Episode VI: Missing!
The barn door burst open.
“Get up!” shouted a voice. “Get your lazy pieces of venison-bottoms up and at ‘em! Christmas Training Camp starts in 10 minutes!”
The overhead lights switched on. Bright. Way too bright for the sleeping reindeer. In desperation, Dasher buried his muzzle under his pillow.
“GET UP GET UP GET UP GET UP GET UP GET UP GET UP!!” the voice continually thundered.
Dasher squeezed his eyes shut. He knew what was next.
The shrill of a whistle blared through the stable.
Filmore was a stout elf that relished conducting Reindeer Games and Christmas Training Camp to his charges. He had no use for whiners or complainers, slouches or dawdlers. Pulling Santa Claus’ sleigh on Christmas Eve was top priority. And each reindeer had to be completely fit.
Filmore took the whistle out of his mouth. He marched along the shedrow, inspecting each stall, calling out each reindeer by name with the authority of a Marine Drill Sergeant, “Donner! Get up! Prancer! Get moving! Dasher! Don’t make me come in there and yank your ever-lovin’ antlers off that pillow! Comet! Get ... what?” The elf stopped abruptly. “Where’s Comet??” he called out, incredulous.
There was brief moment of silence. “Church,” Cupid called out hesitantly.
“Church?!?” screeched Filmore. “What do you mean by church?” he asked Cupid pointedly.
Cupid shrugged. “I dunno. All I know is that he said something about going to church.”
Filmore got nose to nose with Cupid. “And, “ Filmore drawled, “when did he say he was going to church?”
As the interrogation progressed, Cupid became a little nervous. “Uh, maybe a couple of weeks ago?” he offered, hopefully. He looked around the stable. “Don’t you guys think it was a couple of weeks ago?” he asked the reindeer team.
A chorus of agreement sounded. “Yeah, it was a couple of weeks ago.”
“He wasn’t going to church,” cooed the unmistakable silky voice of Vixen. “Comet said he was going to Churchill,” she emphasized.
Filmore attention snapped to Vixen. “Churchill? Churchill??” his voice rising. “Like in Churchill Downs??? He went to Churchill Downs??” he shouted, the tips of his pointy ears turning as bright red as a poinsettia.
Vixen calmly eyed him with her signature sultry look. “Honey, he mentioned something about horse racing. I believe he has a dream that needs to be fulfilled.” She batted her long eyelashes.
Filmore slowly backed up against the wall, shocked. Christmas was only a few weeks away, he thought, and Comet was AWOL. His legs unable to no longer hold him, Filmore slid down the wall, his only thought being, “What am I going to tell Santa?”