Proof by Ann-Louise Truschel

“I didn’t do him, Sheriff. Jody were my friend,” said Jake, a chaw in his cheek. “Somebody planted his pocket watch in my room.”

“I put it there, Jake.”

Jake spit. “What!?”

“When you and Jody robbed and killed old Mrs. Jenkins last year, you murdered the woman who raised an orphan kid nobody wanted. Me.”

“Nobody seen us.”

“But you left something behind, Jake.”

“What’s that?”

“Your spit. I knew it was you, but I couldn’t prove it.”

“So you fingered me for killin’ Jody instead.”

“That’s right.”

But who murdered Jody?

“I did, Jake. See you in hell.”

Rudolf by Eric Smith

Rudolf hated Christmas. The other reindeer mocked his deformity, marginalized him socially—particularly that time of year. They enjoyed excluding him from their games and also from that worldwide trek–pulling presents and spreading cheer. How did the other reindeer really feel that foggy Christmas eve when Santa entreated Rudolf to guide the sleigh? He knew they only feigned happiness about his new found place in history. Ha! Though there’d been many previous foggy Christmas eves he’d not been called upon. The legend rang hollow. And what of next year? Would Santa include him if it were a midnight clear?

The Outsider by Jane Reid

The reindeer were restless. The does had gathered in a south field far from the stables – very untypical behavior. The bucks looked confused.

Santa consulted his chief stable elf.

“It’s that time of year,” said the elf.

“Time of year!” exploded Santa. “It’s their time to be rested and ready.”

“They’re, well, forming a harem,” said the elf. “Female reindeer do that in winter.”

“But,” Santa sputtered, “all the males should have been, ah, taken care of. That’s routine for domesticated reindeer.”

The elf said, “I think we overlooked the outsider.”

In the south field, Rudolph was enjoying reindeer games.

NSA Tapping the HOHOHO Network by Jo Oldani-Osborne

“Nick old boy, so good to hear from you. It’s the 23rd! I can only assume you’re not calling to chew the fat.”
“Quite, George. We’ve got ourselves into a bit of a pickle here at HQ.
“The RUDY1 giving you trouble?”
“Fits and starts, George. The boy has a case of Lyme Disease. Grounded.”
“One bad tick aye, Nick?”
“Quite. From one re-instated saint to another, any miracles for me?”
“Consider it done, I’ve two Scottish Red Spotted Intercontinental Dragons, ‘Brad’ and ‘Angie’.”
“Ho, Ho – George, you slay me.”
Couldn’t help myself, folks, it just snuck out……..

Christmas on Pluto by Gordon Lawrie

Plutonians view Christmas differently from Earthlings. Whereas we seek joy through the spirit of giving, Plutonians understand the need for sacrifice, desolation and loss in parting with precious things.

On Christmas Eve, Plutonians place favourite possessions under the Christmas tree, and a curious Reverse Santa sweeps down every chimney, hoovering up all the toys. Thus Plutonians learn the value of stoicism, important at the edge of the Solar System.

Next day, all Plutonians meet at the village hall to sort out and recover the gifts where they’ve all been dumped together in a heap. This is a great social event.

For O. Henry, A Magi Christmas by Jo Oldani-Osborne

As Mr. Henry pulled up to Jim and Della’s on Christmas Eve he noticed two things. New digs for Chum! Jim can keep his prize hunting dog. He must be thrilled. Then he saw a set of four new tires for Della’s Mustang.

Curious. Kennel but no dog. Tires and no car. He stepped into the cozy front room where Della sat in Jim’s lap. They both smiled happily. Her long auburn hair was spread over Jim’s shoulder as they looked at Jim’s watch on a beautiful chain.

Another Merry Christmas.

“Did you think to get return receipts this time?”

A Curious Christmas by Jo Oldani-Osborne

The fourteen Murray kids were a novelty whenever they moved into a new neighborhood. Curious things happened.

On Christmas Eve 1968, in Pennsylvania, the little kids sat holding newly unwrapped, colorful, woolen mittens. “Santa” had arrived through the back door.

Dad answered the front door. “Well, Santa’s twin! Oops!”

“Santa One” looked startled and dodged out the back door.

“Santa Two” jumped back caught like he had been breaking in.

Confused, five-year-old Virginia pretty much summed up the curious scene: “Holy nuts, Dad. The dogs are chasing ANOTHER Santa down the street.”
“Yes, Virginia, sometimes there are three Santa Clauses.”

Initiation by Russell Conover

“So, how should we … initiate … our new member into the club?” Ted smiled.

“Decisions, decisions,” Amy answered. “Wonder what would be the funniest thing?”

Ted’s eyes lit up. “Got it.” He shifted his gaze, raising his voice. “Hey, Bruce!”

The new pledge walked over. “Initiation time?”

“Indeed,” Ted replied. “And all you have to do is sing ‘I’m a little teapot’ while holding your nose.”

To their astonishment, Bruce not only did so–he also added a dance number. Their mouths hung open, as he took a slow bow.

“Thank you, sir and ma’am. May I have another?”

Santa Clause by Eric Smith

Five stockings hung from the mantle above the fireplace. Santa would soon slide down the chimney to fill the socks with nuts, candies, and caramels. The boy slithered on his back until he could stick his head inside the fireplace and look up. Then he went to talk to his mother.

“I looked up the chimney.”
“A big guy like Santa could never get through.”
“There’s no real Santa is there?”
“No, son, not really. Santa is the spirit of giving.”

The boy felt much better about Christmas than he had for a long time.

Sorting It Out by Jane Reid

“Can you give us a hand, dear,” Santa asked his wife. “We are getting backed up here.”

Anna Claus walked into the packing room. “Here are the letters,” Santa told her. “At the top I have noted what to pack.”

Anna picked up the first letter.

“But Santa,” she said, “Lucinda wants a big Lego set and a Hess truck. And you’re going to give her a doll and a Frozen princess outfit.”

“Legos and trucks are boys’ toys,” said Santa. “Girls don’t have any mechanical aptitude.

“Don’t interfere, Anna. Never mind the packing. Just go fix that broken sleigh.”