Cape High Christmas Elf
The church is tiny, but the paintings are beautiful. I keep looking at them as I follow Mack (he’s talking a mile a minute, telling me about things as we go) down a hall. I stop as I see a picture of Jesus with angels all around him. I don’t think Mack even notices until he’s at the end of the hall. He turns, looking at me curiously.
“Um…” I say, slinging Snowy D off of my back and digging through the stuff inside of him. “Do you have any other pictures of angels? Like one I could look at?”
“Well, this IS a church,” he says. “I’m sure I can find you something.”
I give him a grin and catch up with him, an art pad and a box of pencils in my free hand. He looks at them curiously. “You want to draw angels?” he asks.
“I want to draw up plans for wings,” I explain. “It should be a good Christmas present.”
“Well, you can do it after you eat,” he says, opening a door and revealing a large room, where people are crowded inside, eating hotdogs and chips. I feel their eyes turn to me, and I suddenly realize just what type of meal this is. They’re feeding homeless people. “We’re going to watch a movie, afterwards, if you’d like to stick around.”
I head over to the kitchen part of the room, joining a line of people waiting to get food. “That’s a very nice puppet,” the woman standing in front of me says. “Are you good at ventriloquism?”
“It’s my hobby,” I say. A plate is handed to me and I hold it out when I’m supposed to, wondering if I shouldn’t. It’s not like I’m starving—well, I AM, actually, but I bought food.
“Can you show me?” the woman asks. “I wish my grandchild was here to see it. He would love it.”
“Um… sure,” I say. “After we eat?”
She laughs. “Of course, after we eat!” she says, heading on to the next part of the line. Soon I have a plate full of food and am heading for the nearest table. I sit down in an empty chair, feeling the person next to me staring. Mack brings a Christmas card featuring an angel over, placing it to the side before patting me on the shoulder and walking away.
“Hey… aren’t you that Christmas Elf everyone’s talking about?” he asks, abruptly. I look over, my mouth full, and nod. “You really an elf?”
“Uh huh,” I say, after swallowing.
“Do you believe in God?” he asks.
“Yes, sir,” I say.
“Good,” he says, going back to eat. I practically inhale my food and start sketching the wings. To my surprise, when the person sitting next to me finishes and leaves, “Chase” sits down next to me, carrying his own plate of food.
“Did you say that just to avoid being lectured?” he asks.
“No, I’m a Christian. I was saved when I was eight. It makes being a Christmas Elf even more important to me,” I say. “If I wasn’t one, I’d probably just call myself an elf, or a holiday elf. We have several of those, back home. Oh, they still join the parties, but they don’t join the church services.” He looks at me, and then at my drawing.
“So who’s the gift for? Piper?”
“Dolly,” I say. “She can manipulate and levitate objects. And she should be getting stronger.”
“Really? So why the wings?”
“If I can make them light enough, and strong enough, she can manipulate them like toys, lifting herself as well. It’d only work when she’s not using her toy box abilities, though… if it works at all.”
“Would they work for you?” he asks.
“Maybe when I’m older,” I say. “It’d be easiest to use if starting from a high place… like a hang glider that can be manipulated. I don’t know if wood is what should be used, though.”
“Couldn’t she just levitate herself?” he asks.
“We don’t do well manipulating human beings, even our own bodies,” I admit. “Dolly can shrink people, but only as long as she keeps them contained in the dollhouse. Outside of it, it’s a lot harder. The last Toy Box that could shrink people outside of a dollhouse was… almost two-hundred-years old at the time, I think. She passed away a while after that.”
“Old age?” he asks.
“She got tired of Christmas music.” He looks away, his shoulders shaking as he tries to hide his laughter. “I have a LOT of headphones back home,” I add. The laughter escapes.
“I bet,” he says. He stops, though, looking towards the door we’d come through. “We’ve got reporters,” he says silently. “Should we make a run for it?”
I think about it, and look around for a moment before getting up and heading for Mack. “Hey,” I say.
“We’re trying to get rid of them, now,” he says, looking worried.
“That’s not very Christian, though,” I say, grinning. “Being interviewed isn’t something I’m interested in… but having them see something like this, is.” I motion to the people eating. “Can I do a little puppet show before you watch your movie?”
He grins, broadly. “I was thinking you’d never ask!” He jogs to the front of the room, raising his hands. “Hello, everyone! I know you’re all looking forward to the movie, but we have a special guest, today, and he’s willing to entertain us for a little bit, first. So put your hands together for the Christmas Elf that everyone’s talking about, the Stringless Puppeteer!”
I get a bit of clapping, but most of them are still too busy eating to spare the time. I don’t mind. I’ve never been one for applause, anyway. I head to where Mack’s standing, and lift Snowy D off of my shoulder.