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Have you ever wondered if Santa's elves become disgruntled? All that snow and toy-making probably gets a little old. In Matt Harrah's story, Elfred decides to venture to the human world, but it may not be as wonderful as he thought. Read on and please leave a comment...
“Please don’t go,” Suzie begged.
“I’ve made up my mind,” Elfred replied.
“You know once you cross the line, there’s no coming back.”
“Santa and the others have reminded me.”
“What will you do for money?”
“Maybe I can ride one of those hornless unicorns. You know how well I do at the reindeer races.”
“I’ll be fine. I wish you would come,” Elfred said.
“I can’t. Charlee needs me. Have you thought about how you leaving will affect her and I?”
“I know it will be hard. You’ll probably have work more at the bakery. I want to know what the world is like. Give me some time to get settled, then I’ll send for you. I promise it will be worth it.”
He took his piggy banks, Walter, Melvin, and the twins Paul and Paula. He sprinkled elf dust on them, bringing them to life. He harnessed them to a sled. The coins inside them sloshed rhythmically like sleigh bells. He passed a sign that read NOW LEAVING THE NORTH POLE. A tear rolled down his cheek, freezing halfway.
The magic wore off when he crossed the North Pole line, meaning he would have to walk from there. Spending money was a new concept for Elfred. He was able to save most of what he earned in Santa’s workshop, so it didn’t matter that the piggy banks were solid and the money inside them was stuck. With a heavy heart, Elfred smashed three of the piggy banks. A trucker gave him a ride into town. This was not an elf’s world. Elfred’s neck soon grew sore from having to look up at everything. He rented a room above a bakery. The smell of baking pies reminded him of home. He went shopping. He got a part-time job. The tracks were closed until spring, so his horseracing career would have to wait. He came home after a long day and fed Walter the change in his pocket.
“Wee wee, yummy, wee wee,” an automated pig voice squealed.
“I think we made a mistake Walter. I miss them.“
The plastic pig stared blankly. Elfred’s pockets were empty so it looked like the conversation was over.
Elves are all about helping others, but now Elfred was in a world where people only wanted to help themselves. The pushing and shoving he witnessed in stores shocked him. It didn’t seem fair that naughty people had money to buy presents. Didn’t people know they just had to be good and write a letter to Santa? He would bring them whatever they wanted. Even the children seemed naughty. Half the time they didn’t even smile when he put them on Santa’s lap. Others had lists nearly as long as the North Pole’s inventory.
Elfred was daydreaming against a cardboard gingerbread house when a boy asked him, “Hey Mr. Elf? Is Santa going to be on break much longer? My mom says we got reservations at the Italian place.”
“He will be out soon. He’s feeding the reindeer.”
“My mom says he’s not the real Santa anyways.”
Elfred didn’t have the strength to argue with a non-believer. The cardboard castle door swung open.
“Next!” boomed the mall Santa.
A little girl hopped on Santa’s lap.
“Let’s take your hat off so everybody can see your pretty smiling face in the picture,” Santa said.
The little girl gasped when he removed her toboggan, revealing her pointy ears. Some children in line started snickering and pointing at her. The girl ran past them to the safety behind her mother, peeking around to see if she was still being mocked.
“Charlee?” Elfred asked.
“Hi Elfred,” the girl’s mother said.
“Suzie. How did you find me?”
“Santa told us to come.”
“Am I in trouble?”
“It looks like you are. You look terrible.”
“I didn’t know it would be so hard.”
“Are you ready to come home?”
“I can’t. I crossed the line,” Elfred said.
“We’re not banned. You can fly back with us. Where are the pigs?”
Elfred sighed, “Only Walter is left.”
Suzie‘s eyes widened. “What happened to the others?”
“I had to break them to get the money out.”
“Why didn’t you just pull their tails?”
“Pulling their tails makes them open their mouths wide and you can reach in and get the money. Didn’t you know that?”
“I guess not,” Elfred blushed.
“How do you think I went shopping at home?”
“Magic?” Elfred asked sheepishly.
Suzie chewed her lip, “Hmm, Santa only gave me a little dust. His magic works down here for flying, but it’s not enough for Walter to fly you home. I can‘t carry you and Charlee.”
Elfred couldn’t imagine being stuck here any longer.
“I have a plan,” Suzie winked at him.
In the kitchen at Elfred’s place, Suzie worked like an elf on a mission.
“Get in,” she pointed at a pie pan.
Elfred stared blankly.
“I’ll sprinkle some Santadust and on you, shrink you down in the pie, then Walter will eat you. Trust me. It will work. When we get home, I’ll pull his tail, reach in and get you, then make you elf size again. I put some chocolate coins in there if you get hungry.”
Elfred reluctantly stepped in.
“Wee wee, Elfie, wee wee,” Walter said as he ate the pie.
Across town a little boy and his family were leaving an Italian restaurant, when they heard the faint sound of sleigh bells overhead.
“Is that Santa?” the little boy pointed to the sky.
His mother squinted at the little woman in the sky, with a child on her back, and a pig under her arm. She wondered what exactly was in that glass of wine she had with dinner. “I think those are just some of his helpers.”
The boy tugged her sleeve. “We have to go back to the mall! I have to tell Santa I want a piggy bank for Christmas!”
Bio: Matt Harrah lives in Ohio. A farmer by trade, he writes in his spare time to appease his imagination.