Christine cried into the gag in her mouth. Chained to an X- frame in front of the little log cabin, her nude body had become numb in the freezing polar wind sweeping across the barren landscape. And her bare feet, buried deeply in the thick snow, had almost lost all senses. Old Santa Claus had been flogging her without a break for the past thirty or forty minutes, but it was only the last few blows, concentrated on her lower belly and her sex, that had brought her into tears.
The heavy cat-o'-nine-tails in Santa's hand suddenly dropped into the snow. Wiping his forehead with a sleeve of his trade-mark red coat, the old man bent over and panted heavily. "God damn it, Christine," he cursed loudly. "You really worked me out tonight. I haven't had so much exercise for years!"
He staggered to Christine and removed the gag from her mouth. "What do you say now?" he asked, puffing clouds of haze into the girl's face. "Do you work for me or not?"
Christine cleared her throat to speak, but was caught in a fit of violent coughs. For a time they simply stared at each other, both trying to catch their breath. The little bells clamped on Christine's nipples jingled softly.
"Look, Santa," she finally managed to say, "I know, I know you have, you have the power. You can turn me into a reindeer if you want, no matter what I say. So what difference does it make?"
"It's not like that," Santa sighed. "My power is limited by the rule of consensus -- I can't turn you into anything if you don't ask me to."
"Then why me?" Christine pleaded tearfully. "Why do you have to go through all this trouble on me? There are lots of girls out there who WANT to work for you, I'm sure."
"Because you have been a very bad girl this year, Christine. Look at your record: you had sex with eleven different guys and six girls, cheated on ten midterms and finals, flunked three classes out of eight, and tried to seduce five TAs, including a female, and two professors. You need to do some serious penance, Christine. It's for your own good."
"I may not be a perfect daddy's-girl, but I'm a human being, Santa, not a draught animal. God, I'm not a reindeer, and I don't want to be your stupid reindeer."
In a fury, Santa Clause picked up the whip and raised his arm again. But just at this moment, a window opened in the cabin, and Mrs. Santa's grey head appeared in the dim candle light.
"Nick!" she yelling into the strong wind, "the sleigh is already loaded. What are you waiting for?"
"Can't you see, Olga?" Santa put his hands on his hips and yelled back. "I'm trying to persuade this girl to join the team."
"My gosh, Nick! Christmas is barely two nights away, and you have fifteen more trips to make. And here you are, wasting time beating up this girl!"
"But I need this girl to replace the one that collapsed on the way back from Alabama," Santa pointed at the motionless form of another naked girl, hanging head-down from a corner of the cabin. "I can't go anywhere with only seven reindeer, can I?"
"All right. You want to mess with it, you go ahead. But if you miss any of those kids, the curse will be yours only." Olga slammed the window shut.
"The curse will be yours, Christine," Santa roared to the girl on the cross. "If any of the kids doesn't get a gift from me this year, it's all your fault."
"Bullshit, you old fart!" Christine screamed. "I didn't chain YOU up on this god-damn cross!"
The whip rained down on Christine's unprotected breasts and stomach. But hardly fifteen or twenty lashes later, the window was thrown open again, and Granny Olga banged on the outside of the log wall with the handle of a broom.
"It's almost mid-night!" she shouted, pointing to an old clock. "You'd better get going, RIGHT NOW!"
"OK, OK, I'm leaving! I'm leaving right now!"
Santa opened the shackles on Christine's ankles and wrists. She tried to stand on her own, but collapsed into Santa's arms.
Carrying the naked girl on his broad shoulder, Santa Claus walked to the back of the cabin, where his beautiful red sleigh with golden trims, loaded with sacks of gifts, sat bathed in silvery moonlight.
He dumped the girl's stiff body on the ground. Christine moaned aloud when her lacerated breasts and belly landed on the frozen surface of the snow. Then she felt ice-cold manacles being fastened around her ankles. She tried to put up a fight, only to find her ankles already locked securely to the front corners of the sleigh.
Santa grabbed her wrists and chained them to the ends of a thick wooden bar. Feeling too weak to interfere, Christine lied still on her stomach, and buried her face in the snow.
A rush of footsteps approached Christine, mixed with small jingles of metal and hushed moans of other young women. She lifted her face, and was confronted with the white silhouettes of seven other nude girls against the dark background of the night sky. Each of them was chained to the next by the neck, and each had two small bells clamped to her nipples.
"Hurry, girls," Granny Olga waved a long cane in her hand, "hurry up! We're running late! Now get on your kneels! Quick!"
Obediently, the girls dropped on all fours and lined up in front of the sleigh, while Santa and Olga replaced their iron collars with leather harnesses. Humming a merry tune to himself, Santa then tied the harnesses to the wooden bar that Christine's arms were chained to.
"Time to change your shapes, girls," Santa announced. "Ready -- one, two, THREE!"
His whip cracked loudly across Christine's shoulders at the count of three. Caught in surprise by the sudden attack of pain, Christine threw back her head and drew a mouthful of cold air, just in time to see the kneeling forms of the harnessed girls disappear in a blink of the eyes. Standing in their places were seven brown- haired reindeer with magnificent long horns.
Picking up an extra set of harness, Santa walked to the sleigh. "When you change your mind, Christine," he stepped a foot on the girl's back, "just let me know."
He climbed into the sleigh, and cracked the whip in the air. Christine and all the girl-turned-reindeer trembled at the sound.
"What's on the schedule this time, old girl?" Santa had fully recovered his good spirit.
"Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia," Olga read from her greasy little notebook.
"Good. It's a good hour's journey before we hit Memphis," Santa smiled under his long, snow-white beard. "Enough time for the tough girl to change her mind."
The whip landed squarely along Christine's spine.
"Heeee-aah! Let's go, girls! Ho ho ho!"