The Lapland Papers
Written by Will Haynes
Published on: 10th December 2017
Though few might remember specific names of the elves that were among the first to break the Lapland code of omerta and denounce him, the allegations came flying thick and fast and embarrassingly publicly once the age-old culture of silence was broken. When grotto whistleblower, Rudolph the Reindeer’s, memoirs were serialised in a Lapland tabloid, all hell broke forth. December 24th, the official release date of The Lapland Papers (Rudolph’s “warts and all” autobiography), became forever known as The Day that Shook the World.
Saint Nicholas, aka Santa Claus or Father Christmas (Nikoli Kringle by birth), a once beloved symbol of the Coca Cola Corporation, had fallen and would shortly become one of the most vilified figures in the history of the North Pole. His tightly controlled, centuries-cultivated public image was shattered overnight, and Santa was now widely viewed as just another corrupt abuser of power, who traded favours for mince pies. The most commonly used refrain in Lapland soon became,
“I saw Santa with the Devil”.
Once portrayed as a generous, loveable old grandfatherly character, he swiftly metamorphosed in the public eye into an overweight symbol of flatulent corporate greed, a figurehead of patriarchal hegemony and the physical embodiment of all that is wrong with the world. Audits of his charity’s finances were quickly called for along with questions about the cost of his bespoke, extravagant tailoring and just who exactly was picking up the tab for the yuletide couture at Jermyn Street. Who were the shadowy figures lurking behind the nativity play? A brouhaha broke out when pictures of Mrs Christmas’s shoe collection were circulated online, and though these were later revealed to have been misattributed (fact checkers determined that the shoes belonged to Imelda Marcos) it did little to boost his severely diminishing public image at the time. Sales for Jimmy Choo, however, went through the roof.
Soon after the elves’ mutiny, allegations rapidly surfaced about appalling working conditions in the grotto, described by many as modern day slavery: squalid, poorly-heated sweat-shops, resulting in many elves dying of hypothermia or venereal disease (or a combination of the two), along with appallingly seedy practises of Santa, which included excessive drinking and gluttony, while many more starved in the gulag, a death camp for elves that is the North Pole. One report stated that Santa binged on over five billion mince pies in a single night, each usually washed down with a brandy or sherry chaser, in spite of being responsible for operating a flying sled. This image of Santa behind the wheel of a reindeer-powered vehicle, unpredictable at the best of times, while loaded on hooch extorted from hard-working families, outraged drink-driving awareness groups and air traffic controllers. The dreams of millions of children the world over were shattered and a generation of cynics were born. December 24th would now be forever tarred, the Night Before Christmas synonymous with Lapland sleaze.
Controversy went pandemic.
Mrs J. Smith of Swindon said she “felt pressured” into leaving mince pies and brandy out for him. “No one spoke about it but everyone was at it. Complicit, I mean. It was just sort of… expected, you know”. She revealed that she did not want to fall out of favour with the powerful Mr Christmas for fear that her son little Timmy would be the one to suffer. “You know, a God-awful lump of coal rather than a Nintendo Wii”. She believed that the “pies would help grease the wheels” for him to overlook the fact that little Timmy, 37, “had not exactly been an angel all year round”. And she knew that it worked. “Alexander Baker of no.73 had been a right little bastard all year, pulling wings off flies, making all the girls cry, and even ‘doing things’ to frogs, but he still got that bloody shiny new Thomas the Tank Engine set in his stocking… Mrs Baker made out it was for good behaviour but we all knew what it really was. She shelled out for the Waitrose mince pies with that calvados butter for the fat old goat. I just couldn’t risk Timmy being heartbroken and getting the dreaded lump of coal. So I just did what I felt I had to do, you know, the unspoken rule. I played the game. I’ll admit that I abandoned me principles and I left out the mince pies for that mean old bastard, swerving around the sky in his flashy red outfit with his harem of reindeer. Timmy got his brand new Wii, alright, and we all pretended he’d been good. It takes a village, and all that.”
This was just the tip of the iceberg. Millions of other mothers have since come forward, all echoing the statements of Mrs Smith, revealing a disturbing pattern, year after year, decade after decade, predominantly on Christmas Eve, of Santa’s degenerate behaviour.
One unnamed elf has simply stated, “The institution is rotten to the core.”
Another elf, also off the record, disclosed, “it was only a matter of time until the curtain slipped and the world saw the true horror behind Christmas. I just can’t believe it took so long. Santa’s vulgar appetites should have brought the temple crashing down centuries ago. The whole thing’s a charade. A Ponzi scheme.”
Some cynics believed it was a ploy to divert attention from the escalating troubles brewing between the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, and Easter Bunny’s increasingly aggressive Twitter rhetoric, endangering global stability. Others argued that it was a precursor to an austerity program designed to curb the unsustainable consumption of toys. Conspiracy theorist videos, viewed widely on YouTube, asserted it was all part of a plan by the shadowy New Christmas Order to instigate a putsch and gain control of the lucrative Christmas market and flood the world with their own substandard toys. Russian interference was even suggested. A publicist for Santa released the following statement: “Look, I’m a six hundred year old businessman, simply looking forward to retirement, and my stepping down so close to Christmas has absolutely nothing to do with entirely unfounded and malicious rumours relating to my stay at the Moscow Ritz, or presenting dowries to ladies of the night there, several years ago. Ho ho ho.”
Certain mainstream media pundits fear the situation could worsen further should China become involved, although another elf has stated that China has been involved for years and that Claus is simply a patsy for Chinese manufacturing (under an offshore Cayman holding company) and, in a similar case to the Oompa Loompa crisis of 1976, many of the slave-elves have been illegally trafficked from China. As with Willy Wonka in ’76, Beijing has remained damningly tight-lipped on this.
Claus has since been stripped of his Papal Sainthood and banned from working with children or elves, and placed on a “temporary register”. Efforts to remove all Santa-related memorabilia in time for Christmas proved difficult, along with suppressing the uprising of the loyalist reindeer (aside from the turncoat Rudolph, now a pariah among reindeer, and believed to be under a witness protection programme). Rudolph was allegedly last spotted in Manhattan, staggering out of an Irish bar with a guilty smile, his hoof around an unidentified grey-haired woman, and his red nose glowing like the burning oil fields of Iraq.
Many believe that things went far too far, especially with regards to what they now saw as a slide into authoritative censorship. The singing of the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ anthem was banned, along with possession of French hens and turtledoves. Partridges were soon added to the list of contraband fowl. Mass public burnings of tinsel took place; the scent of mulled wine, cinnamon and cloves blended with charred bodies in the night air across many suburbs, towns and cities.
Chaos was seemingly unleashed, spreading from the sectarian violence in Lapland to the west, the violence whipped up by instigators, including toy cartels and religious fundamentalists. Many groups clashed violently over Christmas, including useful idiots of various ideologies, anti-capitalist activists, religious zealots, neo-Nazis, anti-Christmas elves and pro-Christmas reindeer.
It was around this time that Mr E. Scrooge, the member of parliament for Islington North, threw his hat in to the ring following a disastrous decision by the Wicked Witch of the West to call a poorly-advised snap election. In spite of repeating on loop that she was “strong and steady”, the Wicked Witch seemed to flip-flop on a good deal of things, particularly after the Christmas Referendum, in which she was initially pro-Christmas, though became fervently anti-Christmas once the wind of public opinion blew five points in the opposite direction than had been expected.
There was a certain irony to Mr Scrooge’s Christmas U-turn, as he had always been a fierce critic of Christmas in the past. Some detractors had even accused him of bearing an equal amount of responsibility for the Christmas referendum as Pob, Willy Wonka and the Dark Lord Sauron, for actively sabotaging the result with his lacklustre, lukewarm, bah humbug “support” for the pro-Christmas campaign. This, inexplicably, did not stop him capitalising on his new-found popularity in the run up to the Wicked Witch’s snap election, canvassing support in particular from the young, who believed he was not simply just the candidate for Christmas, but quite literally the new Santa: the second coming without all the sleazy baggage. Scrooge was famously pictured donating an orange to Tiny Timmy, 37, from Swindon while smiling broadly. This was shortly after confiscating nasty little Alexander Baker of number 73’s Thomas the Tank Engine train set, yet magnanimously compensating the spoilt little rotter with a lump of coal. The Wicked Witch of the West was said to be in a stuffy bunker, rocking back and forth, repeating the mantra “strong and steady” in between random bursts of swiping miniature plastic Christmas trees off maps.
A pro-Christmas campaign soon gained momentum on social media, under the banner: “I Support Ebenezer Scrooge.” One long-eared commentator on the Question Time panel, the curmudgeonly go-to television cynic, Eeyore, quipped, “It’s dripping with irony and would be funny were it not for the very real blood tracks in the snow.” He was subsequently booed off the show, while braying “follow the pies”, and is now in hiding after large-scale protests including effigy burning by hard-line Scrooge supporters.
In spite of initially standing by her husband, Mrs Christmas has moved out of the Lapland estate and in to a New York loft apartment with an undisclosed new beau. Though “irreconcilable differences” have been stated, a source close to both parties suggests it was as much to do with arguments regarding a gastric band as anything else, and a drunken tweet by Mrs Christmas, later deleted, that stated somewhat cryptically, “I just can’t resist those ‘come to bed’ eyes and that adorable red nose”.
Santa’s publicist has since severed ties with him, though Santa released an updated statement. “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with elves in the past may have caused pain and if this was the case I sincerely apologise for it. I came of age in the 1400’s when all the rules about behaviour in the workplace were different. Slavery was just part of the culture then. Ho ho, I mean, that does not still make it acceptable. Ho.” His attorney later clarified this statement was in no way an admission of guilt, although confirmed Santa is currently in a clinic receiving treatment for gluttony and alcohol addiction. Anarchy continues to profligate in the gaping power vacuum left unchecked in Lapland.
It appears there is no end in sight.
© Will Haynes 217