Category: Holidays

Just Trying to Help Out

“Thirty-one, you’re in my seat again,” Two said, folding his arms and scowling. “Get out and wait your turn.”

“It’s not your seat,” Thirty-one said. He leaned back and smiled. “It belongs to whoever is keeping the journal. You were late. I’m just here helping you out.”

Two growled and pointed at the door. “I’m here now. Just go. You need to stop trying to take someone else’s turn.”

Thirty-one sighed.   “Fine, fine. It’s not fair though. I get fewer turns than anyone else. Even thirty gets eleven turns a year. I just get seven.” He slowly got out of the chair. He paused.   “Are you sure you don’t want a break?”

“I get a break the rest of the month. You’re wasting my time,” Two said.

“Wouldn’t this work better if there were more of us watching? There are a lot of children in the world, after all. We could each take an area, andTwo frowned. “Is your elf magic insufficient to do the job? It shouldn’t be too hard for someone else to cover for you. It’s not like you work that many days, after all.”

Thirty-one held up his hands. “No, no, I don’t have any problems with doing the job. I just thought it might be nice to all work together sometimes.”

Two turned away.   “Fine then, just go away. You’re breaking my concentration.”

“Well, call me if you need help with anything,” Thirty-one said.

“Yeah, yeah.   Go find something else to do,” Two said.

Thirty-one trudged out of the room. He looked back once and sighed. Two was already busy writing in the journal. Oh well, he could try the toy room. Maybe they weren’t busy and would like some company.

The elves in the toy room looked up as he entered. “Oh, look guys,” one of the elves said. “It’s one of the calendar elves. Shouldn’t you be off somewhere meditating and preparing your mind for the one day a month you need to work?”

“It’s not like you work all year, either. You don’t know what the kids want until they send out their lists,” Thirty-one said.

“We can make some things in advance. There are classic toys, you know. Or maybe you don’t. You are a calendar elf after all,” the elf said. “Why don’t you move along and let the real elves work.”

Thirty-one made his most fearsome face at the elf, but he’d already turned away and started laughing with his friends. So, Thirty-one sighed and trudged away, feeling useless. Even the toy elves had more to do.

But wait! If they had work to do, maybe they’d need help. He was an elf. Surely making toys was instinct or something. He could get up early and make a bunch of toys, and when they came in to work, they’d all be impressed and grateful. They’d ask him to come in and help whenever he wasn’t busy, which was almost always.

It seemed like the perfect plan. Unfortunately, making toys wasn’t something that even elves could figure out by instinct. So, when the toy making elves arrived, they found him still trying to assemble his first tricycle, and it wasn’t going well.

“What are you doing?” one of the elves asked, folding his arms over his chest and glaring at Thirty-one. “Those aren’t the right tires, and you’re stripping all the screws. And that seat is for the bicycles. It’s much too big. In fact, the whole thing is wrong. Is this sabotage?”

“I just wanted to help,” Thirty-one said. “You said you were busy, and I wanted to help.”

“We don’t need your help. You’re just making a mess of things. Go away, calendar elf,” the elf said.

“But I could learn,” Thirty-one said. “I’d be happy to sit and watch while you showed me what to do. I’m a fast learner.”

“Are you trying to steal our jobs?” the elf said. “You have your own job. Go away.” And the other elves started yelling at him to go away, and so Thirty-one left.

He went home, because he had nothing else to do. He tried helping out elsewhere, but the stable elves and house elves insisted that they didn’t need any help either.

But surely, somewhere, someone needed help. Thirty-one thought of all the children he checked on during the year.   Lots of them needed help. He wasn’t really sure what he could do to help out all of those children, but surely he could find something.

And so, for three hundred and fifty-eight days of the year, the world’s smallest super hero started helping the children of the world from the shadows. And he was happy.

New Year’s Eve

“Lottie, it’s New Year’s Eve,” Dad said. “We’re going to stay up until midnight!”

“Really?” Lottie asked. Her normal bedtime was eight o’clock. “How late is midnight?”

“Twelve o’clock,” said Mom. “You’ll be staying up four hours extra. Do you think you want to take a little nap now?”

“No. Naps are for babies,” Lottie said. “I can help with the puzzle.”

Lottie helped with the puzzle until it got too boring. She ate chips and watched a movie. At first staying up was exciting. But then she started to feel tired. She yawned.

“You can’t be tired yet, Lottie,” Dad said. “We still have three hours to go.”

“I’m not tired,” Lottie said. She was tired. Her eyes started closing on their own. It got harder and harder to open them and stay awake.

“Don’t go to sleep. You’re almost there. Just a little over two hours, Lottie,” Mom said.

Lottie suddenly felt suspicious. Her parents were always telling her to go to bed.   Why did they want her to stay up now? It didn’t make sense. Maybe these weren’t her real parents.

Lottie felt a little less tired. She needed to find her real parents and rescue them. She started to search the house.

“What are you doing?” Her maybe-not-real-mom asked.

“I’m looking for something,” Lottie said.

“What are you looking for?” Her maybe-not-real-dad asked.

“It’s a secret,” Lottie said.

“Just stay out of our room,” Maybe-not-real-mom said.

Aha! Of course they’d hide her real parents in the one place she normally wouldn’t look. Her real parents wouldn’t mind if she went in their room just this once. They’d want Lottie to save them from the not-real-parents.

Lottie looked in other places until the not-real-parents lost interest.   Then she opened the door and snuck into her parents’ room. She looked under the bed. Boring.   No people. She looked in the closets. Nope. She checked the bathroom. Empty.

Lottie looked out the window. It was too dark to check outside. She carefully closed the bedroom door and went back downstairs. She needed more information.

“What happens at midnight?” Lottie asked.

“It will be a new year,” Maybe-not-real-mom said.

“It’s so much fun, Lottie,” maybe-not-real-dad said. “We’ll bang pots and pans together and yell and make lots of noise!”

“In the middle of the night?” Lottie asked.

“That’s right,” maybe-not-real-dad said.

That confirmed her worst suspicions. These couldn’t be her real parents. They’d never tell her to stay up late and make lots of noise at night.   She wasn’t supposed to bang pots together or yell in the house in the middle of the day.

“Hmmmm,” Lottie said. She tried to look like her normal self. She was feeling tired again, but she didn’t want to fall asleep around the not-real-parents.   She looked around.

She could squeeze in behind the couch. She went to her bedroom and got her blanket and pillow. She started to crawl backwards, pulling them in behind her.

“Lottie, what are you doing?” Not-mom asked.

“I’m going to sleep,” Lottie said.

“But you’ll miss the New Year!” Not-dad said.

“I don’t care. I’m going to sleep now,” Lottie said.

“All right, if you’re sure,” Not-mom said.

She would find her real parents in the morning. They couldn’t be hidden far away. Maybe they’d come back on their own. Maybe the not-parents were going away at midnight, and if she was awake they’d take her too. All the more reason to fall asleep now.

As she drifted off, she heard Not-dad say, “But she’s always wanting to stay up late.”

“Kids are so funny,” Not-mom replied. “Sometimes I wonder what she’s thinking.”


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