These are the continuing stories from the hard hitting expose:
Rudolph Was A Liar: Confessions of a Former Christmas Elf by Clarence A. Meant.
Let’s start close to home with Jack Frost.
The story you know is of a happy little blue elf with pointed shoes who flies around coating grass and windows in a sheet of white cold that somehow manages to be less pleasant than snow but more pleasant than ice.
But you never really hear where Jack Frost came from
The truth is both sad and wonderful at the same time.
The truth is Jack Frost is cursed.
Many centuries ago, Jack Frost was my best friend. He was a Christmas elf too, you know. We made toys together, our workbenches set up side by side. I had a picture of my cat he had a picture of his wife at the time (I am sad to say that she left him shortly after he found himself turned blue) We would talk and we would laugh.
I thought everything was fine for the most part.
Until one day, Jack put down the painted green and red striped hammer he was holding and said,
“I’m getting out of here. You should come with me.”
This wasn’t the first time in the years that he had seemed dissatisfied with his working conditions and had threatened to leave. In the past, though, I had always been able to convince him that he was overreacting or seeing things that weren’t there and he would be quiet for a few more years.
But something was different this time.
His sapphire eyes were colder than they normally were. As hard as weathered stone and just as sharp.
“You don’t plan on just leaving do you?” I asked him. Jack looked away, ashamed that I had so easily seen through him.
“If we left we could go anywhere. We could do anything. But he keeps us here.” Jack’s face was turning red though he was careful not to meet my eyes again.
“We can go anytime we want,” I scoffed, “Santa doesn’t hold us here.” Jack looked at me like I was terribly naive.
“If we can leave anytime we want then how come no one ever has? You think I am the only one to ever question his authority or my place here?”
“Yes.” I rolled my eyes. “Why would anyone want to leave? We make people happy. We make children happy. We are all well taken care of and given whatever we want. Why would anyone want to leave?”
(The hypocrisy of that statement would come to haunt me many years later when I chose to leave myself. For the moment, however, I remained blissfully ignorant.)
“We slave all year long, hardly ever having a break so that his highness in the red jumpsuit can take all the credit. Santa’s helpers? Please.” Jack said, his tone growing dark.
Now Jack was attracting attention from some of the nearby elves who were less than stealthily pretending not to be listening to our conversation. I knew if he didn’t knock it off we would be taken off of toy duty and end up shoveling snow off the the sleigh track and down main street (Which we called Snowflake Lane, naturally) for the rest of the Christmas season.
You read that correctly. There is a job shoveling snow at the North Pole. You perhaps understand why, despite my sympathy for whatever it was Jack was going through, I really wanted him to shut his over sized mouth.
And he did. Right then at least.
In hindsight, I realized that he gave up too easily. He was never quite so easy to calm down when he got his mind fixed on something. But at that particular moment, all I could feel was relieved.
Over the next few weeks, however, odd things began to happen around the workshop.
At first it just seemed like coincidence. Eventually, however, I began to suspect it was more and I knew exactly who was behind it.
At first, the machine that manufactured wood toy parts for things like wood soldiers and nutcrackers got so horribly jammed that it was going to take days to fix. This was in the days before iPods and blue-ray players you understand.
Tools started to go missing and then the power went out at the same time the backup generator failed. We worked for days by candlelight in the cold.
This was when I started to suspect Jack.
We had the backup generator in case the magic that powered all of the North Pole went down-Santa’s magic. In the entire existence of the North Pole his magic had never once failed.
But now it had and not even he knew why or was able to put it back in place.
Throughout this whole time-all of the failures- Jack hadn’t said a thing. He had been silent about his unhappiness though he now had more reason than ever to complain and, for once, he wouldn’t have even had to keep his voice down to avoid attention.
He would have simply been saying what dozens of elves with strained eyes and bone cold fingers would have been thinking.
That made me more suspicious but I wasn’t ready to confront him yet. If he told me he was behind it, I would have been forced to tell Santa. My sense of duty was very strong at this time in my life and Jack had caused a lot of undue suffering.
So I worked, shivering in the darkness.
It should be noted that through all of this, we never saw Santa. He never walked around the shop to see how we were doing. In my darkest moments, I perhaps saw what Jack was getting at.
Mrs. Claus-Isabelle Claus for the curious-came by to bring us candles, candy canes and hot cocoa throughout our shifts.
Weeks went by and nothing was getting better. The mechanics hadn’t been able to find the source of any of our shutdowns-not even the human made backup generator-and we were all getting tired of trying to paint and put together minuscule parts with aching eyes and pounding heads.
That was when Jack struck.
He-over dramatically if you ask me-threw down the tools he had been holding and climbed up onto our workbench. His feet threw sawdust into my fast, making me cough and rub my eyes.
He was set in what he was doing, however, and didn’t even notice me sputtering beneath him.
“This cannot go on!” Jack yelled. There were cautious mumbles of agreement around the workshop. “Where is our fearless leader now!?”
Jack gestured to Santa’s cottage which we could see from one huge bay window on the East side of the workshop. It glowed happily. It was easy to imagine Santa in his red jumpsuit sitting in a rocking chair before a roaring fire. Even I felt a twinge of bitterness as the image filled my mind.
“While we freeze and work our fingers to bleeding to keep to his quota he sits up there on his throne! Warm and lit and waiting for us to finish so he can have other creatures drive around a sleight and take credit for our live’s work! No longer! Santa’s reign ends now!” Jack was panting, staring around the faces of the crowd who were fixated on his words.
No one stopped him or corrected him.
We all feared he might be right.
We had all been so conditioned to love Santa. We thought of him as God. But better because we could see and touch him. Jack’s words-the words that brought to life every negative thought we had all had over the past weeks-was almost like forcing us to become atheists.
To see our God not as a God, but as a man.
And we didn’t know how to deal with it. So we stayed silent. Neither agreeing or disagreeing. Just waiting to see what would happen.
Jack let out a groan of frustration.
“Stop being so afraid!” he yelled, his voiced bounced around the workshop.
“That is enough!” a booming, painfully familiar, voice said from the back of the workshop.
All heads turned in unison to see Santa in red work pants and long sleeve shirt with a brown welders apron hung around his neck striding towards Jack.
“I have not abandoned you. I have been here all along, helping you. I did not think I needed to announce my presence. Nor did I think you would turn so easily.” he said to all of us, not just Jack.
He didn’t seem angry, just disappointed. We all bowed our heads, faces hot with guilt and shame.
“The rest of you I will forgive. You were frustrated, cold and tired. I perhaps should have let you know I was here. I am sorry. I am working to get the shop back up and running again and I do apologize it has taken so long. Though I now believe I know the reason.’
“Jack, you have gone too far. Over the years I have tolerated your attitude. I have tolerated your low opinion of me. You were welcome to leave at any time but that wasn’t good enough for you. You tried to sabotage our work here, punishing millions of innocent children. You tried to mutiny me because you are selfish.’
“As punishment you are banished from this place. You will live out your name, Jack Frost. You will travel the world in winter so that millions may awaken every day to the kind of joy you were willing to rob from them. They will wake and they will remember that I am coming and it will make them happy.’
“When you are not flying the world, you will work under father winter making and stocking snow flakes. I think your toy making skills will come in very handy, Jack.”
Santa’s skin began to glow gold red, as though is veins were on fire, and Jack Frost turned the dark blue of an early winter morning sky. A gust of wind ran through the workshop and Jack was swept away from the North Pole, set to his task and unable to resist anymore.
But I told you his curse was a wonderful thing as well as sad, didn’t I?
Well, I still see Jack from time to time and you know what?
He’s happier now than he had ever been before.