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SUBJECT: How Funky Saved Christmas-Redux

Submitted by dshadoin from L on

It was late afternoon in Virginia. This late in December, the trees were bare. It was surprisingly calm, and unseasonably warm. Because his boat was still new to him, Funky decided to take this last afternoon to chase smallmouth on a local reservoir. His Christmas shopping was done, and as soon as he loaded the boat back onto the trailer, he was taking it to its heated winter home in a storage warehouse. Mrs. Funky wanted to park her car back in the garage and Funky knew it would be better if he just put his new baby away for a few months.

So here he was, enjoying the chilly afternoon, rod in hand, line slack in the water, drifting across a lake that would normal be buzzing with families on runabouts, skiers, tubers, waverunners and the occasional fisherman. Just a few more minutes, Funky thought, a few more minutes and the 2005 fishing season would really be over.

Funky felt it before he heard it. The hair on the back of his neck stood up. His toenails began to buzz. He spun around, looking for the source of the disturbance. Though he could see for miles across the lake in all directions, there was nothing. He searched the skies, now blazing in muted oranges and blues with high wisps of icy clouds frosting the bands of color. There was something amiss, he was certain of it. Then he heard it. High-pitched ringing, soft and distant. Then a voice:

"Come Dasher, PULL! Dancer, Comet, Cupid, HAAAAA!" The voice sounded familiar yet urgent. Funky looked for the source but the trees in front of him were screening him from whatever was coming. As it approached, the ringing sorted itself out into individual sounds. Sleigh bells.

Bursting over the trees in a rush of wind and chiming bells, was a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer and it was leaving a trail of golden sparks that stretched across the sky.

"We made it boys and girls, put her down!" commanded a fat old elf in a red suit trimmed with white fox. The sleigh descended to the surface of the lake and landed with barely a wake. Funky couldn't believe his eyes. He hadn't been drinking. He hadn't been smoking. Maybe, he thought to himself, I am dreaming. He knelt down at the side of his boat and reached into the water and splashed some on his face. BRRRRR! It was cold. He rubbed his eyes and looked again. They were still playing trick on him. Less than a hundred yards away was..... Santa Claus. Funky could only sit and stare.

The fat old elf dropped down onto the floorboards of his massive red sleigh. He pulled up a section of flooring and it appeared to Funky that he was working on something. He watched the massive red behind sway back and forth and could hear muttering but he couldn't make out what the fat man was saying. Finally Funky could stand it no longer. He reeled up his line and mashed his foot down on the trolling motor. The bow of the Ranger rotated toward the apparition in the deepening afternoon light. As he approached he heard a voice ask, "Have you got any flacker wrenches friend?" Funky rubbed his ears and said nothing. He was busy staring at the reindeer who appeared for all the world to be standing on the surface of the lake. The reindeer all looked at him if they expected him to speak. A shock of white hair appeared with a round, red face buried in it and a voice that was both jolly and insistent, "Flacker wrench? I need an 11 slipclod and a 14 kneeswax." Santa Claus was speaking to him and Funky was wondering if it was all still a dream.

"Let me check." Funky climbed off the front seat and opened the compartment in the back and pulled out his took kit. He opened it up and rummaged around. "I don't know, er, um Santa? What is a slipclod?" He offered up a pair of channel lock pliers instead. Santa shook his head.

"No those won't do at all." He leapt quite nimbly up onto the seat of the sleigh and then onto a giant red velvet bag held closed at the top by a golden rope. He slipped the rope lose and sprang up the side of the bag and into the wide opening. Funky could hear him searching through the contents. "No, no, no, no, nope, no, no, here it it isn't." The white haired gent reappeared and looked thoroughly flummoxed. He sat on the bulge of the bag, his short legs sticking almost straight out.

"Not a single person on the entire planet asked for flacker wrenches this year. How disappointing. Come to think of it, I haven't delivered flacker wrenches since..... since..... well I don't know that anyone but elves use flacker wrenches. I guess I have never delivered any flacker wrenches." He leapt down first to the seat and then over into Funky's boat.

"Kris Kringle is my name," he said, offering a somewhat grimy hand. "But you can call me Santa Claus." Funky took the offered hand and nodded his head, mouth agape.

"Bit of a shock I know," admitted Santa. "I nearly didn't make it. I was so relieved to see you were out on the lake today. All of your Christmas shopping done?" Funky nodded. "Good. Listen Funky, I need a favor. The sleigh is done for this year. Could I borrow your boat?"

At the suggestion that he give his boat to a fat little man in a fur-trimmed red suit that crash landed a sleigh onto a Virginia lake on Christmas Eve, Funky found his senses.

"Not a chance." Santa was somewhat taken aback. He stared over his nose and Funky and pondered his situation. His eyes twinkled and his mouth crinkled and he said the magic phrase:


Funky is not a man who is encumbered by a great deal of frivolity in his life. He works hard, he enjoys life, and he is loyal to his friends and his family. He has worked hard all his life and believed in God and country and in the right of every man to make his own way. In his entire life he had never been fooled by anything. Christmas Eve 2005 would be no exception.

"You expect me to hand over my new Ranger to a man in a red suit who crash landed on my lake in a sleigh pulled by reindeer because he THINKS he's Santa Claus?"

Santa only laughed.

"Hand over your new Ranger? I should hardly think so. I don't know the first thing about chine walking, GPS, or Lowrance. You will have to come along."

"Oh. That's different." But Funky couldn't see how. "If I am coming along, I guess that would be all right."

"Grand, grand, grand!" Santa leapt the distance back to the sleigh, and shouted back, "Would you mind removing the back seat and pole please, I need to put my sack there. If I put it on the front deck, I'm afraid you won't be able to see."

Funky did what he was told. As he stowed the seat and pole in the front locker, he felt the weight of the boat shift as Santa leapt back aboard. Funky looked up and watched as Santa set the massive sack of presents on the back deck. "It's a good thing Rangers are unsinkable, isn't it Funky?" Funky nodded.

Santa sat down in the passenger seat, pulling on a red hat, also lined with white fur. He reached into his pocket and pulled one out for Funky to where. "No thanks," he replied politely. Santa insisted. "You'd better wear it, it will help." Funky did as he was told.

"Where too?" Santa pointed northeast and Funky pulled up the trolling motor, set himself down in the drivers seat, fired up the ETEC and put the hammer down. The boat didn't merely leap up on plane, it leapt up out of the water and was airborne. They were flying. Funky immediately let up on the Hotfoot and the boat started to descend. He mashed his foot back down and up they rose. He looked down and his dashboard of Ranger gauges had completely transformed into a new range of dials and readouts. Funky was staring at each and his eyes landed on a familiar site. GPS. On the GPS was millions of waypoints. The nearest several thousand miles distant, far to the northeast. Funky looked over at his passenger and then banked the boat to the right, so he could see the sleigh and reindeer.

"What about....." he was asking when Santa pointed to the sleigh. It was beginning to rise and head north.

"Without the payload, the reindeer can pull it back to the North Pole for repairs. If the elves can get it fixed, no doubt it will catch up to us soon. I see you are familiarizing yourself with the gauges. If you hit the waypoints and keep us on course, I think Christmas will be saved!" Funky felt a rush of happiness. He looked down and realized this might be the Fastest Ranger Boat ever made. They were already far off the Atlantic Coast, somewhere over the ocean en route to who knows where. In what seemed like only moments, he looked down again and could see rocky cliffs and dark areas that had to be land. The GPS said continue on, and that's what Funky did. Soon snow covered mountains passed beneath them and lights appeared in the distance. A flashing red and green gauge indicated that they were too high and too fast. Funky let up on the Hotfoot. The big Ranger slowed, descending into the night. A town appeared and they were dropping right into it. Funky could hear church bells ringing, he counted their peals. Twelve. It was midnight in whatever place they were. Santa pointed at a row of old stone homes, roofs covered in slate.
"Keep it down the center of the lane. When you get to the other end of town, be ready to put the hammer down again." Santa jumped from his seat, grabbed the bag and leapt down several hundred feet to the nearest building. He disappeared into the chimney and as Funky stared, he reappeared, not from that chimney but from the one next door. He did that all over town, in one chimney out another. He got faster and faster until Funky was certain there was more than one of him, he was moving so fast. When he got to the other end of town, Santa landed softly on the back deck, bag clearly empty, and settled back into the passenger seat.

"Done already?" Funky asked.

"Heaven's no! We are just getting started." Funky indicated the empty bag, but when he turned his head, the bag was full again, crowding the back deck and piled high into the night. Funky looked at Santa again.

"If I can make a bass boat fly, what makes you think I can't refill a sack full of presents by magic?" He laughed at his own joke, holding his jiggling belly and laughing all the more when Funky dropped the Hotfoot again and the ETEC responded. Funky watched the GPS and the gauges and soon they had a rhythm going. Santa was amazing. Funky could only stare in wonder.

Through the night they flew, locations on the Christmas GPS disappearing and new ones appearing as midnight fell in different places around the world. Occasionally Santa would reappear with cookies and milk, sometimes carrot sticks, and every so often a nice hot toddy. Funky stayed away for the liquor, but Santa did not. The jolly old elf seemed to get younger and stronger as the night wore on. He took to leaping down from great heights at every town. Funky saw the entire world from the drivers seat of his Ranger. Of course it was dark and he could only guess at where they were. They crossed ocean after sea. Once Santa declared, "See that archipelago down there? FISH IT!" and he rolled with mirth.

As exciting as it was too chauffeur Santa Claus around, it was getting late. The Mrs. would be worried and Funky began to fret.

"Last town, coming up. Why don't you take this one, Funky?" Funky shook his head. He had no idea how to get down ONE chimney, let alone the tens of thousands that appeared in front of them. "Come now, it's not all that hard. Hang onto the golden rope and grab the cookies if you can. Let's switch places." Funky could only obey. He and Santa traded places as they descended on this final city. Jim stood up reached over the seat for the present sack that had refilled itself thousands of times that night. He grabbed hold of the golden rope and felt himself jerked into the air and pulled toward the ground. He wasn't falling, he was being towed. He saw a roof hurtling toward him and he shut his eyes, waiting for the crash that never came. Instead he felt like he was being stuffed in a sausage casing and then with a flash, he was in a strange living room. He took a few moments to get his bearings. Amazing! He pulled at the rope on the sack and it popped open, disgorged an array of brightly wrapped presents with lovely ribbons and bows and pulled itself shut. Just as Funky was thinking what next, he felt himself being jerked back through the sausage casing and into another living room. This was fantastic. He was so tickled he laughed out loud. He could hear someone upstairs stir. OOPS! He closed the bag and in an instant he was in another room decorated for Christmas. He smelled something delicious. Cookies! He grabbed the cookies and put them in the pocket of his guide wear. That's the way this last town went, flash presents flash presents flash cookies and presents flash presents. All too soon it was over and he felt himself flying up and away, landing lightly back in the Ranger.

"It's a gas, isn't it?" asked Santa. Funky could only smile and nod. He reached into his pockets and offered Santa a cookie which the old elf gladly accepted. "Time to get you home." Santa mashed his foot down on the Hotfoot and the ETEC screamed. Funky hummed 'Hear Comes Santa Claus' and watched the sleeping world slip by beneath the hull. He watched the countryside and realized that it was starting to look familiar. They were over Virginia.

"We're here," said St. Nick. And he lifted his foot off the throttle and the boat began to descend. Funky stared as his hometown grew larger beneath them. Santa guided them unerringly to his own street. At the last possible moment, Santa pulled the wheel hard left and pulled up off the Hotfoot. The Ranger dropped nearly to the ground, instead landing on the Ranger Trail trailer behind Funky's truck in Funky's own driveway.

"You saved Christmas Funky, you really did. Without you, all the boys and girls would have been disappointed." Santa shook Funky's hand. He leapt out of the drivers seat an up onto the rooftop.

"How are you going to get home?" Funky asked.

"My ride is here," Santa replied, pointing at the sleigh pulled by eight reindeer coming toward the house. "They are probably a little miffed. They've been following us since Kingston, Jamaica, but you were having such a great time and that boat handles like a dream. I couldn't resist. I've always wanted a Ranger. Give your Missus my best!" And with that he jumped back into his sleigh and disappeared, leaving a trail of golden sparkles.

Funky couldn't believe it was real. He couldn't believe it had happened. He looked the boat over. Everything was as it should be. The gauges were all normal again. The boat was properly strapped down. Maybe it hadn't happened after all. Maybe it was only a dream.

He walked into the house to the smell of dinner cooking. It was only a dream Funky realized. A vivid daydream. He crossed the living room into the kitchen as his wife asked, "How was the fish..." she didn't finish her question. She changed her mind. "Where on Earth did you get that hat?"

Funky reached up and took off his red hat, lined with fir, with the white ball on the tip. Perhaps after all, it wasn't a dream.

  1. Wade Fisher from TEXAS says One of the best .....
    Thanks Big D. Merry Christmas.


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