Told by Art Stellar
Written by E. Wolferman
Rudolph, why? Why does your nose glow so brightly? You have been around for 60 plus years, and its still there, incandescently defying all logic. Fuck you.
I recently sat down with our beloved Christmas undulate hoping that he might be able to shed a little light as to why he has this bulb stuck to the end of his snout.
He was reluctant to speak with me, but also desperate for a cameo, it seems as though people don’t pay as much attention to our reindeer friend as they once did. The only way he would do it was if he could just talk, “minimal questions” he specified.
“Great,” I thought “so I guess Rudolph is also a pussy.”
We sat down and he just started yabbering…..
“It was a foggy Christmas Eve, I remember it perfectly………Donner and I never really got along…..I saved Blitzens life in 1964…….Dasher received the nickname “Hasher” during his drug binge in the early 70’s…..Mrs. Claus is like a second mom to me…….”
He kept looking up and to the left, a sure sign of lying in humans, and in my eyes he was more human than most humans I know. He was unsettling, something mysterious sat behind his big brown eyes. I knew he was hiding in there, but he just kept talking, talking, talking…I couldn’t take it anymore.
“Rudolph,” I said leaning forward in my chair as I interrupted “You were first mentioned in a Montgomery Ward ad in 1939, 70 years ago, how is your nose still glowing? Huh? What is your secret?”
Rudolph squirmed in his chair like an unprepared schoolboy.
“1939?” he said inquisitively.
“Yup, 19 fucking 39.” I was losing my cool “And what were you doing before you led Santa’s sleigh? A fry cook, stock boy, what on earth could a hoofed creature with a glowing red nose possibly be qualified to do?”
He stared hard at me, blankly, then his face turned sour.
“This interview is over you cocksucker,” he said with a lisp “I don’t need this, and if you publish a word of it you will be hearing from my boyfriend, he’s a lawyer. Stupid asshole! Arrg!” Rudolph ripped off his microphone with his front left hoof and sashayed out of the studio.
I didn’t get much out of the interview, except that Rudolph was gay. This was news to me, but arbitrary.
I pushed too hard, I knew it, but I also knew he was lying. I had an opportunity to get information that I have been seeking for so long, too long, and I let my anger get the best of me.
I fucked up.
Rudolph is not the happy Christmas saver Johnny Marks 1949 song “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” makes him out to be and I have to prove that, if it is the last thing I do.
I needed a drink, something stiff. I found a bar and a corner booth to gather my thoughts in.
It may seem like I have a personal vendetta against Rudolph, but my hatred is not based on nothing, I have history with this flying buck.
Santa Claus lives at the North Pole. His fat ass sits around all day in a bright red suit that somehow provides enough warmth during the winter months average temperature of -30 degrees Fahrenheit to survive comfortably. He has hit a ripe old age, and then somehow stopped getting any older, invincibly living on top of the world only to travel around the globe on Christmas Eve delivering gifts to all the good Christian boys and girls.
It’s shit. Shit on a stick make entirely out of shit.
There are so many holes in this story, each one a story in itself. However, even in the context of this wintery fairyland, one thing still doesn’t make sense. Why does a single reindeer out of the 9 have a bright nose? One reindeer has an entirely separate superpower over the already entitled flying reindeer? Seriously, why?
My grandfather worked for Montgomery Ward from 1918-1953 and it was because of Ward’s that Rudolph came into the public eye. A one page Christmas advertisement for Ward’s was released in 1939; my grandfather was the one that pushed it through. Ten years later when Johnny Mark’s song “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” came out my grandpa was proud of what he had done. He felt as though he had discovered Rudolph. It was his crowning achievement.
My grandfather died from a cyanide laced Tylenol pill. One of 7 people in a 1982 scare. On his deathbed he handed me the Ward’s advertisement, folded up in a little square.
“Take care of this.” he said.
I was 7 but remember it vividly. I didn’t understand, and I still don’t, but I am getting closer.
Growing up we were never allowed to speak of Rudolph, I guess that somewhere along the way bad blood developed between Santa’s sleigh captain and my grandpa. My parents had always blamed Rudolph for his death, but never explained to me why. 10 years ago my parents died on Christmas Eve. Reports were that it was a drug overdose. The coroner found massive amounts of cocaine in their system, but also trace amounts of cyanide.
I order another drink.
It didn’t make sense, my parents were not drug users, and cyanide was a tough chemical to get ahold of. This is when my research began. My first thought was to find the other people responsible for the Montgomery Ward ad, the original from 1939. So I did. The problem is that I found more than I had initially planned on.
Billy Dwyer- photographer- died, 1982, cyanide laced Tylenol.
Anthony Regal- Editor- died 1982, cyanide laced Tylenol.
Karl Ewers- Producer-died, 1982, cyanide Tylenol.
To say the least, my suspicions were raised. Of the 7 people killed in this “freak” accident of Poisonous Tylenol, 4 were involved in Rudolph’s print debut. Naturally I went to seek out the remaining 3 victims. Two were Federal Agents and one was a reporter for the Washington Post. No one would talk. I was certain Rudolph was the culprit, but all paths led to nowhere.
I became a reporter 7 years ago and changed my last name to my pen name after I had a highly successful self-help book. Arnold Brown was not an inspiring enough name I guess, so I became Art Stellar, my publisher’s idea. Ever since I became a reporter I have been trying to put together this puzzle, but there are too many missing pieces.
I finished my drink, put on my coat and started my walk home.
I looked though my cold visible exhales at the sidewalk passing below my feet, trapped in thought. I should have just killed the mother fucker, ended it, but it would prove nothing and solve nothing. My phone rang. I reached into my pocket, but before I could pull it out I was yanked into an alley, a hairy arm clasped my mouth shut, keeping my scream inside.
“Shhhh, I’m not here to hurt you, I promise.” He said as he released me.
I turned to face my captor. “Prancer?” I said in shock.
“Keep it down. You interviewed him today didn’t you? What did you find out? Anything?” He was nervous, eyes darting back and forth.
“No, I got nothing, well, other than Rudolph’s gay, but that’s it.”
“It was Stalin.” Prancer blurted out.
“What?” I asked.
“Look, Rudie and I used to be lovers, and I found out. Stalin sent Rudolph in 1939, I didn’t mean to find out, I wish I hadn’t, you havetohelpyouhave to…” Prancer was spitting out words in rapid succession, I was having a hard time following him. “help, we have to get rid of…..Rudolph….I loved him, and he turned on me, he will turn on everyone.”
RAT A TAT A TAT ATATATATAT RAT A TAT TAT AATATT
Prancer went down.
I dropped to a knee over his bullet hole riddled body.
“Prancer!” I screamed “What is going on!!?” I asked with my head on a swivel.
“Rudolph” he managed to get his words past the blood oozing from his mouth “He’s a commie.”
Prancer was dying on the street in front of me, my fate would certainly be the same if I didn’t start running.
I dashed onward home as quickly as I could, ran up 4 flights of stairs and slammed my door shut. Bolt lock, chain lock, keeping the lights out. The only noise I could hear was my heart, and the hard beating muscle was almost blocked out by the thoughts interrupting each other in my brain.
A commie? I had done all the research I possibly could on Rudolph, but never had I thought to check Russian history. Christmas was banned in Russia from 1917 to 1992, without a Christmas celebration, there would be no Rudolph, or so I had concluded. I took my computer into the closet and searched. It didn’t take long to answer questions I had been asking for years.
On August 19, 1939, the eve of WWII, Stalin gave a secret speech to the Soviet leaders outlying the strategy that would be taken during the war. One leader had his own response to Stalin’s Speech. His name was Olgred Olphik, a well respected Soviet scientist, and an unknown player in the beginning of nuclear warfare. He said that the war could not be won with common strategies; The Soviet Union would only become victorious by getting into the American lifestyle, finding their weaknesses and inserting communism as the only answer.
“Rudolph is a commie?” I asked myself aloud
My closet doors swung open crashing into the walls they were hinged to. I looked up to see Rudolph standing before me, AK-47 in hand.
“Prancer gave you a little help didn’t he?” he said snatching the computer from my hands. His eyes grazed over the screen.
“Olgred Olphik, you have found the beginning, and now you have reached your end.” Rudolph raised his Russian made assault rifle and smiled. He held it there for just a minute, and then looked at me blankly, lowering his weapon.
“I have a question for you before this is all over.” He pulled over my desk chair and sat down. “How did you know about the Montgomery Ward ad, 1939, most people think of me from my namesake hit “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”?”
I had no reason to lie to him at this point, I was at his mercy, and I wanted an answer.
“My grandfather worked on the ad, he was the one that first published you.”
Rudolph’s eyes grew big,
“Arnold Brown??!” He said excitedly. I nodded.
“Holy Santa shit. I have been looking for you. I Killed your grampa, killed your parents, they were getting too close. I was looking to do the same to you, I figured some information had been passed down and I couldn’t be too careful, but you disappeared.” He shook his head with a smile “You changed your name. Art Stellar, of course that’s not your real name. You were on to me weren’t you reporter man?”
“I knew something didn’t add up Rudolph. Cyanide? It was too coincidental, but why? At least tell me that. I have been searching for answers for years. I deserve the truth before you pull that trigger, you took my family, it’s the least you can do.”
Rudolph pulled a cigarette from behind his antler and lit it up.
“You were getting somewhere.” He said in agreement, sitting back in his chair behind a big puff of smoke. He looked eager to tell me. He had been holding onto this secret for so long, it was his chance to expand on the great Rudolph plot without consequence. “I am a spy. Olgred Olphik trained me.”
“The Soviet scientist?” I asked.
“Yes. His theory was that we must gain information on the Americans. If we know everything about them, then we can infiltrate their lives and destroy them, only to build the nation back up with communism. What better disguise then to pose as a Christmas critter and visit every household in America every Christmas eve, with an invitation? The 1939 ad was not supposed to come out, it raised questions, and for years people questioned me, my intentions, why a 9th reindeer was added to Santa’s fleet. We made Johnny Marks write the 1949 song to ease suspicion. It’s pretty amazing what a songwriter can do when you hold his family at gunpoint.”
“According to ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ you saved Christmas and everyone loved you, why question your intentions ever again?”
It all made sense, but this was more elaborate than I could have ever imagined. The people behind it, the well-configured plan, Rudolph was not just a bad reindeer, he was here to serve a much more devious purpose.
“What about Santa?” I asked, hoping he wasn’t involved as well.
“That fatty? All of the North Pole knows who I am, but they couldn’t say anything. Our red army would have wiped out their defenseless village in a second, killing Christmas forever.”
“Red army, red nose.” I shuddered as I said it.
“That nose also made it so any of the other reindeer spy could take my place as Rudolph. All you needed was a red nose; it is the only defining characteristic setting me apart from any of the other reindeer. I am actually the 4th Rudolph.”
“Rudolph the gay red nosed commie fucking liar.” I couldn’t believe it.
“Yup, and now you are Arnold Brown, Art Stellar, the dead, bitch ass reporter.” Rudolph picked up his gun, as I sat defenselessly on the floor of my closet.
A red flash caught my eye and my gaze made Rudolph turn to look. He spun around in his chair just in time to see Santa crash through my bedroom window wielding a 12-gauge shotgun, a U.S. made Winchester. He rolled in and froze with Rudolph dead in his sites.
“Prancer, you killed Prancer.” Santa said with determination in his eyes. “No one, I mean no one, fucks with my reindeer.”
Rudolph smiled, slowly lowering his weapon.
“Santa, did you forget something?”
“I don’t care anymore” his read suit was pulsating with each breath, rage in his eyes, and his rosy cheeks were now brick red.
Rudolph set his weapon on the ground. “Go ahead, blow up half the city.” Rudolph turned to me. “You want to know how my nose is powered Arnold? It’s nuclear. An insurance policy if you will. Anyone kills me, they will suffer the consequences.”
Santa pulled the trigger, firing a blast that severed Rudolph’s hind leg.
“Ahhhhh, what the fuck are you doing? Do you know what the Russian’s will do to you. You are dead, so fucking dead!!!!!” Rudolph said screaming from the floor.
Santa calmly stood up, spun his rifle in his hand, and smashed the butt of his gun into the back of Rudolph’s skull.
“Cold war is over, bitch”.
Rudolph hit the floor with a loud thump. Santa straightened up, put two fingers in his mouth, and let out a loud whistle, Comet and Vixen swooped in ready for duty.
“Take him to the lab, remove the nose carefully, kill him, and dispose of the carcass.”
The reindeer nodded quietly, gathered up the two pieces of Rudolph, and flew off.
“Santa,” I said “are you going to be Okay? What about the Russians?”
Santa put his hand on my shoulder, the anger now gone from his face.
“The only thing separating Rudolph from the other reindeer is a glowing red nose, right? I can come up with that. Rudolph crossed the line, it was time to take a stand.” He gave me a reassuring smile.
“Thank you Santa, you saved my life.”
He winked, climbed out the window and up to the roof with athleticism and dexterity I would have never expected out of a man that large.
Rudolph lives on, but he is no longer the Russian spy, he is just a reindeer with a red nose. Although this Rudolph never really saved Christmas either, he is a better representation of the song. I don’t know how the new Rudolph’s red nose is powered, and I don’t care. As I said in the beginning, nothing makes sense in the North Pole, fucking nothing.