“What was that?”
He stopped the car. “I don’t know. I didn’t see anything.”
They both got out and looked behind. There was what appeared to be a man in a familiar red suit lying on the pavement.
“You did not just run over…” She stopped herself before she finished the sentence.
“I’m telling you, there was nothing in the road.”
“Well, what’s that, then? A ghost?”
Before he could again protest his innocence, there was a crashing sound in the trees alongside the road. In the light reflecting off of the snow, they could just make out the silhouette of animals, tied to a sleigh, coming to a stop.
“That seems to settle it, then. You killed Santa Claus.”
He jogged around to the front of the car. “No. Look. The front is fine. No impact. He must have already been there. Must have fallen out of his sleigh.”
“Right. Santa fell out of his own sleigh on Christmas Eve.”
“Why else would he be in the road if his sleigh just landed over there?”
“… I don’t know. Maybe you’re right. But what do we do now?”
“Call the police, I guess. We can’t just run over a dead body and not report it.”
“But what about Christmas? Kids are expecting him. And his reindeer.”
“So? What do you want me to do about it?”
“You could put on the suit…”
“Oh no. I’ve seen that movie. Forget it.”
“Before anyone starts talking about appropriating clothing, maybe check for a pulse?”
Startled, they both turned around to see the man sitting in the road.
“One of you want to quit staring and help me up?”
She ran over and stretched out her hand. “We thought you were dead.”
He took her hand and pulled himself up. “You know who I am?”
“You’re Santa Claus. Aren’t you?” He said, uncertainly.
“Right. So you know I’m basically a magic elf? You really think something like falling out of a sleigh and getting run over by a distracted driver is enough to kill me?”
“I wasn’t distracted!”
“Shh!” She motioned for him to shut up.
“I see the reindeer have already found me. I should get going.”
Before Santa could walk away, she grabbed his arm. “Can I ask…?”
“Go ahead.” He smiled at her.
“How did you fall out of your sleigh?”
Santa laughed, a deep belly laugh. “I was being careless. Trying a few loops. The reindeer like it, and I always find it fun. But don’t tell anyone.” He winked at her as he held his finger in front of his mouth. Then, faster than should have been possible, he dashed to his sleigh and took off into the night.
“No one is ever going to believe this,” he said, as they got back into the car.
“No, they aren’t.”