Enjoy this free first chapter of The Search for South Pole Santa!

Chapter 1 -- The Search for South Pole Santa

Hubbub at the Pole

"We interrupt this broadcast for breaking news from the North Pole. Yes, that North Pole," the reporter dressed in a crisp white shirt, heavy suit jacket and black slacks said, speaking into her microphone as she quickly walked up a sidewalk lined with oversized candy canes. At a magnificent front door, made of ornate wood and very old stained glass, she rang the bell and heard a chorus of  ". . . deck the halls with boughs of holly . . ." which turned her stern look into a smile. "In an unprecedented first, Santa Claus has called a press conference with important news for the world," she continued, now serious again, as the door opened. "We turn now to Mr. Claus. Sir, may I call you Santa?"

"Ho Ho Ho! Of course! Everyone does. Hello children! Can you see me?" said the man people all around the world know as Santa Claus, who then stepped out the door and tapped on the camera's lens.

The view cut to another camera for a moment to show Santa was standing in front of his own front door at the North Pole. Through the centuries, Santa's house had always impressed those who got to see it and this time was no exception. It was rare to get a glimpse of how Santa lived. The house had been built in the same whimsical style as most homes at the Pole with a large, over-sized, sloping roof made to carry a heavy snow load. The outside was painted in bright multi-colored hues of colors that sparkled even on cloudy days. Christmas lights adorned the home year-round, and the front windows were shaped like Christmas tree ornaments complete with festive matching shutters.

The reporter held the microphone close to Santa but it was unnecessary. He spoke in a loud, booming voice. "I wanted to speak with all of you in TV land today to share some important news about a slight problem that has come up here at the Pole. Well.around the world actually.

"Our population alarm has sounded. Now that probably doesn't mean much to any of you, but as you look around your towns and cities, you may notice that there are more children than ever. I bet some of you may even have a new baby brother or sister!" Santa smiled and paused before he continued.

"I love children! The babies, the little ones, the big ones, the good ones -- even you naughty ones," Santa said wagging his finger slightly at the camera. "And surely all of you know that our goal here at the North Pole is to make certain every child in the world receives a special gift with no exception."

"Is that in jeopardy, Santa?" the reporter cut in with concern in her voice.

"Well yes," Santa replied directly but had to pause as an audible gasp was heard from the reporter - and in every home watching the news cast as well! "I know, I know," he continued, hurriedly responding to her reaction and anticipating the rest of the world would feel the same. "This is a bit of shock to take in when you first hear it, and we here at the North Pole heard it very loud." He chuckled at his little joke about the loud alarm, putting his hands over his ears briefly, remembering the volume of the alert.

"When the population alarm sounded, it did exactly what it was set to do hundreds of years ago - alert us if we ever approached having too many children for Santa to serve. Certainly, we hoped this day would never come. Thinking about it now, perhaps we should have anticipated this, but here at the Pole our focus is always on the children," he paused looking a bit pensive. "However, after a week of careful consideration, evaluating the situation and putting our best minds on the problem, I am very pleased to share that we have quickly come up with a solution to this predicament. That is why I called for this TV coverage today."

"Santa, please continue. I know our viewers, especially the children, are anxious to hear more," said the reporter.

"In the end, the answer was simple. We have too many children for one Santa to serve," and he made sure to stress the word one. "So we simply need to add a second Santa. There's no getting around it and we begin the search today."

"A second Santa?" the reporter sputtered. "But who? Who could be you?"

"Now that is an excellent question and the answer is that many people could be. In fact, this presents a very unique opportunity for someone who has always dreamed of being Santa. But we only have room for one. After all, I'm already here and not going any place," Santa said, laughing at his own comment.

"If there are so many people, how do you plan to select the right person to be another you?"

"Ho Ho Ho! Well since children have been writing to Santa for centuries, it seems only right that becoming Santa should involve a letter, too," Santa answered. "After much consideration, in consultation with the North Pole Claus Council, we have determined that interested individuals need only be Santa Believers, over sixteen human years of age, and send us a letter outlining why he or she wants to be Santa."  He got close to the camera lens again and added, "Speak from your heart.

"And one more thing, there's no time to waste! We need your letters to arrive here at the North Pole within one week!"

"One week!" said the reporter, obviously stunned by the fast runaround. "With all due respect, Mr. Claus, isn't that short time frame a little unreasonable?"

"Ho Ho Ho! Maybe for some, maybe for some," he agreed, shaking his head.  "But this person will be delivering gifts to children all around the world in the span of one magical night every year. They will need to be comfortable with -- and good at -- working fast! Ho Ho Ho! There's no time to waste! Get your pens and pencils out and start writing."

*   *   *

Word of the announcement would make its way around the world to places near and far, including a very hard-to-find island somewhere in a remote part of the Caribbean. It was there on St. Annalise Island that Cassandra Penelope Clausmonetsiamlydelaterra..., Sandra for short, and her guardian Captain Richmond, affectionately called Cappie by most, had come to live six years ago. Their time on the island had been happy but their reason for being there had come about through tragedy.

Get the book now to find out what happens next...and why Cassandra has such a VERY long name!