The room was filled with boxes piled to the rafters. Jessie sniffed around the base of the nearest pile. The boxes smelled heavenly. Her delicate nose could detect the aroma of peppermint candy canes.
Jessie had followed Santa to his distribution centre this morning to watch the Elves send off the latest shipment to Australia. From what Jessie had learned, Santa started shipping items at the beginning of the year to distribution points around the world. Today was the first big send off and the elves were excited to see a large shipment going to the southern poles.
The room was filled with boxes of toys of all sorts. There were trucks, dolls, drones, trains and all other toys packed and wrapped in bright paper and bows. In other air tight boxes were confections that would not spoil before the holiday season. Molly was watching carefully on the sidelines that these boxes were getting sent to the correct locations.
To Jessie, the centre looked like it was in chaos. Elves were running everywhere and they all seemed to have no purpose.
While Jessie was thinking, Santa moved to the center of the building and Jessie followed along without being called. The pair walked through rows and rows of boxes until they approached the very centre. Huddled in the shadows was a desk with mounds of papers on it. Elves stood surrounding the table shouting at the one poor Elf sitting at the desk.
Jessie looked closely at the man. He was holding his head in his hands and rubbing his temples. He sighed and stood up as they approached.
“Hi, Santa. Hi, Jessie. I’d say good afternoon but I’m afraid it’s not. It’s a disaster. The planes we had scheduled to deliver the goods cannot make it because of fog over Greenland. Imagine it. Fog over Greenland at this time of year!” The elf slammed his fist on the table scattering several of the papers onto the floor. He bent down to pick up a stray leaflet, grabbed his back and groaned.
“You’ve been working too hard and worrying to much my friend,” said Santa. His voice was sharp with concern. “One more day waiting on the tarmac will not hurt any of the goods on this shipment. We’ve built enough leeway into the timeline to account for such things. Why the concern?”
“It’s not just today Santa. It’s this darn climate. It’s getting warmer every year and getting harder to get our shipments out on time. So far, the ice road route was only open to us for a month this year. I’m worried that if things get any worse than we won’t be able to provide our goods and then where will Christmas be? “ The Elf slowly stood and rubbed the base of his back. A tear rolled down his cheek from his blue eyes to an ashen nose. “I’ve served the Claus’s for many years and I want my children to experience the magic of Christmas but I’m afraid it’s a loss.”
“Take heart old friend. You forget that Christmas has a magic of its own. We may not be able to use the truck route for much longer but I have a team of scientists working on vehicles for us that can go around the ice road. They’re working on a vehicle that is powered by wind. And… it’s almost as fast as my reindeer. As long as I’m around there will be a Christmas. It may change but there will be a Christmas. Now, reschedule the flights for tomorrow and take heart. Come Jessie, let’s find Molly.”
Santa walked back out of the facility towards the big hanger doors. He found Molly stacking crates of chocolate covered pretzels onto a pallet. “Molly the flight has been delayed until tomorrow. It has something to do with fog over Greenland. Let’s head home. They are well enough equipped to take care of the work here.”
Molly turned to argue and then saw the look in Santa’s eyes She silently followed. When they were safely out of hearing of the workers she stopped. “What’s wrong Santa. I know that look. You look like you did just after you broke your leg last year. Is something wrong with the shipment?”
“No, nothing like that Molly. It’s the problems that we’re having delivering because of the climate. I didn’t want to worry the Elves, but sometimes I worry that we won’t be able to keep up with the changes. There’s nothing to worry about for now. We have our scientists working on the problem. I just don’t want to be known as the last Santa Claus. Let’s go get something to eat. Your cooking always soothes my nerves. “Santa smiled with his eyes and hugged his wife. “Come on, Jessie. Let’s go home.”
Jessie followed Santa and Molly. She couldn’t believe what she had heard. Would Santa really be the last Santa Claus? No, she couldn’t believe it. No more toys for children, no more candy canes; it couldn’t be true. She didn’t know why everyone was so worried but what she did know was that if anyone could save Christmas it would be her Santa. Yes, Santa would save Christmas and she would help him. She would just have to come up with a plan.