If he’s had too much eggnog the night before, that’s one thing. That’s fine. We work hard, all of us. And we all like to hit the nog pretty hard. But when he does, it affects everybody.
But it’s no big deal: we pad around the workshop a little softer, and don’t do any hammering until he steps out of his office, coffee in hand, and tells us a dirty joke.
But more and more I’ve noticed him being in a foul and uncommunicative mood. It’s really starting to bum us all out. Hard to get in the Christmas spirit when Santa Claus is being a fucking prick.
Today is the worst, and there’s no end in sight, I’m afraid.
This morning he stalks in, late as usual. Looks around the workshop, and then looks right at Winky, and asks her, in front of everybody, “Are you pregnant?”
The fact that she’s pregnant and doesn’t know who the father is has been an open secret for months. Surely one of his consiglieres has mentioned that to him.
Of course Winky bursts into tears. Yes, she’s a slut. You could argue that. That she has made her bed (so to speak), but still, this close to Christmas, with all the overtime and such, a boss needs to watch morale. That was not good for morale.
Anyway, things cooled back down and were fine until after lunch.
We had a whole bunch of gingerbread sandwiches in the canteen, as usual, and then a couple of us got into Candy Land. Most of us drifted back to the ‘shop in time to start the afternoon shift, but a couple stayed to finish. They were late. Ten minutes, tops.
Bingles was one of the unlucky ones to stay behind. When he returned to his station Mr Claus (Sir!) picks up the bike he had been working on, and threw it at him. Bingles caught it – he’s very athletic for an elf. There was this heavy moment of shocked silence. And then we all carried on, as if nothing had happened. He and Bingles made a game out of it. Tossing the unfinished bike back and forth. But when Santa first threw it, it was definitely ‘at’ and not ‘to’, Bingles. Things are tense, to say the least.
To make matters worse, there are whispers of a revolt. The whispers are getting louder too. It happened before, it could conceivably happen again. Santa’s approval ratings are at an all-time low. I worry about the effect of a coup, the choosing of a successor, the inevitable rescheduling of Christmas… but mostly I worry about the Big Guy. He’s clearly lost touch of the bond with us elves, and that scares me. The reindeer say the exact same thing.