Santa Claus flew over the sleepy town, a pair of binoculars clutched in one hand and the reins of his sleigh in the other. For three days his quarry had evaded him, but he felt certain that tonight he would finally find the person responsible for multiple counts of elf-napping.
He had been on the trail for a fortnight now. He had been spurred into action as his workforce slowly diminished; with more and more elves disappearing and Christmas fast approaching, the most important night of the year was in jeopardy. If he didn't stop the perpetrator and rescue his elves, then his career was over. Santa was loathe to give up his job; he got most of the year off and on the one night that he did work he was supplied with copious amounts of mince pies and sherry. Aside from the various allegations of drink sleigh-driving, it was pretty cushty.
Santa suddenly caught a glimpse of something running across the rooftops far below. He raised the binoculars and searched out the figure, eventually settling on a man dressed all in white: white trousers, a long white coat and a white top hat. At last, he had found his nemesis.
Jack Frost. Snow spirit, elf-napper and general nuisance.
Santa flicked the reins and the sleigh plummeted towards the ground. Rudolph's nose flashed and lit up the ground below, a bright red spotlight following Frost as he leapt from roof to roof. Santa flicked the reins again and the reindeer pulled the sleigh out of its dive and began to gallop furiously through the air, gaining on Frost with each hoofbeat. Santa still wasn't sure why there were hoofbeats when the reindeer weren't actually running on anything. He kept meaning to ask the MOT man when he took the sleigh in for testing, but he always forgot.
Frost glanced back and began to sprint and leap even faster, switching direction too fast and nimbly for the reindeer to keep the sleigh in pursuit. Santa gritted his teeth. It looked like it'd have to be the old fashioned way.
He waited until the sleigh was level with Frost again, and before the white-clad spirit could leap away again Santa grabbed his sack and jumped out onto the rooftop. He almost landed right on top of Frost, but the spirit dodged out of the way just in time and Santa tumbled onto the slates, rolling to break his fall.
"So, you caught up at last," Jack Frost said, smiling. "You're out of practice, tubby."
Santa pulled himself to his feet and glared. "I gave up all this years ago. I've got a new job now."
"Hardly a job though, is it? You sit around and fill yourself up on Mrs Claus' mince pies, do one night's work at the end of the year, then go right back to stuffing your face. It's not fair, like. Everyone else works themselves silly all year round and you sit on that jolly red backside of yours."
"Is that what this is about?" Santa asked. "You're jealous of my job?"
"Nah, it's more than that. Shame you ain't gonna find out though, since you'll have to catch me first."
With that, Frost bounded away again, cackling maniacally as his coattails flapped in the wind. Santa cursed and gave chase. Despite his large stature (I really ought to cut down on the mince pies, he thought), he moved quickly, leaping from snowy rooftop to snowy rooftop at a rapid pace.
Frost was too fast for him though, and was steadily getting away. Santa cursed again and reached into his sack, pulling out a pair of baubles. He yanked them apart, exposing the tinsel tying them together, then swung them through the air and hurled them.
The baubles collided with Frost's ankles and wrapped tightly around them, the tinsel tripping him and toppling him face-first onto the roof. Santa jogged over as the snow spirit lay groaning in pain.
"Not so nimble now, are you?" Santa said, laughing heartily.
"You can ho ho ho all you like, fatso," Frost muttered, "but I'm not done yet." With that he reached down and grabbed the tinsel and it froze, then splintered into pieces as Frost shook himself free. He leapt to his feet and launched a kick at Santa, catching him in his ample belly. Santa barely seemed to feel it though, and immediately swung his sack at Frost, forcing him to dodge backwards.
Unfortunately for Frost, there wasn't much roof to jump backwards to, and he plummeted to the street below. Santa sprinted to the edge and flung himself down after him, nearly body-slamming straight into his nemesis, who only just managed to roll out of the way. Santa pulled himself out of the large crater he'd made in the thick snowfall, then immediately fell over again as Frost pelted him with snowballs. The spirit giggled, then turned tail and ran as Santa clambered to his feet again and gave chase.
They sprinted through the dark, icy streets, eventually reaching the town square. An enormous Christmas tree stood in the centre, bathing the dozens of snowmen that stood around it in a multicoloured glow from the fairy lights looped around it from top to bottom. Frost turned to face Santa as he approached, smiling that mischievous grin of his.
"Now for the main event" he said. "Well done on walking right into my trap, tubbyguts."
Santa looked around, trying to spot the danger, but there was nothing in the square other than the tree and the snowmen stood on all sides. They all seemed to be facing him, which seemed odd...
"Oh, bugger," Santa swore as the snowmen began to advance, lurching though the snow like some ridiculous zombie horde. Frost cackled with glee.
"Do you wanna build a snowmaaaaan?" he sang. Santa lunged at him but Frost dodged. "Okay, bye," he sang, and danced away, disappearing in a flurry of snowflakes. Santa cursed, but he had bigger worries now.
The first snowman reached for him and he booted it in the chest, its body collapsing and its head tumbling off onto the floor, still grinning with the wide coal smile plastered across its face. As the horde converged on him, Santa reached into his sack once more and pulled out a handful of crackers. He twisted the end of the first one and lobbed it into the crowd, the snowmen turning their heads to watch as a flare burst out of the side.
"What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations?" came a voice from the cracker, then another voice cried out "Tinselitis!" and the cracker exploded, reducing the snowmen around it to heaps of slush.
Santa hurled the rest of the crackers into the mass of snowmen, and the sounds of corny jokes and explosions rang through the air.
"Who looks after elves when they're ill? The National Elf Service!"
"How many letters are in the Christmas alphabet? 24 - there's noël!"
"What's Santa's favourite Olympic sport? The North Pole-vault!"
"What's the difference between snowmen and snowwomen? Snowballs!"
The last of the jokes rang through the air, and Santa set about finishing off the remaining snowmen, smashing carrot-nosed faces in with brutal punches and kicks. Eventually he stood in amongst a mass of coal, twigs, carrots and melted snow, panting in exertion, but unharmed.
"Well, that was impressive," Frost said, stepping out of a mound of snow and straightening his top hat. "Did you really have to use the bad jokes though?"
"Bad puns are one of the deadliest weapons there are," Santa replied. "Speaking of which..."
He reached into his sack and pulled out his final weapon - a huge candy cane, the end sharpened to a deadly point. Frost grinned and a long, sharpened icicle appeared in his hand as Santa charged. Santa feinted a slash left, then jabbed at Frost's belly, the icicle only just blocking the strike in time. Frost took on a fencer's pose, stabbing and dodging and riposting as Santa came at him with less graceful but more forceful blows. The sound of icicle striking candy rang out repeatedly through the town square.
The fighters went back and forth repeatedly, neither managing to get through the other's defence, but eventually Santa saw his chance. Frost lunged too far and overbalanced, and Santa sidestepped the jab, then brought his candy cane down with enough force to shatter the icicle, leaving Frost with only a shard no longer than his forearm. He pressed home the advantage, forcing Frost backwards, then as the snow spirit parried a strike, Santa stepped in and shoulder-barged him, sending him sprawling to the floor.
Frost tried to scramble to his feet, but froze as Santa pressed the cane's sharpened point to his neck.
"Now then Nicky, no need for that," Frost said. "Can't we talk this through?"
"Enough of your games, Frost," Santa said. "Where are the elves?"
"I don't know where they all are, but I know where one is."
"He's behiiiiind you," Frost sang in a panto voice, and something smacked into the back of Santa's head, sending him crumpling to the floor. He turned his head to see an elf standing over him holding a large stick.
"What's going on?" Santa said, astonished.
"Jack Frost hasn't been kidnapping us, Mr Claus," the elf said. "We've been going of our own free will. You've been treating us elves too badly for too long, and we wanted a change."
"Treating you badly? I'll have you know I follow all employment regulations!" Santa replied.
"That's what you keep telling us, but we got an inspector in and he said that we're practically being used as slave labour," the elf said, shaking his stick angrily.
Frost picked himself up off the ground. "That's where I came in," he said as he brushed the dirt off his top hat and set it back on his head. "See, up at the North Pole you weren't technically bound by any particular laws, but now that you've come out here, you've got to stick to the straight and narrow, same as the rest of us."
"But... But..." Santa spluttered, searching for a way out. "Regardless of whether I've done anything wrong up North - which I deny completely - I haven't broken any laws here."
"Ah, but that ain't so, is it?" Frost giggled. "Last I checked, jumping on someone, throwing bauble-bolas at them and then attacking them with a giant candy cane counted as assault."
"That's preposterous! I won't stand for this!"
"Then by all means, stay laid out on the floor."
Santa roared in anger and tried to get back up, but the elf whacked him with the stick again. As he fell back to the floor he heard sirens in the distance.
"Oh good," Frost said. "That'll be the rozzers come to arrest you."
Sure enough, within minutes a police car had pulled up and the police had cuffed
Santa's hands behind his back.
"I'll get you for this, Frost!" Santa yelled as the police dragged him into the back of the car.
"I'd like to see you try, Nicky. Ta ta for now!" Frost called back. As the police car pulled away, he turned to the elf. "So, Derek, how do you fancy being my second-in-command? I'll need a lot of help if I'm going to take up Santa's slack."
"Will I get a pay rise?" Derek asked.
"Yup, along with everyone else."
"Well then, count me in."
"Good to hear." Frost stuck his fingers in his mouth and whistled, and the sleigh hurtled out of the air and landed gracefully on the snow in front of him. "I've got the elves and I've got the sleigh," the new Father Christmas said to himself. "Now all I need is a nice red suit..."