In keeping with the spirit of the season, it’s time for the annual holiday greeting from the Going Ballistic staff. A quick word on the illustration (and you oughta click on that to blow it up and see it in all its glory) — that’s the work of the lovely and talented Kat McNally, who’s crayons and twisted little mind are for hire, so if you need some artwork, animation, whatever, drop me a line and I will put you in touch. If you’d like the special, limited edition holiday card featuring this year’s story, just send me a mailing address.
Sal Koltin checked his Blackberry. The Santa business was good. Better than eight grand that day in photo orders at Fox Valley Mall, another twenty Gs from his three other locations. The east lot outside the Sears store was empty as he headed for his car.
“Hold it slick, boss’d like a word.”
Koltin looked over, then down. Couple short little fucks in some weird-looking ‘40s-type suits. A little ways off, big-ass white car, looked like some ancient Rolls.
“What are you, dwarves or something?”
Short guy on the right pulled what looked like a giant peppermint stick from under his coat and jammed it into Koltin’s thigh. Sparking noise, Koltin down in a heap, twitching
“Dwarf? I look like a fuckin’ dwarf to you? Check out the ears, dickweed.”
“Damn Hobbit movies,” said the other short guy. “You say elf, everybody expects Orlando Bloom.”
* * *
Koltin came to in the back of the Rolls, big-ass old guy, long white hair, bushy beard, chalk-striped navy three-piece with a red vest. The two short guys were on the jump seats, one of them still holding the candy cane on him, the other tapping away at Koltin’s Blackberry.
“What the . . .?” Koltin said.
“You got the letter,” said the fat man. “You think you can just ignore me?”
One of the dwarfs shoved a piece of paper at him. Koltin scanned it. Fuckin’ thing he’d got like a month back, shit about the Santa brand and how he was supposed to send fifteen percent of his take to some account in Switzerland.
“You shitting me? Nobody owns the Santa brand. Ain’t no fucking Santa. You got a beef, take me to court.”
The fat man grunted. “We got our own ways. Takes us up, Uri.”
The Rolls quivered for just a second, then shot straight up, accelerating like an express elevator, Koltin looking out the window, the mall shrinking to nothing in an eye blink.
“I don’t . . . I mean . . . what the fuck?”
“You expecting reindeer maybe? I want some dumb mammal to fly, it flies. I want the car to fly, it flies. I want you to fly, then you’re going out the door. Maybe not fly so much, but you’ll be airborne for a bit.” The fat man nodded at the one of the elves, and the elf popped the door.
“I . . .I . . I . . .”
“You got the numbers?” The fat man to the other elf.
“Almost a quarter mil so far, boss. I put our end at $36,573.17.”
“Tell you what, Koltin, we’ll call it $35,000 even, provided you keep up. Little good will toward men.”
“I . . .I . . .I . . .“
“Sounds like a yes, boss.” The elf closed the door.
The car started dropping as fast as it went up, slowing at the last second, settling gently next to Koltin’s Beemer. Koltin staggered out of the car, the cold hitting him, Koltin noticing the wet stain down the front of his pants.
“Don’t worry about the Dockers, Koltin,” Santa said. “I’ll bring you a new pair for Christmas.”