Though the sun had set long ago, Grady and Goober had been out doing some last minute deer hunting on Christmas Eve. As they turned into the driveway, Grady’s headlights caught a familiar shape standing in the yard. Goober grabbed his thirty ought six, hung himself out the window and took a shot. The deer bolted straight up then fell back to the ground. “Got him,” Goober said proudly.
A fat man in a red suit came rushing out the front door. He looked at the deer, lifeless on the ground, then at Goober. His eyes narrowed and Goober could feel his glare piercing through his heart. “Uh oh,” he said. “’Spect I done it now. Grady, get us out of here!” But the truck wouldn’t start.
“He’s done something to my truck,” Grady said. “We ain’t going no where.”
Goober slowly opened the door and headed for the porch. “Sure sorry ‘bout your deer, uh, Santa.”
“Yeah, that was one of my favorites,” Santa said.
“Well, maybe he ain’t as dead as he looks.”
“No, he’s gone.”
“What you gonna do?”
“I need something to fill that spot on my sleigh. The magic comes when all the slots are filled.”
“So them ain’t flying reindeers?” Grady asked.
“Only when they’re all harnessed together. It’s the sleigh that makes them fly.”
“We ain’t got no reindeers around here,” Goober said. “Maybe you could use something else?”
“What do you have in mind?”
Twrreet, Goober whistled. “Jack, come here, boy.” The old yellow lab trudged out from under the porch. “Thank he’ll do?”
“Worth a try,” Santa said.
They began fitting Jack with the reindeer’s harness. “This don’t fit that good,” Grady said. “He’s gonna slip right out.”
“Duct tape!” The idea hit both at the same time. Goober took a roll and began to wind it around the dog and the harness.
“There,” he said. “That ought to hold him in.”
“But what about the light?” Santa asked. “That was Rudolph, you know, with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight.”
Grady ran back to the truck and got the magna light. Goober took the duct tape and wound it around Jack’s snout securing the flashlight to his nose. He pressed the button and the light shown out into the darkness.
“Them batteries ought to last you through the rest of the night if you turn it off every time you stop,” Grady offered. Santa nodded.
As the sleigh rose into the air, Santa waved to Grady and Goober. Jack looked down and whimpered. Then off into the night sky flew the sleigh with eight reindeer and a yellow lab.
“Hey,” Grady said. “How can it be raining? Ain’t a cloud in the sky.”
“Jack!” they both yelled.