Santa Claus stared at the large computer screen over the shoulder of Head Elf Flick, with Cookie, his wife of almost 1000 years, standing by his side. They watched a video showing a drone dropping off packages on house doorsteps.
Cookie rubbed his belly and said, “Nick, dear, don’t let this upset you.”
Flick giggled, “Yeah, Santa, so they can deliver packages faster than us. Who cares?”
Santa lifted a hand, raised Flick from the chair, and slammed him against the wall without touching the elf. Flick fell to the floor moaning as Santa said, “Don’t test my patience again.”
“Yes, Santa,” Flick moaned.
“Oh, Nick, you never used your powers to hurt anyone before,” Cookie said.
Santa staggered until he fell onto his red velvet throne. “I am sorry, Flick. I just lost it.”
Flick stood up, brushed himself off, and adjusted his pointy hat. “I understand, Santa. I should know this isn’t funny.”
Cookie said, “Dear, you’ve known about this drone thing for years.”
“Yes, of course, I’ve encountered them, but it was nothing like this.”
Flick sat down in front of the computer again. “Many companies are using delivery drones, but the one giving us the most competition is The Kringle Express.”
“They dare use the word ‘Kringle’ in their name?” Santa roared as he leapt off the throne and stomped over to Flick. He saw the image of the box with the hat that looked very similar to his own. “And they dare to appropriate my hat as their logo?” Santa’s cheeks became enflamed but he controlled his temper. “Who is the head of this company?”
“I guess you want to put him on the Naughty List,” Flick giggled.
Santa stroked his beard. “Uh, you can say that.”
Flick did a quick search and said, “Seems the CEO is very cloak and dagger. He keeps his head and body covered in long robes and wears dark sunglasses in public. The name is Lucas Winter.”
“Hmm, I don’t recall ever delivering toys to him as a boy.”
Cookie started toward the kitchen and said, “I’m going to make your favorite Christmas Eve snack before you depart, Nick.”
Santa sighed and Flick asked, “What’s wrong, Santa?”
“Usually I love Cookie’s midnight soup, but not this Christmas Eve!”
Flick pushed a button and, after a series of beeps, handed Santa his iPhone 7 plus. “Your itinerary is plotted for tonight, Santa; please try to have a good journey.”
Santa put a firm hand on Flick’s shoulder. “I’m going to leave a little early this year.” He glanced at the kitchen door. “Let Cookie know I had to take care of some business.”
“That Winter guy?” Flick asked clapping his hands. Santa put a finger to his lips and took the elevator to go down to the reindeer paddock.
Along the journey to the northern California home of Lucas Winter, Santa encountered several of The Kringle Express drones. Using his newly installed Laser Cannon 360, he quickly incinerated each one. “So much for them!” Santa chuckled.
The reindeer quietly pranced onto the roof of the palatial home set on 25 acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Santa pressed a blue button, and the sleigh landed silently.
As Santa headed toward the chimney, lead reindeer Dasher asked, “Santa, why don’t you have your bag?”
Santa said, “This kid is on the Naughty List.” He descended the chimney, extinguishing the fire until he stepped away from the mantel. He heard someone clapping and turned to see a cloaked figure in the corner.
“I’ve been expecting you,” the familiar voice said.
Santa twisted his fingers and the lights came on in the dark room. “I know you were; I was counting on it.”
“I see you still have a few parlor tricks, Nicholas of Myra.” The figure removed its cloak and revealed a jewel-encrusted image. “But then, so do I.”
“You’ve tried to ruin Christmas for centuries.” Santa said.
The creature walked toward Santa on long legs with cloven feet. “Why should I endure a huge birthday party for my chief adversary?”
“Lucifer, you‘ve always failed because Christmas spirit is stronger than your hatred.”
“Not this year,” Lucifer said, moving toward the window and opening the black curtains with flurry of long, scaly fingers. “Behold, the way I’ll defeat you this year – millions of Kringle Express drones ready to take away your thunder!”
In the last rays of light from the sunset, Santa saw the drones loaded with packages spread across the acres of the property. He turned to Lucifer and howled, “You cannot do this!’
Lucifer chuckled, “But I am doing it. Soon the air will be flooded with my drones, and the children of the world will forget Santa Claus.”
Santa stroked his long white beard. “You have miscalculated as usual.”
“We’ll see about that,” Lucifer snapped.
Santa walked toward the fireplace, turned, and took something out of his pocket. “Almost forgot your present.” He threw a lump of coal toward Lucifer who caught it in his webbed hand.
Santa ascended the chimney and got in the sleigh. Soon he and the reindeer were aloft, and they observed the millions of drones rising into the sky like a flock of buzzing locusts.
Santa glanced at his laser cannon, but instead stood, raised his arms, and invoked the power given to him centuries ago – a gift from the One far greater than Lucifer, a fact that the cursed one had yet to grasp after countless millennia.
The power shot out from Santa’s white-gloved hands, causing all of the drones to waver in flight. As he brought his hands together in one thunderous clap, the drones all battered and rammed one another, every one of them exploding before plummeting to the ground.
Santa saw the moon rise over the ocean, sat down, and grabbed the reins. “We have work to do, lads – so dash away all!” Santa steered the sleigh across the sky to begin the journey that would take them all night.