So, Santa is hereby tainted...
The newspaper crinkled in his hand, and he shook it out, folding it to the front page story. His eyes skimmed the headline and the photograph, and moved to the story below. He read, his eyes moving fast over the page then he rested his gaze on the old man in the photo. His blue eyes gazed back, twinkling, even in the grainy black and white newspaper picture. He sighed and leaned back in his sun lounger.
The pool sparkled as the rising sun spilled fiery rubies into the water and he reached for his tequila.
‘Santa Sleighn: Friendly Fire’ the headline rang inside his head, and he lifted the paper again.
‘It was no Enchanted Evening this Christmas Eve over the South Pacific, as Santa was struck down by an ATD (automatic targeting defence weapon) over the Ocean. Incidentally, the French are desperately refuting responsibility for the assumed destruction of Santa and his sleigh. Seven of his nine reindeer survived the incident, but both Blitzen and Rudolph are still missing presumed dead, as is old St Nick himself.’
The loss of an icon rocked the entire world grabbing headlines every day for two weeks. He shook his head and sipped his drink. The wireless crackled and he adjusted the aerial, chinking the ice in his drink as he leaned close. The tequila mimicked the sunrise and he twirled the cherry on a stick in reflective silence.
A voice on the radio caught his ear and he listened to the woe of Mrs Claus. She complained bitterly about press intrusion and the final calling off of the search for her husband’s body. She spoke of the wretched disappointment of children across the globe, and the grief in far flung places as well as in Scandinavia. Her voice grated and he could well imagine her brash insistence to search every Polynesian island beach and South America’s entire Western seaboard. He flinched as her voice raised an octave and shrilled through the speaker. He clicked the radio off.
He grunted, brushing a newly manicured hand across his freshly shaven face and stared across the pool at the white villa. He flexed his toes, enjoying the early morning heat that warmed his white mop of wavy hair, and pushed his wire rimmed glasses up his nose.
Though he was truly grief stricken at the thought of Blitzen and Rudolph lost at sea, he didn’t spare a thought for his wife, or the whining pack of freeloading elves left at home. He’d paid the mercenaries handsomely, and the peace and quiet was well worth the expense. The sea rescue had been hit and miss, a bit choppy, but they’d pulled it off and now Nicholas relaxed in Argentinian splendour.
A barely dressed nymph wandered across the tiles, her hand stroking a well-toned thigh, below a pale blue bikini. He grinned. “Sweetheart, just one thing…the bikini, could you wear the red one instead, with the white fur trim? I’m quite partial to it…”