Most people think that Santa’s Grotto is just a cave at the North Pole, where small elves with smaller hammers toil all year making Christmas gifts such as Barbies, Harry Potter Box-sets, and socks. In fact Santa’s Grotto is actually a huge compound with many buildings, each with its own fun-filled function.
There is Ice Cream Parlour, where the elves make a wide range of creams, from whipped to shaving to anti-wrinkle, all of them because you’re worth it. There is Ice Station Zebra, where they paint stripes on horses, foxes and squirrels to make zebras, raccoons and Pepe LePew.
And then there is Ice Cube Aurora. It is the rocket-gantry for a huge firework, and every November the elves light the fuse and then run like blazes, with one of them shouting “fire in the hole”, because, well, that’s what you do. The rocket ignites and arcs across the night-sky, like a comet, and then, when it reaches a height of two miles, the firework explodes.
The resulting beautiful, magical, haunting display is known to everyone as the Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis.
As soon as the rocket has taken off elven builders move in to begin repairing the Ice Cube, and eleven engineers (elven ones, too) start work on constructing the following year’s rocket. Meanwhile the ignition team, the Red Adairs of the elf world, fall exhaustedly into bed and hibernate for the winter.
They are the origin of the phrase “light the blue touch-paper, then retire”.
(This was written, with the photo as the prompt, for this weeks Flash! Friday competition)