Rudolph Goes for Counselling

 

Ah, good morning, delighted to meet you, Rudolph, won't you sit down? I'd rather stand, actually. Of course. Lovely day isn't it? Can I get you a cup of tea?

Look, let's cut the small talk - I haven't got all day. And do I look like a tea-drinker? With this nose?

I can see you have a lot of anger, Rudolph. That's all right. We can deal with that.

We're talking rage if you really want to know.

It's good you can recognise that. Why don't you tell me about it?

It's pretty simple. I was chief conductor on this particular sleigh for years. Good job, high profile, positive public image. Then I got a bit too fond of the bottle. Santa - that's the boss - laid me off, though as for himself, he's a bit more than the social drinker he lets on to be. Then one night -

One foggy Christmas night?

You got it. He gave me one last chance.

"Rudolph with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"

Yeah - he has this nutty habit of talking in bad verse. Anyway it was a disaster. I haven't worked since.

So you feel guilty.

What are you talking about? None of it was my fault. I only had three double vodkas. Maybe I was pushing the old crate a bit fast at 340mph, but you know, we got one hell of a delivery schedule. Nobody warned me about the Sears building neither.

We're not here to assign blame, Rudolph. But it's important you look inside yourself too. From where do you think your dependence on alcohol initially arose? Have you a hurt inner calf?

Hell no, I was happy as could be growing up in Lapland. But you know, it's Christmas all year round where I live. We carouse a lot. Kinda gets to you, the social scene and that.

But other reindeer seem to be able to resist.

Yeah, well I got pressures too.

Pressures? Can you tell me about them?

I dunno. Relationships and that. Guess I don't handle them too well.

Are you married, Rudolph?

Nah. Divorced. That was way back, I was just a young buck then, didn't know any better. Met Roxy on my very first rut and thought it was the real thing. She had these gorgeous doe eyes you know. Next thing I knew, I was celebrating my stag night with my pals down in the Ice Cap, one hell of a night, and the following morning me and her were hitched.

To Santa's sleigh?

I mean we was married, dumbbell.

Any kids?

Got two females, Shelley and Winona, they headed out on the Lapland migration trail three years back, then snuck off one night when the other deer were asleep, me nor Roxy ain't seen them since.

You must find that rather sad.

Well, I won't say I don't miss them but they're full-grown gals and real purty too. I reckon they took off for Las Vegas for some good times and I don't blame them one bit. Got to live when you're young and the polar ice cap is not big in the entertainment stakes.

So you've been on your own since you and Roxy split?

Well, I ain't been living like no saint, but nothing serious you know. Least until I met Vixen.

Vixen?

Yeah. Sleigh girl you know, great character, terrific hindquarters, fabulous pair of antlers and skin like velvet. We were an item for near on two years, those were good times. Then she let me down.

She left you?

I found her in the stable one night with those wimp twins, Donner and Blitzen.

You reacted badly?

I suppose so. Hit the vodka hard. Trashed the stable. That's when I lost my job.

And the other deer called you names? Refused to let you join in their games?

Look: sticks and stones will break my bones, do I need to say more? None of that stuff bothered me. But I won't say I wasn't hurting over Vixen. That doe, I can't forgive her.

Maybe. . . forgiveness is what you need to take on, Rudolph.

No, no, never.

Let it go, Rudolph.

Hell, she broke my heart! I can cope with being replaced in my job by a high-intensity laser lamp, but this stuff is personal, man.

You can let it go, Rudolph. You've got to. Lean on your friends.

Yeah, I guess I always got Dancer and Prancer. Mrs Claus ain't that bad either when she's not maudlin with too much sherry.

That's it, Rudolph, you can see the road ahead now, that's important.

Guess so, ain't maybe that bleak after all.

Something else, Rudolph.

Yeah?

Whatever way it pans out, your name will be remembered.

It will?

Yes. You'll go down in his-toree.

Man, that would be something.

Times Square will resume on January 8th, 1998