Tag Archives: Writing

MM22 Day 8: Flick and the Fosters

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Pixie and Figgy were talking quietly outside the Reindeer Romp when Nim and Lil approached.

“What are you two doing?” asked Nim.

“Spying,” said Figgy.

“On Glitter,” added Pixie.

“Oh,” said Lil. “That’s…why?”

Figgy sighed. “She’s been avoiding us.”

Nim cocked his head to the side. “I’m sure that is not true.”

“No, really,” said Pixie. “After Cookie’s house last night, her pager, or whatever it is, went off and she galloped away without explanation.”

Nim snorted. “Glitter has a pager?”

“She does,” said Figgy. “Mrs. Claus gave it to her this year. For ‘Reindeer Game emergencies.’ ”

Nim and Lil looked startled.

“What?” asked Figgy.

“Well,” said Lil. “It’s just…Mrs. Clause doesn’t normally get involved with the Reindeer Games. She’s more in charge of the Gnome and Narwal Reception.”

“So? Maybe Santa wants her to take a more active role in the Reindeer Games.”

“Maybe,” said Nim. “Still, it’s odd.”

They were interrupted by a tangle of limbs falling at their feet. Dazed, the gangly elf looked up at the foursome. “H-hi, I’m Flick. Sorry I’m late.”

Pixie pulled out the paperwork and flipped through to Flick’s letter as Figgy helped him to his feet and brushed the snow off.

“Hi Flick, I’m Figgy. This is Pixie. And, you know Nim and Lil of course.”

“Oh I know who you all are,” he said reverently. “And I am so honored that you are going to help me with my family.”

“Oh,” said Pixie, finally finding the right letter. “It says here that your kids, Harry and Lily, are addicted to…is this right? They are addicted to Hide and Seek?”

Figgy, Nim, and Lil all snorted.

Flick looked flustered. “Yes, that’s right. They won’t stop playing the game with each other and I think that they think that I’m supposed to search for them each morning.”

“This seems like an easy fix,” said Figgy. “Have you tried leaving them a note, or The Storybook to explain.”

“Of course!” Flick responded quickly. “I’ve tried the storybook, I’ve tried a note, I’ve tried writing on the mirror with shaving cream, I’ve tried…”.

“It’s ok Flick,” said Pixie. “We know you’ve tried. Let’s get going and see what we can do to help get your house back on track.”

“Bye guys!” said Nim.

“We’ll keep an eye out for Glitter,” said Lil.

Figgy, Pixie and Flick flew through the starry skies, ready to tackle Flick’s problem head on. All was quiet when they landed in the living room. Flick let out a long, heavy sigh.

“It’s ok, Flick,” said Pixie. “I thought of something we can try on the flight over.”

Flick looked hopefully at Pixie. “Really?”

“Yes. I think a scavenger hunt is in order.”

Figgy looked doubtful. “A scavenger hunt? Really?”

“Have you tried that, Flick?” asked Pixie.

“No, but—.”

“Then we’ve nothing to lose!”

“Even if they do the hunt, they’ll just go back to hiding from me tomorrow.”

Pixie gave a sly smile. “Oh, but this scavenger hunt will last the rest of the season. They will have to get up each morning to find the next clue.”

Flick’s eyes brightened as he caught on. “And to find the next clue, they’ll have to find me?”

Pixie nodded.

Figgy looked at her in awe. “That is a great idea, Pixie!”

“I’ve been known to have a few good ideas.”

Figgy laughed.

“Ok, Flick. You and Figgy go get the items we need for this first night and I’ll jot down the clues for the rest of the season.”

“Yes ma’am! What do we need?”

“First, I’ll need a piece of cardstock, the book A Christmas Carol–every library should have it, and a marker to change the title just a bit.”

Not sure where she was going with this, but trusting her just the same. Flick and Figgy gathered all the materials she needed and reported back, watching as she wrote “A Christmas Critter” on the piece of cardstock.

“We’ll start the hunt off with a poem…

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows that you have lots of books
So find the one with a mistake…

…and at the end of the season, they will find a real, live Christmas Critter under the tree!”

Figgy clapped while Flick looked doubtful.

“What if, you know, the parents aren’t excited about this…critter?”

Pixie grinned. “Don’t worry. They’re going to love it!”

MM22 Day 7: Cookie and the Calloways

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“Whoa.” Figgy stared at the clever trap laid for Cookie.

“Yes. Whoa, indeed,” Cookie said grimly. “I told you. Her behavior is atrocious. She is sly and sneaky and she’s been laying traps for me since day one!”

Pixie and Glitter carefully tip-toed around the large mound of cake and treats. On first glance, it looked innocent and tempting. Piles and piles of sweet treats. Enough to tempt any elf. Sugar cubes, chocolate, sprinkles and a large bottle of maple syrup at the very top.

“But she made a mistake this time,” said Cookie with satisfaction.

“She did?” asked Pixie.

“Yep,” he pointed to the bottle of syrup. “That syrup is NOT the right grade.”

Figgy peered closer at the bottle. “But, it’s grade A. That’s the best, isn’t it?”

Cookie looked imperiously at Figgy. “Any elf worth his sugar knows that grade B is, in every way, superior to grade A.”

Figgy glared at Cookie. “Oh no it isn’t! Grade A is the best!” He looked and Pixie to back him up, but she was distracted by the string attached to the cap of the syrup bottle.

“Now you listen here, Figgy. Grade B is better! It’s darker in color and much more flavorful!”

“But, Grade A is lighter, crisper—“.

“Grade A has no depth of flavor, no time soak up all that maple taste. It’s taken from the tree too early!”

Figgy opened and closed his mouth, flabbergasted. Grade B, better? Ludicrous.

Glitter stomped her hooves, interrupting what was clearly becoming an all-out battle. “What did you find, Pixie?”

“Clever,” murmured Pixie. “Very clever.”

Figgy, with a final glare at Cookie, joined Pixie near the pile. “What’s clever?”

Pixie pointed. “See that string? Looks like fishing line. If you follow it from the cap of the bottle down to this pile, you can almost see the tiny trap door.”

Figgy, Cookie and Glitter peered closer at the middle of the pile.

“What do you think is inside?” asked Figgy.

“Nothing good,” grumbled Cookie.

Carefully, very, very carefully, Pixie lifted the small flap and peered inside. “It looks like…a whole bag of sugar!”

“Really?” asked Cookie skeptically.

“Yes, and she’s dyed it different colors. Almost like Christmas sprinkles.”

“Colored sugar!” shouted Figgy, and without stopping to consider, he dove straight for the door as if he were going for a swim.

“PLLLTTTHH!” Figgy surfaced spitting and wiping frantically at his tongue. “SALT! IT’S SALT!”

Cookie sighed. “I told you. She’s devious.”

Pixie pulled Figgy out of the trap and helped dust the salt off of him. Glitter pushed a shot of maple syrup and a sugar cube to him.

“Thanks,” he said gratefully. “How could she do that?” He looked sympathetically at Cookie and he gulped the syrup.

“Devious,” repeated Cookie.

Pixie met Glitter’s eyes and nodded. It was clear what needed to be done.

“Well,” started Pixie. “Clearly Casey Calloway is bored.”

“Bored?!” spluttered Cookie. “How can she be bored!? I haven’t even had the chance to do ANY of thing things I had planned. I’m too busy trying to escape from all of these horrendous traps she sets!”

“Trust us,” said Glitter. “With this sort of atrocious behavior, there is only one remedy.”

Cookie and Figgy looked expectantly at Glitter and Pixie.

“Games,” said Pixie.

“Obviously,” agreed Glitter.

“How do you figure that?” Figgy asked.

“Cookie, what were the other traps this season?”

“Oh let’s see,” said Cookie peevishly. “There was the little obstacle course she set up for me that ended in a mud bath. Then, there was the terrifying jack-in-the-box at the end of the race track she’d made. And, my personal favorite, sarcasm intended, the exploding bowling pin.”

“Exploding bowling pin?” asked Figgy.

“That’s right. She lured me in with what looked like an innocent game of bowling, but when my ball struck the pins, they exploded and rained down sticky goo. It took me ages to get it out of my hat.”

“But don’t you see, Cookie,” asked Glitter. “Casey loves games.”

Cookie stared incredulously at Glitter. “Games?”

“Yes,” added Pixie. “All we have to do is play along. We’ll start tonight and leave you with a list of other games to play with her.”

“Wait,” said Glitter, reaching into her harness. “I have an idea.”

She pulled out a box of Chessmen cookies. “Lets play a game!”

Figgy and Pixie eyed Glitter in awe. “So, you just…have those with you in case of…what? A game emergency?”

Glitter sniffed. “Well, you never know when you’ll have time for a quick game.”

Cookie smiled, willing to give the idea a try. “Ok, Knight to E4.”

MM2022 Day 5: Holly and the Harrisons

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“Glitter! We miss you! How is your new job?” asked Pixie as Glitter cantered up to them outside the toy shop.

“Yeah, what have you been up to?” added Figgy.

Glitter shuffled her hooves and looked somewhere above Figgy’s pointed hat. “Oh, you know. A little of this, a little of that.”

Pixie and Figgy, brows raised, exchanged glances.

“There is so much to do for Mrs. Claus’ Special Pro—er, assistant, you know.”

“No, actually, we don’t kno–.”

“What’s that?” asked Glitter cocking an ear.

“What’s what?” asked Figgy, bewildered.

“Oh, yes. I think I hear Mrs. Claus calling about Cookie, poor dear keeps burning the curtains when he cleans. Well, you two have fun!” And with that, Glitter galloped off toward the Claus’ house without a backward glance.

“That was odd,” said Pixie.

“Yeah,” said Figgy. “Since when does Cookie clean?”

Pixie looked at Figgy in exasperation and shook her head. “Ok, let’s get going. Holly was going to meet us there.”


“It’s not that they’re bad,” said Holly as she paced across the kitchen, wringing her hands and frowning. “They’re actually quite polite and listen well.”

“Then…why are we here?” asked Figgy, confused.

“They’re just not excited about anything,” said Holly. “They’re…they’re bored.”

Holly bowed her head, looking ashamed that her assigned children were bored. Feeling as though she wasn’t doing a good enough job.

“Did you try the zipline from the Christmas tree?” asked Pixie. “That’s always a good one.”

“Yep, didn’t even crack a smile.”

“How about stuffing yourself in a mason jar with a ‘HELP! I’m trapped’ sign?” suggested Figgy.

“I did that one a few days ago. I thought I maybe saw the start of a smile, but it turned out to be a very long, loud yawn.”

Did you think to—,.”

“Look,” interrupted Holly. “I’m telling you I have tried everything I can think of. Nothing works. Nothing.”

Holly let out a small, squeaky sob and wiped her eyes. Pixie and Figgy felt awful for her. There must be something they could do to pull her out of this slump.

After a long pause Figgy asked, “What do they get excited about?”

“Alex, Steve, Creepers, Zombies, Skeletons, blocks, Piglins…and all of that.”

“Er,” said Pixie. “What?”

“Minecraft,” Figgy said knowledgably.

“Oh!” said Pixie. “Oh.”

Holly nodded solemnly.

“Well, that’s an easy fix!” exclaimed Figgy.

“It is?” Pixie and Holly asked in unison.

“Sure! We’ll just make the rest of the days full of Minecraft.”

Holly looked both hopeful and hesitant. Pixie, puzzled and perplexed.

Figgy shook his head and smiled. “I’ll make a list of fun Minecraft activities, crafts, and challenges for you to use the rest of the year.”

“Ok,” said Holly with a glimmer of excitement in her voice. “What do we do tonight?”

“Tonight, we LARP!”

“LARP?” asked Holly. “What is that?”

Figgy smiled. “Live Action Role Play! Now, who wants to be a Creeper?”

MM 2022: Day 2: Messy Mayhem

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“Come on, Winky,” urged Pixie. “We have to go right now, or we’ll be too late.”

Winky stubbornly clung to the candy cane post at the North Pole Launch Pad.

Exasperated, Figgy pulled on her arm, tired of trying to cajole her into complying. “If we don’t fix this problem tonight, they will be permanently placed on the Naughty List.”

Winky took a deep breath and slowly let go of the post. “Ok, I’m ready.”

Figgy and Pixie both sighed in relief. The season was not getting off to a good start. If their plan didn’t work tonight, they would be hard pressed to get to all the houses on their B.R.A.T.T. list.

Pulling on a still reluctant Winky, they zipped and zoomed through the stars straight do the Walters’s home. They landed deep in the egress window and peered inside, looking for any traps.

“I don’t see anything,” murmured Figgy.

“Well you wouldn’t would you?” said Winky. “They’re tricky, sneaky little–.”

“Yes, yes,” interrupted Pixie. “We know your feelings on the matter, Winky.”

Carefully, quietly, they snuck through the glass, listening hard for any sound. Once completely inside, they landed gently on the cold floor next to the furnace and sighed in relief.

So far, so good.

“How did you know there wouldn’t be any death traps down here?” asked Winky incredulously.

Figgy smiled at Pixie. “We heard the kids talking while we sat in sticky goo all day. They’re afraid of the basement so we figured it was worth a try.”

“Ok,” said Pixie. “Let’s put this plan into motion.”

“What do you two have in mind?” asked Winky, doubtful that anything would help straighten up the Walters kids.

“Well,” smiled Figgy. “We figured that since they like messes so much—“.

“And torture, and torment and—,” interrupted Winky.

“ANYWAY,” continued Figgy. “Since they like messes so much, we’d give them messes.”

Winky blinked. “A mess? You’re going to give them a mess?”

Figgy and Pixie both nodded.

Winky laughed. And laughed. And laughed some more.

“But,” she hiccuped. “They won’t care! They’ll just keep blaming me and—wait.” Winky then noticed the smiles on Pixie and Figgy’s faces. “What do you mean ‘give them a mess’?”

“Here’s the plan…,” Pixie whispered.

*            *            *

“But,” sputtered Winky after hearing the plan. “Will that work?”                  

“Yes,” said Figgy confidently.

Winky raised a brow.

Figgy faltered. “Well, we think so.”                     

Winky crossed her arms.

“It’s worth a try, right?” said Pixie.

Winky nodded and flew to the kitchen to get started on the baking. The plan was for Winky to clean the kitchen to sparkling and bake the Walters parents their favorite casserole for breakfast while Pixie and Figgy made messes of the kids’ rooms.

Not just your normal, everyday mess…absolute disasters. Clothes out of drawers. Underwear hanging from fans. Books pulled out of the cases. And down the hall to their parent’s room, a trail of underwear and socks with a large pile of dirty clothes right outside their door.

Once finished, they would head back to the North Pole, leaving Winky in a spic and span clean kitchen with a nice breakfast just for the parents and an innocent look on her face. The best part? With Winky cleaning and baking and no sign of Figgy and Pixie, the parents would have no choice but to conclude that the kids, themselves made messes of their rooms.

“All done!” said Pixie as she and Figgy plopped on the counter next to Winky.

“I still don’t see how this is going to work for the entire season,” said Winky. “It’s one night. They’ll just get revenge tomorrow.”

“As to that,” said Figgy. “We left this note in each bedroom.”

Don’t blame the elf for this mess
It’s time now for you to confess
We can still have some fun
Before the season is done
It’s never too late for redress!

“But,” began Winky.

“Relax, Winky,” said Pixie. “This plan will work! And, if it somehow doesn’t, we’ll keep coming back until they stop their shenanigans and just enjoy having a Mischief Maker.”

“We better go, Pixie,” said Figgy. “It’s almost morni—.”

A scream cut the air making the three elves jump and look at the ceiling.


“And that’s our cue,” said Pixie with a smile. “Good luck, Winky!”

And with a small chuckle, Pixie and Figgy flew back toward the North Pole, hoping their plan would work.

Day 1: Winky’s Woes

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“Where is Winky? She was supposed to meet us and show us around the house.”

Figgy fluttered to the window sill next to Pixie. “Winky decided she needed one more day at the Sugar Shake Spa to prepare herself for her return to the Walters.”

Pixie raised an eyebrow. “That bad, huh?”

“Must be,” said Figgy holding up roll of paper. “But, she sent these notes about last year’s events.”

“Whoa. That is a long list! What does is it say?”

“Let’s see…the first night seemed to go ok. The boys weren’t expecting her afterall. But…on the second night, they filled a bucket with slime and placed it above the window so that when Winky flew in…oh dear…”.

“What is it?” asked Pixie.

“Er…the bucket dumped all over her and she was covered in goo.”

“Well,” said Pixie brightly. “That doesn’t sound too bad.”

“Then,” continued Figgy. “When Winky got up to wipe the slime off, she hit a trip wire and a fan blew feathers all over her.”

Pixie’s eyes bulged. “Oh dear.”

“Yes,” said Figgy. “Exactly. From there, it just got worse and more dangerous. By the end of the season, Winky checked into the Sugar Shake Spa for ‘relaxation therapy.’ She’s not been the same since.”

“We’ll just have to go in through the door then. The front door. They’ll never suspect that.”

Figgy looked doubtfully at Pixie, shrugged, then headed for the door.

“Looks like we can fit through the mail slot,” he said as he flew up. Pixie followed close behind.

“Ok,” Figgy slowly lifted the slot. “I’ll go first to check the coast is clear. Then you foll—AGH!”

Before Figgy could blink, he slid down a very slippery slide, grabbed Pixie’s foot on the way down and landed in a glass vase. It teetered, tottered and tumbled down the few stairs in the entryway and continued rolling down the long, long hall.

“Figgy! How do we stop this thing???”

“I don’t know, Pixie!!!”

After careering a few more feet, the vase hit the wall and bounced back. Figgy and Pixie scrambled out, panting and checking for injuries.

“W-well,” gasped Pixie. “That was certainly a fine greeting.”

“Uh oh,” said Figgy, holding the end of a wire they’d plowed through on their way down the hall. Eyes widening in horror, he stared over Pixie’s head at a large bucket of thick, drippy, sticky, brown goo.

Pixie spun around, but it was already pouring down.

Glug, glug, GLUG!

“Mmm,” said Figgy as he licked his lips and smeared chocolate away from his eyes. “Dark chocolate. Nice taste.”

Pixie glared.

“You have to hand it to them,” continued Figgy, oblivious to the daggers coming from Pixie’s eyes. “They are consistent.” He nodded to the bucket.

Pixie glowered.

“At least it was chocolate this time,” Figgy added.

Pixie groaned.

They had a lot of work to do.

2022 Mischief Makers Prologue: B.R.A.T.T Correctional Crew

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Figgy Frost paced in front of a small crowd of red and green clad elves. The snow crunching under his tiny toes.

“Ok Crew, it’s game time!”

“Yes, Sir!” the elves chanted back.

“We’ve been training!”


“We’ve been toiling!”


“We’ve been trying our–.”

“I think,” Pixie Powder interrupted, “what Figgy is trying to say is…good luck to you all this season! He and I will be working in the trenches with you, but will meet back here each night to debrief and troubleshoot.”

The select group cheered, spun mid-air, and flew off into the night.

“Er, thanks Pixie,” Figgy said sheepishly. “Got a little carried away there.”

Pixie smiled. She and Figgy had been working hard training the new recruits of the B.R.A.T.T. Correctional Crew every day since Santa had assigned them the job as Co-Chiefs the previous year.

B.R.A.T.T., or, the Big Rowdy Association of Tiny Tyrants had increased in number over the last several years. Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the rest of the Care of Christmas Board decided that the B.R.A.T.T. Correctional Crew needed to be re-instated to combat the growing problem.

After the announcement, Mischief Makers across the globe had eagerly submitted complaints about their charges. Some were legitimate, some…not so much.

Lars, whose kid set up a mouse trap to capture him, among other dangerous stunts, definitely needed help. But then there was Spark, who had sent in complaints about her kid’s lack of excitement about the gifts she left. As if a kid could or would be excited about receiving plain white socks on the first night…and every night of the season.

Santa had put Pixie and Figgy in charge of the program after their turbulent year with the Malloy family, a longtime member of B.R.A.T.T. Over the past year, the duo had assembled a small strike team and run training exercises to get ready for the season. Every team had a list of kids who needed a little extra nudge in the good behavior department. Each one on their last chance before the Christmas Magic Reversal Squad paid a visit to their home, causing them to lose their assigned elf and be put on the Naughty List. Permanently.

“Great job guys!” Lil, Co-Chair of the Mischief Maker Program, fluttered to the ground beside Pixie and Figgy followed closely by her partner Nim.

“Yeah, you two are naturals!” Nim, added.

“You really think so?” asked Figgy, smiling.

“Absolutely!” said Nim.

“Are you guys ready?” asked Pixie.

“Yep,” said Lil. “We have just enough time to pay a quick visit before we have to get back for the Mischief Maker Launch Party.”

The four friends were headed to their original assignment for a pre-season pep talk from their first and favorite charges, Joe and Jake. They were just about to take off when the sound of galloping hooves thundered behind them.

“Wait!” Glitter, head of the Reindeer Program, skidded to a halt in front of the foursome. “Wait, huff-puff, huff-puff, just a minute.”

“Sorry Glitter! We almost forgot to get you!” exclaimed Pixie.

“No, no. That’s not it,” Glitter panted. “There’s been an emergency down at the toy shop. Santa needs all of you asap.”

Concerned, the elves and reindeer sped to the toy shop, breathless with worry.


Shouts and greetings, laughter and applause greeted them as they burst through the doors. Mischief Makers cheered, Santa chortled and two bewildered boys beamed at the foursome.

“Joe?!” gasped Nim and Lil. “Wha–???”

“Jake!?” shouted Figgy and Pixie. “How–???”

Santa’s eyes twinkled. “I made an exception to the rules. I am Santa after all. I wanted a special surprise to kick off this season and Figgy and Pixie’s new assignment.” Joe and Jake smiled broadly, eyes sparkling and cheeks splitting. “This is going to be the best Christmas ever!”

Mischief Makers Day 23: Shocking Secrets

It’s almost time! The elves are coming!!!

I’ll post the last few stories from 2021 as a refresher and intro to this year’s fun. Enjoy!

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“Figgy, Pixie!” Lil panted. “Don’t do it!”

Nim and Lil came streaming through the kitchen with Glitter hot on their heels. 

Pixie and Figgy frowned. “What’s wrong?”

Nim and Glitter looked around the room while Lil caught her breath. They saw the snack laden kitchen table and stack of games set up, ready to be played. 

“Oh,” sighed Glitter. “Good.”

Nim laughed nervously. “Whew! We thought for sure you were set to go out with a bang.”

“Well,” said Figgy. “We were just discussing livening this game day up a bit with some sparklers and fireworks.”

“NO!” Glitter, Nim and Lil all yelled at once.

“Jeez you three,” laughed Pixie. “Figgy is just kidding. We were only arguing about which game we should add to the pile. Quirkle or Mancala. Any votes?”

The new arrivals sighed in relief. 

“What’s going on?” asked Figgy. For the first time, he noticed the worried expressions on Nim and Lil’s faces and the serious set to Glitter’s head. 

Nim and Lil looked at eachother, communicating with eyebrows and head nods. 

“Wow you guys,” said Glitter. “Not too subtle, are you?”

Nim sighed. “We overheard Santa and The Director talking about you both.”

Figgy gasped. “The Director?” 

Lil nodded.

“What am I missing?” asked Pixie. “Who is ‘The Director’?”

“Sorry, Pixie,” said Lil. “I forget you were originally under the Birthday Beagle Brigade. The Director is the Head of Operations at the North Pole.”

“I thought Santa was the COO?”

“He is…sort of,” said Glitter. 

When Pixie still looked blank, Figgy filled her in. 

“The Director is in charge of the entire North Pole. All programs and events…even Santa.”

“And,” added Nim. “When there are problems that can’t be solved by traditional means, The Director sends a crew in to help.” 

“What problems have we caused?” asked Figgy. “We had a really rough start this season, but we managed to straighten out the Malloys ok.”

“Yeah,” added Pixie. “They’re absolute angels compared to the beginning of the year.”

“Righhhht,” said Glitter. “But it’s not just them. The Director had to re-enstate B.R.A.T.T. this season due to other…overzealous charges.”

“But that’s not our fault!” said Figgy. 

“I know,” said Lil. “We’re not exactly sure what is going on. We just overheard Santa and The Director talking and we heard your names and words like ‘too many messes’ and ‘re-assignment’.”

“Just who is The Director and why does he have so much power!?” spluttered Pixie.

She,” said Lil. “And she has so much power because she keeps the North Pole running smoothly. Santa would be lost without her help.”

Pixie’s eyes widened as realization dawned. “Mrs. Claus? She’s The Director?” 

Nim nodded while Figgy spluttered. “B-but does that mean…we won’t be coming back here next season?”

Lil gulped. “I’m afraid it may be worse than that.”

“That’s right,” said Nim. “We think Santa is pulling you two from the program.”

Adventures in Homesteading: A Tale of Three Tails Chapter 4

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Chapter 4: Danger

Pudgy, Pipsqueak and Gomer raced back through the hole in the garage, blocking it once again.

Gomer trembled as he re-lived his last run-in with a hawk. The memories. The smell of damp grass, the rush of cold air flitted through his mind, making him even more frightened.

Pipsqueak shivered.

“Everyone calm down!” Pudgy’s voice shook. “We’ve faced worse on the homestead. We can’t let one hawk make us cower in fear.”

Pipsqueak peeked through the crack in the door. “What can we do? The three of us are no match for a hawk.”

“We could always lure it to the garden,” Gomer had stopped trembling and there was a strange gleam in his eyes.

“Why on earth would we do that? Do hawk’s even eat vegetables?” 

“No. But I bet they eat chipmunks.”

Pipsqueak gasped. 

“Wait a minute,” Pudgy said almost to himself. “The chipmunks.”

“WHAT?!” Pipsqueak was horrified. “Did you see what that hawk just did?! We can’t use them as bait!”

Pudgy shook his head. “No, no, of course not. It would be the worst sort of betrayal. Even for strawberries.” Pudgy rubbed his paws together. “We could join forces with them!”

Gomer and Pipsqueak stared blankly at Pudgy. 

“We’ll appeal to their survival instincts. We’ll ask them to join us in protecting the food…and each other from predators.”

After checking to make sure the hawk was not lying in wait for a tasty mouse morsel, the Three Tails raced back to the garden and hid under a large head of lettuce.

“Psssst!” They tried to get the chipmunks attention, but the critters were too busy tearing into a red, juicy tomato to hear.

“Ahem!” Not even a twitch.

“HEY YOU GUYS!” Pipsqueak’s normally soft voice took on a shrill, screechy tone.

Seemingly as one, the chipmunks swiveled their heads, tomato juice dripping from their tiny mouths. 

“First,” said Pudgy. “We’d like to express how terribly sorry we are about your loss.”

“Our loss?” asked Leo.

“Yes,” said Pipsqueak. “The hawk just took two of your group.”

“Oh!” said Leo. “That.”

Pipsqueak looked at Pudgy for help.

“Aren’t you sad?” Gomer wrinkled his brow.

“Oh sure,” said Leo as he bit into another juicy tomato. “Heartbroken.” 

The other chipmunks chittered. 

“*Maybe appealing to their survival instincts is not such a good idea*,” whispered Pipsqueak. 

“Look,” said Leo. “If we were sad every time one of our number was eaten, attacked or taken, we’d be crying all the time.” He took a big bite out of a cucumber. “We’ve learned to cope.” 

“I can see that,” said Pudgy. “But if we join forces, we can be lookouts for each other. Partners. Maybe even…friends.”

Leo twitched his ears.

“Ok,” said Pipsqueak. “Maybe not friends, but colleagues at the least.”

Leo turned to the rest of his scurry, silently communicating with them. There was a lot of chitters, head shaking and high pitched trills before he finally turned back to the Three Tails.

“You have a deal,” he said. “On one condition.”

“What condition?” asked Pudgy.

Leo took another bite out of the cucumber, chewing slowly. “We share *all* the food.” He wiped his mouth with the back of his paw. “Strawberries included.”

Adventures in Homesteading: The Tale of Three Tails

Chapter 3: The Deal

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The Three Tails led the chipmunks to a beautiful garden. Large leafy heads of lettuce grew alongside big bushes of beans. Squash was just starting to sprout and carrots were peeking out of the ground. 

“Well?” said Pudgy.

Leo tore his gaze away from the garden and narrowed his eyes. “What’s in it for you if we leave the strawberries alone?”

“Only more strawberries for us,” said Pipsqueak. 

“There’s plenty in this garden for us to share,” said Pudgy.

Gomer yawned. “And if you don’t share, we can always send the dog after you.” 

Pudgy and Pipsqueak stared at Gomer, shocked. Never had spoken with such calm certainty.

Leo scoffed. “The dog? It’d get you first.” 

Gomer just smiled. A smaller chipmunk raced to Leo and whispered in his ear. “They’re friends. The dog and those three.” 

Leo’s eyes widened and he squeaked. “Er…I don’t think that will be necessary.”

Pipsqueak scurried forward. “Do we have a deal?”

The chipmunks nodded their heads in unison.

“So…what’s the secret?” asked Leo.

Pipsqueak could barely contain her grin. “Gomer, now you can tell them.”

Gomer dashed over to the gate and lifted a small flap hidden in the weeds. “It’s easy. Just lift this door and you can go right in.” He shimmied under the fence.

Leo grumbled. “That was a dirty trick.”

Pudgy smiled. “A deal’s a deal.”

Leo huffed and swarmed the garden with the rest of his scurry. 

The Three Tails headed back to the strawberry patch to have a celebratory snack. But as they made their way home, a dark shadow covered the ground in front of them. 

Gomer looked up to the sky. “HAWK!” He squealed, ducking for cover under the thorny rose bushes. 

They watched in horror as the hawk swooped down and grabbed two chipmunks, one in each talon.

Adventures in Homesteading: The Tale of Three Tails: Chapter 2

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Chapter 2: Rodent Rage

A tidal wave of chipmunks poured out toward the three frozen mice. Fueled by fear, Pudgy, Pipsqueak and Gomer raced back to the garage and barricaded the entrance.

“How many were there?” asked Pipsqueak breathing heavily.

Pudgy, who hadn’t run that fast since he was a pup, shook his head as he tried to catch his breath. “A-huff-puff huff-puff-lot.” 

“What can we do?” Pipsqueak brushed the dust off her feet and fur with a look of distaste. 

“Let me think, let me think.” Pudgy rose to his paws and peeked out the crack. The chipmunks were huddled together staring at the garage. “We are definitely outnumbered, so we’ll have to—”.


Pipsqueak and Pudgy looked back at Gomer, who was lying on the floor with a look of misery on his face. “I’m sooooo hungry.”

“How can you think of food at a time like this Gomer!”

“That’s it!” Pipsqueak jumped to her paws. “The garden! The vegetables!”

Gomer’s stomach gave another mighty growl.

Pipsqueak smiled broadly. “We lead them to the garden. We show them all the vegetables…the tomatoes, the cucumbers…all of it.”

“Yes!” Pudgy grinned. “Of course! There’s plenty for all of us.”

The mice tidied up and headed back outside. 

“Well hello there,” said Leo. “Not so tough now are you?”A chittering laughter rumbled through the crowd.

“These strawberries will be gone soon, and there are not enough to share,” began Pudgy.   

Pipsqueak stepped forward. “But there is a place where food will grow all summer. A place where there is plenty enough for all of us.”

The chipmunks chattered with each other. “We’re listening.”

“Come with us, we’ll show you…The Garden.” Pudgy led the group to the back of the house. 

The crowd of chipmunks chittered. “We know about the garden.”

“You do?” asked Pudgy, a bit crestfallen.

“Yes,” said Leo. “It’s a trap. A giant maze of death and injury. The owner has it rigged to keep us out.”

The Three Tails snickered. 

“Yes,” said Pipsqueak. “Unless you know the secret.”

The chipmunks grew quiet. 

“And we do,” added Pudgy.

The chipmunks grew even quieter.

“Yeah,” said Gomer. “All you have to do is–”.

“Gomer!” Pudgy snapped.

“Wait til they take the deal,” said Pipsqueak through clenched teeth.

Pudgy looked Leo in the eye and waited. 

“Show us.”