This month, your story must follow these criteria:

  1. Your story must take place on Christmas Eve EITHER 50 years ago OR 50 years into the future. (You decide.)
  2. The first word of your story must rhyme with the last word of your story. (They cannot be the same word.)
  3. Your story must include the line IT WAS GONE IN A FLASH. (Whole or part sentence.)

“Oi! Cut it out, Prancer, or it’s back to the basement! We’re already late!”

The reindeer stared at him, sand on his nose, his expression filled with loathing.

“You know what the problem is? I coddle you all too much,” The big bearded man sighed, his hair matted with sweat. He was rummaging through a small, grubby sack.

“It’s one night. One night a year, is all I ask.”

From further down the line, Blitzen gave an indignant snort.

“Hohold up! Did you say something, Blitzen?” the man rumbled. “I hope not! Miserable, ungrateful swine. You’re too slow! All of you!” There was a vein bulging in his temple as his hands suddenly found what they were looking for. A tiny metal lock pick.

“Ah! Wait here. And there’ll be no supper if you keep horsing around!”

With that, he turned his back on the sleigh, and trudged his way toward the rear of the house.

“We’re reindeer,” Blitzen hissed after him, once he was safely out of earshot.

The ten of them had landed haphazardly in a backyard, one in a sea of hundreds – of thousands – of identical backyards. There were toys strewn across a lawn, a tyre swing strapped to an aging oak tree, and a small wooden sandpit nearby. Prancer had gone back to digging through it. Finally, his head remerged, jaws clutching the remains of an old apple.

“This is the thanks we get,” he said, chewing loudly. “We do all the work, and he just sits there, yelling at us all year long.” There were murmurs of agreement.

From across the yard, they watched the big man remove his hands from his filthy red mittens and press his ear against the door, fingers fumbling with the tiny lockpick. After a few minutes, he swore and threw the bent pick over his shoulder, took a few steps back, and kicked one massive fur-lined boot into the door with a resonating thud. It echoed through the dead of the night, punctuated by heavy breathing and frequent cursing.

“Absolute amateur,” said Donner.

“He’s the worst we’ve had in some time,” said Blitzen.


“Not the basement,” whispered Prancer. “Please not the basement.”

“Have you seen his lists?!” asked Dasher, shrilly. “Judging everyone! Always judging!”

Thud. The door sprung open with a cloud of splinters, and St. Nick was gone in a flash.

Rudolph, who had been gazing pointedly at the stars and ignoring his colleagues, turned around at this, sniffing his ever-blocked nose.

“It’d not just hib. It’d da kids!” Sniff. “Wanting bore and bore each year!” Rudolph sneezed.

Comet had to agree. “Stuffy has a point. With all these Barbies, GI Joes and Hot Wheels, yo-yos and comics … we can’t keep up.” He gazed toward the open door of the house. “He really is a bit useless, though.”

Blitzen looked around at the others, a gleam in his eye, his face resolute.

“Friends, I think it’s high time we found a new delivery boy.”