“The Santa Heist” • by Carol Scheina

After naughty and nice, Santa had a third list. It detailed how to break into the vault, courtesy of Elf Security’s careful analysis. Santa began Step One.

“Ho boy!” Santa squeezed between the laser beams, glad he hadn’t gobbled any cookies tonight. Up the elevator shaft? Santa laid a finger alongside his nose and zoomed up. Triple-locked vault? No problem. Until alarms started blaring. 

A man came running. “That’s mine! My proof! Santa’s real!”

Quick as the North wind, Santa snagged the vault’s prize: a red hat trimmed with white fur, glowing with magic. “I’m already real for those who believe. And Krampus is real, too. He’s coming next.”

The man froze, eyes quivering.

“Merry Christmas to all, and no one steals Santa’s hat.” 

Carol Scheina is a deaf speculative fiction author whose work has appeared in an array of publications since her first professional-rate story was published in early 2020. That story, Once More With Feeling (Daily Science Fiction), featured a violinist coping with sudden hearing loss. 

Since then, she’s had other short stories and microfiction sales, including: Like Grandma Made (Bards and Sages), The Food Critic (Theme of Absence), The Pieces that Bind (On the Premises), The Midwife (Luna Station Quarterly), The Fruits of Sisterhood (Daily Science Fiction), Death Poems of the Folded Ones (Escape Pod Flash Fiction Contest), I Can Be a Hero Too (Daily Science Fiction), We Wait for a Better Future (The Arcanist), The Sweetest Things (All Worlds Wayfarer), Would You Like Fries With That? (Stupefying Stories), The Family Business (Stupefying Stories), Long-Distance Relationship (Stupefying Stories), and Just Like Before (Stupefying Stories).

As you may have guessed, we here at Stupefying Stories like her fiction a lot. We’re also lucky enough to get her to send us nonfiction once in a while: for example, “Exploring Strange New Worlds with a Hearing Loss.” 

Carol also works as a writer/editor in the Washington, D.C. suburbs. In her career, she has won a Blue Pencil Award from the National Association of Government Communicators and a Silver Inkwell Award from the International Association of Business Communicators and was recognized as an Outstanding Department of Defense Disabled Employee of the Year in 2005. Carol has an amazing husband who is always willing to give her stories a second read and two fantastic kids with the best imaginations ever. She also lives with a tuxedo cat who likes to walk over the computer and mess everything up, but he’s cute so he can get away with it. She grew up in a magical spot in Virginia with a creek and a woods and plenty of scope for the imagination.