Babe Martin had just about finished his Christmas shopping when he realized that someone was watching him. First he looked up the street and then he looked down the street but nobody seemed to be paying him the least mind.
Shrugging his shoulders like Bruce Lee in a cigar factory, Babe continued to the model train store where he got Billy the streamliner he wanted for his basement set-up. Out by the truck he got that feeling again but there was nobody else in the parking lot but him. Getting the heebie-jeebies, he was placing the presents on the seat of his truck when he caught a movement out of the corner of his good eye. Looking up he almost had that coronary the doctors had been warning him about when he saw a large craft hovering about ten feet above him.
“Ho, ho, ho,” came a voice from above as the vehicle swiftly descended to the parking space beside him.
“Why, Santa, you scared the livin’ daylights out of me,” Babe watched as the sleigh settled into the parking lot. “Shouldn’t you be preparing for the big day?”
“Naw, Mrs. Claus runs them elves better than me, anyway. I’m here to ask you a little favor.”
“Sure, man, anything.”
“I’m having a little trouble this year. There’s so many kids on my list that my reindeer just can’t pull the load. I need more power and I was wondering if you could help me put something together.”
“Well, it’s getting pretty late in the season.”
“I’ve got a list here of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice and, brother, you can probably guess which list you’re on.”
“All right, all right.” Babe shook his head. Santa just didn’t play fair.
If I had it to do over again I would care less. And I would care more.
—Farmer Ooka Brown
When Santa arrived at Babe’s three days before Christmas he was as nervous as a hairless Chihuahua in a thunderstorm. Babe led him out to the barn and pulled the doors open. Santa stood there for a while with his jaw hanging open.
“What is that?”
“I don’t know, exactly. It’s one of them things NASA built and didn’t know what to do with afterwards. I got it real cheap, considering it cost about a hundred billion dollars to build.”
“And it flies?”
“Like the dickens. You want I should wrap it or will you take it as is?”
Santa, excited as a kid on Christmas morning, could barely wait as Babe towed it out of the barn with his tractor. Then he climbed the ramp and went inside. Ten minutes later he came back out.
“It won’t go.”
“Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you,” Babe said to the red faced old man. “It needs batteries.”
“Yeah, you’re going to need about six million double-AAs.”
Santa stood there for a moment looking at the grinning man before sighing, “And I suppose the batteries aren’t included.”
“You’ve been reading my mail.”
“All right, Babe, you win this round,” he said while speed dialing his cell phone and growling, “You heard me, Blitzer, six million, and get them down here pronto!” He turned back to Babe. “I hope you need coal this year, mister. Lots of coal.”
“Coal will suit me just fine,” Babe laughed. “Now it’s going to be awhile before they get here. Why don’t you come inside and have some eggnog.”
Soon the sound of Christmas carols was drifting out of the old farmhouse into the valley below.