The Defiling of Workshop Sector Seven
December 21, 2012 in Holiday Angst
Santa Claus, who rarely visited the workshop anymore, made a surprise appearance one cold November morning. Of course it was cold – Santa’s workshop is located at the North Pole – but there had been a particularly nasty storm the previous evening, leaving behind a thick blanket of snow that glistened like diamonds in the few short hours of sunlight.
The old man was decidedly less jolly than usual; in fact, he seemed perplexed. He sipped his oversized cup of cocoa absently as he waved a Christmas list from an eight-year-old boy from Texas.
“Can someone please tell me what the hell a cosmic branding iron is?” he bellowed.
“Give me a moment,” chirped Raphael. Raphael was a pretty lousy toymaker by elf standards, but he was very good with research and general office work. Contrary to popular belief, all elves at the North Pole do not make toys. Toymaking might be the high profile occupation, but there is plenty of work to do in any community, such as cooking, infrastructure, maintenance, and the like. Raphael had saved himself from a career mucking reindeer stalls with his surprisingly exhaustive knowledge of the Dewey Decimal System and search engine prowess.
Raphael flipped quickly through a thick, leather-bound illustrated toy reference catalog. “Yes, here it is,” he said. “It’s an accessory that is only available with the new JoJo Galaxy Jumpbot Special Edition Cowboy to the Stars.”
“What happened to the old days, when a kid just asked for a ‘dolly’ and left it at that?” Santa sighed to no one in particular.
“Children have become far more educated consumers. Lists today are incredibly detailed,” Raphael offered.
For not the first time, Santa considered retirement. Perhaps the Easter Bunny could do double duty. Oh, who was he kidding? There was no such thing as the Easter Bunny.
“JoJo Jumpbot, what a molded plastic piece of shit,” mumbled Frankie as he struggled to focus on coloring the pile of modeling compound in front of him. He was nursing a wicked hangover well earned from the previous night’s binge. With the ferocity of the storm, he had figured Santa would declare a Snow Day and he’d be able to stay home and sleep it off. Frankie had failed to account for the fact that they were in the North Pole, where every day was pretty much a snow day. There was a reason why Frankie didn’t work on the video game system assembly line.
“You got something to say about the most requested toy three Christmases running, Sneezy?” challenged Jennie, the lead tech on the JoJo line. Her retort was particularly toxic, as there were few things more insulting to an elf than being called the name of a dwarf. “By the way, are we having trouble keeping our hands steady while we play with our dough?”
“Hey, I’m not the one tossing my tinsel with the stocking stuffers,” Frankie fired back. “Your quality control boy Harold over there seems to have found a very special use for the spear-throwing motion of the JoJo Jumpbot Noble Savage of the Milky Way. Haven’t you, you creepy little coal stain?”
Harold was aghast. He stood up from his workbench, tossing aside the JoJo he had been inspecting as if it were covered in poison ivy. “Who told you, I mean, what do you mean, I don’t know what…” he stammered.
“Just stop,” Frankie cut him off. “We all know the gay stuff you do with that robot.”
“It’s not gay, not gay at all.”
“It’s a boy robot!”
“Just because it’s a boy robot does not make it gay.”
“No, I think that’s pretty gay,” Jennie conceded.
“It is most assuredly gay,” Frankie corrected. “Santa, can we get a ruling on this?”
“Gay,” replied Santa, who was starting to rethink the whole JoJo product line, particularly the JoJo Jumpbot Uranus Explorer that Harold had proposed last summer.
“What about Suzie?” Harold blurted. “She’s been working that vibrating Hysterical Hanna for about three years now.”
“Hey!” protested Suzie, an unassuming elf who worked in board games.
“Don’t try to deny it,” Harold attacked, desperately trying to remove the focus from his robotic proclivities. “How many times have I seen you replace that pull string in the past six months alone?”
“Oh, yeah?” Suzie managed, clenching her fists in a losing effort to stop herself from crying. “Well at least I don’t dip my junk in Peppermint Lake and then visit the reindeer!”
Santa spit up his cocoa at this last revelation, the cocoa that had been flavored that very morning with the waters of Peppermint Lake. Apparently, quite a few lonely toy making elves in attendance that day had discovered the affinity Santa’s reindeer had for peppermint – and rather than face the public humiliation of being identified as the most perverted elf in the workshop, which would be quite a feat considering that morning’s string of startling revelations, they decided independently and yet simultaneously to start a riot.
The room erupted into a flurry of elven mayhem. There was wrapping paper everywhere; even the good kind with the cutting guidelines on the back was haphazardly tossed about like used wrapping paper. Gumdrops were thrown in an ineffective effort to recreate a cafeteria food fight. Candy canes became hazardous projectiles, as Sammy, soon to be nicknamed “Blinky,” would later confirm. And one unfortunate jack-in-the-box found himself sprung into a place where the sun did not shine. Frankie was equally unhappy with the arrangement.
Eventually, order was restored. Between lost hours and cleanup efforts, however, more than a day of productivity during a crucial time of the year was lost, which forced Santa to skip Idaho that year. With regard to internal protocols, the riot was the catalyst for establishing a series of seminars addressing elven sexuality, as well as much tighter inventory control over toys with moving or vibrating parts. Access was also restricted to Peppermint Lake, which improved the taste of most meals and beverages in the North Pole, but caused Blitzen to fall into a horrible depression.