It was a cold and starry night and the reindeer were tired. After circling around the globe to bring presents to children, all they wanted was to go back to a nice warm barn for a well-deserved sleep.
Last stop boys, said Santa, before shaking the reins, and the reindeer groaned.
Where to now? said a grumpy one with a red nose.
We’re going to Thailand, boys.
Thailand? But they don’t even have snow there and wait…do they believe in Christmas? said a small reindeer in a piping voice.
Well, they may not have real Christmas trees and fireplaces and snow but they are still expecting us. Besides, I could use a beer right now and a day or two on the beach. From what I remember last year, it’s nice and hot there this time of the year and I could do with a bit of sun on my old bones. And the best thing is no more going down the chimneys! These guys don’t have any, so that will save me some trouble. I was getting tired of trying to squeeze through those things, said Santa patting his ample belly.
All we have to do is deliver the gifts to the Mall and the children will find them afterwards.
With a hearty laugh Santa shook the reins and the reindeer gathered their strength for the last trip. As they were getting closer to Bangkok, the last snowflakes on their coats melted and a pleasant drowsiness overtook the animals.
Hey, this is not bad, said a white reindeer with sparkling antlers.
Kinda windy, said another.
At least it’s not cold AND windy, shot back Sparkly.
Is there something to eat? said another.
There’s plenty if you like it spicy, said a reindeer behind Rudolph.
Do they have cookies here, I wonder? said Rudolph.
Hey, a coconut shake sounds nice, with lots of milk and…
Cookies! said Rudolph.
Yeah, yeah, we’ll find you some cookies, replied a voice at the back.
Meanwhile, Santa was getting ready: the heavy fur trimmed coat was replaced by a red and white t-shirt which barely covered his belly.
Hmm, I never should have listened to those Thai girls. One size only, sir, good for you, sir, you look so handsome, sir! Bah, it was only 199 baht, what did I expect, eh?
With a last pull at the t-shirt who was stubborn enough to ride just above his belly button, Santa adjusted his red beach shorts and rummaged under the seat for his slippers.
Where did I put those things? Hey Rudolph, do you know where my flip-flops are?
No, came a strained voice at the front.
Hey guys, is it getting hotter here or what? This sleigh weighs like a ton or something.
Tell me about it, said Sparkly, his tongue hanging out.
Are we there yet? said the small reindeer.
Almost, said Santa, who was rummaging under the seat.
There you are, cried he at last. My flip flops! Pink, of all colors! he added with a disappointed shake of his head. Never mind, Thais love bright colors. Pink will do.
Ready boys? he asked, and six voices answered back: Ready!
The descent was slow. Between the densely packed buildings and temples, the cars, motorcycles, tuk-tuks and bicycles, Santa’s entourage swooped down on the city, almost colliding with a motorcycle on which four people were squeezed like biscuits it a pack.
Whew, that was close, said Santa. Careful boys, we don’t want any accidents.
The reindeer were too busy trying to avoid the traffic. Although nobody could see them or the sleigh, it didn’t mean they couldn’t be hit. As they came around a corner, the lights of a big building dazzled their eyes and Santa pulled the reins.
Here we are…at last…he said, climbing out of the sleigh and patting each reindeer in turn, smoothing their fur.
Be good boys and don’t forget, no moving during the day or you’ll freak people out. I’ll come back tonight.
With cookies, said a voice.
And coconut shakes, said another.
No problem, said Santa with a wink.