Shelf Life: episode 5 “naughty list”

“Well recruit,” Ned said. “It means there is no such thing as Christmas miracles.”

It bothered me, what he said but I couldn’t tell you why. I didnt really even know what Christmas was beyond an excuse to ransom children for good behavior with the promise of presents. The way he said it, the way he laughed at it… something in my bones just felt wrong. But I also knew that I didnt have the luxury of questioning the rules since I was the guy with the bomb in my head so I decided to just forget about it.

“Ok,” I said. “So what’s next.”

“Next is the mission.” Ned said. “You are to observe, record and report nightly to elf headquarters at the North Pole. If you need me, I will be dormant but I’m always with you.”

There was an almost sinister quality to his tone, a threat.

“Got it.” I said.

And so began my official elf, spy career.

That morning Haley and Jake were both up before Mom and Dad. They used a stool to sneak into the top cupboard and steal candy for breakfast. Jake then called Haley a stupid head and Haley slapped him in the face and made him cry. Neither kid finished their breakfast and both kids took too long getting ready for school so they were late before they even left.

At one point, Mom totally lost her composure and screamed at them both to “get their shit together.” They acted like they were scared but when mom turned her back I saw Haley stick her tongue out and Jake laughed. Mom lost her composure again. They finally left and the house was a complete disaster.

The day was pretty boring for the next several hours. I watched Buddy watch the door for about three hours, barking occassionally at something before taking a nap and then returning to his post. I practiced my Curiomancy skills on Optimus Prime for long enough to convince him that I was a good guy. When the kids came home they were with Dad and this time it was his turn to lose his composure. This time Jake slapped Haley and made her cry. Jake didn’t finish his dinner. Haley didn’t brush her teeth. Mom and Dad both yelled a lot.

At the end of the night, Haley and Jake came up to me where I was still positioned astride Optimus to tell me good night. I’ll admit that they are pretty cute when they want to be.

“It’s too bad that there’s no such thing as Christmas miracles,” I thought. “because that’s exactly what it was going to take to keep these two off of the naughty list.”