A Call to the North Pole
by K. R. Smith
"Hello? Elf Jones speaking."
"Hey, dude. This is Willis. I found him."
"Excuse me? You know the protocol. You're supposed to address yourself as Elf Willis."
"Yeah, okay, whatever. Elf Willis here. I found him."
"Thank goodness! Where was he?"
"Where do you think?"
"Not Margarita Mary's again?
"Where else. You know his weakness. The dude's like totally wasted. He's sleeping it off in a local motel."
"That's in a rough part of town."
"Tell me about it. The sleigh was up on blocks when I found it."
"Is it damaged?"
"It still flies. Sort of. Although we're going to need a replacement reindeer."
"Oh? And why would that be?"
"Well, uh, I kind of got the hint when I saw they had venison tacos on the menu."
"Oh, dear heavens. Are you sure?"
"Yeah. It was two-for-one night."
After a pause, Elf Jones continued. "You're a sick elf, Willis. You know that, don't you?"
"Hey, on my salary I can't pass up a deal like that. And the toppings were great."
"Can we please move on. I don't think I care to discuss that subject any further. What will we do now?"
"You can start by telling all the elves and elfettes we'll be pullin' overtime. Again."
"Oh, so I get to deliver the bad news. Thanks."
"It's not half as bad as telling Mrs. Claus."
"Hey, you can't stick me with that job! Not with her temper!"
"Maybe you can pass that on to one of the new elves who don't know any better."
Elf Jones rubbed his chin. "Hmmm. I like that idea. And I know just the elf to break the bad news. Elf Irvin kept me up all night for the last two weeks tuning up those horrible toy musical instruments. Didn't get a bit of sleep."
"Was that who it was? Dude, you have my blessing on that one."
"Honestly, though, do you really think we can finish the deliveries on time?"
"I don't know, but we have to try. It's in our contract. We'll have to break up into teams. We don't have all the magic the big guy has."
"Alright, Elf Willis. As soon as everyone's assembled, I'll give out assignments."
"And make sure whoever has to go down the chimney isn't claustrophobic - no pun intended. That almost cost us this gig last time."
"Yes, good point. Are you going to lead one of the teams?"
"I, uh, have to go back to Margarita Mary's."
"Did you leave something behind?"
"I placed a takeout order."
"Seriously, Elf Willis, you have a problem. We'll talk once this emergency is over."
"Yeah, like whatever."
"No need for the attitude, Elf Willis."
"Well, I gotta go."
"Elf Willis?" The line went dead. Elf Jones sighed and shook his head. "This is going to be a long night."