only terrorists and Putin-supporting right wingers could possibly object.”
“Anything else,” Ms Klingon added, “would be a crime against the children of the world, who look up to Santa Claus as an inspiration. Won’t anyone think of the children?”
It is believed that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee is falling over itself to comply, before it can be made the target of a humanitarian bombing campaign by USAF F 35 strike aeroplanes flying from the new Adolf Hitler air base in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, ISIS claimed to have shot down a drone bearing a load of shoddily made toys. “Inshallah, the world shall see more of this in the coming hours, you kuffars,” a spokesman for the radical group announced. “Fly drones overhead and we’ll take them down, with Allah’s permission.”
While no further information is available on how the drone was brought down, President Obama at once blamed President Assad of Syria. “It is because of Assad that ISIS is in Syria and able to shoot down Santa’s drones,” he said. “Assad must leave office at once! As for Russia, which backs him, we shall impose even more sanctions immediately to teach Putin the error of his ways.”
Neither President Assad nor President Putin of Russia was available for comment.
Major financial analysts, meanwhile, suggest that the controversy has done wonders for Santa Claus Enterprises, Inc.s’ share value on Wall Street. “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” they said. “And, after all, if Claus suffers any losses, he can demand a bailout. As a corporate person, he is certain to get it.” Santa Claus himself could not be seen to be interviewed, by reporters who had gone to meet him at his secret Arctic headquarters.
But, surrounded by ceiling-high stacks of currency notes and credit cards, they said, they had heard him laughing and laughing.