Liberty In Peril

                                                                                              formerly,

                                                                                       The Llano Ledger

A Christmas Tale                                                   ©2017 All Rights Reserved

A Short Christmas Tale Part 1        December 25, 2014

***Things get pretty hectic this time of year in NPC, -- North Pole City.  ... Santa's aging, hurting.  Arthritis a bit too much for the jolly old elf.  -- Pole Cat's worried.  Watched ole St. Nick age most gracefully.  Year after year.  Interestingly, been best friends with Santa's number one, good ole Rudolph a long, long time.  ... Why would a cat be close friends with a reindeer one might wonder?  Two peas in a pod.

Both have a shiny bright red nose that glows in the dark.  -- Both took a lot of grief from their compadres over the years.  Always one to think ahead, however, Santa thought Pole Cat could certainly take over Christmas Eve duties, fill in for the aging reindeer should it become necessary, -- eventually.  ... And sadly, it had just become so.  -- Aging had not been kind to Rudolph, what with having to move the sleigh some 600 miles a second with more than a little help from his friends of course.  -- Knees and hips had worn out over the years.

Pole Cat was a smart, experienced feline with another reason for wanting to make the trip, -- if his body could indeed hold up.  Cats have a remarkable knack of making social contact, communicating with one another.  Even at great distances.  Pole Cat had his eye for years on a sweet old friend named Purr in Forboden.   ... One heck of a good looking feline, -- if he had to say so himself.

Purr's mistress was Grandmarm.  A dear sweet elderly woman who took great care of Purr.  -- Purr always returned the favor.  Grandmarm was getting up there, -- almost 93.  Had been abandoned by her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren.  ... Same old same old about the young not caring about the old.  What ever changes?  Right?

Worried Purr.  Greatly.  Loved the dear old lady.  Grandmarm wasn't doing well.  Even Purr couldn't raise her spirits any longer.  Pole Cat knew all this.  Sensed it deep in his heart.  -- Goes back to that Zen thing cats seem to have such a knack for.  Decided something had to be done.  Now.  Also knew his best friend Rudolph might not be up to the rigors of the task fast approaching the very next night.  Christmas Eve.

... So did the jolly old elf himself.  First time in history.  Both knew what had to be done.  -- Pole Cat didn't really know if he had it in him, however.  Wasn't so sure of himself as he had been in his younger, bolder days.  Assured Santa and Rudolph he'd do his best no matter what.  More than ever, the old cat certainly wanted to finally meet Purr.  Might even get one last chance.  -- If he could make it.  ... Or, die trying.  Go for broke.  One last time.

Pole Cat got it in gear that most magical next night.  Managed to get the team up to flight speed.  As they approached the United States, Santa gave the order to reduce air speed.  -- So he could wave to the National Guard pilots there to greet them as they passed on their way to their first stop.  -- Always a tricky move since the pilots at full after burner still couldn't catch him at sleigh flight cruising speed.

Yet, the wave to the pilots was extremely important to Santa.  He even made a point of flying in formation with the jets all the way to his first destination.  For some reason or other, the pilots, however, were never believed by their commanders upon debriefing after their return to base.  -- But they knew the truth and that was all that mattered.

Purr and Grandmarm were exhausted that evening.  Retired earlier than usual.  -- Purr was more than happy to curl up on Grandmarm's bed that cold, cold December night.  Snow had been lightly falling all day.  A light sleeper, Purr got up in the middle of the night to nibble on some Tender Vittles Grandmarm always left her in the kitchen.  Imagine the old cat's surprise when she saw a warm red glow begin to overtake, overwhelm the kitchen.  Ambiance like she had never seen before.  What could it be?

Heard the gentle ring of sleigh bells in the backyard.  -- What the .... ???  Couldn't be, could it?  Purr quickly forgot the pain in her hind legs, the fact she was an old cat.  Jumped up like a kitten into the window to see what was happening outside.  Couldn't believe her eyes.  Blinked.  Rubbed a paw across both. Was she dreaming?

Then, heard a light tap on the glass.  Saw Pole Cat and Santa smiling at her.  Having just woken from the brilliant cherry-red glow permeating the house, Grandmarm stood right behind Purr.  A look of wonder quickly crossing her face.  A flashback to Christmas after Christmas many, many years ago.  As tears flowed down one cheek, then the other.

... A far more sinister flashback, as well, to incident after incident of violent physical abuse perpetrated by her father in the name of discipline all those decades before.  Had trouble walking days after a beating.  A fishing pole broken over her back.  No kid should ever have to live like this.  The overwhelming flow of emotion surprised her, --having thought she had put it all behind so, so long ago.

Purr turned around, looked up quizzically, lovingly rubbed her head against her hand, then uttered, "Brrooww?"  That is, "Mom, won't you let them in?  It's cold outside."  "Yes, you're quite right sweet, sweet darlin' my most favorite little girl.  What was I thinking?," responded Grandmarm struggling to regain some sense of composure.  -- A night Purr and Grandmarm would certainly never ever forget.  ... Nor would Pole Cat and Santa. ***

                                                        A Short Christmas Tale Part 2        December 25, 2015

***  Things had not gone well in NPC, -- North Pole City this past year.  Santa's health had markedly deteriorated.  There was no way he would be able to make the trip.  What to do?  There had always been a contingency plan.  Mrs. Claus in fact had made several trips over the years as co-pilot.  Knew what she had to do and how it needed to be done.

People had had the wrong impression of her.  Thought she only baked cookies and gingerbread men.  Not so.  Was truly an equal partner to Santa.  ...Must be said, however, -- sometimes to the old elf's chagrin.  ... He knew she was most unhappy about his decision to postpone deliveries to Syria for security reasons the last few years.

They had always agreed the one making the trip ultimately made the decision as to how it was to be executed.  --The first time in history Santa was scared.  Absolutely terrified.  For the safety of his wife and crew.  Santa had succumbed to ISIS terror.  Allowed these brutal bastards to effect his judgment.  Prevent him from doing his job.

Mrs. Claus believed the terrorists had won.  Default driven by unbridled fear.  Santa was quite aware she would probably force the issue if given the chance.  A growing sense of dread began to overtake him.  Paralyzing gut-wrenching terror.  His inability to make the trip this year was a perfect opportunity.  An opportunity she intended to take advantage of.

... And, indeed, she did.  But before doing so, decided to talk to Pole Cat first, -- who had guided the sleigh in Rudolph's absence the year before.  Pole Cat was certainly one tough old cat.  Game for just about anything.  Especially, in his day.  ... Had kicked every canine's gluteus maximi in the community bar none.  He just wouldn't put up with any dog poking fun at his brilliantly glowing red nose.  Even as he aged, they wisely gave him wide birth.

-- Mrs. Claus suspected she would have his support no matter what.  She did.  Not only that, advised he strongly suspected she would not only have his support, but that of Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer.  Mrs. Claus decided it was time to get the whole sleigh crew together for a strategy session. ... Without Santa's knowledge.

She planned to enter Syrian airspace at visual flight speed, -- rather than warp.  To make a point.  ... Everyone on the ground would see the sleigh.  They would know they were there and did exist.  More than just a tale believed in by tots.  Extremely dangerous.  They could be shot down.  Yet, Mrs. Claus believed it wouldn't happen.

-- Their visual presence would be so unnerving she thought it would protect them from harm.  More importantly, it would indicate there was a much higher power at work. There was.  The Creator had indeed empowered ole St. Nick several hundred years earlier.  Wasn't particularly happy about recent atrocities committed by ISIS, however, to say the least.

Mrs. Claus was quite aware of the Creator's profound chagrin, growing anger.  Frustration at the world's inability to solve a problem it had created.  She decided to finally do something about it.  At least make the attempt.  The day had come to meet with her crew.  She addressed Pole Cat, Rudolph, and the rest of the reindeer.  Explained her plan.  Then asked for a show of hands in support, excuse me, paws.  Every paw immediately shot up.  Including Rudolph's.  Quite an act of courage since he was still having severe problems with arthritis.

This was a trip he was not going to miss no matter what.  No matter the personal cost.  Including his life.  All the reindeer, as well as Pole Cat, were unhappy they had not delivered goodies to the children of Syria for several years.  All were willing to risk life and limb.  Mrs. Claus was most impressed with their courage.  Hid a tear or two as she saw every paw rocket up in support.  Unanimous support.  It was decided Pole Cat and Rudolph would fly lead, -- to light the way.

What she truly worried about was Santa's reaction to their decision.  She was going no matter what, however.  It was a week before Christmas.  She broke the news to the jolly old elf.  As expected, he was not a happy camper.  Feared for his wife and crew.  Knew she was determined, however.  Would go no matter what he thought or advised.

Santa had maintained contact with the American fighter pilots, however, that always greeted him when he approached U.S. airspace.  Phoned one of them when informed of his wife's decision.  The existence of Santa was well-known about the aviation community.  Although no one was willing to admit it.  Or talk openly.

That was about to change.  The President was quickly informed.   Despite the fact careers of the pilots were indeed at stake.  The decision was made by the coalition to cease all hostilities three hours before the sleigh was to enter Syrian airspace.  The cease fire would be in effect 24 hours.   Fighter jets were to be withdrawn to the Syrian border, kept fully armed, fueled, and in the air.  Allies were informed by unencrypted  command and control transmissions the enemy could not miss or mistake.

ISIS did not know what to think.  Thought it might be a ruse.  A trick.  Decided it best to play along.  Break off hostilities at the hour of truce.  See what happens.  Three hours later Mrs. Claus gave the order to drop out of warp about two hundred miles off the Syrian border.  Immediately, the sleigh came into visual contact with the fighter jets.

She waved to each as they broke off to remain out of Syrian airspace.  They were going in unescorted.  The squadron leader radioed her they were not being illuminated, that is, all anti-aircraft radar was still off.  He wished her luck and godspeed as the sleigh entered Syrian airspace.  They were flying in at visual flight speed.  On their own.  Unescorted.  No fighter cover.

Immediately,  ISIS ground fighters spotted the sleigh and reindeer.  Were astounded to see a cat and a reindeer illuminating the way with brightly lit red noses.  Not a shot was fired as the sleigh proceeded about its mission.  Delivery after delivery was made without incident or hostile action.  Live coverage of this most unusual night was provided by media as Mrs. Claus and her crew continued their work.  Indeed, a sight to behold.

When all deliveries were finished in Syria, Mrs. Claus ordered the sleigh back into warp to hopefully finish all deliveries within 24 hours, -- and dawn breaking.  Meanwhile, Grandmarm and Purr had watched the unfolding drama on the boob tube.  Both wondered if Mrs. Claus and Pole Cat would visit them before the night was through.

Doubted it since the sleigh would spend several additional hours in Syria making deliveries at visual flight speed.  Both were tired, totally exhausted from all the high drama.  Decided to retire for the evening.  Meanwhile, Mrs. Claus and crew were desperately trying to make up time.  Determined to finish the work before dawn.

As the first tinges of light appeared in the east, the sleigh dropped out of warp.  Mrs. Claus and crew could see Purr and Grandmarm's house right below.  As they drew closer, the red glow flooded the house, awakening both Purr and Grandmarm.  Both could see Mrs. Claus carrying two red coats as Grandmarm let them in.

Both were informed by Mrs. Claus they were to be guests of her and Santa at North Pole City.  The coats were to keep them warm for the trip to NPC.  They got in the sleigh and Mrs. Claus ordered warp drive.  A small fraction of a second later they dropped out of warp and were hovering above, receiving a standing ovation from the entire NPC community including Santa.  He was so proud of her and the crew.  Grateful they were all alive, but exhausted.

Twentyfour hours had passed.  The ceasefire was over.  Not a shot had been fired. ...48 hours had passed.  Still no gunfire.  Both sides were waiting for the other to make the first move.  Neither did. Three days later both sides, sadly, still had no clue how this would end.  Imagine that.  They couldn't figure it out.  Hadn't a clue.  What would it take? ***
 
 

Tim Chorney, Publisher
Liberty In Peril


Tim Chorney, Publisher
Liberty In Peril
Formerly,
The Llano Ledger
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