We present an encore performance of the special localized Christmas season mystery story that appeared in the Dec. 3, 2015 Northern Kittitas County Tribune!

If you would prefer to read it as presented in the print edition, click here for a flip-book version.


NKC_Tribune_Crashing-SleighSigfried Tallymaker toiled late into the night, his pointy ears wiggling happily in time to the Christmas carols broadcast throughout the North Pole, inventorying everything Boss Claus would need for The Big Night mere weeks away. Two billion rolls of wrapping paper, check. One 3X red suit cleaned and pressed, check. Nine reindeer (counting Rudy), check. Four hundred jars of Magic No. 9 Mine Coal Dust, ch…. er, OH NO!! Sigfried frantically peered into the solitary sooty old apothecary jar. Nearly empty!

Sprinting as fast as his little legs could carry him, Sigfried burst into Claus’ office, all out of breath, shouting, “Boss! *pant, pant* The dust! *pant, pant* All. Gone! *pant, pant*”
“Slow down my old friend,” the portly gentleman seated behind the gingerbread desk patiently said with a jolly chuckle. “Tell me what has happened.” A few minutes later, even Santa looked a little pale. “Call the Mayor of Cle Elum and Pointyshoe.”

That’s when they called me, Sam Pointyshoe. I head up the ELF.B.I. (Yes, the ELF Bureau of Investigation.) The biggest case of my career, bigger than the toy shortage of 1952 or the great candy cane debacle of 2003, started with a crash landing of the sleigh near our target destination Cle Elum, Washington.

It looked like the remaining residues of the No. 9 Dust would get us there, but on the descent, Blitzen snorted in alarm as the reserves ran out two stories above the ground and we suddenly began to fall from the sky. Thanks to some fancy navigation by Mr. C. and rehearsed emergency footwork by all the reindeer, the sleigh touched down on one runner in a deep cushion of snow and slid across a pasture, jolting to a rough stop in Ellensburg, about 25 miles off course. Santa looked a little dazed from a bump on the head, the sleigh was missing a runner, and my stomach was doing flip flops from the rapid drop in altitude, but otherwise everyone was okay.