The Untold Story of Richard the Sharp-Eared Reindeer
It was Christmas Eve, and Richard the Sharp-Eared Reindeer was sad. Once again he’d been left behind.
Santa did not want him on his team. His razor-like ears were as long and sharp as samurai swords, a hazard to the other flying reindeer, Santa said. The only safe place for Richard was at the front of the line, and that was Rudolph’s spot. That’s why every Dec. 24th, Richard was left behind to cut out cookies for the Christmas Eve after-party and shred wish lists for recycling, a painful chore that left him with thousands of paper cuts. Just one Christmas he wanted to see the world.
He was in the midst of shredding his 4,079th list when he heard something strange.
“What’s that I hear,” asked Richard, his candy cane-striped tie waving in the wind.
Besides having ears sharp enough to cut rocks, Richard had amazing hearing, and at this moment he heard Santa cry out somewhere over Bolivia.
Without a thought, Richard bolted into the sky, torpedoing through the night toward the southern hemisphere. He arrived just in time to see Santa disappear into the impenetrable wilderness of the Amazon. There was just one thing stopping Richard from diving into the jungle to save Santa. It was another reindeer …
The winning ending:
…Comet. He hovered defiantly over the crash site with a hairy self-satisfied grin on his face.
“What happened?” Richard asked sharply.
“I crashed Santa’s sleigh,” Comet sang.
Comet’s eyes narrowed, “Because someone left bean burritos out for the reindeer instead of carrots and I was stuck in the back behind eight gaseous reindeer. For 300 years I’ve pulled his sleigh without a complaint through hail, snow, and hurricanes, but that was the last straw!
So, I chewed through my harness, kicked out the fat man’s windshield and punched Super-deer in his light bulb nose for good measure. And now they can all be headhunter bait! But I’m free, free free free…”
Comet galloped off into the starry sky, gleefully chanting the word and calling back:
“Save them if you can freakshow!”
Richard dove into the jungle, it was a mess. The sleigh was skewered on a tree like a stuck shrimp and the tack and halters were spread over a mile of tree tops. The reindeer stood around Rudolph who was crying and holding his swollen nose. While Buddy the man/elf swung yelling through the forest canopy chasing the monkey that had stolen his hat. Yes, it looked hopeless.
“What are we gonna do sir?” Richard asked Santa who stood staring sadly up at his speared sleigh.
“Richard! Hey, glad to see you! Do you think you could run over to the nearest saw shop and pick up a chainsaw? I seem to have forgotten mine.”
Instead of answering, Richard cocked his ears out and swung his head like an axe bringing down the tree and sleigh in one blow.
Santa looked a time Richard with newfound admiration, “Say, you don’t think…”
But Richard was already gone, charging through the jungle with ears glittering in the moonlight, clearing a runway. Trees tumbled and the team of reindeer cheered.
In less than an hour they had repaired their harnesses with jungle vines and the entire remaining team was hitched to the sleigh, which had been repaired with banana leaves.
Richard stood to the side watching proudly as Buddy had hitched each deer up. But now something was missing. The lead harness was empty.
Rudolph beckoned to Richard who came over feeling confused.
“Ghow aboud you glead dis gyme,” Rudolph said through his swollen and extra red nose. “Gime dired ub breaking ge wingd gannyway.”
All of the other reindeer laughed and cheered as Buddy hitched Richard up to the lead, his razor ears perched safely on his head.
Santa cracked his whip, “Now on Dancer and Prancer and Donner and Blitzen! Dash away Richard!”
With a joyful bound, Richard darted down his runway and up into the night, for the first time in his life proud of his sharp ears.
And thus, Christmas was saved and Richard got to see most of the world, and even got his own burrito when Santa stopped at Taco Time on the return trip. This was followed by the amazing Christmas Eve after-party with thousands of beautifully cut Christmas cookies. Richard returned to the Amazon and planted ten trees for every one he had cut, as well as donating half a year’s wages to rainforest conservation.
And as for Comet, he flew so high into the sky that the sun’s gravity pulled him in and Comet became, well, a comet.