MM2022 Day 23: Charly and the Children

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Pixie and Figgy followed Glitter to Santa’s house.

“What is this all about, Glitter?” asked Figgy.

“Yeah, why all the secrecy?” asked Pixie.

“Mrs. Claus will explain everything,” said Glitter.

When they walked into the cozy living room, Mrs. Claus sat in a rocking chair by the fireplace looking over a long, long list. Nim and Lil were already there, enjoying a steaming cup of hot maple syrup with extra sugar and candy cane sprinkles. At the sound of footsteps, Mrs. Claus looked up. “Ah, there you are. Thank you for coming to see me.”

“Of-of course Mrs. C. But…what is going on?” asked Pixie.

Mrs. Claus smiled and gestured to the corner of the room. “I’d like you all to meet Charly.”

A smallish elf with bright green eyes stepped out and nodded in greeting.

“Charly’s assignment was not on your list, but he needs our help. The job has become too big for him and he is having trouble keeping up. Poor Charly is in charge of a rather large assignment. How many children would you say?”

“Oh, 25, sometimes 30 kids,” shrugged Charly.

“Wow, Charly,” said Pixie with wide eyes. That was more than double the Malloys.

“Indeed,” said Mrs. Claus. “I would like the four of you to go with Charly and see what his situation is.”

“Pardon me for asking, Mrs. Claus, but does Santa know about this change in protocol?” asked Nim. “I only ask because he had to approve all the other assignments and if this house wasn’t on the list–”.

At the steely look in Mrs. Claus’ eyes, Nim abruptly stopped talking.

“Mr. Claus will need evidence and proof. He does not have time to travel to this…house…as he is preparing for tomorrow night’s deliveries. So, you four will go get the lay of the land and report back to me. Then, and only then, will we take this to Santa.”

At the looks on their faces, Mrs. Claus softened her tone. “It is better this way. Trust me.”

***

“You have your work cut out for you for sure,” said Lil.

Figgy and Nim were speechless as they stood over at the end of a long hallway in the Children’s Hospital. Sleeping children snoring softly in each room. The beeps and whirrs of medical equipment filling the air.

“And you’ve been working this place all by yourself?” asked Pixie.

Charly yawned. “Yep. For a few years now.”

Charly had dark circles under his eyes and he looked tired. Very, very tired.

“Why didn’t you ask for help sooner? This is a lot of work for one elf!” exclaimed Figgy.

“Oh I don’t know. I guess I just didn’t want to complain. These kids need joy in their lives and I try my hardest to give it to them, but I’m so darn tired. So, when I saw the advertisement for the B.R.A.T.T. crew I thought I’d just apply and see what happened.”

Pixie, Lil, Nim, and Figgy felt awful. They often lamented about how much work the Malloy house was, but there were only 12 of them. Looking around, there had to be at least 25 kids Charly was responsible for.

“Right,” said Lil. “You have help now and we are going to figure something out for next year as well. We need more Mischief Makers assigned to this hospital.”

“And,” added Pixie. “This isn’t the only Children’s Hospital in the world. We have to do something.”

“Right,” said Figgy. “We will talk to Santa after Christmas and work out a plan. For now, let’s get to work!”

When each child had a surprise at the end of their beds, the five elves were exhausted but happy with their work.

“Thank you so much Pixie and Figgy, Nim and Lil,” said Charly gratefully.

“Not at all, Charly,” said Pixie. “Next year, we’ll have a whole crew assigned, so you have the help you need.”

As each elf got into position, Figgy couldn’t help but think about all the other children’s hospitals in the world. Were they assigned elves? And if so, were they short staffed and burnt out on the job like Charly?

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