Christmas Pep Talk
L.M. David

The elves sat in the conference room, dressed in their green uniforms. All had taken special care to make certain nothing was out of place. Staff meetings had, after the catastrophe of last year, become more like combat training sessions than company business.
The echo of someone’s shoes stomping out in the hall caught the attention of all in the room. Electronic devices were switched off, those on cellphones ended calls and muted ringtones. By the time the door burst open, pushed so hard it banged against the wall, every elf in the room was seated with their hands folded on the desktops, eyes forward.
A female elf, dressed in a green dress with a white collar and red bells sewn on it, walked in carrying a black, puffy folder. The woman looked like a school marm, long nose, hair pulled back in a severe bun on top of her head. She also wore black horn rim glasses dangling by string around her neck.
Moving to the podium in the front of the room, she huffed up the wooden steps until reaching the top. The multitude stared at Tiffany, formerly from H.R., now demoted to supervisor over the elf crew.
“All right, listen up,” she snapped, slamming the book down and adjusting the microphone. “It’s only a couple days until the big guy makes his run. After last year’s disaster with the Eco terrorist, which resulted in my demotion…”she sneered, “I want no foul ups.” She looked at the book on the podium top. “Fred … where are you?”
Her stern expression seemed to melt the elves like wax in their seats as she scanned the crowd. Finally, an elf in the back raised his hand. “I got a memo stating you were late to your shift twice last week. Be late again and chestnuts won’t be the only thing roasting over an open fire. We clear?”
A single bell jingled in the background…Fred nodding his head causing in the bell on his hat to ting-a-ling.
“Jackson… hand up!” she demanded next. A hand in the far left corner rose immediately. “You are in charge of making sure the Barbie dolls are all properly clothed. Last year, due to the fire, we ran out of dresses and some idiot made thongs out of rubber bands before packaging them. The Ken doll may have been thrilled but Santa was none too pleased!” She looked over the pale faces staring at her. “Also, there is talk about putting teddy bears noses on their butts to protest the shortage of Twinkies in vending machines. I need to remind you management was not responsible for that so if I see one bear sniffing its own hindquarters, I will track down the guilty elf and use my foot to make him a soprano.”
A faint sound disrupted the pause between her words. Eyes squinting, Tiffany stomped down the stairs and moved like a shark down the row of chairs. Stopped midway, she snatched an elf out of his chair and held out her hand. From a pocket, he produced a small electronic video game.
“You’re…”she snarled.
“Delbert, product testing.”
Dropping the device, Tiffany stomped down hard on it. The thing crunched, parts flew out of it all directions. Picking it up, she stared long at hard at the elf. Sighing, he opened his mouth. The crushed item was then shoved in his mouth.
“I believe that device is defective.” She leaned close, almost eye to eye with Delbert. “What do you think?” Delbert nodded. “Now get back in your chair before I stuff you in it.” Satisfied, Tiffany headed back to the podium to resume her speech. “One last note before this meeting is adjourned. Now that 12/21/2012 has passed, and dispelled the rumors that, per the Mayan calendar, the world is ending,” Tiffany paused to roll her eyes in their sockets, “we have had an onslaught letters from children now wanting toys. That means everyone will have to work extra hard without the benefit of overtime. Why, you ask?” she almost smiled but could not force one. “After a bit of persuasion, I have convinced the panel who demoted me into restoring my status in HR. To be assured my reinstatement, three hundred of you need to sign a petition attesting to my sparkling personality. Those who sign, will get overtime pay.” She stabbed the book on the podium with an index finger, “The paper is here along with a pen. Start signing.” Tiffany started to leave, paused and looked at the eyes watching her. “And if you take my pen, I will hunt you down and feed you a knuckle sandwich.” She left the podium as a line formed to sign the petition and, in a huff, left.
The door to the room closet opened and closed. The elves in line all turned in unison to look at Santa. Standing next to him was his personal assistant.
“You were right to bring me here, Nilson. Please make sure her petition is approved.”
“Yes sir,” the elf responded, giving Santa a curious look. “Sir, why don’t you just fire her before she does bodily harm to one of the worker elves?”
“Oh,” he said, turning towards the back of the line. “Let me add my signature.”
“Smart man.”


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