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Here's to Your Happiness

Whodunit? Who Killed Santa?

By J. S. WadePublished 7 months ago Updated 7 months ago 8 min read
Top Story - December 2023
Here's to Your Happiness
Photo by Jesson Mata on Unsplash

Quivering fingers tapped the scarred mahogany bar, and Rudolph signaled the barkeep to refill his shot glass. He held the glass aloft and said,

"Here's to your happiness."

A televised Breaking News alert to a crime scene cut through the Bleecker Street bar smoke from above the bottles of vodkas and whiskeys. Blue and red lights strobed behind the muted reporter mouthing words from a horrible crime that had shocked New York City and reverberated around the world.

Santa collapses during the Thanksgiving Day parade, streamed across the closed captions at the bottom of the screen. Police suspect foul play, and then Millions watch Santa die.

"The world has gone mad," said the bartender, "Who would want to kill Santa?"

"Who would want to murder Santa in front of millions of viewers?" Rudolph said and tapped the mahogany again.

"Too bad you're retiring from INTERPOL, maybe you'd be on this case," said the man to his left.

"My timing couldn't be more perfect," Rudolph said, "Anyone assigned this case will catch some real heat from all over the world. My bet is they will assign it to a rookie or someone expendable. I'm off the rotation with only seven days to retirement."

His cell phone flashed with an incoming call. The display read INTERPOL Headquarters, Lyon, France.

"Damn it, only a week until my return to Holland, why are they calling me?"

***

"What do you mean Mrs. Claus requested I take the lead on this case? Which one? The current or the ex?" Rudolph said and listened to his boss's response. "They are both in New York City...? Geez… Okay, okay. I'm on my way."

A NYPD SUV cruiser waited at the curb outside the bar. Rudolph opened the rear door and was greeted by the INTERPOL liaison from 1 Police Plaza.

"Bum call Rudolph. No one wants this case. I guess they found their scape goat," said Detective Frank Peruso of the NYPD.

"What do we know?" Rudolph said.

"Initial results indicate a fast-acting poison. The city coroner is performing the autopsy as we speak. Where do you want to start?"

"Where are Mrs. And Mrs. Claus? Take me to them."

"Sergeant," he said to the driver, "take us to the Lotte New York Palace."

"Frank, I need a search warrant for both of their suites."

Frank stared at Rudolph as the driver coughed to cover his gasp.

"You sure about that Rudolph. There aren't two higher profile people on the planet since the Santa scandal, divorce, and remarriage."

***

Silence, like that of a doomed man heading to his execution, pervaded the whirring elevator as it rose to the Royal Suites. The doors parted, and Rudolph and Frank, with two uniform officers, stepped into the suite. Mrs. Claus, the victim of Santa's indiscretions, rose from the couch with a weighted effort and acknowledged him. Her puffy eyes accentuated the crow's feet that had channeled her tears wrought by the horrible day.

"Inspector Klaus, thank you for agreeing to help. Santa thought the world of you when you cracked the ransomware case five years ago. He trusted you."

"I liked him and will do the best I can. Where is the other Mrs. Claus?" Rudolph asked.

"The vixen is in her bedroom. A doctor is with her now."

"Mrs. Claus, I am sorry for your loss but Detective Peruso and his officers will escort you to another suite while we execute a search warrant."

"You suspect me? How dare you even consider such a thing," she said.

"He suspects us Dottie," interrupted the younger Mrs. Claus. "Don't you Rudolph."

Maria Van Rijn, aka Mrs. Santa Claus, stepped into the suite with an air of superiority that Rudolph recognized from their days in prep school years ago in Holland.

The contrast between the two woman's appearance and personality could not be more distinct. The older woman, content in her average physique, yielded to the younger in vivacious curvature but rose supreme in intelligence and humility. She had accepted the mid-life crisis of her ex-husband and had remained steadfast to his world mission.

"You know him?" said a stately elf who stood behind the older Mrs. Claus.

"We attended the same preparatory school decades ago. I know he will find who killed our Santa. I trust him," Maria said.

"Isn't this a conflict of interest?" the elf said.

"Ladies, forgive us for the necessity, but please follow me. The search warrant has arrived and we will escort you to another part of the hotel," said Detective Peruso.

"Why are we suspects?" cried the elder Mrs. Santa.

"It's standard procedure Ma'am."

"Did you do this Maria? You couldn't stand the fact that Santa still loved me in his way, and always will," said the older woman.

"You bitch, I am sick and tired of your sanctimonious ass, trying to destroy what we have. He chose me. Get over it," said Maria.

"Did he now? Or did you find out he was consulting an attorney to annul this marriage you hooked him into claiming you were pregnant."

Maria charged toward Mrs. Claus.

The elf leaped between them to block her and the two police officers restrained her.

"I will kill you, you bitch," she screamed, "Santa loved me."

"Escort them out of here. Make sure they are kept apart," ordered Frank.

***

Rudolph stood before the monitor in the computer forensics lab at 1 Police Plaza to watch a compilation of video from a dozen vantage points. Santa stood on the moving float, clutched his chest, jumped to the street, and collapsed. White foam billowed from his mouth as his rolly polly body jerked into a total seizure. Emergency personnel arrived at his side too late to help as the rosy cheek face convulsed a final time, relaxed, grew pale, and his eyes stared into eternity. The cameras panned the scene to capture the horror of the moment. Attendees in the crowd cried, and others screamed as the merriment anticipated turned into a nightmare. The face of a young girl, maybe ten, held her hands to her cheeks as tears filled her doll-like eyes and mouthed,

"No Santa. No."

The scene was burned into Rudolph's mind.

Hours later, after the search warrant was complete, Rudolph received a call from the Coroner.

"Inspector Klaus, the results are definitive. Santa Claus was murdered by ingesting insulin in massive quantities. We extracted a half liter of cocoa from his stomach. The ratio of insulin in the contents indicates he was poisoned. He didn't stand a chance."

***

Rudolph and Frank stood in the center of the Royal Suite with the younger Mrs. Claus and older seated on separate couches opposite each other.

"Mrs. Claus and Mrs. Claus it is conclusive that your husband and ex-husband was murdered by ingesting a massive dose of insulin. I believe one of you killed him. Both of you had opportunity and motive," said Rudolph.

"How dare you suggest that I would do such a thing," said the older Mrs. Claus.

"She had motive. He wanted me over her and due to contractual clauses she remained the CEO of Santa Inc. but she knew he was going to fire her," said Maria pointing her finger at Mrs. Claus.

"You faked a pregnancy to get him to marry you and how did that turn out?" Mrs. Claus said, "You baited him with roofied treats and a quick roll in the bed when he was in Holland last Christmas. He told me how you waited for him in a sheer white negligee with your cookies and laced milk. When he received the letter and video from your Advocaten that you were pregnant you knew he would do the right thing. Yes, he fell for your wily advances but he was coming to his senses and was going to dump you."

"Is this true Maria. Did you drug Santa?" Rudolph said.

"I want a lawyer," Maria said.

"Search her bag. Santa wasn't a diabetic and had no need for insulin. She killed him," cried Mrs. Claus.

Maria clutched her purse close to her bosom.

"The search warrant is still in force. Search her bag," ordered Frank.

A gloved officer took Maria's bag and emptied the contents on the coffee table. A compact, a roll of mints, sunglasses, and a wallet mixed with sundry lipsticks lay exposed.

"You are all crazy. See, there's nothing. Why would I want to kill Santa?"

The officer dug deep into the bag searching the pockets, and extracted a vial and a hypodermic needle from its recesses. He read the label aloud, "Human Insulin Isophane Suspension, 10 mL, 100 units, and here’s a receipt from the hotel pharmacy signed by Maria Van Claus. Is this your signature?

"No, that's not mine. I ordered sleeping pills because Santa snores. I've never seen the vial before," Maria cried.

"Rudolph, due to the nature of the case, the NYPD has ceded the investigation and jurisdiction to the International Court."

Rudolph stood before the young Mrs. Claus.

"Mrs. Maria Van Rijn Claus. You are under arrest for the first-degree murder of Santa Claus. You have the right to remain silent…

***

7 Days Later.

Rudolph waited in first class as the economy and business class boarded the Boeing 757, soon to depart for Holland. The past week had been a strain for his final week as an Inspector for Interpol. He had received congratulations from all over the world for solving the crime. A New York newspaper lay on his lap, and the headline read,

In a New Day, Mrs. Claus Takes the Reins of Santa.

He read the second article.

Marie Van Rijn Claus Arraigned at The Hague, Netherlands for Capital Murder.

He pulled the wallet from his pocket and removed a worn notecard courageously sent to a classmate thirty years prior. She had returned it with a scrawled message.

__________

Dear Maria,

I would be honored if you would be my date to the Holiday Festival Dance?

Rudolph Klaus.

In what lifetime do you think I'd ever want to be seen in public with you? Who do you think you are, Santa Claus?

MVR

__________

He ripped the note to shreds as the airliner taxied down the runway, ready for takeoff and his journey home. Just as the Flight attendant warned him to shut off his phone, it chirped with an incoming message from an unknown number. A photo displayed an Elf on the Shelf dumping ice into a mug of hot cocoa. The caption read Revenge is best served cold. A second showed the Elf from the Royal Suites being hugged by Mrs. Santa Claus.

Once the plane leveled off at altitude, the attendant brought him the whiskey he had ordered. Sipping on the golden liquor, he relaxed and knew he would never hear from him again. He held the glass up in a one-man toast.

"Revenge is best served," he said, "Here's to your happiness."

thrillerMysteryHorrorHoliday

About the Creator

J. S. Wade

Since reading Tolkien in Middle school, I have been fascinated with creating, reading, and hearing art through story’s and music. I am a perpetual student of writing and life.

J. S. Wade owns all work contained here.

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Comments (18)

  • Lamar Wiggins7 months ago

    Back to say, Congrats, Scott!

  • Novel Allen7 months ago

    Great story. Congrats.

  • Tressa Rose7 months ago

    Haha this was awesome, great job!!!

  • Melissa Ingoldsby7 months ago

    Wow so entertaining and very witty. I enjoyed this very much !! Congratulations on your creative top story

  • Rudolph, of course, was the immediate first suspect due to his name & his presence at the bar. Then we find he's a detective. Ex-Mrs. Claus becomes a suspect at her quick demand to search Mrs. Claus' purse. But you allow that quickly to fade away into "the simplest answer is usually correct." A conspiracy of mutually beneficial revenge? Now that's delicious!

  • JBaz7 months ago

    Back to say congratulations. I recommended this on the thread as well then saw you hit TS with it

  • Cathy holmes7 months ago

    Congrats on the TS.

  • Judey Kalchik 7 months ago

    Hmmm- but which Mrs Claus?

  • JBaz7 months ago

    Ow this is a Christmas mystery I can sink my teeth into. Had me from the opening and slayed the ending. Twist twist twist. The little chuckles were a bonus. Great entry

  • Daphsam7 months ago

    Wow, what a twist. A lot of fun reading.

  • Hahahahahahahahaha that's what you get for rejecting people in a very demeaning way! Loved your story!

  • Mother Combs7 months ago

    Very unique, Scott. I enjoyed this immensely.

  • ROCK 7 months ago

    Excellent and original; lots of snarky punch lines, too! Thanks for sharing!

  • Cathy holmes7 months ago

    This is great, Scott. Well done.

  • Antoinette L Brey7 months ago

    great story , fitting for the season

  • Lamar Wiggins7 months ago

    😮😮😮😮 That was Awesome!!!

  • Babs Iverson7 months ago

    Marvelous whodunit story!!!💕❤️

J. S. WadeWritten by J. S. Wade

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