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WIP–Santa’s Elf

The end of the year is insane for my family.  Although right now we are more preoccupied with birthdays and Halloween, the focus will soon shift to Christmas.  Since I left childhood behind, Christmas became more of a chore and a hassle.  Then I had children.  Christmas is now still something of a hassle–if you ever want to test your marriage, try putting together a tricycle on Christmas Eve with your spouse–but it is also magical all over again for me.

One of the things I love about Christmas with little kids is the belief in Santa.  Sometimes I use this belief for evil–such as threatening to call Santa to report bad behavior when they’re on my last nerve.  But most of the time Santa is reminds me of that time in my life when magic was real.  When I truly believed that good people would be on the Nice list, mean people would be on the Naughty list, and that Santa would dispense justice accordingly.

The idea of Santa’s Naughty and Nice lists inspired a story that recently found a home.  I’m pleased to announce that “New on the Naughty List” will appear in Coming Together: For the Holidays.

For the Holidays

Lucy the Elf has her first fieldwork assignment.  Is Matthew a Naughty sexual deviant or a Nice guy on the wrong list?

Typically I’d tease a sex scene, but I really love the set-up and world-building of this story.  My plan is to write more stories set in this world and eventually release an anthology.

Lucy cleared her throat.

“What?” Kendra snapped.

“I have a Naughty that can’t be video verified,” Lucy said cautiously.

“So? Base it on their history on your list.”

“It’s a new Naughty. I think we need to arrange for someone to do a physical verification.”

Kendra heaved a sigh and rubbed her temples. “Take Blitzen. Go down and do the verification yourself, but get it done today. I don’t have to remind you it’s the 23rd.” She made a shooing motion at Lucy. “Give the rest of your list to Andrew; he was bragging that he’d finished his. That’ll shut him up.” She returned to her work.

Lucy stammered, “But I’ve never done a field assignment. I’m—”

“Are you kidding me?” Kendra’s head whipped up. “You’re going to bitch about a field assignment on the twenty-third? The twenty-third? Get your ass down there, do the verification and get back here!”

Reindeer Complex was buzzing with activity. Prancer’s handlers were counting reps as he did something resembling push-ups. Cupid was screaming at her elves for putting decaf coffee in her bucket.

Blitzen’s stall was the only one without a crowd outside the entrance. Lucy peeked in to see the reindeer sprawled on the floor, watching Star Wars. There was a bag of potato chips half-hidden under some hay.

Lucy knocked. “Blitzen?”

Blitzen grunted, but didn’t look up from Leia’s pleas to help her.

“I have to go South and verify a new Naughty? The video system isn’t working? Kendra suggested that you give me a ride? To Boston? I know it’s the twenty-third, but it’s a new Naughty.”

A long-suffering sigh was his only response.

Lucy knew she couldn’t screw up her first field assignment. “Please, Blitzen?”

Dancer’s voice erupted from the stall opposite Blitzen. “These bells are tarnished! How is that acceptable? Does no one care about standards anymore?

Blitzen’s ears flattened at the increasingly shrill noise. “Fine. At least I’ll have a valid excuse for getting out of here.”

Blitzen explained how to ride reindeer-back and then they were off. Lucy’s emotions swung betwixt excitement and terror. This field assignment could mean big things for her career if she was able to verify a Naughty.

Coming Together: For the Holidays is a charity anthology for StandUp for Kids, an organization trying to end Youth Homelessness in the US.  Publication will be this December.  I’ll let you know when I have more information.

*****Edited to add***** Apparently I posted an excerpt of this story last November, which you can read here.  The elf’s name was originally Gemma, as in that excerpt.  I have a story coming out with a protagonist named Jenna, which is why I changed the elf’s name to Lucy.

3 Responses

  1. I look forward to reading the rest of this! A new naughty has me intrigued.

  2. […] *****Edited to add–I ended changing Gemma’s name to Lucy as a story already under contract at that time had a character named Jenna and I didn’t want confusion.  This story was accepted for publication in Coming Together: For the Holidays, edited by Alessia Brio, expected publication date Dec 2014.  Read an updated excerpt here**** […]

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