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Pit Stop
by Oonah V Joslin

Eve’s Bar wasn’t in the middle of nowhere, it was somewhere close to the edge. Only two vehicles were parked this late on Christmas Eve and their owners were the only customers. One was elderly and obese. The other, a swarthy middle aged man with white stubble, spoke.

‘Nice suit.’


‘Looks like we’re in the same game… Stopped for a break?’

‘A quick breather, yes.’

The conversation fizzled out and he tried again ‘Come far?’

‘You could say… You?’

‘Been to Alpha Geldera and back.’

‘Really? What for?’

‘Deliveries, you know…’

‘That far, eh?’

‘Oh, it’s a regular trip. Ever been there?’

‘Alpha… Geldera?’



‘Oh. You want to get in on that. It’s like bloody Christmas all year round.’

‘You don’t say?’

‘Oh, yeah! The Gelderans are great folk. One long party! Plenty of everything, you know?’

He winked but the older man just nibbled a mince pie.

‘Nice looking rig you got there.’

‘It’s vintage but I’m fond of it.’

‘I like… the livery.’

‘Thank you. Your’s is the silver?’

‘Yes, that’s my beauty.’

‘It’s very… shiny.’

‘Brand spankin’ new, mate. Cost me eighty thousand Geldera Spondools and a case or two of Protilieal Sherbognac.’

‘That’s… a lot.’

‘Well you get what you pay for. It goes nine tenths light speed. That’s how come I’m at the top of my tree.’

‘I see. Nice view from there, is there?’

‘Hohoho! Good one, mate! Nice view I like that. Name’s Kris, by the way.’ The two shook hands amicably. ‘Say old timer, can I get you a drink?’

‘A small dry sherry perhaps.’

‘Whatever you say… Barman?’

The old man thought a drink worth an ounce of civility. ‘What’s she run on then, your silver machine?’

‘Plasma fusion reaction with solar sail backup and organics composite converter cells. Yours?’



‘It’s traditional.’

‘Not very efficient though, surely. No wonder you don’t do the Galdera run. I didn’t think anybody used reindeer any more.’

‘I do.’


‘’Cos they’re the real thing - like me.’

‘Where are they now, these reindeer?’

‘I always set them loose grazing while I snack. Rudy will come when I whistle.’

‘Mmmm…Well, it was real nice talking to you but it’s time I was on my way, Santa…?’

‘Claus. Mind how you go, son.’

Outside the forecourt was empty but for one shiny silver, streamlined vehicle, a sleek, bright sleigh and a uniformed figure busy trying to find registration marks on either.

‘Say, you in the uniform, you a law enforcer?’

‘I am.’

‘Better get yourself in there… That old guy thinks he’s really Santa Claus!’

Kris got into his silver bullet and sped off into the night sky and just afterwards the old man left the Bar.

‘I say, officer did you see that man who just left?’

‘Don’t say he took off with your wallet?’

‘No, but I am a bit worried. He seemed to think he was capable of space travel.’

The old gent gave a low whistle. In the twinkling of an eye a team of reindeer appeared from nowhere and the whole shebang disappeared way faster than light speed, sending a magical trail of sparks cascading to the ground.