Mischief Makers Day 18: The Slope

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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.”

“And?”

“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!”

“And—”.

“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. 

Christmas was saved. 

Mischief Makers Day 17: Meowy Christmas!

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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.”

Gulp.

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.”

Pounce!

Purrrrrr!

MEOW!

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.

MROOOW!

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.

MROOOOWWW!

Figgy shook his head and approached Echo slowly, knowing this was going to be the hardest part. “Here kitty, kitty.”

SKKKKKKK!

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.”

“Temptations…sounds delicious!”

Mischief Makers Day 16: Lego Villages

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“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. 

Hi guys,

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. 

Joe

“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!

Mischief Makers Day 15: Snowmen at Night

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Mr. Grimly had wandered around the house, making notes and tut-tutting until the sun started to peek over the horizon. 

By the time he left, the elve’s nerves were frayed and they barely had time to finish the cereal display. 

“Well,” asked Joe. “Did he find anything?”

They had told Joe that it was routine for the DFFF to send in an auditor and that it was nothing to worry about. But they knew he didn’t quite believe them. 

Pixie forced a big smile. “We won’t know for a few days.” 

Figgy flew to the table with a bag of carrots and a box grater. “Nim and Lil will find out first, so let’s just focus on the plan.”

Figgy was taking the audit especially hard. He’d been in a foul mood ever since Mr. Grimly asked him what he did before becoming a Mischief Maker.

“Mr. Frost, what was your position at the North Pole prior to joining the Mischief Makers?”

“Uh, well…”. Figgy glanced back at his friends.

Ahem. 

Eyes downcast, he whispered, “I worked in…Reindeer Relations.”

Mr. Grimly tapped his toe. “And what, exactly, did you do for that department?”

“I, er, removed…waste.”

“And your title?”

Figgy harrumphed. “I was the Premiere Pooper Scooper, ok? Are you happy? I scooped poop!”

Figgy had been mortified. Thankfully, no one had laughed. Although, Pixie did hide a smile. But that may have been nerves. At least, that is what he told himself. 

“Figgy, what is that for?” Pixie pointed at the box grater. 

“You’ll see,” he said with a smirk.

“Yes, you’ll see.” Joe giggled and smiled secretively at Figgy. 

Pixie arched her brow. “What are you two up to now?”

“Why don’t you two go build the snowman in the living room and I’ll set up the craft.” Figgy winked. 

* * *

When Pixie and Joe came back to the kitchen after building the biggest blanket Snowman the world had ever seen, Figgy had finished setting up his big surprise. 

He sat atop the box grater with marshmallows, candy canes, chocolate chips and licorice ropes all around him. A small sign next to him read “Snowman Nose Rejection Department” and a carrot was processed halfway through the grater. 

“Oh Figgy!” Pixie laughed. 

Joe clutched his stomach, giggling uncontrollably and Figgy’s smile lit up the room. 

It was just the cheer-up they all needed. 

Mischief Makers Day 14: Visitors from the North

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“Figgy, Pixie, I’d like to introduce you to The Gru–I mean, Mr. Grimly.” Lil blushed with embarrassment at her slip. 

“Yes, Mr. Grimly is head of the DFFF,” Nim quickly covered.

Mr. Grimly scowled and looked at each elf in turn. “I can see we have a lot of work to do. MR. JITTER!!!”

Another gnome popped out from behind Mr. Grimly. “Y-yes, sir?”

“It’s time.”

The two words sounded ominous when uttered by such a stern and forbidding gnome. What he lacked in stature, he made up for in demeanor. He was a force. A short, stout, scary force.

“Do you need us to show you around?” Pixie twisted her hands nervously.

“Do you want us to tell you what we’ve been doing here so far this season?” Figgy asked with a shaky voice.

Mr. Grimly tapped his toe and let out a deep, long-suffering sigh. “No. We will learn all we need to during the audit. Carry on about your business.”

He waddled away, barking orders as Mr. Jitter bounced after him. 

“It will be ok, guys,” Lil said. 

“Yes,” added Nim. “It will be over before you know i—.”

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

“Oh no!” said Pixie. “That sounded like Joe!”

The four elves raced to the living room, wondering what could possibly have happened.

Joe stared at the floor where two gnome statues lay.

“Th-they were alive! Just a few seconds ago they were moving.” 

Had it been less stressful, the situation would have been funny. Joe, shocked to find moving statues in his living room, when he planned mischief and mayhem with elves every night.

Mr. Grimly came back to life with a small pop and cleared his throat. “Forgive me. I had forgotten about the…situation here.”

“Joe, meet Mr. Grimly. He’s here to…to…” Figgy looked at Nim and Lil for help.

“He’s here to write an article. For the Elf Times,” Nim said quickly.

“Yes,” said Lil. “It’s a magazine at the North Pole. They want to feature a few of the elves from the Mischief Maker program so he’s—”.

“I am here to evaluate Ms. Powder and Mr. Frost and I would thank you to let me get on with it.” 

He scribbled a few notes on his clipboard, murmured darkly to Mr. Jitter and stalked to the Christmas tree. 

“But he’s–he’s a gnome!” Joe spluttered. “I didn’t know gnomes lived at the North Pole too!”

“Oh yes,” said Glitter. “Gnomes, elves, hobgoblins, unicorns…all magical creatures live at the North Pole.”

Joe’s smile grew larger. “Oh wait until I tell Jake!”

“You can’t tell Jake!” Figgy blurted. “You can’t tell him any of this!”

Joe’s face fell. “Of course, you are right. It’s just…he loves gnomes.”

The team glanced down the hall, watching The Grump make his way to the bathroom, all thinking the same thing.

Jake may like garden gnomes, but they’d bet a year’s worth of gumdrops he wouldn’t like this gnome. 

Mischief Makers Day 13: Rub-a-dub-dub Four Elves in a Tub

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“I’m telling you right now, Chairman, I will not allow anyone to interfere in the mischief making.” 

Santa had never sounded so upset. His voice shook and not with merriment. Cherry cheeks beet-red, he glared hard at the short creature standing before him. 

Nim, Lil, Glitter, Figgy and Pixie stood outside the door to Santa’s office. They were stopping by to report on the night and share how hilarious Joe’s parents thought it was. They also wanted to warn Santa that Jake was starting to have doubts. But now was definitely not the time.

They tiptoed slowly away from the door and flew off into the night, heading for the house. 

“What do you think that was about?” Figgy flew faster to catch up with Nim and Lil. 

“Who was that?” asked Pixie. “He didn’t look like an elf.”

Lil slowed her speed and glanced at Nim. “That’s because he wasn’t. He was a gnome from the DFFF…Department of Festive Fun and Frivolity.”

Nim nodded. “And not just any gnome. His name is Mr. Grimly, but they call him “The Grump”. He’s the head of the auditing team.”

Pixie and Figgy glanced nervously at each other, not sure what exactly that meant for the Mischief Makers, but it sounded ominous. 

Lil answered their unspoken question. “I’m afraid the Mischief Maker program is being audited.”

The group landed hard on the kitchen counter, too shocked to speak. Why would they, the Mischief Makers, need to be audited? Pixie and Figgy were still not sure how an audit would affect them.

“So…what exactly does that mean?” Figgy asked.

“Well,” began Nim. “It means that the Birthday Beagle and Easter Bunny may just get their way. If the audit team finds that the Mischief Program is getting too much funding, we may have to make some cuts.”

Pixie gulped. “Cuts?”

Lil nodded. “Yes, and I worry that the first cut they will make will be to split up…the teams.”

Figgy’s eyes filled with dread. “You mean…”.

“Figgy and I might-might be…separated?”

Nim and Lil did not have to answer. The looks on their faces said it all. 

“Hey guys,” Joe bounced to the counter. “Wait until you see the surprise I have for–hey, why so glum?”

False smiles burst onto the elves’ faces and forced laughter filled the room. 

“Nothing!” squeaked Pixie. 

“We’re fine!” said Figgy.

“No problems here!” chanted Nim and Lil.

Joe was not convinced. He looked at each of them in turn, wondering what could be putting that frown on their faces. 

“Okaaay,” he said finally. “If you’re sure…”.

“Yep!” they chorused. 

“Hmm.” 

“So…what is it you wanted to tell us?” asked Pixie.

Joe shook his head and bounced on his toes, remembering the surprise he had planned. “Wait until you see what I’ve done in the bathroom!”

“Uh, I’m not sure we really need to see what you’ve done in the–”.

“Oh it’s not that!” Joe’s face turned red. “It’s a surprise in the bathtub!”

Joe turned and raced to the bathroom, the elves following close behind. When they saw the surprise Joe had worked so hard on, they smiled in delight. He had filled the bathtub and created a small swimming pool for them. 

“I figured you guys have been working so hard, you could use a little break from the activity. So…pool party!”

“Joe, this is just so thoughtful!” Lil clapped. 

Joe smiled. “Only thing is, you have to keep the splashing down. So you don’t wake my parents up. They’d be mad enough to write Santa and tell him to reassign you two.”

The elves looked uneasily at each other.  He had no idea how right he was.

Mischief Makers Day 12: Foiled Foolishness

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“Why does Glitter have to stay behind again?” Figgy asked.

“That’s just it, Figgy,” said Pixie. “We don’t know.”

Lil floated down from the window sill. “Nim and I don’t even know. Santa came rushing into the barn shouting for Glitter. He pulled her into one of the empty stalls and all we could hear were murmurs and exclamations.”

Nim scratched his head. “Whatever it was, when they both left, they did not look jolly.”

KSSSSSSHHHHH!

Streams of tinfoil ran down the hallway from Joe’s room to the kitchen. Joe came barreling after the roll with a huge smile on his face. 

“Whoa!” Figgy jumped out of the way as the roll came sliding toward him. 

“Yikes!” Nim and Lil shot to the ceiling to avoid the tin foil tornado.

“Eek!” Pixie somersaulted in the air to avoid being wrapped in a tin foil blanket.

Joe slid to a stop in front of the group and promptly slipped on the carpet of foil. “Where’s Glitter?”

Nim, Lil, Pixie, and Figgy silently agreed. Joe did not need to know that there was a problem at the North Pole. After all, they didn’t know much beyond the Beagle and Bunny’s complaint.

“She had a…tiny reindeer issue to deal with. Nothing major,” said Lil. 

“Oh. Well…I guess we won’t be able to wrap her up in tin foil. Who wants to go first?”

“What do you mean?” Pixie asked. 

“Tin foil mummies!”

“Come again?” Lil said.

“Mummies! I’m going to wrap you all up to look like tin foil mummies.” Joe smiled.

“No,” said Figgy.

“Absolutely not,” added Nim.

Pixie and Lil nodded in agreement.

Joe frowned. “Why not? It will be fun.”

“We hung from a tall mountain all day and now you want us to stay wrapped up in-in tin foil!” Lil put her hands on her hips.

Nim narrowed his eyes. “How about we wrap you in tin foil Mister!” 

Joe crossed his arms and stuck out his bottom lip. “I bet Glitter would have done it.”

The elves guffawed and slapped their knees.

“Nice try,” said Nim. “But we all know there is no way Glitter would have agreed to this madness.”

“Oh fine,” Joe turned and started rolling up the tin foil. 

“Wait,” said Pixie. “We can still use the tin foil for tonight’s trick.”

Joe turned back, hope in his eyes. 

“Yes,” said Figgy, flying to the shoe rack. 

“Ah,” said Nim. “I think I know what you are thinking.”

“Tin foil shoes!” said Lil.

“Tin foil wine!” shouted Pixie.

“Tin foil cats!” added Figgy.

The others turned to Figgy with raised eyebrows. 

“Er, too far?”

Nim shook his head. “Let’s just do the shoes, Figgy. Just the shoes.”

Mischief Makers Day 11: A Sticky Situation

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“Apparently,” began Nim. “Joe was able to convince Jake that it was all a dream.”

“And,” added Pixie. “He assured him that the reason for the dream was that he is just so excited we’re back.”

Glitter frowned, not convinced. Jake was wide awake when she went to the bedroom to look for ribbon. In her mind, there was no way he would believe it was all just a dream. 

Figgy clapped his hands together. “Ok, what are we doing tonight.”

Joe came running into the kitchen with rings of painters tape climbing up his arms. “Hi guys! I thought tonight we could do some climbing.”

Nim eyed the painters tape uncomfortably. Heights were definitely not his favorite.

Lil saw Nim’s face and laughed. “Oh for Cupid’s sake Nim. You fly. Every night. Up in the sky!”

I know that,” Nim said defensively. “But when I fly, I have all the control. I’m not dangling from the sky, trapped in painters tape.”

Everyone chuckled. 

Joe smiled. “It’s ok Nim. You can be at the bottom of the mountain.

“Mountain?” Pixie raised an eyebrow.

“Yep! I’ve built you a mountain out of paper mache!”

Joe led them into the living room where next to a tree was a tall, jagged mountain.

Joe clapped his hands together. “See? It’s not too tall. Tiny really.”

Lil gaped. “Tiny? Tiny?? Maybe for you, but we are tiny ourselves and that is GIGANTIC!”

Figgy gulped. “And jagged.”

Pixie, wide-eyed, stared up at the mountain and then at Joe, who towered above them all. “Uh, Joe? How in the world are we going to stay attached?”

Joe looked at the mountain, at the painters tape on his wrists, and then back at the elves. 

“Hmmm. I guess your right. This painters tape probably won’t hold you up for very long with all those crevices.”

Nim sighed, relieved. 

“How about thumbtacks?”

All the elves gasped in horror. “Thumbtacks!!??”

“Oops!” he exclaimed, shamefaced. “I forgot, your hands and feet are really hands and feet.”

The elves sighed in relief. That was a close one.

“I know!” Joe ran to the kitchen and rummaged in the junk drawer. “Here!”

In his hands, he held a giant package of sticky strips. “This way you won’t fall down when you stop moving.”

Figgy eyed the strips, skeptical of the plan. “Are you sure, Joe? It seems kind of…risky.”

“Oh don’t worry. We put Barrel up on the ceiling with these  in June. He stayed stuck until October!”

Mischief Makers Day 10: Ornaments

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You know presents and stockings and glitter, confetti
Bright lights and flashers and elven spaghetti
But do you recall…the best darn present of all…
Ornaments, hand-made, hot-glued
Fingers burnt, glue in your hair
Glitter around the table
Paper crinkled here and there
Craft sticks and lots of stickers
Shiny paper, tin foil crowns
Everyone loves the craft day
It’s the best darn day around!

Pixie and Figgy finished the second round of the jingle they wrote while laying the supplies for handmade ornaments out for the boys. Joe stumbled into the kitchen, rubbing sleepy eyes.

“Sorry I’m late guys,” he yawned. “Who’s turn is it?”

Pixie and Figgy had noticed that Joe seemed more tired than usual. They figured he was staying up too late each night and were trying to encourage him to sleep more. 

“We’ve got it tonight, Joe. You can go back to bed.” Figgy set the box of googly eyes on the counter.

“No, I want to help. I ju–u-u–uhhh–st need to….”. 

Pixie’s eyes twinkled. “Why don’t you get some sleep tonight while we get the ornament supplies set up.”

Figgy nodded in agreement. “You’ll be full of fresh ideas for tomorrow night. We’ve got this covered.”

Joe nodded sleepily and trudged back to his room. “Okay. If you’re surrrrr.”

As soon as Joe left, Pixie let out a high-pitched whistle. Glitter, Nim, Lil, Barrel and Leonard burst out of drawers and cabinets. “All right team, time to get busy!” 

“Let’s see…”. Pixie consulted her clipboard. “Red and green Dixie cups?”

“Check!” said Figgy.

“Buttons, assorted sizes and colors?”

“Check!” called Nim.

“Pom-poms?”

“Check!” squeaked Lil.

“Foam sticky stars?”

“RUFF!” barked Barrel. 

“Red and white ribbon?”

Glitter shuffled.

“Glitter?” Pixie prompted. 

Glitter pawed the ground. 

Pixie stared at her pointedly. 

“I–I forgot it.”

Nim and Lil gasped. Glitter was the most organized reindeer in the North Pole. Not to mention a stickler for details. 

“Uh,” said Figgy. “You did what now?”

“Yes, I forgot. I was…busy.”

“You were busy?” Pixie said incredulously. “Glitter, you were in charge of the ribbon. How are we going to hang the ornaments from the light fixture?”

“There’s kitchen twine in the drawer under the microwave.” Glitter scuffed a hoof on the table.

“That’s hardly festive, Glitter!” 

“It’s…rustic.” 

Pixie could not believe her little elven ears. “Rustic? With bright Christmas colors and neon green dixie cups??”

“Ohh-kay,” broke in Figgy. “I think the boys have some ribbon in their room. I’ll just sneak in and see if I can find—.”

“No, I’ll do it.” Glitter headed toward the bedroom. 

The elves waited until Glitter was out of earshot before expressing their surprise at Glitter’s behavior. 

“Glitter never forgets anything,” said Pixie.

Nim chuckled. “I know. She’ll never let us live down the time we threw glitter all over the house.”

Lil smiled. “Or the time you knocked the Christmas tree over.” 

“Or the time Pixie and I set the garage on fire.”

Pixie raised her eyebrows. “Uh, we never did that, Figgy.”

“We didn’t?”

Pixie shook her head.

“Huh. That must have been at my last job.”

“Anyway,” interrupted Nim. “We’ll have a talk with her back at the North Pole. She might be feeling a little stressed with everything going on with Santa.”

Suddenly, the sound of galloping hooves filled the room. Glitter came barrelling down the hallway, a look of horror on her face. 

“Glitter, what’s wrong?” Pixie asked with concern.

“It’s Jake. I think he saw.”

A knot of cold dread dropped like a stone in Pixie’s stomach.

“Saw what?” asked Figgy, though he already knew the answer.

“Saw me…moving.

Mischief Makers Day 9: Game Time

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Nim and Lil barely looked at Figgy and Pixie at check-in, let alone talked to them. The mood at the North Pole was tense and Glitter was even more irritated than usual. 

“Geez,” said Figgy on the flight back. “What in the narwhal horn is going on?”

“I think I know,” said Pixie, finally ready to share her suspicions with Figgy. 

They had both just landed on the windowsill. Figgy turned to her in surprise.

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“I overheard Stardust telling Sparkle that she’d heard from Tinsel who got it from Bowie who–”.

“Ok, ok!” burst in Figgy. “I get it. You overheard a conversation. Now can we get to the good stuff?”

Pixie took a deep breath. “Santa found out that the Birthday Beagle and the Easter Bunny are staging a c-o-u-p.”

Figgy stared blankly at Pixie. “A coop?”

“No, a coup! The ‘p’ is silent.” 

“The pee is silent? Are you talking in some kind of code?” 

Pixie huffed and stomped her foot. “Basically, the Beagle and the Bunny have decided that Santa gets WAY too much funding from the Department of Festive Fun and Frivolity. They don’t like it and so have filed several complaints.”

“So?”

“So…the board of directors has agreed to listen to the complaints at a formal hearing.”

“And?”

And…it is set for December 23rd.”

Figgy gasped. 

Pixie nodded.

“That’s why they needed all the available elves?”

“Yes,” Pixie said. “They are trying to come up with a plan to deliver the presents in case Santa is…detained.”

“Oh.”

Both elves sat on the window sill, staring out into the night sky wondering what would happen if Santa couldn’t deliver. 

Knock, knock!

Startled, Pixie and Figgy turned around to see Joe’s face, bright and smiling. He held a small Twister mat in his hand. “I’ve got the games all ready and look what I made for you two!”

The elves both forced bright, cheery smiles and headed inside to finish setting up for Game Day. But their little elven hearts just weren’t as cheerful as usual.