Here I am again, same as last year, trudging through the snow in below-freezing weather at the North Pole just to get an interview with one of its citizens.
Do you know I had to buy an extra warm coat, heavy gloves and a stupid-looking hat for this once-a-year journey? Maybe the newspaper should reimburse me for all that. It couldn’t hurt to ask.
As my toes are becoming frostbitten because I didn’t think to buy heavy boots, I’m wondering who I could interview. Santa gives me permission every year but I never know who I’ll be talking to when I get there.
As I approach the toy factory, I see this little green man pacing back and forth muttering under his breath. He apparently had been there for quite some time because you could almost see the grass from where he had walked in circles. As an aspiring investigative reporter, I decided maybe it was time to get to the bottom of working conditions in the factory and find out why this little guy was so upset.
Dedicated Reporter: Hey, I couldn’t help but notice you pacing outside the factory door. I come here every year to do an interview and wondered if you’d mind answering a few questions.
Elf: I really shouldn’t. Santa might get mad but, frankly, after this morning I might get fired anyway.
D.R.: First of all, why don’t you tell me your name?
Elf: Name’s Auggie.
D.R.: OK, Auggie, tell me why you’re so upset? I thought everything was always perfect up here.
Auggie: Well, it’s not! Santa kicked me out this morning for one little infraction. Seems to me, since we’re the ones spending all year making toys, we should be able to test them out once in a while.
D.R.: And exactly what did you do?
Auggie: This year Santa had a special request for a fire truck from a little boy in New York. His dad was a fireman on 9/11 and lost a lot of his buddies there. The boy wanted it made large enough for him to ride in and wanted it printed with the name and number of the firehouse his dad worked in.
Santa put me in charge of this because I used to be his top worker. I spent six months on that truck. I know Santa has all his toys tested before they leave here but since I had worked on this project alone, I thought it only fair to take the first drive. It didn’t dawn on me that I didn’t really know how to drive, but that didn’t matter. Besides, there’s just that little dent in the front and a scrape on the back.
D.R.: Can it be fixed before Christmas?
Auggie: Not sure. All Santa kept saying was how special this would be to the little boy and how disappointed he was in me for using such poor judgment. Then he told me to go outside for a while and cool off. That’s when you showed up.
D.R.: What say we both go in and see if Santa will let you back in now?
Auggie and I bravely opened the factory door and found ourselves staring into the face of Santa himself. “Well, hello, Pat. I see you’ve come at an awkward time this year.”
“Auggie was just telling me what happened,” I said. “Any chance you could forgive him?”
“Well, of course,” Santa said. “I can’t be short this time of year. Especially my top worker.”
With that, Auggie ran back to his work station and started repairing the truck he had demolished. Seems like there’s nothing bad to report from the North Pole after all. All’s right with the world.
Merry Christmas, everybody!
(Pat Fickle is a Martinez resident.)