Through the dark winter sky, somewhere south of the North Pole, two elves and a reindeer flew fast past the twinkling stars. One zippy elf suddenly zoomed ahead, diving toward a small house in the country.
Nim, a happy, energetic Mischief Maker, landed on a window sill and hopped from foot to foot, waiting for his partner, Lil.
“It’s about time,” Nim said once Lil finally landed on the window sill with a green balloon and a ‘We’re Back’ sign.
“You flew ahead too fast Nim,” huffed Lil. “Glitter fell behind and I had to wait for her to catch up.”
Lil had barely finished her sentence when Glitter barreled into the rose bushes below the window.
Glitter slowly stood up and began picking thorns from her reins.
“Are you ok?” asked Nim, trying to hide a smile.
“It’s a good thing those bushes were there to break your fall,” said Lil, holding back a chuckle.
“It’s just too bad they were rose bushes,” Glitter grumbled. “With thorns.”
Nim and Lil shook with laughter as Glitter continued to primly pluck at the thorns on her fur collar.
“Oh Glitter,” giggled Lil. “I hope this isn’t a sign of how the rest of the season will go for you.”
“Me too,” said Nim. “It took you 8 months to recover from last year’s…erm…initiation.”
Glitter sniffed and pranced, ignoring the chuckles coming from the two elves.
“Ok,” said Nim, bouncing up and down. “Let’s get started!”
The three friends flew through the window and landed softly on the kitchen table.
“Oh my,” said Lil with wide eyes.
“Oh dear,” said Glitter with a shocked voice.
“What in the world happened here?!” exclaimed Nim.
The entire front room and kitchen looked as if it had been ransacked by a giant.
Toys and stuffed animals were everywhere. Christmas ornaments were strewn all over the floor. The tree was on its side. And in the middle of it all a St. Bernard, no bigger than a mouse, slept peacefully in a big pile of tinsel.
“Barrel!” Nim and Lil cried in unison.
“Well I guess this explains why we haven’t had any Behavior Reports lately,” said Nim.
The sweet looking dog stretched, yawned and blinked at the trio. Then, when the sleep cleared from his eyes, he ran over and tackled Nim to the ground.
“Ok, ok!” shouted Nim as Barrel licked his face. “I’m happy to see you too.”
Lil smiled when Barrel rubbed on her leg, but quickly frowned as she looked at the mess again.
“Did you do this Barrel?” she asked sternly.
Barrel hung his head in answer.
“Yikes,” said Nim trying–and failing to hold in a laugh.
Glitter, the tidiest of all four friends, stood in mute shock.
This would not do at all. Glitter was determined to follow The Book this year, and on page 32, Chapter 2 in section 1.5 it clearly stated that messes of this size were strictly prohibited. What would Santa say?
Nim and Lil knew that look.
“Now Glitter,” said Lil in a reassuring tone. “I’m sure that once we scold him, Barrel will never, never, EVER make a mess like this again. Right Barrel?”
But Barrel was too busy running circles around the fallen tree to answer.
“Well…it won’t happen again now that we are here,” said Nim smiling fondly at Barrel.
“Yes,” said Lil as she patted Glitter on the back. “You’ll be here to keep an eye on him.”
“Well,” said Glitter taking a big, calming breath and shaking her reins. “We’d better get started cleaning up.”
“We don’t have much time until they get up,” said Nim turning to Lil.
Lil shook her head and set the ‘We’re Back!’ note, balloons and hot cocoa on the table for the boys to find first thing in the morning.
“This is no way to start,” mumbled Glitter from the living room. “Breaking rules, making messes. No way at all.”
Nim and Lil smiled with a little mischief sparkling in their eyes and headed over to help clean up the mess.