Last night’s New Year’s party lingered in Sherman’s rum punch-soaked brain. The elf rolled over in his dormitory bunk at the North Pole. His head pounded with the motion. The New Year rang like a bell in his head. Sherman vaguely recalled a commitment today, but his bed was warm like a little mouse burrow. His tongue felt like the sandpaper maker-elves used in the toy shop, though, so Sherman gave in to thirst and rolled out of bed. Too bad he forgot he was in the middle bunk.
He thunked to the floor triggering a series of groans from his neighbors. Some elf threw a belled hat at him that landed in a dull clink.
“That you again Sherman? Liked you better on the shelf.” A sleepy voice complained.
“Go back to Connecticut, Sherm.”
Sherman shuffled off to the washroom with his thumbs in his red suspenders. He had a reputation for partying and a quick look in the mirror confirmed he’d surpassed expectations last night. Esmeralda’s bright red lipstick stained his collar, although he couldn’t remember why he ended up in the common dorms instead of with her.
He washed off glitter and dried eggnog as the remains of another year went down the drain. His job on the shelf in Connecticut was almost up. The last child in the family he elfed for began asking the hard questions about Santa. Sherman expected to be out of a job next year.
After he dried off, he pulled on clean green trousers, shirt and hat but left off the belled shoes. A cushy job on the Naughty & Nice list would be grand, but Sherman would settle for toy making or even reindeer cleanup at this point. The travel sucked and he was tired of field work.
Peppermint scent wafted toward Sherman. He turned in time to see Sparkles ambling to his cubby.
“Thanks for waking me up Sherman.” The tone of his voice implied something other than thanks.
“Couldn’t sleep. I think I’m out of a job next year.”
“That explains the flaming nog shots.”
“Are there any openings in sleigh prep?”
“Only if you are a tube of wax.” Sparkles fiddled with his suspenders and turned to face Sherman. “Get Esmeralda to hook you up in the bakery. She fell for your special magic at the party.”
Sherman considered it but tossed the idea immediately. “Esmeralda has too many expectations. “
“Good luck. I know it must be difficult for an elf as clumsy as you to get decent work.”
The comment stung. Sherman bowed his head and left, his jingly shoe bells clanking half-heartedly. Sparkles sure knew how to crush an elf’s Christmas spirit. What Sherman really needed was a directive from the big man himself. Then the other elves would have to welcome him after landing a placement from Santa.
Miserable and downtrodden, all he could do was wait for Santa to wake up from his winter’s nap. Sherman snatched a candy cane off the gingerbread dorm door on the way out. The line for Santa’s place stood twenty elves deep, already full of other misfits and elves about to lose their placements. He didn’t see another options so he parked himself in a snowbank to wait.
What do you think, should Sherman end up shoveling Blitzen’s pen or can he land a job in the toy shop? If you were the big man, what job would you give him? Leave a comment!