I’ve loved writing stories since I was in second grade and learned how to write. Around high school, I started reading Terry Pratchett and James Finn Garner’s Politically Correct Bedtime Stories and writing stories for my family members for Christmas. I wrote this one for my dad in December 2003, and was happy to run across it while looking for something else in my old files. Hope you enjoy the slightly spastic writing style born of hilarious literature and candy cane sugar rushes…and of course, the fact that I was writing for my dad, who not only appreciates goofiness, but is the likely genetic candidate for the source of my own.
Rudolph and the Reindeer Union
A long time ago a little reindeer was born. His name was Rudolph, after his great-cousin once removed, who died in a tragic accident involving a yodeler and a falling brick. Rudolph, I am sorry to say, was not a normal reindeer. His nose was red. And not simply colored red, but actually transparent, and it glowed when he was embarrassed, which was often, because how often do you see a reindeer walking around with a big glowing red nose affixed to his snout?
Rudolph grew up into a fine strapping reindeer with a well-developed inferiority complex and decided to go into the family business, which was pulling Santa’s sleigh.* Rudolph, however, was very unfortunate in his timing, because at the moment he submitted his application, the other reindeer, in protest of ill-treatment—the recent food-poisoning epidemic among the reindeer was proven to have arisen from one of Santa’s prankster elves, Lenny, feeding Blitzen an infected gingerbread man—decided to unionize. Rudolph was sent to Dasher’s office with his application. Dasher took one look at him—the nose was shining nicely at this point—and started coughing.
“See, Rudolph, we’d really love to take you on, but this is a very difficult time for us, you know, the union is still really just taking baby steps, and we really aren’t looking to accept any new members at the moment…”
“My cousin Betty was just accepted this morning,” offered Rudolph timidly.
“Right, see, and we kinda thought that filled the void here; I mean, your family is very prominent in the yuletide business and…well, we don’t want this to look like nepotism…” Dasher looked at the blank expression on Rudolph’s face and went for broke. “Look, kid, this organization was founded to regulate employment conditions for the average, working-class reindeer, right? And you’re not exactly the average working-class reindeer.”
“But I’d really like to be,” whispered Rudolph.
“Kid, the key word in that sentence was ‘average.’ You’re not…well, like us, ya know?” Dasher sighed. “Rudy, it’s the nose. It’s just not natural. Some of the rumors say you may have gotten plastic surgery, ya know, and changing your appearance? That’s not a value we promote here, see?”
Rudolph’s lower lip started to tremble.
“So, kid, I’m gonna have to reject your application, see?”
Rudolph’s nose was going nova.
“So, eh…you can leave now.”
“Rudolph raced out of the office as fast as his legs would carry him.
He ran back to his cave and wept until little icicles formed on the end of his hated nose. He wept so hard he didn’t notice the rising fog.
The melting of the polar ice caps due to discovery of Greenland and the ensuing need for really, really big fires had caused the foggiest night in all of the North Pole’s history. And this Christmas was the big one: Santa’s auditors were coming to town.
And so it was that in the middle of the panicked chaos that Dasher remembered Rudolph and came to him with the following proposition: Dasher would give Rudolph the chance to lead Santa’s sleigh, and Rudolph would not mention anything about the smell of eggnog on Dasher’s breath. Rudolph immediately and gladly accepted and was, as Santa put it “welcomed to the team.” He led the sleigh through that foggy night and into the pages of history.
Rudolph found a nice girl reindeer who has attracted to his good looks (aside from the nose, Rudolph was pretty easy on the eyes), his success…and, of course, his lovely personality. The illustrious reindeer went on to raise his own little reindeer, all born sans the red nose, be elected president of the Reindeer’s Union, write a novel, and be granted the long life of the Numenor.** And everyone lived happily ever after.
*Why any self-respecting reindeer chooses lugging a huge sleigh through the air to a career of, say, eating frostbitten grass is a perplexing psychological question that is currently under research by a group of well-respected scientists, but there you are.
**Cross-breeding between unrelated narratives is a nuisance, but it still happens, despite the best efforts of Tolkien purists.
Rudolph and the Reindeer Union by Victoria Larson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.