It was Christmas Eve, and Jack was just closing up his workshop when an elderly gentleman walked into his garage.
“Do you do windscreens?”
“Sorry, Bud, but we’re closed. Come back after Boxing Day.”
“No, you don’t understand. This is an emergency. It can’t wait. I’ve important business to attend to tonight, and I need a windscreen right now! I’ll pay you time-and-a-half … Double. Please, you’ve got to help me.”
With a sigh, Jack relented. “What make and model is it, sir?” he asked, booting his computer back up to check his stock list.
“It doesn’t have one. The elves made it, and I haven’t got time to go back to the North Pole. I need a windscreen right away.”
Jack didn’t understand what the old fool was blabbering on about, so he suggested, “Okay, where have you parked the vehicle. I’ll go, take a look.”
“They parked on the roof. It’s hard to break a habit, you know, when it comes to reindeers. You might need to fetch a ladder.”
Jack smiled and looked around for the hidden camera. He could take a joke. “Very funny,” he said. “Reindeer… parked on the roof …Elves … North Pole. I get it. Did Mickey put you up to this? That guy is a gas!”
“No, honest, I’m serious.” insisted the old man. “Come outside and see for yourself!”
Jack looked more closely at the man before him. Now that he looked … really looked, he could make out the red suit, the long white beard and the rosy cheeks. It was like a mirage had fallen away, and he could see what was really in front of him.
The red suit wasn’t looking as pristine as one might expect. There were flecks of brown all over it. He might want to nip into the Dry Cleaners next door and get that cleaned up before he went any further.
With some reluctance, Jack followed the old man outside, and sure enough, there were eight reindeer on his roof, with a rather mud splattered sleigh perched behind them.
“See!” exclaimed the man. Jack was still a little uncomfortable with thinking of him as Santa, despite the evidence in favour of this conclusion.
The sleigh was an open-topped convertible, just like in the stories. It hadn’t been designed with a windscreen.
“That’ll be a big job, Mister! I’ll need to rig up with a frame and everything,” Jack explained, assessing the problem with a professional eye. He’d always loved a challenge. “I’ve got an old Morris Marina out back we could chop up, but it’s going to take a few hours. We’ll have to get it into the workshop too. I’m not lugging my welder up there. That’d be a Health and Safety nightmare.”
“Fine,” agreed Santa, looking at his watch, “But we’ll have to hurry. I’m on a tight deadline, you know.”
“What exactly is the problem?” Jack asked as they were finally getting the sleigh off the roof and pushing it into the workshop.
“Blitzen has chronic gluten intolerance,” Santa explained. “One of the elves must have given him a mince pie, by mistake, and it’s starting to work its way through his system. He’s starting to get a bad case of the trots. Every time he farts, I get sprayed with reindeer diarrhoea!”
Jack tried not to laugh.
“It’s not funny!” Santa declared. “That stuff gets everywhere, and the smell will last for weeks. Can you imagine little Johnny coming down on Christmas morning to find his new action doll figure covered in soggy reindeer droppings? I’d never live it down. It’d be a P.R. nightmare!”