Flash Fiction Challenge: The Ugly Reindeer

Photo by K.S. Brooks

Maurice is a moose
who thinks he’s a reindeer. Of course, the reindeer will have none of it and ridicule him to no end.

But one Christmas Eve, a bout of Reindeer flu immobilizes Santa’s herd…

In 250 words or less, tell us a story incorporating the elements in the picture. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until 5:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time on Tuesday, December 4th, 2012.

On Wednesday morning, we will open voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

On Friday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted.

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7 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: The Ugly Reindeer”

  1. Maurice was a tall, gangly-legged moose, with short, stubby antlers and big protruding ears. However, Maurice did not know he was a moose. He thought he was a Reindeer. For you see, Maurice had been adopted when he was just a baby by a kind, motherly Reindeer. She taught him many things about being a Reindeer, and shared many secrets with him. But as Maurice grew, he became the subject of laughter and ridicule from the other Reindeer. They constantly teased him, and told him he would never be a real Reindeer.
    Then came that awful Christmas Eve morning. Santa had gone into the reindeer stables to wake them, only to find every reindeer in the herd had come down with Reindeer flu! “This is terrible! Santa groaned.” All my Reindeer are sick! We may have to cancel Christmas!” Maurice cried out, ”No Santa! I know just the thing!”, and hurried off. He returned with a large pot. “Maurice, where have you been, and what have you there?”, asked Santa. “This,” stated Maurice, “ is Reindeer flu stew! Momma Reindeer taught me a secret recipe!” Maurice gave each Reindeer a portion of stew, and in minutes, all the Reindeer were up and ready to go. “ Three cheers for Maurice!” cried the Reindeer. For Maurice had saved Christmas from being canceled!
    Although Maurice never got the chance to pull Santa’s sleigh, all the other Reindeer voted Maurice, “Best Reindeer of all“, and from then on, Maurice was a Christmas hero!

  2. Maurice Moose sighed. It wasn’t fair. Santa wouldn’t let him help pull his sleigh. It didn’t matter that Maurice was bigger and stronger than any old reindeer; he didn’t look like one.

    He sighed again, and turned on his TV. Then his eyes grew nearly as wide as his antlers. On the screen was an ad for a cosmetic surgeon: “Antler sculpting! Wattle tucks! Nose jobs! No problem too big!” He dialed before he could stop himself.

    Months later, Maurice stepped out of the doctor’s clinic a new moose. Gone were his unsightly beak and his spatulate antlers. He’d even had the stylist bleach his pelt. Then he strolled down to the practice field. Sure enough, all the reindeer who had snubbed him for his schnozz now wanted to be his BFFs.

    That Christmas Eve, Maurice invited Santa’s team over for a pre-sleigh-ride supper. He passed plates of hors d’oeuvres and watched his guests as one by one, they dropped to the floor.

    When every last one of them had passed out, Maurice hoofed it over to Santa’s. “Hello, Maurice!” Santa boomed. “Have you seen my reindeer?”

    “They’ve all got the reindeer flu, sir,” he said, with an air of noble sacrifice. “Guess I’ll have to pull your sleigh myself.”

    Santa eyed him. “Why aren’t you sick, too?”

    “Natural immunity,” Maurice shrugged.

    But Maurice couldn’t get off the ground, because as everyone knows, only reindeer can fly. So Santa flew his second string, and Maurice spent Christmas behind peppermint bars.

  3. Maurice and Nick

    Maurice saw the old man sitting on the bench, head buried in his hands. He was the picture of misery in the torrential rain. A puddle dripped from his head and elbows onto the sidewalk. Beside him, a huge bag threatened to fall from the bench.

    “Homeless at Christmas?” Maurice said

    “Worse,” the old man said. “No snow. And the warm weather gave my reindeer the caribou flu.”

    “That’s a shame. Moose don’t get caribou flu.”

    The old man jerked his head up and gawked wide-eyed at Maurice. Rain ran off the tip of the old man’s nose and his soggy mop of a white beard.

    “You’re a moose!”

    “Right, but you can call me Maury. Maybe I can help.”

    “I’m Nick. Can you make it snow, Maury? I’ve gotta deliver this stuff by tonight. Sleigh won’t move if it doesn’t snow.”

    Maury’s lips fluttered. “Hang on, Nick. I’ll ask my friend Nellie for a favor.” Maury walked to the curb where a brown mare was chewing on the bit of a harness that connected her to a four-wheeled carriage. Maury whispered in her ear, and the bells on her harness jingled as she tossed her long head up and down several times.

    Maury walked back. “It’s all set. I’ll pull the carriage and you deliver. Moose love rain.”

    “Oh, Maury, that’s brilliant. You’re a saint.”

    “Nah, Nick, you’re the saint. Let’s start right here on Fifth Avenue.”

  4. The year all the reindeer came down with the flu,
    Maurice was excited; he knew what to do!
    He’d longed for this chance to prove all he was worth,
    But Santa ignored him, to everyone’s mirth.

    Maurice had fine antlers and four solid hoofs,
    Immune to the flu, he could climb all the roofs.
    Yet the sleigh was hitched up to Canadian geese,
    And Dumbo, and Rocky — everyone but Maurice.

    Prancer and pals made Maurice feel ashamed
    When he thought he could play in their Reindeer Games.
    And Rudolph, well he was the worst of the pack,
    Telling Maurice to go home and never come back.

    But the Clauses had always been nice, so he thought.
    Oh, this turn of events had Maurice quite distraught.
    He did not understand, the poor little guy,
    So he hid in a snow bank and had a good cry.

    Mrs. Claus found him there, fed him cookies and milk.
    “You simply must find some friends of your ilk.
    Now I’ll tell you once more, so you’ll stop asking why–
    You are a moose, and moose cannot fly.”

  5. Title: Mo Power

    Mo would watch the reindeer playing, but he was never invited.

    Each night he would sleep alone and silently say his prayers. He wondered if tomorrow would be different. Each day he woke and hoped today would be the day they would welcome him.

    The hardest time of the year was when the Claus’s would review the herd to pick those who would pull the magic sleigh He was always in the back, trying to get far enough away so he would not be reminded he was Mo the monster.

    Since there was a flurry of activity with the elves working extra hours to complete their projects, Mo knew it was that time again.

    Mr. Claus rang the bell to announce the important selection process. Mo noticed the reindeer moving slowly to the snow-covered field instead of the usual stampede. When Mr. Claus asked for volunteers, not one reindeer moved forward. Even the reindeer with the red nose looked sickly.

    The Clauses seemed concerned.

    Finally, one by one, each reindeer moved to create a path leading to Mo.

    The rest is history, or maybe just folk lore. However, those that observed the single giant reindeer pulling the sleigh commented that the presents seemed larger that year.

    Things were never the same. When the reindeer picked their teams for play, Mo was always picked first. Mo realized that over time they called him Maurice, and wondered if it was because they truly thought he was nice.

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