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“Twenty-six bags!” Santa fumed. “Twenty-six bags of popcorn spilled all over the living room, in the couch cushions…even the TV remote had popcorn stuck in it!”
Pixie and Figgy stood with their heads bowed in Santa’s office. Nim and Lil hovered in the background, watching sympathetically.
“W-well,” began Figgy. “We can make it up to them tonight.”
“Yeah,” added Pixie. “W-we thought we’d make cookies. We have all the sprinkles and red–”.
“COOKIES?!” Santa roared. “Sprinkles? Red-hots? Sugar all over the kitchen??? I THINK NOT!”
Never, ever, in the history of Christmas, had Nim and Lil seen Santa this agitated. They had a sneaking suspicion that there was more going on than anyone knew. Something was bothering Santa. Something big.
The big guy took a deep, calming breath and closed his eyes. He counted to ten. “Okay. I am sorry for my outburst, but you both must understand the gravity of this situation. Since this program started, the mischief has become more and more elaborate and intense. Parents are becoming increasingly…unhappy with the North Pole.”
This was news to Nim and Lil. Sure, they knew that the mischief making became more complex each year and there were always a few complaints, but that was just a few parents. Wasn’t it?
“Well,” peeped Pixie. “We were going to follow-up with a hot chocolate river tonight, but I suppose we could do something else instead.”
Santa’s eyes narrowed and tight lines formed around his usually cherubic mouth. “Please do.”
* * *
The flight back to Joe’s house was silent. Uneasy thoughts raced through Pixie and Figgy’s minds.
“I’ve never, ever seen Santa so mad,” Figgy sighed.
“Me neither. Something else must be going on. He didn’t get this mad at Nim and Lil when they shaving creamed the whole bathroom.”
“Or, when Nim knocked over the Christmas tree.”
Pixie landed with a thud on the kitchen table and looked around. “Where do you think Joe is?”
“We are later than usual. Maybe he fell asleep?”
Pixie’s eyes lit up. “If he’s asleep…we can make a meal for the whole family!”
Figgy nodded. “But what should we make?”
“Hmmm.” Pixie tapped her foot, thinking. She flew to the pantry and rummaged around, throwing ingredients out.
“Careful, Pixie! Remember, we don’t want to make a big mess.”
She continued to sift through the ingredients until she found what she was looking for. She hefted a box to the counter and turned triumphantly to Figgy.
“For breakfast?” Figgy asked.
“Oh Figgy, Elf Gaspetti is good anytime!”
Figgy grinned. “Ok, I’ll get the sprinkles and maple syrup!”
“And I’ll find the chocolate sauce and marinara!”
This was going to be the perfect apology for the “Popcorn Incident”.