Advent. Day seven. Claus the Mighty is feeling the strain. His mood is as black as the coal he gives naughty children, and heavy is the head that wears the merry red hat.
Christmas is on the cusp of being cancelled due to industrial action. The reindeers, under the leadership of Rudolf, have unionised. The elves man their own tiny picket line and hurl abuse at the few of their kind that work on through the tumult. The mince pie mines are silent. There are no scissors snipping ribbons in the Wrapping Enclosure.
Claus upends a bottle and smashes it on the floor. He burps, wipes a sleeve across his sherry-stained beard and clears a pile of tattered tunics from an ancient trunk. He takes out the whip, the one he hasn’t used since the Great Agreement of 1902, and growls a single word:
Yes, it’s all getting rather grim in the North Pole, but worry not! We’re still celebrating Advent, primarily to try and keep old Santa’s spirits up. Today, we’ve knocked Al Ewing’s work of actual, proper genius The Fictional Man down to 99p/99c in eBook. So get yourself over to Amazon for a proper pre-Christmas treat. Go on, you deserve it!