Santa awoke early on January 8th, ready to start the new work year. He made a tall stack of flapjacks. “Breakfast is ready, Mama,” he called.

            After they ate, Mrs. Claus handed Santa his coat and hat.  She cleared the table as he put on his woollies. 

            “I’ll be in North Pole Proper, this morning, and the Christmas Tree Forest this afternoon.” Santa was ready to make his first rounds of the year.

            “Don’t forget your mittens,” Mrs. Claus said. They exchanged goodbyes, and Santa hurried toward Candy Cane Lane. The helpers were expecting him, and he was excited about getting back to work.

            His first stop was at Tessie’s Toys. He found Tessie tugging and twisting at wire, shaping it into bubble wands.  “Busy as usual, I see.”

            “Yes, Santa.  By the way, the party was wonderful,” Tessie said.

            “It was a good party, wasn’t it?  Are things here okay?"

            “I’m off to a fine start,” Tessie replied.

            Santa nodded. “Well, then, I’m off, too.” He visited the other shops on Candy Cane Lane, and operations were running smoothly -- until he got to the tack shop.

            Ticky, the proprietor of Ticky’s Tack and Bridle Wares, opened the door for Santa.  "I have bit of a problem," he said, before Santa could get inside. "Things have gotten out of hand the last few years. Everyone at the North Pole wants reins and bells and, well, I need more help." 

            Santa held up his hand. "Slow down."

            "The repair business takes up too much room," Ticky said.

            Santa tugged his beard, and nodded.  "It used to be just sleigh bells, but I see your point.  Everywhere it's bells bells bells bells bells bells bells.  The tintinabulation, the jingling and the tinkling--"

            "Santa!" Ticky interrupted.  "Boog's the best repair elf in the business. He does a great job, but it's a question of space. Besides, he sleeps late, and I never know when to expect him.  I'd like one of the trainees from the Helpers Unlimited. Someone I can count on to open the shop, if I can't."

            Santa stuck his thumbs in his suspenders while he thought. "Perhaps a separate shop for repairing bells; and Boog could work his own hours. Repair work can be done anytime."

            "Yes sir," Ticky agreed. "If Boog gets enough rest, he's a pleasant guy, and he works long after the shop has closed. As far as repair elves go, there's none better."

            "Fine," Santa said. "I'll assign a trainee to you, and open a new place for the repair work."

            Ticky smiled broadly. "I think Boog will like that.”

            The door slammed behind Boog, as he entered the shop. "Oh, happy Begin Again Day, Santa.  What's up?"

            "First rounds of the year," Santa boomed. "Boog, I need to speak with you."   Alarmed, Boog looked at Ticky.

            "Ticky won't mind," Santa said. "C'mon, walk with me to Frosty Corners. We'll have a cup of cocoa."

            Boog sighed. "Yes sir."

            Santa put his arm around Boog's shoulder as they left the shop. "It's all good.  I have a business proposition for you."

            "I'm not in trouble?"

            Santa laughed loudly. "No, no. Everything is fine." He led Boog into Coy's.

            "Hello Coy.  Can we get some cocoa over here?" Santa picked a table and invited Boog to sit down.

            "I have a proposition for you." Santa slowly sipped his hot chocolate.  "I want to open a bell repair shop on Second Street, and I'd like for you to be the proprietor."

            Boog couldn't believe his elfin ears. "Me?" he shouted. "Are you sure you want me? I mean, I don't have a good reputation with Ticky. I sleep too late, but I'm a good repair elf. Are you sure?"

            "You'll be surprised to learn that Ticky's very happy with your work. Oh, he admits that you're tardy, but he says the repair work can be done at night. He also says that as far as bell repair goes, you're the best. He's right, you know," Santa said, smiling.

            "Gosh," Boog said.

            "So, what do you want to call your shop?"

            "Um, I don't know. How about -- uh -- the Jingle Bell Fix It Shop?" Boog blurted.

            "Hmmmm, original. Ding dong, the dent is gone. I like it. Jingle Bell Fix It Shop it is.  I shall send Violet to dust the area next to Ted E.'s Bears, right on the corner of Santa Claus Lane and Second Street. Will that do?"

            Boog clapped his hands gleefully. "It's closer to my quarters. I can even sleep later."

            Santa's laughter filled the room.

            The train whistle sounded as the Frosty Corners Express pulled into the station.

            Santa glanced at his pocket watch. "It's getting late, and I have rounds to finish," he said, stuffing his timepiece back in his vest.  "Better get back to Ticky's.  When I notify you that the Jingle Bell Fix It Shop is ready, and that will be sometime Tuesday, you will need to occupy it within 24 hours. Otherwise it will disappear."

            Boog nodded.  "Time's of the essence, I know."

            Santa chuckled as he watch Boog race toward Ticky's. He took his pad from his pocket and moistened his pencil with his tongue. "Violet to dust the corner of Santa Claus Lane and Second Street, Boog to be reassigned, new elf needed for the Ticky's tack shop," he wrote.  He stuck the pencil behind his ear and continued his rounds.

            "Jingling and tinkling of the bells bells bells. . ." Santa repeated, as he turned onto Second Street and followed the path to the Archives. He plucked a number from the hook and put it on the counter.

            "Serving Number One," Strubby called. "Good morning Santa."

            "How are things?"

            "Everything has been cross referenced and filed."

            "Fine, fine," Santa said.  "Are you using your computer?"

            Strubby shrugged and looked at his feet. "Well, Santa, I use it, but I double check things with wuffle dust."

            "And do they check out?"

            "Every time."

            "Checking it twice! I like that." Chuckling, Santa waved to Strubby and continued visiting shops on Second Street. Then he made his way to the Sleigh Port. He stopped by the Peppermint Twist and Bob's Bobber Shop, and finally Reindeer Traffic Control.

            Donovan proudly pointed to the sparkling sleigh. 

            Santa nodded his approval. "Excellent job. Where's Nobby?"

            "He's watching the trials."

            Santa climbed the staircase to the top floor of the Tower, where he found Nobby observing the reindeer trial flights. Santa gazed out the window. "Things appear to running smoothly."

            "Thank you, sir. Violet's waiting for you at the wuffle dust well."

            Santa quickly descended the stairs and left the Tower. "Hello Violet," he said as he approached the well. "I have a job for you."

             "Are we expanding, Santa?" Her wings fluttered.

            "Indeed, we are. Please dust the corner of The Lane and Second Street, on Tuesday."

            Violet clapped her hands. "What kind of shop?"

            "Repair shop, for the bells.  The Jingle Bell Fix It Shop. Now, if anyone needs me, I'll be between here and there." Santa gestured toward the Christmas Tree Forest. "Dust me to Smitty's, please."

 


Untold Stories Archive