December 2021 Short

Helping Santa Claus Isn’t Easy!

Author Fuefuki Hisako

Day1 * 12/20

A Terrible Dream

I had a terrible dream.

What kind of dream…

🎅🎅🎅

I met a guy named Rudolph III online, and we were exchanging messages on a talk app to pass the time.

Somehow, Rudolph III’s work companion started complaining about having a girlfriend and backed out.

“If you’re okay with me, I’ll help you instead.”

I replied flippantly.

“Is that okay? Are you sure? Seriously, Kakeru, you’re a godsend! I’ll come pick you up right now!!”

I was like, hey hey.

I was worried that maybe he’s not getting the joke. Certainly, there were times when the guy behind the reindeer dot icon was so annoying and couldn’t read the air. But then again, he was a funny guy.

I thought it would be better to send him some clear lip service.

“I’m sorry to have kept you waiting, Kakeru.”

“~~~ah!”

Well, I guess people can’t speak when they’re too scared.

Because, you know. I was alone.

I was all alone, and if there was a reindeer in the corner of the room, wouldn’t it be scary?

“Oh, hi, I’m Rudolph III.”

“Oh, hi”

Moreover, the reindeer is speaking. Don’t ask me how it’s talking. It’s just a dream.

Somehow, it must be something like this. Yeah.

“Then, shall we get going?”

“Where!”

“Eh? You said you’d help me, right?”

“Th, that’s…”

When a big horn comes close to my face, it’s really scary. It’s a dream, but it’s going to be traumatic.

“There’s not much time, so why don’t we go for now?”

“Er, that’s why…”

Rudolph III in my dream did not read the air at all.

As expected, I got annoyed. Even in a dream, this is terrible.

Hmm? A horn in front of me??

“Argh”

Something hit my stomach. Maybe a horn.

――That’s what I dreamt.

That’s terrible. It’s so terrible, I’m going to have to make a story out of it later.

It’s time to wake up.

“Ah, I had a horrible dreaaaaaaaam, m?”

I thought I woke up feeling refreshed as I flung off the futon.

Where am I?

Somehow, there is a huge Christmas tree in front of me.

Well, it’s not like some sort of shopping mall, or something like that ――not really.

It’s more like a log cabin. What I see behind the ridiculous Christmas tree, isn’t that a fireplace?

A ridiculously large log cabin room with a ridiculously large Christmas tree and a fireplace. Glittering Christmas decorations all over the room.

“Oh~, am I still dreaming?”

Let’s get back to bed. It’s strange to sleep in a dream, but I’m tired, so let’s pull the futon over my head and go to sleep. Let’s sleep in a dream.

“Kakeru, are you awake?”

“……”

Why do I have to hear Rudolph III’s mumbling voice again?

The sound of rattling, light footsteps approaching, but let’s ignore it. Ignore. Ignore ignore ignore ignore ignore….

“Don’t ignore me, Kakeru.”

“Eh, wai…”

No, just like that, the vivid futon was swiftly stripped off.

Moreover, the smile is irritating. Hmm? Smile?

The reindeer in my previous dream was changed into a guy wearing a reindeer costume. Ah, as expected of a dream.

“I was worried, I thought you were dead.”

“Huh?”

Enough. It’s a dream, so I’ve already given up. I gave up everything. I have a lot to say, but I gave up.

I’m talking unilaterally, but I gave up. I’ll just listen to him from right to left. Sooner or later, I’ll wake up from my dream.

“…… Kakeru, are you listening?”

“Yes, I was listening. This is Santa’s House in Christmas Town. And you’re supposed to be Rudolph III, the reindeer sidekick pulling Santa’s sleigh(sledge), right? “

“Yes!”

Oh, somehow, this dream is really tiring.

I don’t believe in Santa Claus or anything like that, really.

“I’ll introduce you to the old bastard Santa, so please follow me.”

“You call him Old Bastard?”

I’m sure I made a mistake in retorting, but it’s a dream, so it’s okay.

“That’s right. Seriously, the old bastard. Locking me up in Blizzard because the gnomes won’t do their job. Well, it’s the gnomes’ fault, too. And they deserved it. But because of that blizzard, Kakeru almost died. I’m really glad you’re alive.”

You really talk a lot.

“I almost died?”

“Yes, you did. I’m really sorry.”

“It’s okay, it’s just a dream.”

“Eh?”

Rudolph III, with a scowling expression and a reindeer costume, reached out to my face.

“Whowowowoa. What are you doing?”

“You said it was a dream. That hurt, didn’t it? Yes, this is reality.”

“Huh?”

Both pinched cheeks really hurt. But this is a dream, right? It must be a painful dream.

I heard the noise, or rather the sound of speakers turning on.

[Ping-pong, ping-pong]

“Hii!”

Rudolph III turned pale and quivered at the voice of a high-spirited man’s voice.

[Well, Rudolph III. Come on, bring me that human here. I wonder how long you will keep me waiting. If you don’t want to end up like Rudolph I, bring him now.]

“Oh no, I don’t want that at all.”

[Ping-pong, ping-pong]

Rudolph III almost held his nose, and cried.

I mean, what kind of person can make this airhead tremble over the speaker?

“Why? If Vixen hadn’t backed out, none of this would have happened. Guss, uh, damn normie, he should explooooode.”

“Oh, er, Rudolph?”

“Yes, guzzu, Kakeru, what is it?”

When he’s really crying, I feel like I’m doing something wrong.

“Ah, I don’t know what this is, but I’ll follow you.”

“Really? Thank you very much!

He smiled so easily that I thought he was fake crying.

――He’s kind of annoying, but he’s funny.

I got off the cushy sofa and realized for the first time that I was still in my loungewear. You didn’t have to recreate the dream so realistically, even with the socks that are about to have holes.

“Hah~, what a relief. I really don’t want to end up like Grandpa.”

“Hmm”

Beyond the room with the huge Christmas Tree was a wide hallway. It’s wider than the school corridor. Even though it had wooden flooring, it’s not cold at all.

Rudolph III is going down the hallway while flying and bouncing.

“So who is the man with the voice from before?”

“Of course it was that old bastard Santa Claus.”

“What?”

“Oh, please don’t tell anyone I called him an old bastard.”

No, no, no, no. It was a very excited young voice just now.

“…… I wonder if they used a voice changer.”

“Did you say something? Kakeru.”

“I didn’t say anything.”

This guy has surprisingly good hearing.

“Well, we’re here.”

At the end of the hall was a sparkly door plate that read “Santa Claus”.

I don’t believe in Santa Claus, this is a dream, but for some reason I’m getting nervous. I guess that’s what it’s like to meet a celebrity.

“Santa, I’m coming in….. fugya.”

The moment he opened the door, a brown object that flew at a tremendous speed hit Rudolph III in the face.

If you were standing right behind him, you would have hit your head on the floor along with Rudolph III. It’s safe, safe, safe.

“…… Teddy bear?”

What are you doing, Santa?

Probably right in front of me picking up the teddy bear, Rudolph III got up with vigor.

Well, it was a teddy bear even at tremendous speed, and I wonder if the damage was not a big deal.

“I’m always telling you to knock.”

The same voice as before came from inside the room. That wasn’t a voice changer.

For some reason, I was nervous as I peeked into the room and saw a white-haired man in red sitting on an armchair.

No, wait a minute…

“I’m sorry. Santa Claus. Just forgive me for the red nose.”

Rudolph III, who clings to a man in red with tremendous momentum, said something worrisome, but it doesn’t matter.

“The human should come quickly, too.”

— Because Santa Claus was a handsome guy.

🎅🎅🎅

Like the Christmas tree room earlier, but the word “fairy tale” was perfect for this room. I can understand why Rudolph III called it Santa’s House. That’s exactly what it feels like.

It’s the same with Santa’s House, and somehow Rudolph III feels like Christmas.

“But you also learned a good lesson about what happens when you take things lightly, didn’t you?”

“Yes, I’m sorry.”

But Santa Claus, who is drinking cocoa with heart-shaped marshmallows in front of me, isn’t Christmas-like.

He feels like a Hollywood star in a Santa Claus costume.

I’ve had a lot of bad dreams, but Santa Claus is the worst.

“Some people like Rudolph can’t read the air, so be careful from now on.”

“Yes.”

Being lectured by a handsome Santa Claus is also awful.

By the way, Rudolph III was kicked out when he brought me in, as if he had no further use.

“Well, since you’re here, I’d like you to help me this time.”

“Yes… ts, Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeh!”

It’s not something you can just say.

Oh, I wonder if someone will wake me up soon.

“Well, don’t just stand there, have a seat.”

“Y, yes.”

It’s a really troublesome dream.

Sit on this chick-like bead cushion. I’m getting tired. I’m pretty sure I’m going to wake up in the worst way.

Santa Claus turns the pages of the thick, ridiculous book on his lap.

I guess he’s old enough to have a magnifying glass in his pocket.

“Well, Kitano Kaoru, 16 years old. Birthday is…”

It’s not just my birthday. He read out my information, such as my blood type and family structure.

“Y, yes.”

“Currently attending a local public high school, but is not interested in club activities. Hmmm, hmm, I see, oh, this is interesting… that’s unexpected. Oh, that’s what it is, hmmm…

No, something is bothering me. I’m sure there’s nothing to grin about. I’m just a normal, healthy high school boy.

No, I’m really worried.

“Ah, Santa Claus, sir. What’s in the book…”

The sound of the book closing with a bang interrupted my reluctant voice.

“Okay, no problem. Mr. Kakeru, I’ll get you to help me from today on. I’ll pay you well.”

“Eh? …… Ah.”

Oh, I can’t do it anymore. I’ve given up on this dream, but I can’t do it anymore!

“Oh! I put up with it because it’s a dream anyway, but I can’t do it anymore! I mean, this is my dream, isn’t it? Why are you ignoring my will?”

“Dream?”

Santa Claus stood up and shook his head.

“Do you think this is a dream?”

“Yes.”

I won’t let you say it’s not a dream!

Melancholy of the Gnomes

Santa Claus shrugged his shoulders. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s so handsome, but even his little gestures are impressive.

“If it’s a dream, it’s a dream. The residents of Holiday World are similar in concept and image in the first place.”

“Huh?”

To be honest, I was completely taken aback.

This is usually the scene where people say, “It’s not a dream, it’s reality.”

No, a dream is a dream, but he completely ignores my will.

“Is that a common concept among most people? Because that’s kind of how we live.”

“Oh, most people say Santa Claus is fat…”

“Ahn?”

“No, nothing!!”

Don’t come at me with that handsome guy stare. It’ll seriously freak me out. I think I know why Rudolph III was so freaked out.

“Well, it doesn’t matter if it’s a dream for you, but once you say you’re going to do something, you have to do it until the end, otherwise you’ll be in trouble. For us, this is reality. It might have been some light flattery, but you said you’d do it, didn’t I?”

It’s quite a response to being admonished with a straight face by a handsome guy. Certainly, it is true that I went with the flow and replied that I would help him, and that was the start of it all.

“Even if he said that, I don’t know what I can do. I can’t pull a sleigh(sledge)or anything.”

“Well, you don’t need to worry about it because we’re going to do something about that, but I want you to help gnomes as well.”

“Gnomes?”

“Follow me and you’ll see.”

I have no choice but to follow him, huh? Yeah.

Even if I stay here like this, there’s no sign of waking up from my dream.

I decided to follow Santa Claus, who walked while dexterously avoiding toys and stuffed animals lying on the floor.

I’ve just digested the daily routine. I am neither pessimistic nor hopeful for the future. I don’t know why I’m walking with Santa Claus just because I’m in a dream. In the first place, I don’t believe in Santa Claus.

I walked along the same wide corridor as before. I didn’t notice it a while ago, but the windows on the left side were lined up at regular intervals.

Is this the Blizzard that Rudolph III was talking about? It’s almost completely white, and you can just tell the outside scenery from the snow that hits the windowpane.

“The gnomes haven’t made any progress with the wrapping at all, and I want to borrow a cat’s helping hand. It’s only 4 hours a day, so please help me until the 24th.”

“Wrapping work?”

Four hours a day or so, and we’re through. It’s a dream.

“Well, the gnomes will tell you more.”

Santa Claus opened the door of the room at the end of the hall.

It’s the big Christmas tree room I was in a little while ago. I was the only one there, and there should have been only one door. Oh, maybe I can’t explain it because it’s a dream.

Yes, it’s okay that the dwarves are working a lot because it’s a dream.

Santa Claus claps his hands, and brilliantly makes a mysterious turn.

“Greetings, my dear gnomes, it’s Santa Claus. Don’t stop your hands, pay attention!”

No, the dwarves with pointed hats are stopping their hands all at once. I mean, I don’t know, I feel like I’m not welcome here.

What’s with the faces under the colorful pointed hats on either side of the four long workbench? It’s so depressing that it doesn’t look fashionable.

“I told you not to stop.”

“Hii!”

This handsome Santa sometimes gives off a dark aura, doesn’t he?

Somehow, some of the dwarves are crying.

“Since you guys didn’t finish your work quickly, I’ve asked this human to help you out, so be grateful, it’s only four hours a day, but at least it’ll help a little.”

That? Maybe they weren’t expecting me.

“So, do your best.”

“Eh, ah, wait…”

He said, “Good luck,” and left me there.

The jingle bell humming away behind the closed door makes me angry.

“Seriously, somebody wake me uuuuuuuup.”

This dream is still going on, apparently.

🎅🎅🎅

I wrap a white cube with colorful wrapping paper and decorate it with a ribbon. That’s what wrapping is all about. It’s not an easy job, is it?

However, because there are so many of them, we were divided into two groups, one for wrapping them with wrapping paper and the other for decorating them with ribbons. I was assigned to the wrapping paper group.

“And don’t act so high and mighty just because you’re human.”

“Oh, yes.”

I’m not trying to be pompous, but the gnome girl who’s been forced to be my mentor often says that to me.

The pink pointed hat looks great on her and she’s cute, so I’ll forgive it.

Yes, cute is justice.

The way she puffs up her cheeks is really cute.

It doesn’t matter what you say, it’s cute.

“That’s not right! Ahhh! Why can’t you do it? This way… like this! See, start over!”

— I retract my previous statement.

It’s not cute at all, being told to do something over due to a single fold.

“You know, you keep redoing things, but you don’t have to do it so tightly.”

“E, even though he’s a human being, he’s going to complain!”

“No, it doesn’t have anything to do with humans. I mean, there’s not a lot of time until Christmas. If you don’t cut us some slack a little, the wrapping work will not be finished, will it?”

“Th, this human, e, even though you’re a human… Aaaaan! Aaaaah! ……”

“Eh, wai, ah.”

Why are you crying!

Hig, Guzu, I want to go home.”

Waaaaaaaan, enouuuuuuuuugh!”

What’s more, about 50 gnomes started crying all at once.

“Eh! What the hell? Is it my fault? Hey, I apologize, so don’t cry!”

“Uwaaaaaaaaahnn! I want to go hoooooooooooome.”

Seriously, I want to cry.

Why did this happen? I really want to cry.

“Shut uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuup!”

The door opened by itself and in came Rudolph III reindeer ver.

I was impressed that he could make them stop crying so quickly. Rudolph III.

“Why, you just get what you deserve every year!”

Rudolph III began his pompous sermon, with his hooves clacking.

“Even though you were so excited about making presents, you don’t want to do any wrapping work, that’s why you’re locked up in Blizzard! You deserve this!”

Oh, you’re sniveling. But I thought I heard him say something like that earlier.

The door that Rudolph III had left through slammed shut by itself.

It’s a terrible dream, but it does add up.

🎅🎅🎅

“Hmm, so you’re saying you get bored with the wrapping process because it’s the same thing over and over again?”

Ecubo ―― the little instructor with a pink pointed hat ―― rubbed her bright red eyes and nodded her head.

“Because it’s not fun, I get bored. Humans only do a little bit, and they don’t understand.”

Well, I’m certainly only doing a little bit, but it’s a simple task so it may be a matter of time before I get bored.

“You know, is there any other way of wrapping than this?”

“What are you talking about?”

“I, I’m sorry!”

Please don’t cry anymore. Give me a break.

“Y, you can do that? You’re too cheeky for a human. Teach me.”

Huh? You’re not mad at me?

What, you’re freaking me out.

“Hmm. I can’t really explain it, but the way to wrap it, it’s kind of like, fluffy.”

“Fluffy? What is fluffy?”

“That’s why I said I can’t explain it.”

“You’re useless. Human.”

I feel bad for making her eyes shine so brightly.

“Well, he’s only human. Oh, your hand has stopped.”

But she seemed to have more energy than before.

I wish I could have taught her a wrapping method.

――Huh? Am I enjoying this dream?

Day4 * 12/23

Shiny Star Ornaments

I hang a silver star ornament on the doorknob of my room. This is the third time I’ve done this, but I’m still nervous. I can’t help but think about what it would be like if the other side was still my house.

Incidentally, I also remember the first time I turned the doorknob.

🎅🎅🎅

“Just put this on the right doorknob, and you can come to Santa’s House.”

Santa Claus smiled spitefully as he told me to come at any time during the day, four hours a day, when it wouldn’t get suspicious. Then he opened the door of Santa’s House and pushed my back as hard as he could.

The next thing I knew, I was in bed, and it was the next morning.

I had a terrible dream and I was going to make a story out of it, but there was a star ornament on my study desk.

It might have been one of my own, but I had no idea.

The last time I decorated for Christmas or had a party at home with my parents was in the second grade of elementary school.

No matter how much I thought about it, this brand new Christmas decoration only came to my mind in a dream.

I also asked my mom, who was on her day off, but she didn’t know. On the other hand, she doesn’t even enter my room in the first place. Well, I guess that’s true. I’d be pissed too if someone entered my room without permission.

I was so tired, I couldn’t do anything about my assignments, or play any games.

“Ah come on, no way!”

In the corner of my eye, I saw a silver star.

Give it a try?

No, it was a dream. But…

“After all, it is impossible.”

Come to think of it, why am I searching for new wrapping methods?

It’s a dream, of course.

Am I thinking about the possibility?

“No, it can’t be.”

I’m annoyed that I’m even thinking about it.

I couldn’t do what I had to do or wanted to do, but at lunchtime I was sipping on a cup of noodles.

“Well, I’m the only one right now. I’m just trying to prove my dream. It’s not like I want to go to Santa’s House.’

I’ll just try it once.

It’s silly, but it might be a good story.

It’s like, “I feel stupid for caring about this”.

“All you have to do is hang the ornament on the doorknob, right?”

All you have to do is turn the doorknob to open it.

Somehow, I’m nervous for no reason.

――What are you doing, me?

That’s what I wanted to say.

“Kakeru, I’ve been waiting for you!”

Just turning the doorknob, Santa’s House appeared.

In other words, even if there is a reindeer in front of you, there is no option to close the door and run away.

“…… It wasn’t a dream.”

🎅🎅🎅

If you open the door, you get Santa’s House――not if you turn the doorknob, you get Santa’s House, which is really not fair.

I want to make a story out of it, but I’ll have a hard time getting people to believe it’s true.

“You’re late, human!”

“Yes, I’m sorry, Ecubo.”

“Oh, I don’t want an apology.”

Ecubo is cute. She’s also quite tsundere….

“Human, I’ve been waiting for you, come quick.”

“Yes yes”

On the second day, I taught them how to apply some of the wrapping techniques I’d looked up on my phone, and the gnomes were very motivated. Soon, I started coming up with our own original wrappings and it was a festive event.

On the third day, I barely did anything. Still, I didn’t get bored because the tsundere gnomes were talking to me one after another.

It seems that the reason Santa Claus became handsome is because he recently went on a diet and became rejuvenated.

I don’t get it.

For some reason, Ecubo is skipping while moving from the room with the ridiculous Christmas tree to the work room of the gnomes. It’s okay, she’s cute.

I put my hand on the doorknobs that were too tall for the height of gnomes.

“Here, quickly! We’re all waiting for you, Kakeru.”

“Yes, ye– huh? Ecubo, just now you said my name… Wow.”

The crackers rang all at once.

“Eh? Whatwhat? Eh?”

The gnomes with big smiles on their faces rushed over to me.

“What are you talking about! Thanks to you, we just finished wrapping the last one!”

“Thank you, Kakeru.”

“We owe you one, Kakeru.”

“We could have done it without you, Kakeru. But thank you!”

I’m not sure if I’ve gotten used to the gnomes’ tsundere, but I was pleasantly surprised when they said my name.

“Yes, my dear gnomes, and Mr. Kakeru, you’re finally done. Congratulations.”

Santa Claus, who made a brilliant turn, was also smiling. With a smile–

“Well, we’re just about ready for another year, so no congratulations or anything.”

“Hii!”

— that’s true.

But I’m sure it will be okay next year.

The gnomes were really motivated just to find out that there was more than one way to wrap.

I think even the brief scream from the gnomes was like a conditioned reflex.

Because when Santa Claus clapped his hand three times, his face changed to something expectant.

“Now that you’ve done all the work, go outside and play.”

“Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaahh!!”

The Gnomes all rushed off together.

“Errmm.”

Left alone with handsome Santa Claus.

For some reason, I’m nervous.

Santa Claus’ eyes are like a beautiful night sky that seems to suck you in.

“You’re not going out to play, are you, Mr. Kakeru.”

“Huh?”

What do you mean?

Day1 * 12/24

Santa Claus is an S Among Ss

Whenever I come back from Santa’s House, I always find myself lying on the bed.

Therefore, looking at the dimly lit ceiling every time, I think it’s a dream.

“But it’s not a dream, I’m sure.”

The star ornament in my right hand always tells me that.

“What did that mean?”

🎅🎅🎅

“I’m a little relieved.”

I blinked repeatedly, and Santa Claus smiled wickedly at me, as he always does.

He picked up a box from the pile of presents piled up almost to the ceiling of the work room.

“Actually, most people who come to this Holiday World have problems.”

“Problems?”

“Oh, not everyone with problems come here.”

He put the corner of the present box on his fingertips and spun it.

“Do I have a problem?”

“That’s what I mean.”

Even if you suddenly say such a thing… I don’t have a clue. I’m a normal and healthy high school boy.

Both mom and dad are ordinary people who are everywhere, so there is no problem.

However, sometimes I feel uneasy about whether I should stay like this, but that’s about it. Because I can’t think about the future.

“Somehow, I knew you didn’t want to grow up, Mr. Kakeru.”

“H, hah!”

“Well, it’s gonna be okay, I guess.”

“That’s good!”

Santa Claus put the present back.

“It’s okay. Mr. Kakeru is a kid who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus.”

“Eh?”

Why do I have to be told that to just to sulk?

“I mean, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe you!”

“Look, I’m serious. It’s okay. You don’t have to believe me. But…”

🎅🎅🎅

“What is this? The difference between children and adults? I mean…I don’t get it.”

I’ve been thinking about what Santa Claus said all day, even after I was taken out of the house and having a snowball fight.

Before I knew it, it was morning.

“Ahhhhh. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t do it.’

This year’s Christmas Eve started out in the worst possible way.

What’s wrong with me?

I’m a normal, healthy high school boy.

I can’t do it.

Sometimes I get insurmountable anxiety, but I’m having a lot of fun there.

I can’t do it.

“Forget it”

When I say it out loud, the faces of Rudolph III, the gnomes, and Santa Claus flicker.

“What is that?”

Neither parent is home from work today.

I’ve been frustrated all morning. If I was alone, I would only think about yesterday, but I didn’t feel like going outside.

“What the hell! After all the effort…”

I couldn’t really put it into words, which was annoying, but I didn’t mind.

I ate instant noodles for lunch. Yes, it didn’t feel like Christmas, but I don’t care anymore.

Even though I’m full, I didn’t feel refreshed.

I don’t even feel like playing with my smartphone.

I should just throw away this star ornament.

All right, into the trash.

“Wow”

Suddenly the star ornament began to shine, and I shielded my eyes with my arms, only to find that I was already in the ridiculous Christmas tree room of Santa’s House.

“…… Why?”

“Why? Of course it’s all because there’s one last big job left.”

Santa Claus, who made a brilliant turn, is in good spirits. Is that so, too? It’s Christmas Eve today.

“Well, everyone is waiting, so Mr. Kakeru…”

“Erm!”

As I thought, it was strange.

Yesterday, he said something that threw me off, and now I don’t think so.

“Um, I…”

“I told you, didn’t I? It doesn’t matter if it’s a dream? Holiday world is like a dream. Still, it’s real for us.”

Santa Claus, who approached with a jump, slaps me on both shoulders. I don’t want to see his face anymore.

“I can’t. I can’t do it. He’s making fun of me like I’m a kid who doesn’t want to grow up.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make fun of you.”

Don’t go pompous and tap me on the shoulder.

“I’m glad you thought that far ahead, Mr. Kakeru. After all, I want you to do it until the end. It’s not every day that you get to do a job that gives out dreams to children all over the world.”

“No, that’s why…”

He hit my shoulder harder than before.

Seriously, what the hell?

“I’m also preparing a feast for dinner.”

I’m not looking for a treat.

I know I was talked into it by Santa Claus, and I’m pissed, but I nodded a bit.

“All right, now change into this.”

“Ah, yeah … this is!”

Isn’t it a reindeer costume?

When I looked up to protest, Santa Claus smiled sadistically.

“Did you forget? You were called in to replace Rudolf III’s partner, Vixen. I need you to wear this and pull my sleigh(sledge).”

“No, I can’t do it! No way!”

“It’s not impossible! Mr. Kakeru is a can-do sort of boy. I still have something to do, so when I finish changing, I’ll see you again.”

“Hey, wait.”

Could it be that Santa Claus, since yesterday, has been saying such meaningful things just to irritate me?

The more I saw that S attitude, the more I felt it was possible.

The more I thought about it, the more I felt like he just wanted to make fun of me.

“Oh, I feel like such an idiot.”

I don’t want to give up now, so let’s do it.

“I’ll remember this, Santa Claus.”

Hard Christmas!

The reindeer costume was perfect for my body.

Pull up the bell-shaped zipper charm to the neck.

“Kakeruuuuuu! Are you readyyyyyyyyyyy?”

Rudolph III Human ver. is still a heck of a smiler.

“Yes, I changed my clothes.”

But is this all right?

“Well, I was so worried. I was at a loss thinking Kakeru wouldn’t come anymore because that old bastard said something unnecessary.”

“I didn’t want to come, but he forced me to come.”

“What are you talking about? Even that old bastard can’t force anyone to come.”

“Eh?”

What do you mean?

In the first place, he brought me here, right?

“Well, let’s get going. The gnomes are waiting, too.”

“Hey, Rudolph, that…”

Rudolph III does not read the air. He grabs me by the arm and pulls me.

“As a reindeer, I don’t know the details, but I know that Kakeru is a good guy. Children from all over the world are waiting, so let’s hurry.”

It was difficult to run without falling. Even though I was telling him to let go, he won’t let go of my arm.

“That’s right, children all over the world give gifts only to good children…”

“There are no children who are not good children. We give out dreams so that children can be good children and then become adults.”

“Isn’t it a present?”

“Dreams are also great presents, Kakeru. You don’t understand.”

I’m supposed to be sprinting, but I’m not short of breath at all.

Maybe it’s thanks to this costume.

Beyond the window in the hallway is completely night.

“If only children are used, humans will soon be destroyed. There are adults who protect and nurture children, so they can play, dream and become adults, don’t you think?”

“I don’t really get what you’re saying…”

I don’t get it, but I’m really starting to enjoy this.

🎅🎅🎅

Santa Claus’ sleigh(sledge) was, after all, rather large.

On the sleigh(sledge) decorated with bells and glittering braids and holly, was another ridiculously large white sack.

“You are late, Kakeru.”

A pink pointed hat rushed over.

“Sorry, Ecubo.”

“I, I wasn’t worried.”

“Yes, thank you for your concern.”

“That’s why I told you I wasn’t worried! Oh, I still have something to do, so see you later, Kakeru.”

Ecubo, she’s cute. It’s not like she’s a little girl or anything, but she’s cute.

“What are you talking about when the gnomes have finished their work? They’re not honest, at all.”

“No, you’re the one who can’t read the air.”

“Eh? Kakeru, didn’t you say something terrible now? You said something terrible, like I can’t read the air.”

Oh, this guy’s case is serious and terminal.

“Yes, dear residents of Christmas Town, and Mr. Kakeru, Mmuah.”

Santa Claus appeared on the sleigh with a red megaphone in one hand.

“Rudolph III, shut up a little bit. If you want to be red-nosed, you may speak.”

“Hii!”

Rudolph, who holds down his nose, also heard from the gnomes how he is the grandson of the red-nosed reindeer from that Christmas Song.

Apparently, he doesn’t like that red nose very much.

“Well, this year, Christmas has come again!”

“Hooray!”

The gnomes jump.

“This year, Vixen wanted to flirt with his girlfriend, so he backed out.”

“Damn normie should die!”

“Nose”

“Hii!”

Rudolph III, who holds his nose, doesn’t seem to notice, but Santa Claus seems to be making fun of him as if it were just a joke. It’s probably a good thing that he can’t read the air.

“Anyway, it’s Vixen, so he’ll likely be dumped soon and come crawling back. Well, thanks to Mr. Kakeru, it’s going to be a special night.””

“Kakeru, keep up the good work. I’m not praising you.”

“Thank you, Ecubo.”

Because Ecubo was hard at that time, I thought that I would do something.

“Well, the presents are …”

“Full of dreams!

The gnomes answer Santa Claus in unison.

With an enthusiasm that made me think Santa Claus was some kind of artist on stage or something.

“Reindeers…”

“Full of energy!”

In addition to Rudolph III, there were other voices that answered Santa Claus.

Before I could gasp, I became a four-legged reindeer and was connected to the sleigh.

Besides me and Rudolph III, there are other reindeer, aren’t there?

“Jingle bell, ring the bell!”

Eh, hey, what should I do?

🎅🎅🎅

I’m really impressed now!

I’m in the scenery I often see on TV and movies.

How can I not be moved?

But if I hadn’t been a reindeer, I would have been more impressed.

“Merry Christmas!”

Somehow, the tension of Santa Claus is intense!

Oh, by the way, I feel like I’m moving in a reindeer’s body.

I feel like I’m looking at the sea at night from the sky from a reindeer’s eyes.

You don’t need me, do you?

“Kakeru, Kakeru, your voice is leaking out.”

“Ah, my bad.”

“I’m really grateful to you, Kakeru.”

Rudolph III, standing diagonally in front of me, glanced back.

There are nine reindeer including me.

It seems that Rudolph III and Vixen, who had backed out, were the only residents of the Holiday World. The other seven are selected every year from the reindeer on my side of the world.

That? More and more, I don’t think they need me.

“Merry Christmas! Hyaha!”

Santa Claus’ tension is too weird.

“I mean, the way you laugh is wrong…”

“Shh! Shh! Shh, Kakeru! If the old bastard hears…

Rudolph III told me to shut my mouth in a hurry, but it was too late.

“Oh! Who’s the old bastard?”

“Hii! Not the red nooooooooose!”

“Too late, Ha ha ha ha!”

This isn’t Santa Claus anymore, it’s the last boss.

The scream of Rudolph III is too loud.

I wonder what a red-nosed reindeer looks like. I’d like to see it.

“Hey hey! It’s about time to start!”

Ah, no way, just being handsome and a S alone, was pretty much destroying my image of him, but I didn’t expect him to still continue destroying that image.

“Answer”

“Aye, sir!”

After all, I want to go home.

🎅🎅🎅

The special time is over in a flash.

“This is the finish!”

When the sound of a bell is heard, a ball of light floats around the sled. At the center of the ball of light is that gift box.

From Santa Claus to the children, like a shooting star, a present(dream) is delivered.

“Merry Christmas! See you next year!!”

Somehow, I feel like I understand.

I didn’t want to grow up, as Santa Claus said. Somehow, I kind of wanted to stay as I am, you know?

Sometimes, I’m attacked by vague anxiety because I didn’t want to be an adult. I finally understood.

If I hadn’t gone around the world and seen so many different children, I wouldn’t have noticed.

When I thought I could hear the sound of crackers, I was in the ridiculous Christmas tree room of Santa’s House.

“Thank you very much for your hard work.”

The gnomes are shining their eyes with cakes and treat plates in hand.

It seems that Ecubo is still proud of being my mentor.

“I knew Kakeru would come back properly.”

“Yes, thank you.”

I wonder why I hadn’t noticed it until now. Aren’t all the gnomes children?

Maybe I didn’t notice because I was just a child too.

If so, I’m already–

“The difference between children and adults”

Rudolph III taught me, right?

“Well, good work again this year! Now eat, eat!”

“Hooray!”

Even Ecubo rushes to the table where the treats are lined up. It’s cute, so I like it.

“Umm, Santa Claus.”

“Hmm?”

Under the ridiculous Christmas tree, looking at Santa Claus, the gnomes and Rudolph III, I naturally bow my head.

“Thank you. Somehow, I feel like I understand the difference between children and adults.”

“That’s good.”

When I raised my head, I saw the eyes of Santa Claus in the color of the night sky.

That. He’s not handsome.

There was a fat old man with a soft beard.

“Well, let’s get you home. You’ll grow up properly.”

I’m dazzled.

…… Ho Ho Ho~!

I hear a familiar laugh.

⭐⭐⭐

As usual, I woke up on the bed.

The star ornament on my right was supposed to tell me it wasn’t a dream.

“…… I had a terrible dream.”

The silver star ornament, which used to shine so brightly, is now a cheap ornament.

I can’t go to Santa’s House anymore.

If I thought so, it wouldn’t work anymore.

The star ornament is blurred and cannot be seen.

I cried a little bit.

“I wonder if I can be an adult who can make people dream like Santa Claus.”

XX Years Later * 12/24

Helping Santa Claus Isn’t Easy

This season always reminds me of that.

I kept wondering if it was a dream.

Could I have made children dream a little like Santa Claus?

Could I have been a little helper of Santa Claus?

Compared to the Christmas Tree in Santa’s House, there is a lousy Christmas tree in the sunny spot of the living room.

“Grandpa. Grandpa”

“Oh, what’s wrong?”

My youngest granddaughter looks a lot like Ecubo.

“This star, fall down.”

“Thank you. Can you put it on the top?”

“Yes “

The star ornament from that time is on top of the Christmas tree every year without regaining its brilliance.

It was not easy to give children dreams.

No, no. I don’t know if they were given it or not.

Still, I didn’t want to forget the Santa Claus I was involved with in the experience that could only be considered that dream.

I really only considered it a dream, and I got old without being able to tell anyone. I couldn’t make it a story on the internet.

“Hey, Grandpa.”

“Hmm?”

The granddaughter who looks a lot like Ecubo turned back in front of the Christmas tree.

“Give me this treasure, it’s shiny and beautiful.”

“Sorry, that star is Grandpa’s……… nothing. If you take good care of it for me, I’ll give it to you as a present.”

“Wow. Thank you, Grandpa……. huh? Grandpa, are you crying? Where does it hurt?”

Maybe this star, which has regained its brilliance, will lead my granddaughter to Santa’s House.

Helping Santa Claus wasn’t easy, but I hope I was able to help a little. I wonder if I can continue to help him for the rest of my life?

🎅 Merry Christmas⭐

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