I absolutely loved Tarabeth's Tea Room challenge of the naughty elf. The challenge is to write a drabble, ficlet or story that begins with this line: All the elves were hard at work in Santa's workshop...all but one that is.. So, I've written another response to it.
The Wee Little Elf with a Very Big Heart
All the elves were hard at work in Santa's workshop... all but one that is. Well really two. One elf was missing, and we'll find out where he is later. But one elf was standing ill at ease in front of the big boss. That big boss was none other than Santa Claus.
"Edric, now normally I'm not too strict with office hours," Santa said with a stern voice, yet he still had a twinkle in his eyes. "But with Christmas so close we are on a time limit."
Edric wanted to squirm but as a Top he was prohibited by Top laws. So instead he squared his shoulders and answered, "Yes, sir. I understand, sir."
"Now, I know who's been naughty and who's been nice. Right now your Brat is on the nice list, but if he doesn't get to the workshop and start making toys soon, he's gonna end up on my naughty list." The regret was evident in Santa's voice but Edric had no doubt that Santa really would put the elf on his naughty list.
"I'm sure I can find him, sir. No need to put him on that list." Edric just hoped he could find his errant brat.
"Get him, and please, get him here soon."
With that dismissal from the big man, Edric hurried outside, then he spent the best part of an hour stomping, well as much as a wee elf can stomp, around Santaville looking for his missing Brat. But his Brat was nowhere to be found in Santaville.
Wishing he could throw a temper tantrum and cussing the Top laws that forbad that from any Top, Edric traveled outside Santaville. He searched all around the North Pole, then the Artic Circle, and then on to a small little village just inside the Alaskan border. And that's where Edric finally found his Brat.
Edric had recognized the sleigh that his Brat drove by all the jingle bells attached to the reins. Oh, and the reindeer were a dead give away too. That sleigh was in a parking lot next to a large department store.
Edric searched the aisles knowing he'd find his Brat soon. There couldn't be too many people wandering around in green tights, a green hat, and wearing red pointy shoes with bells on them. And soon enough, Edric saw the pert little bottom of his Brat.
Quickly he walked up behind his Brat and gave those green clad cheeks a mighty swat.
Jumping up and twirling around, Edwin the Brat, said, "Owww!"
"Yes, 'oww' and don't give me those puppy dog eyes! There's going to be more where that came from if you don't get your butt back to work!" Edric thundered. Well as much as a wee elf can thunder.
"But, but, I am working," Edwin whined. And wee little elves can whine really well!
Edric felt that inexplicable pull of his right eyebrow. He didn't know how or why, but every time he wanted his Brat to explain himself, his right eyebrow rose. His left eyebrow didn't but that right one went almost up to his hairline. Edric didn't waste anymore time wondering about his mystical eyebrows, he went ahead and LOOKED at his Brat. He didn't wonder about the LOOK, he just knew it worked. And work it did as his Brat started to explain.
"Do you remember that letter Santa got? From that girl who wanted an iPad so she could Facetime with her dad? The dad that's in the army and deployed?" Edwin asked.
"Yes," Edric said cautiously.
"Well, she asked Santa for something for her dad."
Edric's eyebrow went higher and his LOOK became more of a LOOK. "Well," he said.
"She asked if Santa could bring him some baby wipes, um, wet wipes."
Edric looked at the basket that was by Edwin's feet. There were colorful packages with bright pictures of mothers holding smiling infants.
"Why on earth would soldiers want those?" Edric asked.
"I thought the same thing!" Edwin said excitedly. "So, I googled it."
When no more came forth, Edric recognized his cue and asked, "And?"
"Well from what I read, soldiers in desert areas like to use them. The dry air and the sand...um...irritates...er...chafes...certain parts of their bodies."
Both the elves adjusted their wee little selves trapped in the green tights. They might live in Santaville that had snow year round, but they both understood chafing. Especially in those tight tights.
Looking again at the basket, Edric asked, "do you think her dad needs that many?"
Edwin looked down, and then back up into his Top's eyes. Edric knew that look, it was the pleading look that all Brats had perfected.
"Well, I thought if HER dad needed them, the other soldiers would probably like to have some too," Edwin said softly.
Edric took out his self phone and sent a quick text to the big boss. Then bending over, he grabbed the last few packages of the wipes and put them in the basket.
"Come on, Edwin. We'll sled down into the bigger cities and get some more."
The look on Edwin's face was one of pure joy. Edric scolded himself. He should've known that Edwin wouldn't shirk his duties. No, Edric knew his Brat was a wee little elf with a very big heart.