Story Go Round 12/09/2006, round 1, #4

Like A Light Bulb!

(post-titled by Terry)

Rudolph was laid up with the measles, so Santa realized he might have to fall back on Hansen the Four-Tusked Mugworf to lead his reindeer. Trembling slightly as he descended the steps into the workshop, Santa called out cautiously, "Hansen?" He heard a creaking sound to his left, and turned to find Lawrence the elf sitting in a rocking chair, eyeing himself fancifully in the magic mirror.

"Don't go in there!" Lawry admonished his reflection, "Not today anyway."

To the elf's reflection Santa bellowed:" I'll go anywhere I like! Now you hand me the stable key!" Cowed, but with a gleam in his eye, he fished out the bone key. Santa opened the mugworf chambers. Instantly, the odor of manure and spring-fresh apricot mist hit him. He walked cautiously across the straw-lined floor, the sounds of pre-pubescent disco stars coming from the back room. Santa walked past the stalls ans wondered as he always did why he had agreed to take in a mugworf. Orphan or not, he wasn't sure it had been worth the trouble.

"Hansen?" he tried again. He heard a shuffling sound to his right, and turned to find Lawrence the elf leaning against a doorway, sniffing Elmer's glue. (Always a hazard in his line of work).

"Told you," Lawry crowed.

"Told me what?"

"He don't wanna see you -sniff- or anybody -sniff. At least not without some concealer..." The elf wiped at his nose with the cuff of his shirt.

"Please," Santa rebuffed him with scoff. "I told him the horns and the fangs are all part of being a mugworf! Nothing ter be ashamed of."

"T'snot that..." Lawry slurred now, "Hansen's got zits!"

Santa mused - Hansen was only 387 which made him 12 in human years. "Oh please - I'm sure it's not all that..."

Hansen burst out of his room in curlers and a towel. His eyes were rimmed red with weeping. "Snortle-ich-ban-muzzle chew..." he began, then took the marbles out of his mouth. "I'm sorry, Santa, I just can't do it. Please don't make me go out in public. I'd just die of shame!"

Durned elf wasn't helping any, he kept pointing and chortling at Hansen, failing to do it behind Santa's back. "Lawrence," Santa called out, "back to work!"

"My job is to guard the ugly blighter--" (here Hansen burst into fresh tears and turned the music up)

"Back to the mirror, Lawrence, or I'll put you on manure-shovelling duty!"

Sulking and pouting, the elf did as he was told and that was the last we'll see of him in this story.

"Hansen, boy, come out. Let daddy see your pimple ... oh that's nothing! I can't even see it in this light." It wasn't true, though - the fact was, it glowed. It glowed the way that ... well, Rudolph's nose had! Santa tingled with excitement. "Look, Hansen, you're a four-tucked mugworf - not two tusks, or three, but four! Everyone looks up to you in awe. I promise you now a single person is going to notice your complexion is blemished.

Hansen sniffled, but looked like he might be convinced yet. "I need you, my boy, you're the last hope for Christmas: Hansen with your .. tusks so white ... (your zit so 'bright') won't you chauffeur my HummV sled tonight!"

Whipping out the curlers and pulling on his jingle-bellsuit, Hansen ran after his adopted father, loping on three legs behind him to the 3-sled garage. And there he saw... he saw...

There he saw 8 other mugworfs harnessed and in place, tramping fown the newly-fallen snow, snorting breaths of steam in to the air... Santa proudly marched Hansen to the front and harnessed him. All the mugworfs had strength, zeal, and bad breath, but only one had a pimple with a glow like a beachfire. He hopped in the sled, eagerly. It did him good to think of all the Christmases that would be saved.