Jolly, Jolly Bean is my name; elf and ace detective for Santa’s Workshop, Inc., and we had a serious problem- Santa’s route plan had gone missing. Essential to hitting every destination with maximum efficiency in order complete his task at midnight, without it would doom my employer to missing a deserving house or two. This just could not be as it had been secured in the impenetrable rock candy vault guarded by no less than three reindeers-in-waiting, none of which had seen a thing.
It was a curious thing and by far the hardest case I had ever encountered. Mostly I dealt with missing inventory or plans for a new toy, or even a missing elf that had had a little too much Nog- stuff usually resolved within the week but this, this would push my skills to the limit and I only had 48 hours to solve the matter.
Santa stared at me across the table, a grim look on his face and a crock full of hot cocoa topped with cream and sprinkled with cinnamon gripped in his right hand. I had no assurances for him, only loyalty and a profound commitment to find an answer in time for Christmas. He was counting on me and I could not let him down.
“It’s gone cold,” he said morosely without taking a sip- not his typically jolly good self. A reflection of my case, I noted sadly. I had never seen him this way and I hated it. “I can’t fathom not delivering to a deserving child, it wrecks me so.”
“I understand, Mr. Claus, and I will not rest until I solve this. Do you suppose Krampus had anything to do with this? Is there anything that you can tell me that might help?”
He shrugged. “We had an agreement; he deals only with the bad children while I deal with the good, but I suppose it is possible he might be waging a campaign against me. I just don’t know.”
Short on facts and even shorter on time, I would just have to do my best. “Well then, I guess I will just have to start with the three reindeer.”