Scene: Brock University, 11:30 p.m. the night before Christmas. All is quiet, but for the pleasant buzz of fluorescent lights. Students have long gone home leaving classrooms and hallways, residences and parking lots, empty.
Queue Boomer, the rambunctious badger friend of many, strolling down the hallways with a pleasant spring in each step. Boomer has assigned himself the extra special duty of waiting up to see the jolly bearded man in red. A duty that Boomer has assigned himself every year and has consecutively failed.
But this year, he thinks, will be the year that everything changes, and not just because he’d taken a page out of every university student’s book by loading up on caffeine. This year will be the year that he finally meets Santa because he truly and honestly believes it will happen.
Boomer skips down the hallway with new found vigour in each step despite the fact that it is well past his bedtime. The excitement of Santa is far outweighing his coffee jitters.
And suddenly, all at once, Boomer’s greatest wish was answered. A loud thump echoed through the hallway as if something, or perhaps someone, crash landed on the roof above it. With the excitement only an amorphized badger could feel, Boomer bolted up the staircase towards Mackenzie Chown and onto the roof where he came face to face with what could only be described as a fustercluck.
Reindeer were scattered across the construction site, the ornate sleigh entirely tipped over with presents falling out of the giant sack that was still somehow attached to its backseat. Sprawled across the pavement, and dangerously close to the construction, was Santa Claus himself, entirely passed out.
Boomer’s previous excitement disappeared entirely as he ran to the elder gentleman’s side, politely nudging Santa till the he made a sort of half-gasp, half-gurgle sound. To Boomer’s great dissatisfaction, the holiday figure smelled very strongly of eggnog.
“W-what, where am I?” Santa slurred, cheeks rosy with cold and drink.
Boomer pointed at his Brock shirt which Santa stared at, bleary-eyed. He wiped his mouth on his fluffy white sleeve then pushed himself up slowly, Boomer assisting by supporting his back.
“I’ve been on a bit of a bender ever since 12 Barz,” Santa said, resting his head in his hands. “Please don’t tell the misses.”
Boomer was very unhappy. Not only was Santa Claus, the very man he wanted to meet, a total disappointment and a drunk, but he was also drinking and driving, something that made Boomer incredibly uncomfortable. It was enough to chill even the warmest of the badger’s feelings.
But beyond his feelings of disappointment, Boomer knew that he couldn’t let the world, and more importantly Brock, down. He knew what he had to do.
With a newfound resilience, Boomer gathered the reindeer back, stuffed up all the loose presents back into the open sack, and with a strength much like that of a Brock student trying to shove themselves into an already too full Glenridge bus, pushed the sleigh into an upright position. Santa may not have had the faculties to drive the sleigh, but Boomer, who had just received his full G license two weeks prior, was ready to step up and take the reins quite literally.
Finally, and with some struggle, Boomer helped Santa into the passenger seat of the sleigh. With reins in hand and jolly old St. Nick at his side, the badger ushered the reindeer into the wide open night sky. At first, the process was frustrating, especially when Santa had to lean over the side of the sleigh to do as drunks often do, but with instruction and optimism, Boomer became well acquainted with the process. Before he knew it, he was revelling in all the tips and secrets of Christmas present deliveries.
Hours later and hundreds of thousands of miles gone by, Boomer had finally finished unloading the presents from the large sack. He landed the sleigh back on the roof of Brock, making sure to aim the landing as far from the construction site as possible this time.
“Thank you for all your help tonight, Boomer,” the now sober Santa said. “You really saved the night. I’ll make sure to keep my more morally ambiguous decisions for Bunny Hop from this point forward.”
As Santa drove off into the warm morning light, Boomer found that he wasn’t so disappointed after all. Who else could say they got to drive Santa’s sleigh on Christmas night? With badger pride, Boomer returned to the warmth of the building for a much needed cup of hot chocolate.