M is back — and this time he is on the case of the missing Mrs. Claus. He and his crew at M&T Pony Detective Agency are going undercover at the North Pole. Here’s Part II of ‘The Clause Kidnapping Case.’
If you missed Part I, you can catch up here.
By N.A. Souer.
**Dec 23 PM**
A military helicopter transport touched down in front of the barn. When the side door opened, Red Kringle and three other Northland Security agents stepped out and trotted briskly into the barn. The group gathered in the feed room and studied a diagram of the Cantiberri track spread out on top of the grain bin cover.
“My investigator tells me Mrs. Claus and one of my associates are being held here,” M said, pointing with his nose to the back, west corner of the property. “It’s an old auxiliary stall shed, mostly used for hay storage now.”
“What kind of security does this place have?” a mini dun special agent asked. “It doesn’t look like much here.” The agent gestured down at a Google earth image on his cell phone.
“Looks are deceiving,” a dapple grey mini agent said. “Intelligence says Vinney T’s operation’s is more secure than Fort Knox. There are motion detectors and cc TV cameras all over the place.”
“I have an idea,” Red said, reaching for his phone and pressing one of the speed dial buttons. “Hello, Santa?” Red said into the phone. “We have good news and bad news. Yes, we have found Mrs. Claus, but we need a favor. Any chance we could borrow your Candy Cane Stealth Sleigh? Yes, the one developed by the Air Force Secret Service for your deliveries over hostile countries.”
An hour later, M and Tweak waited in the cold morning air out on the Arrow Lake Airstrip for one of Santa’s reindeer to deliver the special sleigh. Normally one of Santa’s reindeer can put a sleigh down almost anywhere, but this was one of Santa’s younger reindeer associates driving, and he did not have nearly the skill of one of the veteran sleigh team members who travelled with Santa every year. But M didn’t mind the inconvenience, he was just thankful Santa was going to let them use this special aircraft because in his gut M knew it was the only chance they had to get Mrs. Claus and Sasha back without harm.
“Think you can fly it?” M called back to Tweak, once everything was hitched up.
“WOW,” Tweak said in amazement. “This thing has everything!”
“Just figure out how to fly it by the time we get there,” M said, setting off at a trot with Tweak riding in the sleigh behind.
The associate reindeer had told M with the special jet sneakers on his feet it would take three canter strides to get the sleigh airborne. M circled around at the trot and aimed in the direction of Shokopea Village, then held his breath and transitioned his gait. And sure enough – one, two, three strides and the sleigh runners lifted off. They were on their way.
The plan was for Red and the other agents to cause a diversion big enough to draw the captors away from their prisoners at the front gate of the property while M and Tweak hovered over the old barn in back long enough for Tweak to shimmy down the side of the building from the sleigh. Any normal aircraft would be seen easily, but Santa’s special sleigh was equipped with image anti-read, radar and Jpg scrambling, and hi frequency/infrared suppression systems. It was developed for Santa by the Northland Special Forces to use when he needed to make deliveries in war zones and unfriendly parts of the world who did not allow him to travel un-prohibited in their air space.
**Dec 24 AM**
“Mousy, are you in position?” M called into his halter mic, the wind blowing his forelock into his face.
“Yes,” Mousy’s voice answered. “I am by the corner of the building.”
M called back to Tweak and confirmed Mousy’s position on the sleigh’s radar screen.
“The infrared sensors place Mrs. Claus and Sasha in the SW quadrant of the building,” Tweak reported. “We should be directly over them in ninety seconds.”
M slowed his feet and pushed his weight back in to the breeching to slow down the sleigh as they prepared to land on the building’s roof. Suddenly loud sounds came from the east. M carefully put the sleigh down while Red Kringle and the other agents distracted the TB thugs. Tweak jumped out, landing in a pile of hay by the side of the building. Mousy met him there and they hurried inside.
“The key is over there,” Mousy said, “but I am not tall enough to reach the lock.”
“Let me try it,” Mrs. Claus said. Mousy jumped up on a nearby ledge with the key in his mouth. “I don’t know exactly who you boys are,” she said, fumbling to get the key in the lock from inside the stall bars, “but Sasha here says you are on our side.”
“Come on,” Tweak said, once both stall doors were opened. “We have to get out of here fast.”
“I am trying,” Mrs. Claus said, “but I don’t move like I used to.”
Mousy cringed watching Mrs. Claus’s gait. He recognized the signs of someone with a bad hip.
“Got an idea,” he said to Mrs. Claus, “Sasha could carry you.”
“But she is so tall. I can’t get up on her back.”
“I will help you,” Tweak said, inching up to Sasha’s side to be an impromptu mounting step.
After two tries, Mrs. Claus was up and the group ran from the building out to a clearing on the far side of the track where M was waiting with the special sleigh.
“Why were you so far away?” Tweak huffed out of breath, his ears ringing from all the noise.
“They are in a shootout up front,” M called over the distant gunfire, “and they are not using blanks.” He gestured to the sleigh hitched behind him. “Get everyone in fast.”
Sasha took up the whole back seat, while Mrs. Claus, Tweak and Mousy rode up front. M started off at a trot to build up momentum, then transitioned into a canter. After three strides they were in the air, and headed safe and sound back to their home barn.
**Dec 24 PM**
M, Tweak, Mousy and Sasha were all gathered around the grain bin table in the feed room, enjoying wide mugs of apple cider nog and carrot cookies. Even M’s elderly neighbor, Grandpa Sonny, had come over to enjoy the festivities. After a while, M heard the sound of tiny hoofs on the concrete and looked out the door as Joy came in his old harness pulling Mama Kitty in the basket of her walker. The whole staff of the M&T Pony Detective Agency was together for Christmas.
Two hours before a second military transport chopper had landed in front of the barn. While another reindeer associate prepared to drive Santa’s special sleigh back to the North Pole in time for the yearly journey, Northland Security agents ushered Mrs. Claus on board. M said a hurried goodbye to his friend, Red Kringle, and that was that. At least, M thought so.
The group was just exchanging presents from the office gift exchange when M heard something outside. The others heard it, too. The sound of distant sleigh bells gradually getting closer, followed by the unmistakable sound of sleigh runners crunching against hard packed snow. M and the others looked out the barn door. On the driveway stood a team of eight magnificent reindeer, their dark brown coats sparkling in the dim overhead light, under patent leather harnesses, polished to perfection, hitched to a vintage red sleigh with gold runners and trim. It was the most spectacular turn out M had ever seen, and for once in his life he was speechless.
“May I come in for a few minutes?” Santa asked. Once in the aisle way, Santa went straight to the point. “The director of Northland Security briefed me on what happened earlier today,” he said. “I am most grateful for all of your help.” He turned to Sasha. “And you must be Sasha? My Mrs. told me all about you, and how you encouraged her when she was scared. As you know we manufacture toys at the North Pole, but I had a few of the elves make you something special I’d like you to have.” He took out of his pocket a blue velvet box and opened it to reveal a shiny golden charm with a red and white ribbon.
“This is a medal in honor of your courage to carry Mrs. Claus to safety under heavy gun fire.” Santa took the charm out and fastened it around Sasha’s neck. “I cannot thank you enough,” he said with a slight cracking in his voice. “I cannot imagine my life without my Mrs. Claus.”
Sasha inched closer. “You are very welcome, Santa,” she said.
M came up in front of them.
“It was an honor for our small firm to help get Mrs. Claus back, Sir,” he said.
Everyone nodded their heads in agreement.
Santa smiled at them. “Thank you all,” he said. “And Merry Christmas to each one of you.”