It’s the night before Christmas, a prime time to post the following piece of flash fiction…



By Joe Nazare


Framed in one of the fifty-six windows of his home, Billy’s face is a mask of anxiousness. But I just snap the reins and fly on by.

The kid’s not even supposed to be up right now. Then again, if Billy Norton knew appropriate behavior, he wouldn’t have ended up bratlisted this year. So no special deliveries from me, although I’m sure his parents won’t leave him wanting. Month-old milk isn’t half as spoiled as he is.

The hilltop mansion in my wake, I proceed with my evening itinerary. Countless touchdowns are scheduled on the rooftop runways of more-deserving households within the town proper. The jolly prospect of morning unwrappings enraptures me…

Until Rudolph’s nose blinkers in alarm, and the entire team rears up as a dark shape swoops down on us. Initially, night and surprise camouflage the airspace invader; perhaps it’s the cacophonic drone that helps sharpen my vision, of what looks like some outsized, automated hornet.

I fight to steer clear of treetops and power lines as the mechanical harasser makes its buzzing loops. At one point the thing alights beside me, and then takes off with my brimming yet incredibly wieldy toy-sack pinched between its steel forelimbs.

The sudden absence of presents in my sky-pirated sleigh leaves me stunned. Finally, I manage to turn, and spot the machine beelining up the hillside. That’s when I realize who has masterminded tonight’s heist.

This Christmas, naughty Billy Norton will be getting nothing on his wish list—and everything on everyone else’s.


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