Meanwhile, the Jingle Bell Fix-It Shop was open for business.  Rissy had been polishing bells since Ticky left, a couple of days ago.  Although she was still a little overwhelmed, she was beginning to get the hang of things.  Occasionally she stopped to assist someone, but mainly she spent her time toiling at the ‘Shine and Polish’ workbench.

            “Jing-a-ling,” the bell sounded over the door.  Rissy looked up and nodded at Donovan, as he stomped the snow from his boots.

            “Brr-r-r-r-r,” Donovan shivered.  “It’s cold today.”

            “Hi, Donovan.  What can I do for you today?”

            “Well, you certainly seem to have things under control,” Donovan said, looking around the shop.

            “It really isn’t too hard,” Rissy said, smiling.  “I was a little scared at first, but so far things have been okay.  Are you picking up something?”

            “Nope, I’m dropping something off.  The routine inspection of the sleigh bells revealed some damage.”

            “Damage?”  Rissy looked apprehensive.

            “I’m not in a big hurry,” though, he quickly added.  “Look, the damage isn’t bad, and we really don’t need the bells until Winter Wonderland.  Well, there is the routine inspection, but if they’re in the shop, well, they’re in the shop,” he added, almost to himself.

            “What seems to be the problem?” Rissy looked closely at the sleigh bells, but saw nothing wrong.

            “Right here,” Donovan pointed to a hairline separation, where the bells were linked together.

            “Ah, yes,” Rissy said, not really seeing the problem at all.  “And do you also want them polished?” she asked hopefully.

            “Yes, please,” Donovan nodded his head.  “So, how do you like your new job?” he asked, changing the subject.

            “Oh, I love it,” Rissy beamed.  “It’s not nearly as difficult as I feared.  In fact, I’ve been opening a little earlier, before mid meal.  It’s sort of funny.  I like to sleep late, too, but I don’t sleep as late as Boog.  I really don’t mind being here a little earlier.”

            “I think that’s a great idea,” Donovan said.  Then, changing the subject again, he asked, “Have you heard anything about Boog?”

            “So far, he hasn’t come down with elfalantitis,” she offered.  Other than that, there’s no news; and I read that in the ‘Herald.’”

            “Did it say anything about Ted and the others?”

            “Yes, there was a story about their return.  You should read it.”

            “I will,” Donovan said.  “Hang in there, Rissy.  Boog should be back soon.”  Then waving, he headed out the door.  “It’s snowing again,” he yelled as the door banged behind him.

            Rissy picked up the sleigh bells.  “These things are heavy,” she moaned, as she heaved them onto the ‘Repairs’ workbench.  She sat on the stool and carefully inspected the bells a second time.  “I don’t see a thing wrong with these bells!”  She pushed them away.  She studied the tools that were spread neatly before her.  She reached for the bells, and carefully compared the links to one another.  She shook her head in frustration.  “That’s it!” she exclaimed, pushing the bells away again.  She hopped off the stool and returned to the ‘Shine and Polish’ workbench.  “Those bells will just have to wait for Boog!”

            ‘Those bells’ didn’t have to wait long, for that afternoon, the elves were released from the Dispensary.  Just before the mid meal, Boog returned, and found his shop open.  “What’s up?” he asked Rissy, who was busy polishing bells.

            “Santa asked me to look after your shop while you were quarantined,” Rissy said.  “He was here yesterday, and told me this would be a permanent assignment.”

            “Why is the shop open?” Boog quizzed.

            “I decided to open it before the mid meal.”

            Boog was indignant. “You can’t just change my hours.”

            “Who said anything about changing your hours?”

            “The shop is open, isn’t it?” Boog’s voice was escalating.

            “But you are not working!  I am!”  Rissy’s eyes flashed.  She slammed the bells on the workbench and stormed out of the shop.

            “Wait,” Boog called after her.  Rissy just walked faster.  “Sheesh! Boog looked around for Rissy’s coat and mittens.  He grabbed them and ran after her.  “RISSY, wait!  It’s freezing out here, he shouted, trying to catch up with her.

            Rissy spun around.  “You’re right, itis cold!”  She snatched her things and put them on.  The she turned and took off again.

            “Rissy, stop,” Boog pleaded.

            “Why should I?” You are unappreciative and thoughtless! Why I have half a mind to -- "

            “Rissy, I’m sorry,” Boog interrupted.  “You’re right.  I am thoughtless.”

            “I was only trying to help.” Rissy was slowing down a little.

            “I know, and I should have thanked you right off.” 

            Rissy stopped walking.

            “Come back to the shop.  We can talk there.  It’s too cold out here,” Boog added.

            Rissy reluctantly agreed.  In silence, they returned to the Jingle Bell Fix It Shop.  Boog opened the door, and stepped aside so Rissy could enter.

            “I’ll hold the door.”  Rissy was pouting.

            “Whatever,” Boog shrugged his shoulders.  He entered the shop and Rissy followed him.

            “Boog,” Rissy said.  “I wasn’t planning to change your hours.  I was only opening earlier because I arrive earlier.  You can still come in at your usual time.”

            “I’m sorry.  I got a little testy.  I mean, it is my shop,” Boog said.  “And I’ve been stuck in that stupid Dispensary.  I was glad to get back to work and found things changed all around.”

            “I know it’s your shop, but I thought you would be pleased that I was opening it a little earlier.  I’m sorry, too.  I should have asked you first.” 

            “That’s okay,” Boog shook Rissy’s hand.  “By the way, welcome aboard.”

            “Thanks,” Rissy grinned.

            “So, let’s begin again,” Boog said, smiling.  “What’s up?”

            “Well, I managed to keep things under control until earlier this morning, when Donovan brought in those sleigh bells.  I honestly can’t find a thing wrong with them.”

            “Well, let’s have a look.”  Boog sauntered over to the ‘Repairs’ bench and picked up the sleigh bells and carefully examined them.  He chuckled and said, “I’ll fix them.”  He picked up one of his tools and began working.

            Rissy leaned over his shoulder.  “What are you doing?”

            “I’m fixing the sleigh bells.”

            “But . . . but, there’s nothing wrong with them.”

            “To the untrained eye.”  Boog continued working.  “There,” he said.  “Good as new.”  He gently laid the sleigh bells on the workbench.

             Rissy looked at Boog. 

            He nodded and said, “They’re ready to be polished.”  Rissy started to pick up the bells, but Boog stopped her.  “Let me.”  He placed the bells on the ‘Shine and Polish’ workbench.

            Rissy picked up her cloth and began to polish the sleigh bells.

            Boog just nodded his head.  “Yep, I think this arrangement will work out just fine,” he grinned.


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