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Introducing Mr. S. Claus

What if Santa got a makeover to fit into the 21st Century?

By Frank TalaberPublished 4 years ago 11 min read

Introducing Mr. S. Claus

His contorted face will haunt the rest of my life, they all do, as his blood splatters adorned the wall in a macabre painting adding to the festive colors of the yuletide season. Making sure my contract was fulfilled I pumped two more silenced bullets into his body. The mob didn’t hire amateurs to take out those they needed to have disposed of, and with a six-figure contract I wasn’t about to make a mistake. I’d done this enough times to know not to take chances.

The Christmas tree ornaments rattle as he slumps to the ground behind it in a red smear. I swing the long barrel of the revolver around as a noise behind startles me.


In the dimness of the hallway a young innocent girl, long tresses of blonde curls and large doe-shaped eyes, stands clutching her stuffed Teddy and stuffs her thumb back into her mouth. I push the revolver into my dark sweater, the heat of the nozzle burning my skin, and pull the black ski mask from my face. My heart catches in my chest. The job is to finish him, not a young child. Damnit. There was supposed to be no one here, just him. My intelligence has lied to me.

“You’re not Santa. I left him cookies and milk. Who are you? ” She may have heard the thump of the bullets, but hadn’t seen anything else, that much was obvious. I had to get her out of here pronto.

“I, I’m ah, one of Santa’s elves.” I stumble trying to think, keeping a polite smile on my face and moved towards her blocking the view of the room. She looks so innocent staring at me, sucking away on her thumb. The contract forbade any witnesses. But I can’t, I can’t off her.

“You don’t look like an elf. No pointy ears.” She squinted, her eyes peering at my ears.

“Yeah, not all elves have pointy ears like on TV.” What am I going to do? I can’t do this. Killing despicable dirtballs was one thing, but a little child? “Um, undercover, I’m from the, ah, SBI. Santa’s Bureau of Investigation. We check out any threats, possible pranksters. Can’t have anyone interfering or harming Santa on his big day. We had reports of, um, poisoned cookies in the area, and stale milk. Gotta check it out. Can’t have Santa sick on Christmas Eve, now could we? Anyone else home young lady?”

“Just Daddy and me. My mom got sick and she dropped me off early as a surprise for Daddy. I was supposed to be here tomorrow.”

Well, that explained that. The revolver’s heat licks at me. NO. I can’t, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. But, no witnesses. It meant my life. My shitty life. What am I going to do? Take a chance? I had never left any traces at an assassination before. Always covering up my tracks and any possible clues. That’s why I was one of the mob’s top enforcers.

“Good, but, ah, let’s go off to bed now. I gotta check out next door. We’re not sure where the compliant came from. We have to make sure everything’s safe for the big guy. He should be by any minute now and you don’t want to be caught snooping. He won’t leave any gifts or treats for you.” I give her a big grin. “Now behave and toddle off to bed.”

“Santa's swat team, how cool. Is Dad okay?”

“Yeah, he’s sleeping, I tucked him in for the night.” And the rest of his life. “Now off to bed. Santa will be here shortly. Your dad did tell me to make sure you were sleeping before I left.”

She walked up the stairs. “Never heard of the SBI but if there’s anything bad, in this neighbourhood I’d check out Jimmy from next door. He’s a nasty boy, probably the one you got the report on. He’s always trying to do yucky things, like kiss me. Ew.”

“Yeah, that sounds bad. I’ll pay him a quick look. Thanks for the tip.” I close the door to the front room. What am I going to do? If she lives and they find out, I’m done. Or worse they’ll hire someone else to finish her and that wouldn’t be pretty. No, all of this madness had to end tonight. She tucks herself into bed. That face of sheer sweetness will haunt every waking moment of my life, just like the faces of all of those I’ve assassinated. My life; what a joke, I’d wasted it. Had no one and nothing to live for. Nothing like her. I’d always wanted to settle down and relax with a good woman. Get married have a couple of kids. Who am I kidding? The day I quit working for the mob, they’ll probably send someone out to silence me. I know because I’d done that before.

I stare at that face of sincere innocence. How is it possible I was once like her so many lifetimes ago? I couldn’t do this anymore. I couldn’t take her. Unless?

“Put Teddy beside me on the bed. He keeps me safe. Daddy says there’s a lot of bad men in the world.”

Shit. Like me and her old man. If she knew the crap her dad had pulled off. Drug running, prostitution and worst of all, confiding with the police about the mob. That’s what had ordered this contract. Our unwritten rule, no one talks to the law, and lives.

I spy the glass full of juice on her nightstand. Yes, that’s the answer. I pull the emergency back-up pills from my pocket I carried with me if I was ever caught.

“Take this pill. It will make you sleep very well.”

I fight to keep the tears back as she swallows. “You’re a nice elf. Goodnight.”

No, I was worse than worthless. “I’ll take one as well. So I can rest in peace when Santa gets here. Don’t want to disturb him, very busy guy.” Tears stream down my face for what I had just done. I already knew I was going to hell many years ago. I knew having a conscious was a bad thing among trained killers. But at some point, being human catches up with all of us. I know if I could have redeemed myself with doing something good, I’d have given this all up in a heartbeat. Now, all I could think of was ending my own heart and hoped someone up there smiled down on me. Like that would ever happen.

The drug acts quickly as she falls unconscious. That face would haunt me forever. I can’t do this and barely stagger down the stairs, the effects taking hold of me collapsing beside the tree, lights twinkling away like stars from heaven. Lightbulbs explode and glittering decorations tumble away as I fall into the tree.

It was a shitty life anyways.

Moments later the crunch of snow on the roof under a heavy black leather boot. The large bearded man sniffed the cold air and scratched at his white beard. “Ho, ho, ho. Somethings definitely not right here. As one of Agatha Christie’s old novels read, ‘Murder Most Foul’. Too bad she’s not around anymore, could use one of her books to read tomorrow night, when all of this craziness is all over and I can kick back with a couple of Eggnogs.” He glanced at his iphone. “Time’s a wasting, only two hundred and twenty million more to visit. Glad I got the easy contract this year.”

Clicking his fingers, he slid down the chimney frowning at the tray set up for him. “Damn chocolate-chip again. Didn’t anyone tell the kids these days that I prefer Butterscotch.” He sniffed at the milk. “And skim milk. I gotta change the contract. I’ll be looking like a supermodel if I inhale that stuff all night long.”

Santa glanced at the fallen tree and the two bodies. He touched both. “Yup, dead and cooling.”

Snapping his fingers again, three surly looking elves appeared out of the thin air. They had blacked-out faces topped with red and white furry caps, black SAS-type fatigues with the acronym SCUT embroidered on their backs in fancy gold lettering. “Blinky, Marty, and Elvis. Good all present and correct for work. Like your new gear?”

“Oh Boss. Why we gotta have SCUT written on us? Sounds like we’re a bunch of eejits,” whined Blinky scratching at his long pointy ears.

“It stands for ‘Santa’s Clean Up Team’. SCUT is the acronym, which is quite apt because in the urban dictionary it means ‘routine and often menial labour’. You guys are perfect.” Santa roared with laughter while his workforce glared, not happy in the least to be the butt of it.

“Okay Blinky, you snack on the goodies, make it look like I enjoyed the healthy crap stuff. While you, Marty and Elvis undo the damage wrought here. I need bodies in the sled in double-lined body bags. Can’t have anyone else’s Christmas wrecked by blood contamination or decomposing bodies under such a nice tree. I’ll check on the kid; hopefully she’s still alive.”

Blurs filled the room as the three whizzed about, lightbulbs reformed, blood splatters were whisked away, elf spit filled the bullet holes and reformed into a smooth plaster finish with matching paint. The two bodies were being thrust into bags by the time the big man thudded up the stairs.

“Hope, I’m not too late. I told the Mrs. I ain’t taking crap like this anymore on the eve.” He entered the little girl’s room, squinting in concern as he touched her forehead.

“Thank God. Still breathing.” He bent over and inhaled deeply above her lips, pulling the partly digested pill from her. He held it up under the light. “Carfentanil. Enough to kill three elephants and a rhino in heat. The world is just getting to be a nastier and nastier place.” He stared hard at the pill a moment. “Pretty sure I got enough left to trace the maker.” Santa sniffed deep, “Yeah got it. I believe my SCUT’s will have a follow up visit to perform on Boxing Day. I’ll supply the gloves and make sure he never manufactures any more of this foul crap, ever again.” He stuffed it into his pocket. Yes, gifts are great, giving is even better. He cracked his knuckles. “Okay kid, you get to live. Can’t say that for Dad and the gunman downstairs. Death is way out of my league. But at least you’ll wake up on Christmas morning.”

He grabbed his cellphone. “Blinky, I’ll text you this girl’s moms address. Make sure she gets here fast. Don’t give me the ‘I haven’t got time’ BS. That’s why I hired you. Just drop the damn cookies and get on with it. If you eat all of those tonight and in the other bazillion households we still have to go to I won’t be able to fit you into my sleigh next year. What? I don’t know. Make up a story. Tell her you’re a concerned neighbour. Saw her drop the girl off and dad took off, hasn’t come back. The girl is here all home alone. Alright, tell her you’re a nosey neighbour. Anything, just do the job. Have Marty and Elvis put the DOA's into cars and make everything look like a big fiery accident. I’ve a spare jerry can of fuel in the sled. Make sure there’s nothing left but ash. Got that? Okay, gotta run, I’ve only got a few more million households to do tonight. I’m running late on this one and the union don’t pay overtime.”

Confident he could leave the elves to finish up he dialled North Pole Mission Control. “How’s the European team doing? England finished and off to France? Great. Always hated doing France, full of rude Frenchmen. How about North America? What? Santa fifteen’s sleigh is broken down? Damn! Knew I shouldn’t have subcontracted the engines to the Asian market. Never had this happen before, so much for free trade. Okay, get the backup rocket-powered sled up and running to take over. Tell Mrs. Claus the night just got complicated and not to wait up for me.” He hung up the phone as the girl opened one eye.

“At least I get some action and fun, no more old boring-fat-man-in-a-sleigh gig.”


He nearly dropped his phone. “Crap! I mean, Ho-Ho-Ho. This isn’t in the script, ah, you’re supposed to be asleep. You know nosey kids don’t get any presents, only coal wrapped in old MacDonald wrappers. Damn. I’ve got lots to do in one night that would take anyone else a decade to accomplish. Oh, and thanks for the cookies and milk,” he lied, as he waved his hand over her face and she fell back into a deep slumber. “Ah, remember this. Butterscotch-chip cookies and whole milk next year. I’ll get you an extra pressie for under the tree.” He waited a few seconds to make sure she was under his sleeping spell.

Santa vanished to the roof as his three elves came running back. Two cars went up in a large fireball. “Thanks boys, great job on setting up the car accident. On Boxing day we’ll visit the dirt bag who sold the drugs and do some gift giving of our own.”

He got in the sled. “I knew starting this new gig would pay off, at least she’ll live. Not sure about the dealer, since my nice-guy gig don’t stretch to scumbags.” Elvis smiled evilly as he cracked his knuckles.

“Perhaps you’ll get to try out those knuckle busters I gave you for Christmas last year after all.” Santa grinned.

He hit the remote start on his key-fob and the V10 squirrel-nut-fuel powered engine roared to life. “Three thousand horsepower running off Enviro safe fuel, gotta love it. Okay Dancer and Prancer, and you, Glisten, with the lipstick in the third row, let’s be off. And quit winking at the other guy beside you, I knew agreeing to the LGBTQ clause would give me grief. Gotta be fair to everyone apparently. Didn’t know we even had gay reindeer, but I guess it’s time they came out of the closet, er forest. The times they are a-changing, that’s why I had the big dudes up there rewrite my contract. Hang on boys, seat belts on. Don’t want to get busted for no seat belt use and all cellphones off.” He clicked off his cellphone and put it in his pocket. “Last thing I need is one of you steering us into the side of a mountain while texting.” He cracked his whip. “We’re running late and I’ve got another seventy distress calls coming in. Oh yeah! Living the dream. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”


About the Creator

Frank Talaber

I believe in whacking a reader upside the head, toss them screaming into the book, and just when they think they are starting to figure things out toss a curveball. they say that you don't have to be mad to be a writer, but it sure helps.

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