Tonight’s freezing rain shower only adds to my misery. I’m crouching behind a small evergreen shrub in bitter sub-zero temperatures, trying to be invisible. My quarry only three meters away, I dare not shift my stance, lest the crunch of the packed snow give me away. Slowly I bring the weapon to bear, aiming carefully. The mark is only still alive because there is a narrow tree between him and me, as soon as he moves left or right, I’ll have the shot. My stance, crouching like this has cut off circulation below my knees, something has got to give, soon.
It does, the mark, wearing a bright red coat with white fur trim finally shifts to the left. Squeezing the trigger, I can already taste the hot mulled cider waiting for me in the lodge. My reverie is interrupted when suddenly Claus turns aiming a General Electric XM214 Minigun right at me. The XM214, with a firing rate 166 shots per second, is no match to the 50 caliber Desert Eagle in my hands; I’ll be torn to shreds in seconds. A flash of light, lightning perhaps, I don’t know, illuminates his weapon long enough for me to see it is only a children’s toy.
OK no more delays, aiming my 50-caliber pistol at the mark’s red stocking caped head, squeezing the trigger, and wham! I’m flat on my back, blown down by the prop wash of a helicopter that appears out of nowhere. Lights voices, the all too familiar zap-zap-zap of a stun gun; all I can do is cower behind my bush and hope I wasn’t seen. The Pickle Factory employees didn’t see me, or didn’t care. With the subdued Cringle in their possession, the chopper leaves as quickly as it came.
Drat, another lost package. Checking the sled for valuables, I release the driving harnesses and let the reindeer go free. At least I might get a few bucks selling these toys on e-bay.