North Pole Gazette December 25, 2020 by Sparkly Sprinkles
In an astonishing turn of events, Pixie Powder and Figgy Frost’s assigned children both discovered the truth about the elves. Joe, who found out last season, tried to stop Jake from running to the living room, but Jake was too quick. Powder and Frost, along with Nim Noel and Lil’ Lil were discovered putting the final touches on the tiny Christmas tree they were leaving as a surprise for the boys.
“I just can’t believe it,” Frost said. “We were so close to the end.”
Powder agreed, although it was difficult to understand through all the blubbering.
Nim and Lil were unavailable for questioning as they were in Santa’s office discussing what to do next season. Mr. Grimly, head of the Department of Festive Fun and Frivolity, was also attendance.
Where does this leave Powder and Frost? What will happen to them next season? This reporter can’t wait to find out.
The elves just had one more night before it was time to leave for the season. One more night of fun and mischief. One more night working with Joe until…maybe forever.
“Oh come now, if we are quiet, there is no way Jake will find out,” said Figgy.
“Besides, Joe said he would suggest a slumber party so he could keep an eye on Jake. Warn us if he woke up,” said Nim.
Pixie and Lil were nervous. They were so close to escaping discovery. So close!
“Good news!” said Nim, flying through the door. “The ornaments arrived in the nick of time.”
The colorful strands, twinkling lights and tinkling bells distracted the group and they all but forgot about the possibility of Jake finding out they were real. It was their last night of mischief and they wanted to do something really special.
“Where are the trees?” asked Glitter.
“Joe put them on top of the cabinets,” said Figgy. “I’ll go grab them.”
Figgy zipped to the top of the cabinets and scooped up one tree, twirled and reached for the other, but the tree he’d just snatched threw him off balance and fell hard in the sink, knocking dirty dishes everywhere.
BANG! CLANG! CRASH!
The Mischief Making team froze and held their breath. All was quiet for 1, 2, 3 seconds and then…
Stomp, stomp, stomp!
Stomp, STOMP, STOMP!
“I knew it!”
Joe came skidding into the living room after Jake and looked in horror at the elves. “Er…this is all a dream, all a dream, Jake.”
“Nice try, Joe, but I’ve been wide away for hours just waiting to catch them!”
Pixie burst into tears. Figgy fell to his knees and Nim and Lil sighed in resignation.
Nim patted Figgy on the shoulder. “It was only a matter of time, we new that this was coming.”
“What’s wrong?” asked Joe. “So he knows, now we can all play. Set up tricks for Mom and Dad, plan—.”
Joe stopped when he saw the grave looks on the team’s faces. Suddenly, he knew that his time with the elves was coming to an end. “So what happens now?”
“I’m afraid we will have to…erase your memories of us,” said Lil.
“WHAT?!” Joe and Jake both stared incredulously at the elves.
“Erase our memories of Christmas?” Jake gasped.
“No, no,” hurried Nim. “Just your memories of…us.”
Joe’s eyes filled with tears.
Everyone looked at Jake.
“I’ll just pretend I don’t know. Then you can come back next year and I can help too.”
Pixie and Figgy smiled, looking hopefully at Nim, Lil and Glitter. “Could we do that?”
“Well…,” began Lil.
“I’m afraid not,” said Glitter. “For many reasons, but mostly because it wouldn’t be fair to all the new children who don’t have Mischief Makers yet.”
This was news to Pixie and Figgy. “Aren’t there more recruits?”
“That’s what Santa wanted to talk to us about the other day,” said Nim. “There are fewer and fewer elves signing up for the Mischief Maker program so we need all the elves we can get.”
“But…,” began Figgy. “What about Joe and Jake?”
The team looked at each other sadly, not knowing what to say.
“Then you have to go where you are needed,” said Jake with a small smile.
“Yes,” added Joe. “We would feel horrible if other kids didn’t get to experience the fun we did.”
Nim and Lil smiled proudly at Joe and Jake. They had grown so much since their first year. In stature and in character both.
“There’s just one thing,” said Jake, smiling at Joe. “Please don’t erase our memories. We had the best time with you…even if you did make a lot of messes.”
Each elf’s smile brightened the room and they turned to Glitter.
Glitter’s heart filled to bursting as the Christmas magic swelled. “I think I can convince Santa…just one more time.”
“Santa said what??” Figgy added another dollop of cream and a few more spoonfuls of sugar to his peppermint hot cocoa as he listened to Nim and Lil.
“Santa is concerned with how many “close calls” you’ve had with Jake. He feels that we should all be prepared for the…inevitable,” said Nim.
“The inevitable?” asked Pixie. “What does that mean?”
Lil smiled sadly at Pixie, forgetting that she was still learning all the rules and codes from The Book. “Here, let me show you.”
Lil pulled out her battered copy of The Book and flipped through the pages. “Ah, here it is.”
Chapter 8, Section VI, Footnote 2.1
Once a child stops believing or discovers an elf in the act of mischief making, all elf shenanigans must be erased from said child’s memory. Warm memories of Christmas should be left intact so the magic continues on to the next generation.
“But,” sniffed Pixie. “J-Joe found out and we didn’t have to erase his memory!”
Glitter sighed. “That is because I reminded Santa of…something. Something he’d forgotten and didn’t want anyone to know.”
“You mean you blackmailed the big guy,” snickered Nim.
Glitter huffed, glaring hard at Nim. “Anyway, that won’t work again. Joe knowing was one thing, but now other Mischief Makers are finding out about the arrangement and want Santa to let them do the same. It’s too much of a risk.”
“So…,” began Figgy.
“So…,” said Lil. “Once Jake finds out, we’ll have to follow The Book.”
* * *
“Ok team,” said Nim. “We only have a few more nights left until…until we have to say goodbye for-forever.”
“Possibly, maybe Jake won’t find out this year,” said Figgy.
“Right.” Nim nodded his head, knowing that it was a big maybe. “So team, what are we going to–hey, where did Lil and Pixie go?”
Glitter pointed her antlers toward the bathroom. “In there, but I’d be careful if I were you.”
“Why?” asked Figgy.
“They had scissors and they were singing.”
“What were they singing?” asked Nim.
Oh the TP in here’s delightful, But the lack of snow is frightful, Since we all soon will go, Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
The team sat in the Elfeteria at the North Pole, knocking back Mrs. Claus’ famous Peppermint-spiked Cocoa.
“That was too close,” said Figgy.
“Yes,” added Pixie. “Good thing Joe was able to convince him it was all a dream again.”
“We have to be very careful over the next few nights,” said Nim. “I don’t think the ‘it was all a dream’ excuse will work again…if it worked at all this time.”
The door creaked open and the team turned to find Santa standing in the doorway looking worried.
“What is it, Sir? Did something happen?” Lil asked, jumping to her feet.
Santa cleared his throat. “I’m afraid we have…a potential problem with Jake.”
Santa pulled a letter from his coat and handed it to Lil.
I hope this letter isn’t too late. I’ve changed my mind about what I want for Christmas. You see, last night I saw Nim, Lil, Figgy and Pixie dancing around the kitchen! What I would really like for Christmas is them to stay and play all year. Just think of all the fun we could have together!
Pixie and Figgy were speechless.
Nim and Lil were shocked.
Glitter let out a mournful bray.
“I was afraid this would happen,” said Santa.
“What happens now, Santa?” asked Pixie.
“I’m afraid this may be the last season for Joe and Jake.”
“But, what will happen to us?” asked Figgy.
Santa shook his head sadly. He never could get used to this moment with his Mischief Makers. It was a natural and bittersweet part of the career, but that didn’t make it any easier. “When a child discovers the truth, some of the magic disappears. When that happens, the Mischief Makers get…reassigned. I’m sorry.”
As Santa left the room, Figgy and Pixie cried out, hugging each other and sobbing. Nim and Lil, who had known this and seen it countless times in their short jobs as Chief Mischief Makers, looked at them sympathetically, but they too were heartbroken.
To everyone’s surprise, Glitter took the news the hardest.
* * *
The team didn’t have much energy for the night’s mischief. When they got back to the house, Joe was already setting up the tower of cups for the remote control car crash they had agreed to. When he greeted the elves, he sensed that something was wrong but, wisely, knew not to ask…yet.
“Er, who wants to test it out?” asked Joe as he set the final cup on top of the tower.
Nim, Lil, Pixie and Figgy looked at each other, then up at Joe. Worry filled his voice and lines of concern crinkled his eyes.
Nim suddenly straightened. “That’s it team. Enough wallowing.”
Lil followed suit. “Yes, we have until December 24th so let’s not waste time feeling sorry for ourselves.”
Pixie and Figgy, knowing they were right, pulled themselves together, smiled and some of their old spark came back, filling the room with light and warmth. The lines disappeared from Joe’s forehead and he grinned.
Glitter paced in front of the stables, waiting for her informant to show up.
“Psst! Ma’am?” A tiny reindeer peeked out from behind a post.
“There you are,” said Glitter. “What news?”
“You were right, ma’am. The Beagle and Bunny are trying to recruit the others.”
“So far, they’ve got the Tooth Fairy and Queen of Hearts on their side, but the Leprechauns are holding out.”
Glitter nodded. “Good work, Junior.”
Junior saluted and pranced back inside the stables, leaving Glitter to her thoughts. So. The Beagle and the Bunny were recruiting. “We’ll just see about that..” she murmured.
* * *
Oh sledding hill, oh sledding hill so beautiful and snowy Oh sledding hill, oh sledding hill Into the sink we’ll go-y We’ll build a sled, of Christmas treats And race each other through the streets Oh sledding hill, oh sledding hill Into the sink we’ll go-y
As Pixie and Figgy sang the last few notes of their song, Nim and Lil skidded to a halt on the kitchen counter spraying snow everywhere.
Pixie looked up, startled. “Nim, Lil? I thought you were finalizing the plans for the Christmas Eve Eve Pep Rally?”
Nim shook his head, panting. “We have some news.”
“About the DFFF’s investigation. There have been…a few developments.” Lil straightened up. She was smiling.
Nim and Lil told them about Glitter’s network of spies. Tiny reindeer who could disguise themselves as a number of woodland creatures…including bunnies.
Figgy scratched his head. “A bunny? Really?”
“Yes,” Lil said. “Once disguised, they infiltrated the Easter Bunny’s lair and–”.
“But, don’t they have antlers? Like Glitter?” asked Figgy.
“And do they learn to hop like a bunny?” asked Pixie.
Nim frowned. “They are specially trained forces who–.”
“Maybe they wear costumes,” pondered Figgy
“They would have to be really good costumes to fool the Easter Bunny and Birthday Beagle,” said Pixie.
“And they must have a whole team of make-up artists ready to transform them at any time,” added Figgy.
“And another team to make them spy gadgets and gizmos!”
“THE POINT IS,” Lil interrupted. “We have some good news.”
Pixie and Figgy looked eagerly at Nim and Lil.
“The Easter Bunny and Birthday Beagle have been recruiting others in an attempt to reduce the Magic of Christmas,” said Nim.
“They’d already recruited the Queen of Hearts and a few other minor holiday mascots, but then, they got a little too ambitious.” Lil paused for dramatic affect. “They tried to recruit….the leprechauns.”
Pixie and Figgy gasped. Every creature in the North Pole knew that the leprechauns were not to be trusted. They were too tricky and, truth be told, volatile to work with.
“I guess the Beagle and Bunny got desperate after the audit didn’t turn up anything. It was a last-ditch effort to overthrow Santa…and it failed spectacularly.”
After a moment of stunned silence, applause, cheers and happy shouts filled the kitchen.
Figgy and Pixie threw sleds at Nim and Lil and dragged them up the slopes. They spent most of the night and into the wee hours sledding, singing and celebrating.
Figgy and Pixie waited nervously outside Santa’s office. The results were in and the report was written.
The door opened and Nim peeked out. “Santa’s ready for you.”
Nim’s face gave nothing away and Lil would barely look at them when they sailed in the room. Not a good sign.
“Figgy. Pixie,” Santa started. “Mr. Grimly has submitted his report to the DFFF.”
Santa’s eyes twinkled. “And I’m happy to say that he found nothing negative to note!”
Figgy and Pixie slumped to the floor, relieved that they were not in trouble.
“Oh thank goodness!” Pixie sighed.
“Take that Birthday Beagle!”
“Actually,” said Lil. “It was the Tooth Fairy who made the complaint.”
“Whaaat?!” Figgy was appalled. “But we helped her when Jake lost his tooth!”
Nim narrowed his eyes at Figgy and Pixie. “Yes, if by helped you mean decorated the tooth pillow with ribbons and bows and left a glitter-covered dollar in addition to the 50 cents she normally leaves.”
“Too much?” Pixie asked.
Nim and Lil just shook their heads, but couldn’t hide relieved smiles. Disaster had been averted…at least for now.
* * *
“Thank you SOOOO much!” Joe’s smile was huge and his eyes sparkled. “I don’t know how you did it, but Mom and Dad were very happy when they saw the Lego blocks all picked up and neatly organized.”
Figgy and Pixie were happy to hear Operation Clean-up had been a success.
“And don’t worry. We didn’t take credit for it. I told them that you guys must have done it while we were sleeping.”
“Does that mean you are still in trouble?”
Joe shrugged. “They still aren’t too happy with us, but the cleaned up Lego room definitely softened them up.”
“Are we ready to play with kittens?” Pixie clapped her hands.
“Yep!” Joe pulled out tiny cat ears and masks. “I made these for you yesterday.”
“Oh Joe, they are adorable!”
“Jake helped with the whiskers and the—.”
Joe’s eyes widened as they heard noises coming from the dark hallway. Someone was up.
“It’s Jake!” whispered Joe. “I better go!”
He dropped the cat costumes and raced to the hallway. Figgy and Pixie heard him murmuring to Jake.
“What are you doing Joe?”
“Nothing, just getting a drink of water. Go back to bed.”
Joe turned back to Pixie and Figgy. ‘Go ahead without me,’ he mouthed.
“Whew. That was a close one,” said Pixie.
“Too close,” Figgy agreed. “Again.”
They didn’t say it, but they weren’t sure how much longer they could keep this up. Jake was getting closer and closer to discovering the truth about the Mischief Makers.
Shaking her head, Pixie zipped to the garage door. “C’mon, Figgy. Let’s get those cats dressed up!”
Figgy followed her into the garage. “Here kitty, kitty.”
An orange, white and gray tornado descended on the elves. Rough, sandpaper tongues licked their faces and loud, in-stereo purrs filled the garage.
“Ok, ok!” Figgy laughed.
Pixie scratched Rusty behind the ears while Dusty batted at Figgy’s hat.
It took them awhile, but they managed to get elf hats and ears on the two kittens.
Echo, the old gray girl, sat in the corner, glowering at the group. Poor Rusty trotted over, trying to rub noses and got a hiss and nose bat for his trouble.
“Oh Echo, if only you would play with them,” said Pixie.
Figgy shook his head and approached Echo slowly, knowing this was going to be the hardest part. “Here kitty, kitty.”
Echo thumped Figgy on the head, knocking him across the garage and raced to the corner where she continued to hiss and growl quietly.
Pixie couldn’t help but laugh. “Well, we knew that was a longshot.”
“Now who’s going to be Santa?”
“We’ll just have to make do without a Santa Claws.” Pixie adjusted her headband and applied her whiskers.
Figgy noticed a bag on the freezer. “Oooo! Cookies!”
Pixie wandered over. “Joe must have left them for us. A midnight snack.”
“Still no word?” Figgy and Pixie met Nim and Lil outside Santa’s office at the North Pole. It had been two whole days since the audit, and they hadn’t heard a peep from the DFFF.
“‘Fraid not,” said Nim.
“It’s not unusual though,” said Lil. “Paperwork gets backed up, especially around the holidays.”
Pixie sighed and crossed her arms. “Well, that doesn’t make me feel any better.”
Lil patted her friend on the back and Nim gave Figgy an encouraging smile.
“Don’t worry,” said Glitter. “I’m sure The Grump didn’t find a thing.”
Although Glitter meant well, they all knew that the likelihood of that was slim. Audits at the North Pole were not random. They normally meant a suspicion of…something. They just didn’t know what, why or who initiated it.
“We’d better get back,” said Figgy, breaking the silence.
* * *
When the duo got back to the boys’ house, they found a note from Joe on the table, hidden under the salt shaker.
So…Jake and I got into REALLY big trouble today.
We…er…had a fight with Lego blocks. ALL the Lego blocks.
Anyway, we had to go to bed and have to get up early to clean it all up. Just wanted to let you know so you don’t do something super messy since Mom and Dad are already mad.
We’ll do that thing with the cats tomorrow.
“Oh man,” said Figgy. “I was really looking forward to tonight’s plan.”
“I know, but it will just have to wait another night. Joe would be really upset if we did it without him.”
Knowing she was right, Figgy flew to the counter where Joe, or someone, had left a stack of sugar cubes shaped like a tiny chair. “I wonder if he made this for us.”
Pixie picked up a cube and took a bite. “I don’t know, but it’s the perfect thinking snack.”
“What should we do, Pixie?”
“We can’t do the cat thing and we can’t make a big mess, so a glitter war is out.”
Figgy frowned. “Was a glitter war ever in?”
Pixie pondered over their predicament for a few minutes, taking another sugar cube from the chair.
“Don’t eat all of it,” Figgy said. “Someone worked hard building it.”
Pixie suddenly smiled and sailed down toward the stairs, knocking the sugar cube chair all over the counter. “I know!”
“Hey!” Figgy yelled after her. “Look what you did!”
“C’mon Figgy! We’ve got work to do!”
Figgy followed after Pixie, looking mournfully over the mess she’d just made. “What are we doing?” he asked when he landed next to her amid the Lego destruction.
“Well…let’s clean up this mess and have a contest!”
Figgy looked around at the wreckage. Lego blocks littered the floor. The couch cushions were lined up like a wall and it looked as though the boys had a battle.
“Whoa,” Figgy said.
“I know,” Pixie added. “We’ve got work to do. But, think how happy Joe and Jake will be tomorrow when they find all the work done?”
“Riiight,” said Figgy. “But, they made the mess.”
“You’re right, but if Joe’s letter is any indication, they’ve learned their lesson and won’t do it again, so it wouldn’t hurt to help. Just this once.”
“Hmm. I suppose you’re right, but–”.
“And then…I challenge you to a Christmas Village build-off!