The Other Night Before Christmas By UncleMorgan ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and to my delight someone was stirring in my thermal night sight. I allowed for the windage and gave him two dots-- then counted the reindeer and added eight shots. The total was nine, a legal mag’s ten. But I’d popped in a thirty, because (in the end) thirty’s like twenty, and twenty’s like ten. I was camoed in white, plus a layer of snow. All dressed up for the winter with noplace to go. My face mask was filtered to keep fog off my lens, I thought “Bring it on, Santa. Let’s see how this ends.” I was born to be patient and trained to be stone, and I had the high ground that covered my home. The load on the sleigh was a mind-boggling mound. It looked like the Clampetts had come back into town. There were bicycles, and skateboards and scooters and trikes Stuff for the grownups, the teens, and the tykes. There were presents wrapped up that just begged to be shook, and airplanes wrapped up like the way airplanes should look. And four Elves riding shotgun. Well, wasn’t that nifty? I pulled out the thirty and plugged in a fifty. AP is overkill, HP is rude. So I’d figured on FMJ for the dude. And as for the reindeer…Well, venison’s food. I was loaded sub-sonic, my rifle’s suppressed. I’d rather shoot tidy than clean up the mess. I watched as they landed two clicks away and ran toys down a chimney like a bucket brigade. The Slater’s have four kids and nothing to spare. Without Santa their tree would be pretty much bare. I said to myself “Don’t start getting soft!” I let out half a breath and pushed the safety to “off”. Then I watched as he visited the old Widow Jones and six fluffy kittens found their new homes. My house was up next, it wouldn’t be long. But...for some stupid reason I put the safety back on. I watched as they stopped for milk, cookies, and cake. I was never above taking game over bait. But somehow I just couldn’t squeeze on the trigger. It’s been seven years running, and by now I figure that I’ve finally just gotten too soft and too old. So I give him a pass and he gives me coal.