Cape High Christmas Elf
“Hey,” Snowy D says, climbing down to the floor and looking around. “How’s everyone doing? I’m the Stringless Puppeteer.” The people stare at him, and then look at me, and I can almost see them wondering if it’s demon possessed. “My kid, here, is a super. He’s making his way down to Cape High.”
The room relaxes slightly, even laughing a bit as he takes to the air. There are news reporters and camera men flooding the back of the room, but they stop there, aiming the camera on Snowy D and me.
“While on this trip,” Snowy D goes on, “we hit a few bumps and snags. I got stolen, for one, and the guy whose truck we were riding on had a heart attack. It was pretty scary, actually. And then we started getting put on television. Hi, yeah, we see you back there, news people.” They start smiling, but thankfully don’t rush forward. It looks like Mack had a talk with them.
“But not all of it has been bad. We made our first real friend, you know, other than family and Santa. We got to see a healer heal someone, and we got to talk to a man that needed a hand. Maybe if we hadn’t been on television, we wouldn’t have met him, or maybe it was a destined meeting. And then we got here, where they welcomed us, and anyone else that came, with open arms and a plate of food.”
He shuts up, dropping into my arms, and I take a deep breath, looking around the room. “I…” I say quietly, trying to work up my nerve. “I’ve always been… separate from people. There aren’t many people up where I live, for one, but I’m also really… introverted. I’m not good at dealing with people. My best friend is a puppet. I didn’t know what to expect when I started across half a country on my own. And yeah, a few bad things happened, but more… so many more… good things happened. I met people that were kind, and accepting, and a lot of kids that treated Snowy D like he was a super star.”
They’re smiling, nodding as encouragement for me to go on. “I guess, what I’m trying to say is… there’s so much good in this world. There are so many people that step forward, holding out a hand, or a plate, or whatever, and that is… it’s why I’m more proud to be a Christmas Elf than I ever have been before. And you know what’s most awesome? You don’t have to live up in the North Pole to be one. All you have to do is take a little time to help. So… thank you,” I say, looking at Mack. “What you do here matters, so much,” and then I whisper, “Ace?”
I feel a hand on my wrist and Snowy D and I go invisible. We make a run for it, leaving the norms freaking out, except for Mack, who starts to laugh.
“Well, he DID say he had an invisible friend,” I hear him say as we leave the church behind.
Silent tears are streaming down Dolly’s face as she hugs a decorative pillow to her chest. “That was SO BEAUTIFUL!” she says, squirming with excitement. “Oh, I’m so proud of him! I can’t believe he did that! Did we record that? TELL me we recorded it! I want to send it home for Mom and Dad to watch!”
“Your brother’s adorable,” Jimmi says, smiling. She’s been trying to visit the two on a regular basis, to get a feel of how their teamwork will be. She likes them, but she also sees why they’re having so many problems. “And this is a Technico, so it should be easy to find it. Here, I’ll show you how.” She pulls her phone out, and then frowns. “Ah, it looks like I need to get permission.”
“Aren’t you good at computer stuff?” Ruckus asks, lounging on the chair next to the couch.
“Normal computers, yeah, a Technico computer, no. For now, can I borrow your phone?” she asks, taking Dolly’s phone and pointing out what to do. “So… would you like to go to Cape High?” she asks.
“Right now?” Dolly asks.
“For the open house,” Jimmi says. “I can ask Papa to arrange something. He could use a guardian with him for that, don’t you think?”
“I want to go! I would love to–oh… oh no,” Dolly says, frowning. “Now I know what he’s giving me for Christmas. This is terrible. Maybe Rochester can wipe it from my memory?”
“Is it really that big of a deal?” Ruckus asks, looking at her phone and tapping on it. “You just have to pretend like you don’t know.”
“No, you don’t understand, the Christmas present secret is… is sacred! It’s not to be known! If we go to Central, maybe I should stop by the Hall, first, and ask Mastermental to wipe it for me. Would he do that for someone from another branch?”
“Well, if you feel that strongly about it, we can ask,” Jimmi says. “I’m sure he might consider it, at least.”
“Oh, good, I definitely need to do that.”
“Elves are strange,” Ruckus says. “So… will they work? Those wings he’s planning?”
“I don’t know, actually,” Dolly says. “It might be too much work, since I’m sure I’ll be tired from using the Dollhouse…”
“Oh, I can fix that,” Jimmi says, opening her purse and digging out some clear, hollow jewelry. “For Ruckus, we have wrist cuffs, and for Dolly, some earrings and a necklace,” she says as she hands them out.
“What?” Ruckus says, taking the cuffs, only to stare at them.
“I have a little trick,” Jimmi says with a wicked smile, “something that should give us a better advantage when dealing with the Deadly Darlin’s.” Her eyes glow bright orange.