Hello, this is Richard, and before I start, I’d like to say a huge Thankyou to Jasmine, Joshua and their mum, Natalie, in Melbourne, Australia. They are our latest supporters on Patreon. And this story is dedicated to them. I'll tell you a little bit about them at the end of the story. But first, let's begin where we picked off. Uncle Christmas is the brother of Father Christmas, whom you may know as Santa. He plays the guitar, he rides a three wheeled motor trike and he wants to help his more famous brother deliver the presents. Unfortunately his big brother does not want to let him in on the Christmas action.
Story by Bertie.
Read by Richard.
Proofread and audio edited by Jana Elizabeth.
Uncle Christmas - Part 2
Uncle Christmas normally fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. If he had nothing better to do, he sometimes slept for an entire week. In fact, he once snored through the whole month of February - and that was in a leap year - meaning that he was out in the land of nod for 29 days and nights in a row.
But that night, Uncle Christmas could not sleep. The argument with his brother had unsettled him. Instead of lying awake and brooding, he decided to take his motor trike for a spin. He chugged up to Beverly Hills enjoying the smooth, empty road that gently winds its way up to the heights where the film stars live behind high hedges and curtains of trees. Eventually he came to a corner with a canyon on one side where he drove straight over a safety barrier and out into the midst of thin air. But he did not fall. He had given his trike a magic mod years beforehand, enabling it to fly. Now that his three tyres were clear of the road, and earthly speed restrictions, he could really go some. After a couple of minutes there was a loud boom like a clap of thunder as he broke through the speed of sound.
“Where shall we go on a fine night like this?” he asked himself. But his trike already knew the answer and had pointed its nose across mainland USA, on a flight path that led over the Atlantic Ocean to Northern Europe and the Scandinavian hideaway of his famed brother.
His trike was above its destination at around four in the morning. Elves waved flaming torches to light the landing strip on the ice, and he made a perfect landing without a single bump. Bjorn, a purple elf, ran out with a flask of something warming for the visitor.
“The chief’s away, sir,” he told Uncle Christmas. “He’s in California. In fact we thought he would be seeing you there.”
“We met up last night,” said Uncle Christmas. “We talked a lot. I’m going to be helping out here and I came to look around.”
“I’ll be pleased to show you how everything works after you’ve had a chance to rest sir,” said Bjorn.
Uncle Christmas went to his room in the Ice Palace and freshened himself up. After a good breakfast, he made a little tour of the toy factory and the warehouse, and visited the stables to see the reindeer - although Rudolf had gone away with Father Christmas.Then he met Dusty the head steward in the office. Dusty explained how the orders came in and how the toys were labelled and put on flights for delivery in time for Christmas morning, starting with Australia where day breaks first and moving northwards up to Alaska.
“It all works,” he said, “but we have had such a huge load of things to deliver that it’s getting harder and harder every year.”
Uncle Christmas shook his snowy head in amazement at the old fashioned methods still in use. It was like being back in pre-internet times. “How about getting one of those Finnish technology companies to help?” he asked.
“Well you know your brother,” said Dusty, “he doesn’t like change.”
“No he doesn’t,” boomed a loud voice.
Uncle Christmas felt a sudden jolt of surprise. Normally he was the most chilled out character you could imagine, but on this occasion he could not help letting a startled expression rush into his eyes. Dusty hurriedly closed the file with the latest orders and tried to look relaxed.
“Good morning sir,” he said. “I trust your trip to the New World went well?”
“No it didn’t,” replied Father Christmas gruffly. “I was willing to accept a little criticism from family, but my hippy layabout biker brother coming here and poking his nose into our business is a step too far. Be off with you! Clamber onto your clapped out old motor trike and ride it back to the surf, sunshine and sand. That’s the life for you.This is a place of work.”
“My clapped out old motor trike is twice as fast as your sleigh any day,” said Uncle Christmas. “You’re stuck using two thousand year old technology. If we put the reindeer out to grass, or better still, put them on the menu, and fix magic motors on the backs of sleighs, we could cut delivery times in half. The elves could be back at base pulling crackers by 4am on Christmas morning.”
“Moonshine!” exclaimed Father Christmas. My reindeer are athletes in the peak of condition. Back in the Viking days, Rudolf used to pull the sun across the world. That was before we started all this self-propelled planetary orbiting nonsense. If anything, he’s even stronger and fitter than he was back then. We’re confident that we can outpace any hippy trike or bike.”
“Well let’s see about that,” said Uncle Christmas. I challenge you to a race. My trike versus your sleigh pulled by Rudolph. To make it fair, let’s do the best of three races. If you win, I’ll go back to California for Christmas. But if I win, I get to deliver the presents this year, and you can take a holiday.”
Father Christmas thought for a moment. He didn’t like holidays. His recent experience had proved that once again and he hated the idea of losing control of the present delivery for Christmas and leaving his brother in charge. He was sure it would end in disaster. But on the other hand …. he could not back down from this challenge as it would be like admitting that his brother was right, and that modernity and change were better than the old, tried and trusted ways.
“You’re on,” he said. “Dusty, draw up the destinations and the rules of the competition, and as for you little brother, I’ll see you back here at midday. Get ready for the thrashing of your life.”
“Likewise,” said Uncle Christmas coolly.
And they both went away to mentally prepare for the battle of speed and magic that lay ahead.
And that was The Christmas Hideaway, the second Uncle Christmas story. Read by me, Richard, for Storynory.com.
Now, as I mentioned at the start, we are dedicating this episode to Jasmine and Joshua, who are our latest supporters on Patreon. Jasmine sent us this message via her mum:
“Hello from Melbourne, Australia. We listen to your stories all the time. Joshua's favourite stories are about Bertie. My favourite stories are about Katie and Isis. Mum’s favourite stories are about Astropup.
Best wishes, from Jasmine - 7 and Joshua - 4.”
Then their mum, Natalie added:
“We listen either in the car or when we’re having a bit of a quiet time in the house. Josh loves to re-listen to favourite stories and Jasmine asks every car journey if a new story is here yet. We often have to sit in the driveway to finish off a story before getting out. We recommend your podcast to lots of parents that we know. And wish you all the best with Patreon and hope there are many many many more subscribers about to sign on.”
Aww, Thank You Jasmine, Joshua and Natalie. We really do appreciate your support. And if you would like to help Storynory survive and thrive, lookout for the link to Patreon on the front page of Storynory. It's by the little Bertie icon and the ‘P’ for Patreon symbol. And we would also like to say a big ‘Hello’, to our friends at Wicked Uncle, the world's most brilliant online present shop. They're kindly sponsoring our Christmas 2017 Writing Competition. Be sure to check out the details on Storynory.com and send us your story.
For now, from me Richard.