“There’s no time to explain,” said Santa Claus. “You need to get on this chairlift and help me save Xmas.”
“Okay Santa,” I said, and climbed aboard the chairlift.
Gradually it lifted us off the ground and into the air. Santa had a sackful of gifts on his lap and he whistled merrily as we ascended into the night.
“Why do you need my help?” I asked. I was still in my pajamas.
Santa shushed me. “We can go over the fine print when Xmas day is over. We’re at work, lad.”
I wondered why he called it Xmas instead of Christmas. And where the reindeer were. And why me.
“Here,” said the old man, shoving a gift-wrapped box into my arms. “Aim for that chimbley.”
I looked down. We were approaching a house, the chairlift swooping us through the cold winter air. It was tough to see through the snow, but I saw the chimney smoke. When we neared it enough, I chucked the box at the chimney. I was sure I missed, but somehow the box was pulled into it like a vacuum.
He kept handing me boxes and I kept throwing ’em down. The sack never seemed to empty. He threw a lot of gifts, too, sometimes waving the bag upside down above the bigger houses. I asked him why the bigger houses got the most gifts and he looked at me like I was an idiot, ho ho hoing all the while.
“You’re a good helper,” he kept saying. “Better than those damn reindeer. Never paid any attention. Soon as Rudolph was hit by a drone, the rest of them couldn’t see the asses of the deer in front of them, and they didn’t last long either. There’s a lot more crap in the sky now than there used to be. Elves built this invisible chairlift to carry me where I need to go. It’s like going from a regular car to one of those Google self-driving things. My elves invented Google, you know. On the sly.”
And he’d go on like that, but he’d never explain why he picked me.
The hours dragged on. Nothing but houses, gifts flying everywhere. My arms were getting real tired, even though most of the boxes weren’t that heavy.
“Are we almost done?” I asked. “Must be almost morning…”
More hoing. “Night doesn’t end until we reach every house,” said the fatass.
“How many houses are there?” I asked.
“How many people are there in the world?”
“A few billion?”
Santa handed me another present, a twinkle in his eye. “Keep throwing,” he said.
Day 281’s three random writing prompt categories were, “Chairlift,” “There’s no time to explain (except there is),” and, “Santa Claus.”
Quite a nightmare, really.