Chapter #20:

Rendezvous with Rudolph!

Rudolph is an entirely ordinary extraordinary burrow deer. He is often confused with common reindeer. It doesn’t bother him or the reindeer, because Rudolph is a chill and laid-back deer, and he never pays attention to such small errors.

Reindeer are also cool with it, because while trudging through a snowstorm in minus 30 degrees, everything else seems minor. And of course because they really like Rudolph. Every time he visits, he brings them various exotic dried fruits, mushrooms, or nuts from the distant lands he has traveled, and then it is exciting to try them and listen to Rudolph’s stories and jokes. Rudolph is quite the jokester. But all his stories are true stories. And thousands of things have happened to him. Here is one less unfeasible for you. If some parts of the story seem unbelievable, then this is because the whole thing has been written down based on echoic memory:

“I, Rudolph, was once walking along a street in Paris toward a cafe where they serve this most exquisitely delicious mille-feuille, which in some circles is also known as the Napoleon cake, and which is even better if you enjoy it with a fresh cappuccino. As I was approaching the cafe, a pollen grain flew into my nose. I think this pollen came from a very special cactus, Cactus extraordinaris in Latin, a species that blooms only once in a century. So, I was looking around, searching for the window that might have omitted the grain that reached my nose. Then, I really had to sneeze, so I closed my eyes, but while my eyes were closed, I was grabbing for my handkerchief, because under no circumstance could I let this pollen grain get lost. But as I had taken the handkerchief out and unfolded it to cover my nose, a sudden gust of wind came, and my handkerchief caught wind just like a kite, and since I was holding onto it with both my hands, it lifted me up!”

Rudolph was blinking his eyes and looking at the bowl full of cinnamon rolls, “I’ll take just one, my mouth is so dry from all this speaking,” and he took a fresh and extremely soft roll.

“And so I floated there, helpless, with my eyes closed. The accordion music on Avenue des Champs-Élysées got ever more quiet, and I could hear airplanes passing by. I tried to pull the handkerchief toward me a couple times, but doing so, I felt the air leaving it, and I started to fall down. So I held my hands as straight as I could and let the wind carry me. I think I even slept a bit during the whole thing, because there really is nothing to do up there, especially with your eyes closed. I didn’t open my eyes, because I knew that if I tried to open them even for a second, I might have sneezed. Some people have the trait of getting the urge to sneeze when suddenly exposed to bright light. It is scientifically proven, there are some nerves that are next to each other and, well, then it happens. I believe some deer also have this trait. Especially me. Now, look at this red nose, eh!”

Meanwhile, the cinnamon roll had vanished. Rudolph gazed at his listeners with an interrogative stare, took a sip of tea, and reached for another roll, “These are delicious, homemade, right? Compliments to the baker!”

“And so I drifted. Dark. I pricked up my ears to listen, but there was nothing to listen. Whir, swish, whiff. Then a sough, and then the whistling wind again. And then, the ding-dong of a clocktower! Oh, a clocktower! I hoped to at least have the luck to bump into that clocktower, so I could grab the edge of the roof. But no, I bumped into the clock face of the clocktower! So I let one hand go of the handkerchief and grabbed the minute hand of the clock. Of course, it sank down because of my weight. Afterwards, I read from The Times that the clock on Big Ben is not trustworthy, as everyone had set the time on their watches half hour ahead. Not daylight saving time but Rudolph saving time! And when I dared to open my eyes, I didn’t sneeze after all. And there I was—I had drifted to London with the wind! So, I started looking for a spot that would be best for climbing down, and again I got a terrible urge to sneeze, which led me to let go of the minute hand and grab the handkerchief, not thinking about the consequences. Sure enough, I started falling toward the ground, but luckily my handkerchief caught wind again—it truly is a great handkerchief—and once again I was drifting away, blinded. The ticking of the clock of Big Ben became more and more distant, and I think it was night by that time. I think it was night, because I had closed my eyes so tight I couldn’t tell anymore. I also began to feel hungry.”

Rudolph wiped the most of the crumbles off from his chest and took another cinnamon roll, which he skillfully twirled loose in order to eat the outer and more crispy part first, and enjoy the inner, soft and mushy part later.
“Oh dear, how good these are. Phenomenal!”

“And luckily it wasn’t cold. I would dare say it was rather warm. It felt like a desert wind. I thought to myself that it couldn’t be that warm in England, only New York gets that warm night wind. And hardly had I finished my thought when I heard beeping, and then BOOM!—I hit some strange edifice. I tried my rear legs, and to my surprise there was something underneath my feet! I opened my eyes—luckily I didn’t have the urge to sneeze—and what did I see! Flickering lights and colorful screens everywhere! My dearest friends and acquaintances, I had landed on Times Square, exactly in the middle on that huge ball that drops on New Year’s Eve. Luckily, it didn’t drop under my weight, or so it seemed to me. But alas! It only seemed so—when I looked down I saw the horizon dropping lower. People were already setting off fireworks, and wishing each other a happy new year, and then there was some glittery stuff thrown up in the air, and it was all a mess. I thought that now would be a good time to blow my nose, but hardly had I thought of that when my nose started to itch so badly that I really needed to sneeze, so I closed my eyes and inhaled, but then I no longer had the urge to sneeze! However, the ball I was standing on had gone askew, and I fell off of it. Luckily, my handkerchief caught wind once again, and there I glided, the yellow taxis of New York beeping ever more distantly. One gets scared up in the air, you know, so I didn’t dare to open my eyes.”

Rudolph shrugged his shoulders and looked at his empty teacup, “May I have some more tea? My voice is getting hoarse, it needs reinvigorating. I’ll take another one of these buns, they are just so delicious!” Having a fresh cup of tea under his nose, which, by the way, is extraordinarily big and red, he continued:

“I don’t know how long was I drifting there, but it seemed very long. The time was long enough for me to recite all the Christmas carols I know, from left to right and from right to left, when all of a sudden I heard … nothing! Do you know this feeling? Complete and utter silence. It was just as if there was a whistling sound in my ears, it was so quiet. And then, all of a sudden, I flopped down on some hill. I opened my eyes, and what did I see?! I had never seen such a beautiful mountain before. I tried really hard to remember where had I seen this mountain before. Yes! On the desktop of my computer. It was Mount Fuji! Or, to be more precise, it is actually a volcano. Huge. Tremendous. And there I was. I started to walk down the hillside, but the weather got so foggy that I couldn’t see much anything. I had finally opened my eyes, as you probably already understood. I didn’t have the urge to sneeze, and I started to think that maybe the pollen grain had managed to fly off somewhere, when suddenly there was this intense feeling in my nose—almost like someone had put pepper on my tongue! Oh, how it burned!”

Rudolph demonstratively rubbed his nose to give the listeners a sense of the intensity of the feeling, and then grabbed another cinnamon roll.

“What interrupted my focus on my nose was the noise of an approaching airplane. It was clearly audible that the plane was approaching the mountain through the fog! Oh, trouble! I was waving my hands and shouting out, meanwhile trying to get that stingy piece out of my now very red nose. By that time I was more than certain that it wasn’t pollen, it was a tiny piece of jalapeño. Because I remember clearly that I had just passed the Brasserie Bofinger restaurant, and I remember them offering something spicy, and that’s where this piece got into my nose.

I was flailing my handkerchief, rubbing my nose, and shouting as loud as I could! And you know what, it worked! The airplane changed its course and turned away! Hooray! Luckily my nose didn’t itch as much anymore, and when I reached the first village, Santa Claus was contacted and I got a ticket back to Sápmi. Of course, I had a layover in Moscow, and when I spoke to the pilot he said that he heard about an interesting incident when he was in Japan recently—when the red light indicators for obstacles are usually red and fixed on certain objects, then one pilot noticed a moving red indicator, and he had flown the plane closer to it out of interest. But since the fog was so dense, not much was to be seen. But the indicator light was in the right spot, it warned against the nearby mountain. So everything is in order in Japan.”

Rudolph rubbed his nose a bit more. “And sometimes I still feel it in my nose, although I have blown it. Or maybe I have some sort of an allergy, who knows. Heavens, I’m so full!” after saying that he went for another cinnamon roll and then munched on it in silence. The listeners were all quiet, thinking to themselves that this Rudolph guy has a lot of adventures, and it is a good thing that he has such a red nose, it is great for warning others against threats. Many started thinking about occasions when they had seen a red light flickering on top of a high building or something else. This might have been Rudolph, who had climbed up to see where he was at, and at the same time to warn airplanes of danger.

And, by the way, Rudolph has always insisted on being called Porobubu. That carries the memory of his homeland, and has that nice warm and fuzzy ring to it. So, when Porobubu appears in the coming adventures, you know that it is him, the one and only, Rudolph.

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