Santa Claus sat as his desk double-checking his list. He sat in a plush wood chair next to a warm crackling fire. He pushed his glasses up further onto his head and read aloud.

"Gaviakicha, Twendva… my, what a unique name… wants some uranium… ah, but he's on the naughty list. Put him down for a bicycle and a turtleneck," He said to his short assistant, who scribbled Santa's orders onto a long piece of parchment.

"George, Curious, would like a bag of balloons, oh how adorable, make sure your men put extra special care into that order, right?"

The chubby elf nodded, and scribbled some more onto his parchment.

"Ghandi would like Indian independence and goodwill towards men… ah, but he's on the naughty list… he's getting a new set of robes, I think…"

Soon Santa had finished for the day and walked to the other room to get ready for bed. The elf, who we'll call Krinkle for practical reasons, put another log on the fire to warm the small, three room building that Clauses ate, slept, and worked in, and slipped on his shoes. Then he walked out the kitchen and pulled up a trap door from the wooden floor. His elfin shoes clicked on the cold metal stairs that led down from the kitchen. Krinkle pulled the trap door shut behind him and clapped his hands,

"Clap on!"

Bland warm lights lit up the long, circular steel staircase. Krinkle shivered as he hopped down the steps going down, down, down for what seemed like a mile. He arrived at a gleaming silver elevator shaft, and within minutes he was on his way even further down into the earth. He swept up his large elaborate cap so he didn't step on it with his large elf shoes. The elevator doors slowly opened, and Krinkle stepped into the head of the Claus operations; a little underground building the elves like to call The Man.

Krinkle stood on a cool metal balcony surrounded by railing. From this vantage point he could see for miles, for The Man did indeed extend miles and miles. Everything that went on into making Christmas possible happened here. Krinkle walked into a small, open lift and began his descent. It took nearly ten minutes for the lift to travel down the thirty-two hundred feet to the very bottom of The Man, where workers were busy building an assortment of items by hand, from rocking chairs to sweaters to computers. Krinkle hopped on a Segway that had been slightly modified, and found the wide strip (wide for an elf, that is) that was used as a road, and started moving at 60 miles per hour.

A half-hour later Krinkle parked his Segway and entered one of many large branching rooms. But this room, unlike most of the others, was special. It was referred to as "The Head." For it truly was; it didn't only see, or only hear, but using this room the elves could get total, complete 24 hour surveillance of anywhere in the world. They also had access to every nation's databanks from these computers, and so naturally the Clauses knew everything about anyone who had ever lived.

"Good evening, sir," said one of the elves sitting at the huge computer. The computer itself was most impressive. The gigantic thing filled up all four walls of the acre-large room, and more than forty screens glowed brightly, each showing something different. It was manned by only twenty-seven elves, but they were the best of the best, hand-picked by Krinkle.

"Good evening, gentlemen," Krinkle replied. There were no females in The Head; they could build play-sets, Krinkle always said. Surveillance was a man's job.

"I need one of you to get me a read-out of a Twendva Gaviakicha. He's on the naughty list and asked for some pretty dangerous gizmos."

The words were hardly out of Krinkle's mouth when one of the men said,

"Twendva Gaviakicha, born October second, 1956 in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. He's a major player with the Taliban, and he specializes in nuclear technology."

"So he's a bad cookie, eh?" asked Krinkle. The elf nodded. Krinkle smiled. "Excellent. Put him down for three crates of uranium."

Curious George was excited. Christmas was finally here. George hopped out of bed and ran into the other room where presents sparkled under the Christmas tree. Curious George smiled and yelled happily.

"What's all the noise, George?" yawned the Man in the Yellow Hat. George pointed to the tree and smiled.

"Oh, you want to open presents now!" said the Man in the Yellow Hat. George nodded. The Man in the Yellow Hat walked over to George and began unwrapping gifts with him.

"Look, here's one for you!" said the Man in the Yellow Hat. George grabbed it and ripped it open; it was a box of balloons.

"Oh, just what you asked Santa for!" exclaimed the Man in the Yellow Hat. But George just sat there, staring at the colorful box, and the Man in the Yellow Hat wondered what was wrong. The old Man in the Yellow Hat would have known what was wrong, George thought. But the old Man in the Yellow Hat was dead, and his replacement had no idea that Curious George had specifically asked for a bag of balloons, not a box of balloons. George threw his box aside and pulled on his scarf. He would not put up with such incompetence from the man who every child around the globe held in such high regard. George wondered how many more innocent children suffered the disappointment he did. It had to be stopped.

George ran all the way up three flights of stairs to the roof, where he hit a button hidden on the brick wall. There was a low rumbling moan as the flat apartment building roof slide away. In its spot rose another rooftop, only this roof space was occupied by a sleek black hover-jet. Curious George hopped in, started up the engine, and shut the cockpit door as the Man in the Yellow Hat joined him. George pushed down the throttle and the jet shot off, and hence began Curious George's journey to the North Pole.

Three hours of sound-barrier breakage later, Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat landed at Santa Claus' tiny house, and hence ended Curious George's journey to the North Pole.

"Let's go!" exclaimed the Man in the Yellow Hat as George pulled the keys out of the ignition. George rolled his eyes and hopped out of the plane. The cold, snowy wind hit George and the Man in the Yellow Hat like a wall. George shivered, and the Man in the Yellow Hat cried, "Woah Nelly!" They hopped onto the icy ground walked up to the tiny little wooden door. George knocked and a moment later a tall fat man with a great white beard answered the door. His eyes opened wide as he looked at George, the Man in the Yellow Hat, and their jet. He jaw gaped several times, then he asked, "Eh, uh, what can I do for you?"

"Eek eek ook ook eek ook eek eekoo!" said George, and the Man in the Yellow Hat said,

"Eh, whu-whu-what G-g-g-eorge is t-trying to s-s-say is that y-y-you… um..."

Santa smiled and said, "We'll talk about that later, why don't you come inside, you look like you're both freezing."

"Well g-g-gee, th-th-thu-thanks…" replied the Man in the Yellow Hat.

The waddled their frozen legs into the warm hut and marveled at it's cozy beauty. A warm fire crackled in the room next door. Santa directed them to go warm themselves up while he got them some warm cocoa. As they sat on the couch warming themselves Krinkle walked in, saying, "Santa, we've got a small problem on the Mackie Curtis account. Apparently he's been using the Easy-Bake Oven to fry his sister's hamsters…"

Krinkle stopped in his tracks as he noticed Curious George and his tall yellow companion. He cleared his throat, and after several minutes said,

"Hello, what are you doing here?"

The Man in the Yellow Hat smiled a huge smile, "Why, look George, it's a tiny man! We, as a matter of fact, are here for an important meeting with Santa Claus! Are you his neighbor?" He stood up and walked over to the dumbfounded Krinkle. "So pleased to meet you!"

"I'm not Santa's neighbor, I'm his assistant!" said Krinkle. "How in the world did you find this place?"

"Our jet has a built in GPS," explained the Man in the Yellow Hat. Just then Santa walked in with a platter of steaming cocoa and warm muffins.

"Ah, I see you've met my dear little friend Krinkle!" Santa said. "Krinkle, this is Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat, remember, from the gift list? The little monkey who asked for a bag of balloons and his mentally disabled guardian?"

Krinkle nodded as George let out another of his monkey cries. The Man in the Yellow Hat grabbed a cup of cocoa.

"That reminds George," he translated between sips, "That's actually the reason he's here. He asked for a bag of balloons for Christmas, but was giving a box of balloons instead."

Santa nodded, smiling now that he was enlightened, but Krinkle just snorted.

"You came all the way up here for that? What's the difference, anyway? A box has more, doesn't it?"

"Yes," the Man in the Yellow Hat replied. "But a bag has more sentimental value. You wouldn't understand, you're far too short."

"I understand completely," said Santa, patting George on the head."Krinkle, would you go please fetch George here a bag of balloons?"

"Sir," Krinkle said through clenched teeth. "We're all out of bags of balloons. We sent the last bag to the Dalai Lama. It'll be another day before our workers have produced another bag."

"Oh, that's quite alright," said the Man in the Yellow Hat. "We'll be willing to wait a day or two."

"Very well, I'll tell my men to put your bag as their highest priority," said Krinkle.

"Excellent, my short pointy-eared assistant," said Santa. "You can bunk with us," he said to George and his exceedingly annoying partner. "I'm sure Mrs. Claus won't mind."

Night came, and it turned out Mrs. Claus did mind. It was awfully difficult to fit two overweight adults, a freakishly thin man and a monkey in a queen-size bed. Perhaps that was why Curious George woke up so early, or perhaps it was because he needed to squeeze the lemon. Either way, after he had finished turning the snow yellow, as George was walking back to Santa's bedroom, he heard a strange murmuring. It sounded like voices. George wandered into the kitchen and the voices grew louder. George decided to take it upon himself to find from whence said voices were coming from, and after searching the oven, the chimney, under the table, behind the curtain, in the cupboard, above the cupboard, and the pantry he noticed a faint glow coming from beneath the floorboards. George investigated the light and found that he had in fact discovered a trap door. He lifted it and cautiously descended the cold metal stairs. He arrived at the elevator and entered. The voices seemed almost amplified in the cool shiny elevator shaft and by the time George had made it all the way down (which seemed to take forever) it sounded as if someone were yelling in George's ear.

"And soon, my fellow elves, Santa Claus will be gone and the world will be ours!"

There was a roar of applause as the silver doors slid open. Curious George found himself face to face with the backside of Krinkle the elf. He stood far above his audience of what looked to be thousands of other elves, high above them on the balcony. Krinkle took no notice of George or the elevator over the screaming of the crowd. As soon as the elves had quieted down Krinkle continued.

"My fellow elves, if I have learned one thing from working as chief assistant to Mr. Claus, it's that this is a dog eat dog world. If one doesn't make something of themselves they will shrivel and die. I will not allow my dear friends to shrivel because one man stands in the way of achieving greatness! I have thought long and hard (that's what she said!) about what it means to have power, to have prestige, to achieve greatness. And I realized we could have the world! The entire planet and every living thing in our hands, if it weren't for Santa Claus! My friends, my allies, for years now I have been working things into place, rigging the planet so that it will crumble beneath itself at my touch, and from the ashes we elves will be an empire the likes of which history has never seen! We will have peace! We will have order! We will have the world!"

The amount of screaming and roaring that commenced was tremendous, not to mention strenuous to Curious George's delicate monkey ears. He covered them and closed his eyes. After three minutes the cheering died down, and Krinkle was beginning to speak again when the elevator dinged. Krinkle's head snapped around and he screamed, "Intruder!"

He leapt for Curious George, but fortunately the elevator had rang to signify that it was beginning its ascent back to the surface. George could hear Krinkle's muffled voice,

"Quick, bring guns! Guards, kill that monkey! Get your weapons ready! Once the elevator comes back down we'll need to attack immediately! Go!"

It was clear that either the elves were not intelligent enough to grasp the concept that elevators went up and down, or that this particular one wasn't programmed to do so. George suspected the latter. After what seemed like an eternity the doors finally opened again and George scampered out. Suddenly all the lights went out in the stairwell; the elves must have cut the power. George felt around blindly, knowing he had to get back to the Man in the Yellow Hat and the Clauses as quickly as possible.

Curious George finally made it to the top of the stairs and ran to the Clauses' room. Within minutes he had explained his entire adventure to Santa, Mrs. Claus and the Man in the Yellow Hat. Santa was stunned, Mrs. Claus was frantic, and the Man in the Yellow Hat was clueless.

Quickly Santa said, "Ever since I hired that Krinkle I'd always been suspicious of him, especially when he described himself "scheming, treacherous and coup-loving" on his resume."

Santa stood up and pulled on his boots, coat and hat. From one of the pockets of his maroon jacket he pulled a pump-action shotgun.

"Let's do this."

Seven minutes after George woke Santa and the Man in the Yellow Hat up, a dozen armed elf guards and Krinkle stepped into the cool chrome elevator. Krinkle held a black handgun while the guards carried heavy assault rifles. The elevator ascended the shaft in silence while Krinkle played out the scene that was sure to follow in his head. He needed to take the monkey out first, then the man in the yellow hat. It was too late to stick to the original plan, so Krinkle would then make sure the Clauses would no longer be an issue. It was a quick, beautiful movie playing through Krinkle's mind, like a college short film.

The elves' boots clunked on the metal stairs leading towards Santa's kitchen. Curious George could hear them from where he hid behind the doorway. George closed his eyes and hoped the trip mine he had set up over the trap door did its job. The trap door creaked open. A huge explosion shook the shack and two elves screamed as they were disintegrated by the explosion. The Man in the Yellow Hat, George and Santa all hopped out of the hiding places and open fired upon their disoriented enemies. Four more fell to their bullets before they started firing back, taking cover beneath the trap door. Bullets tore through the wooden walls, and George sought better cover. He grabbed a large painting off the wall and used as a shield as he ran to take cover behind the kitchen table.

The skirmish was over before it began. In moments Krinkle was huddled among twelve bullet-riddled corpses, and he turned around and sprinted for the elevator. Curious George hopped the table and sprinted after him, down the spiraling silver stairs, but he was too late; Krinkle had left with the elevator. By the time it had gone down and up, George knew Krinkle would be there ready with at least twenty dozen elf warriors.

Curious George walked up back up to make a new plan with Santa and the Man in the Yellow Hat.

"We can't possibly take on all the elves," Santa was saying. "There's at least three thousand of them down there. Their numbers are enormous."

The Man in the Yellow Hat put his hand to his heart and said, "I'll take them on. I'll take them all. Just for you, George."

The Man in the Yellow Hat reached for a hug and George shot him in the knee.

"I do have an idea," said Santa Claus. Then he discussed his long and drawn-out plan that won't be disclosed at this time to surprise and awe the reader when they do find out what the plan was.

Krinkle stood by the elevator with a gun in his hand, watching the elevator come down. He was surrounded by a platoon of armed and armored elves, with each and every one of their weapons cocked and aimed towards the elevator doors, ready to fire. The elevator stopped and the doors slid open. There was quite a commotion as the elves realized there was no one in the elevator. Krinkle motioned towards one of the guards at the elevator.

"Check it out."

The elf nodded and stepped into the elevator. He screamed and the doors slammed shut. Krinkle and the elves exchanged glances, and Krinkle pressed the open button. The elevator exploded, sending the elves careening over the ruined balcony railing. Krinkle, who had been fortunate enough to remain on the balcony, tried to collect his bearings as all the elves started yelling at once. He regained his vision in time to see Curious George, Santa Claus, and the Man in the Yellow Hat all charge out of the elevator. George grabbed Krinkle and pulled his large elaborate cape from his neck. George then tied it up around his own neck and grasped it with his feet. Krinkle stared at George as he dove of the balcony and took to the air.

George flew through the air as the elves below emptied cartridge after cartridge in an attempt to shoot him down. In the years following Santa would remember seeing a similarity between Batman flying through the air and George gliding with his cape.

"Look at him go, my special little guy!" Cried the Man in the Yellow Hat joyously. Then he gasped as Krinkle shot him twice through the stomach. His mouth gaped like a fish, and he fell to his knees.

"Ouchie," he said as he put his hands to his injured stomach. Krinkle backed away as the Man in the Yellow Hat reached a bloody hand out to him. Santa grabbed the Man in the Yellow Hat as he began to tip over. He looked at Santa and smiled.

"It hurts, Mr. Claus."

"I'll bet it does, son. I'm sorry," said Santa as he wiped a tear from his eye.

The Man in the Yellow Hat smiled wider as he went into delirium.

"Let us cross the river," he said. "Let us cross the river and frolic naked in the bulrushes until the leeches crawl up our legs and start sucking blood from our testicles."

And with that he was gone. Santa let the limp corpse fall out of his arms. The Man in the Yellow Hat rolled of the ruined balcony and landed in a large pile of unclothed Ken dolls. Santa took off his glasses to wipe a tear from his eye as Krinkle cocked his pistol again.

"So, Santa, we meet again for the last time."

Santa looked at him with wise, deep old eyes.

"My dear Krinkle, what would you accomplish by shooting me?"

Krinkle laughed. "Oh, Santa, you have no idea! I've been laboriously planning this day for years; making weapons for my men, shipping weaponry to terrorist and nasty, evil third-world factions, and basically destabilizing world order enough that when the time comes, I can make it fall into chaos! Then, when the world needs a strong leader, they will have no choice but to accept me as supreme overlord of the universe!"

"And you need now to get me out of the picture, because you knew I would never allow you to do this."

"That and I'm tired of putting up with your crap and taking your orders!" yelled Krinkle, and he aimed his gun at Santa's chest.

"Krinkle," said Santa gently. "Think about what you're about to do. Do you really want to go through with it?"

"Yeah, I do."

Krinkle had just barely put pressure on the trigger when Santa whipped a tree-top star right between Krinkle's tiny man-breasts. Krinkle dropped the gun and Santa grabbed his tiny body before it tipped over the edge of the balcony. He gently lay Krinkle's broken body down and took the pistol. He aimed it at Krinkle's head.

"I'm sorry Krinkle," said Santa sadly.

"You can't do it," gasped Krinkle, blood dribbling from his mouth as he laughed. "You won't do it. You're the Santa Claus. You're too kind hearted. You fat fool."

Santa expression immediately grew dark. The last thought that ever would pass through Krinkle's mind was that he had said the wrong thing.

"Don't call me fat," said Santa, his eyebrows knit together in fury. "I have a low metabolism." Santa drilled two bullets between Krinkle's bulgy eyes.

By the time the described events had transpired, George had flown across the entire length of The Man and landed behind a large box of third-world video games. Soon he ran out of ammo gunning down the many rebelling elves, and they began advancing on him. Thinking quickly, George grabbed from the box a copy of "Kublai Kong" and whipped it at a charging elf, knocking him cold. As he was rushed by a pair of knife-wielding guards, George incapacitated them both with well placed throws of "Super Mustafa Bros." and "Mateen Footall 2007."

Soon George was overrun, and he knew no number of corny foreign video game remakes could save him from the impending bullets. So he attempted a daring maneuver and tipped the game box onto his gun-toting foe, and made a dash for a large metal door labeled "Reactor."

Yes, that was a hint to what the shocking plan is. Read on for more.

George knew he wouldn't have much time, so he pulled a large cylindrical device from his ass and twisted a large, loud knob until it began ticking. Avoiding hostile bullets, George burst through the door and sprinted down a large walkway hanging above the reactor, a great humming machine.

Curious George hopped down a ladder and slid into the shadows as the angry elves passed over him, unaware he was just beneath them, wiring the cylindrical detonator to the reactor. It ticked away as he slunk back to the door, avoiding the hordes of elves. George pulled the heavy door shut behind him, grabbed a Segway and an assault rifle, and sped off towards the elevator.

Meanwhile, Santa had managed to gather the few elves who still sided with him together and had rode to the surface. He grabbed Mrs. Claus and a big handful of cookies and headed for Curious George's jet. Unfortunately, they couldn't all fit so some of the elves resolved to hang on to the outside. They crouched in strategic positions around the jet and behind snow drifts, fending off hostile forces. There was commotion from inside the house and Curious George came sprinting out of the shack.

"Ooook eek ahk ook ahk!" cried George. Santa nodded and said,

"Come, my elves, the detonator is rigged to blow! Hurry one hurry all!"

Curious George plugged the key into the ignition and the jet roared to life. But as George attempted to lift off, he found he couldn't. There was too much weight for the jet to lift off. George cried,

"Alas, the stringency of thee hath become a burden to thine kin!"

Enter Hermey the Misfit Elf and Santa Claus

Said Santa Claus "Why must thou blameth me for thine troubles? Doust thee hath no sympathy for I?"

Said Hermey the Misfit Elf "For a great cause I shalt give sacrifice; thou must go on."

"Alas! The heart of thee tis matched by none! Thee shalt be cherished in memory; alas, farewell!"

And so it was Hermey the Misfit Elf hopped off the ascending jet. He turned on the mob and raised his gun, and his body shook as it was filled with bullets. He fell to his knees, and then landed upon his stomach in a white cloud of snow.

"Get us out of here, George!" cried Santa, wiping a mourning tear from his eye. "We don't have much time!"

As they hovered several hundred yards above the ground, a happening so spectacular as Curious George had never imagined commenced. The earth began to quake and crack, and the small shack was decimated as a huge ball of fire billowed from the ground. The noise shook the jet and rattled George's teeth as the ice and snow gave way to a great explosion of fire. The cockpit heated up as the ball of flame grew higher in the air, engulfing the land and all every one of the renegade elves. Mrs. Claus hid her eyes from the blinding light as the mushroom-shaped flame grew higher and larger. Soon it faded away, leaving a smoking hole where Santa's cottage once stood.

"There's nothing there," muttered Santa in horrified amazement.

"It will be tough, I'll say that," said Santa after Curious George had set them back down. "I don't know what we'll do."

Curious George stroked his hairy chin, and he smiled as an idea grew in his head. He motioned for Santa to lean down, and he whispered his idea in Santa's ear.

"Ah, now that's a good idea!"

"What was his idea?" Asked Mrs. Claus. Santa Claus explained George's idea.

"Yes, that is a very good idea!" exclaimed Mrs. Claus, and she and Santa turned to explain George's idea to the elves.

"What an amazing idea!" exclaimed the few remaining elves.

"Yes, yes it was, and it was all George's idea," replied Santa.

"Well, it's a great idea, it is!"

And they all agreed George's idea was a very good idea indeed.

The End