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“I’m afraid I have some bad news,” Santa began gravely.
Pixie, Figgy, Nim and Lil stood silently in Santa’s office. The last few nights had been a disaster. First…drums, followed by messes of confetti and glitter. Last night’s slime sledding must have been the star that bent the tree, because Burt and Carol Malloy were NOT happy.
Figgy and Pixie gulped in unison, unable to speak.
“What is it, Santa? Not…a twelfth letter?” asked Lil.
“B-but we’ve been so good! We made cookies!”
“I agree with Figgy,” said Pixie. “Sure, the glitter bombs were messy, but we did our best to contain it to the hallway.”
“It’s not really about you two, per se. It seems the Malloy parents have discovered that it has been their children, and not you two, making such a mess.”
Santa handed them the letter.
First, we would like to apologize. It seems that catastrophes of late were not, in fact, the work of your “Mischief Makers”, but of our children. They confessed all last night after we threatened to have the two elves banned from the house. Permanently.
As such, we feel that a suitable punishment would be for Figgy and Pixie not to return for the rest of the season. It is nothing against them. Not really at least. But, it may be the only way to get through to the children and make them stop their disastrous shenanigans. We cannot, nor will we, tolerate any more mischief.
Figgy and Pixie may, of course, say their goodbyes by one last night of fun, but we would appreciate them not returning after that. At least until next year, maybe longer.
With sincere thanks,
Carol and Burt Malloy
Pixie and Figgy were speechless. While it was true that it had been the Malloy children who had made the majority of this season’s messes, the past few nights had been all Pixie and Figgy’s doing.
“Wait just a minute, Santa,” said Nim. “Can they do that? Is it really up to them?”
“I’m afraid so. If we ignore their request, they have every right to file a formal complaint with the Bureau of Malicious Mischief.”
“And even if they don’t file a formal complaint,” said Lil. “It is the 12th letter. You remember what The Book said.”
“But,” said Pixie. “Does that mean our fun is…over?”
No one said a word.
* * *
Glumly, Pixie and Figgy slumped on the couch. Nim and Lil had come along for moral support while Glitter stayed behind, too distraught to face the last night.
“I guess we should…do something,” sighed Pixie.
“Yeah,” Figgy agreed morosely.
“Ok you two,” said Lil. “Enough moping. If this is your last night, you need to go out with a bang.”
“And not a messy bang,” added Nim. “A ‘look-how-helpful-we-are’ bang. If you are going to convince the parents you should stay for the rest of the season, it’s going to have to be good.”
“How can we do that?” asked Figgy. “You heard the letter.”
“Pish-posh,” said Lil. “Just because it looks hopeless, doesn’t mean it is hopeless. Remember the footnote?”
Pixie and Figgy tried hard, but they couldn’t hold back the giggles.
“Pish?” said Pixie.
“Posh?” said Figgy.
Lil smiled. “Now let’s get started.”
Over the next five hours, the four elves cleaned with all their might. They scrubbed and scoured. Dusted and dried. Wiped and washed. Every surface sparkled…and not with glitter.
“Hey guys, look what I found.” Lil flew over to the table with a photo in her hands.
It was an old picture of the whole Malloy family. Alex was just a teeny, tiny baby. Everyone was smiling, a Christmas tree in the background.
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking, Nim?”
“That we should scrub the toilet one last time?”
“No, but that’s a good idea. I’m thinking it’s time to write the poem.”
Pixie shot up. “Yes! Oh Lil, that is a wonderful idea!”
The group sat and wrote a poem together. Once done, they placed it under the tree with a beautiful ornament.
“There,” said Figgy. “That should do it.”
Long ago on Christmas Eve,
You gathered ‘round this tree.
Your smiles were big, your eyes were bright,
Your hearts were filled with glee.
But since that day, you’ve lost a bit
Of spark and family cheer
Perhaps by this reminder
You’ll discover it this year.
Each of you must take a piece
Of loving, sound advice
Relax and smile, enjoy this time
You cannot live it twice.
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