"Nice shop," Donovan said, looking around the Jingle Bell Fix It Shop.

            "Yeah, I almost hate to close up," Boog said.

            "Ah, c'mon. I don't wanna put it off again."

            "Me neither. I’m right behind you." Boog grabbed his ice board.

            “Race ya,” Donovan yelled.

            “Okay.” Boog took off in the direction of Glacier Lake. 

            “Hey, no fair!” Donovan chased Boog all the way to the lake.

            “Beat you,” said Boog, laughing.

            “Cuz you cheated!”

            "Let’s try 'em out.”

            The elves stepped onto the frozen lake. It was very slippery – just right for ice boarding. Boog dropped his board on the ice, and pulled it toward him with his toe.

            Donovan placed his foot on his own board, which shot away before he could put his other foot on it. “Wow! This is cool!” He grabbed his board and dropped it in front of him once more.

            Having witnessed his pal’s folly, Boog gingerly stepped onto his board. “Hey, look at me,” he shouted, balancing himself. As Donovan carefully mounted his board, Boog began to push himself around the ice.  “Whoa-a-a,” he yelled as his board shot out from under him.

            Plop!  Boog ate ice.

            “Oofta!” he groaned.

            Giggling hysterically, Donovan lost his balance and fell on his bottom.

            “Now, that’s funny,” Boog said, laughing.

            “This lake is a lot more slippery than I remember it,” Donovan said.

            “No slicker than some of the streets.” Boog looked around. “There’s just sooo much of it.” He dropped his board, and climbed back on it. This time he lasted a little longer.  “This is fun!”

            “The best!” Donovan was managing his board a little better, too. 

            It didn’t take them long to get the hang of it, and there wasn’t much they wouldn’t try.

            After they had spent a sufficient amount of time perfecting their skills, Boog grinned slyly. “Wanna try boarding down the ice berg?”

            Donovan fixed his gaze on the massive ice mountain that gave the lake its name.  “Bet I last longer than you.”

            “Doubt it!”

            The two steered heir boards toward the glacier, which seemed to grow right up out of the frozen lake. The closer they got, the bigger it got.

            “Well, let’s go,” Donovan said. They inched themselves half way up the mountain of ice.  “Let’s try it from here, first.”

            They looked down the glacier. “Yeah, we’re pretty high up.” Boog said.

            They placed their boards on the ice and then cautiously mounted them. Together, they started to push off.

            “Whoaaaaa,” Donovan hollered, as his board took off.

            Whooooooosh! They were down the glacier, across the frozen lake, and rolling in the snow bank on the other side in no time!

            “Wow! What a ride!” exclaimed Boog.

            “Let’s do it again, from the top!” Donovan shouted.

            Boog headed for the glacier. This time they climbed all the way to the tip top.  It was very bumpy and slippery, but they finally made it.  Donovan grinned at Boog, and crossed his fingers.

            Boog nodded, and the two took off.  Bumping down, down, down . . . across the lake and into the snow bank. Wham!

           “Wow! That’s faster than dusted reindeer!" Boog clapped his mittened hands enthusiastically.

           “What are you doing?” came a voice from behind them. Startled, they turned and saw Ria.

           “We’re ice boarding,” Boog replied.

           “Can I do it?”

           “No way!” chorused the guys.

           “Please. I know how,” Ria begged.

          “No!” said Boog, and boarded in the opposite direction.

           “Sorry, Ria, but youdon’t know how.” Donovan followed Boog.

           Ria stomped her foot, and went back into the stable, where it was warmer. She gazed out the window and brushed Comet. She swept the stall and then looked out the window again. Boog and Donovan looked like they were having so much fun.  She put on her mittens and tied her scarf about her neck. Determined, she made her way back to the lake.

          “Boog! Hey, Boog,” she called.

          Boog and Donovan boarded in her direction. “What now?” Boog said.

          “I made some hot cider,” she offered.

          “Yeah. Where is it?” Donovan asked.

          “It’s in the barn.” Ria smiled sweetly.

          Boog looked at his pal. “Let’s go.” They dropped their boards by the lake.

          “Race ya,” Donovan challenged. Boog was already running with Donovan on his heels.

          Ria’s plan had worked. She grinned as she tucked the ice board under her arm and made her way toward the glacier. By the time Boog and Donovan discovered the hoax, Ria was half way up. They made it back to the lake just in time to see Ria begin her trip.  The board sailed into the air and Ria was tumbling and bumping her way down the icy mountain.

          “Oh no!” Donovan gasped in horror as the board smashed through the window at Helpers, Unlimited.

          Boog and Donovan dashed toward Ria, who was now screaming loudly. Brubaker threw open the door to the school. “What’s going on?” he demanded. He strutted in Ria’s direction.

          Boog was the first to reach her. She was scratched up pretty badly. Boog turned to Donovan, “Better fetch Doc.”

          Donovan nodded and ran toward the Dispensary.

          “Who broke my window?” Brubaker shouted.

          “It was an accident, Brubaker! Please stand back,” said Boog.

          “You’re a bunch of undisciplined hooligans,” Brubaker barked.

          “Calm down, Brubaker. I think Ria is hurt.”

          Brubaker bent down and peered at Ria. “Are you hurt?”

          Ria whimpered.

          “Doc, she’s right over there.” Donovan was out of breath.

          Doc knelt in the snow next to Ria and adjusted his spectacles. “Everyone move back,” he ordered. “What happened here?” He opened his black bag and began to rummage around for his stethoscope.

          “That’s exactly what I’m trying to find out,” Brubaker said, still fuming.

          “It was an accident,” Donovan said.

          “Ria was using the ice board,” Boog added.

          “And she didn’t know how,” Donovan finished.

          “Let’s get her to the Dispensary. Brubaker, get a sled!” Doc commanded.

          “Well, um, the sled’s for ‘hands on’ training,” Brubaker said reluctantly, pushing his glasses up his pointed nose.

          “I just want to borrow it,” Doc said, frowning.

          “I’ll get it.” Brubaker strutted toward the vocational school. He started toward the closet, where he kept the sleds, then spotted his dusty jar of wuffle powder. “This will     work just as well,” he mumbled, and hurried back to the lake.

          “Where’s the sled?” Doc hollered.

          “I brought wuffle dust instead.”

          “That will work,” Doc said, shaking his head. He doused Ria with dust and shouted “Dispensary.”

          “POOF!” She was transported to the Dispensary.

          “What about my window?” Brubaker growled.

          “I don’t know and don’t care. I have a patient to tend to.” Doc turned and left Brubaker, Boog, and Donovan to resolve their problem.

          Brubaker glared at the two cronies, his sharp features becoming even more severe. “My window!”

          “Sheesh, just throw some dust on it!” Donovan snapped.

          “We don’t do things that way at Helpers’ Unlimited,” Brubaker said.

          “That’s why you’re so stuffy,” Boog groaned. “You don’t handle enough dust!”

          “Stuffy?  Why, I’ll show you stuffy!” Brubaker leapt toward Boog.

          “What is going on here?” Zann shouted.  She had been distracted from her editing at the Herald by all the commotion. “Stop this nonsense immediately!”  She scribbled her notes for the story.

          The helpers calmed down instantly.

          "What is going on here?” Zann repeated her question.

          No one answered her.

          “You were raising such a ruckus, that I heard you all the way from the editing room. Somebody better start explaining!”

          “Brubaker’s being a stuffed shirt!” Donovan narrowed his eyes at Brubaker.

          “Excuse me!  We do not throw wuffle dust around every time we have a problem!” Brubaker retorted.

          “Excuse me!” Zann interrupted.  “Remember the scalometer.  The weather guessers must be crazy by now.

***

          As a matter of fact, Orin and Yort were frantic. They didn’t know why the Trouble Scale was rising, but it had increased by nearly three points.  Yort buttoned his coat and put on his mittens. “I’ll get Santa.”

          “Hurry,” Orin said.

          Yort wrapped his scarf around his neck. “What’s the TS reading now?”

           “It’s still at three. Better wait a second.  It’s holding steady.”

***

          It was steady because back at Glacier Lake, things were settling down.

          “Gosh, I wasn’t thinking,” Boog lowered his head.

          “Nor was I,” Brubaker admitted, stroking his thin chin.

          “Attitude is everything,” Zann reminded them.

          The three of them nodded.

          Zann continued, “Brubaker, why don’t you use wuffle dust, just this once? We all know you hate the use of dust within the walls of the school, but these are special circumstances. We will not think poorly of you if you use it this time.”

          Brubaker reluctantly agreed to use the mystical powder to repair his window, and the helpers all shook hands.

          With that settled, Zann said, "I'm going to check on Ria. You go back to what you were doing." She waved and made way toward the Dispensary.

***

          Meanwhile, back at the Northern Lights Weather Station, Orin heaved a sigh of relief. “It’s beginning to fall again.”

          Yort unwrapped his scarf. “What’s it say now?”

          “Two.”

          Yort observed over Orin’s shoulder as the needle dropped to one. “I think we’re safe for now.”  He unbuttoned his coat.

          Orin relaxed in his seat. The PIN would not drop, at least not today.

***

          Zann rapped on the door of the Dispensary. She waited for a bit, and then opened the door.

          “Zann!” Doc was surprised.  “What brings you here?”

          “I heard about the accident. I came to check on Ria,” Zann said.

          “She’s much better now . . . no broken bones or anything.  I think the fall scared her more than anything else,” Doc chuckled. 

          Zann followed him into the examining room. “Hi, Ria,” Zann said, smiling.

          “Zann! I fell down the glacier.  I was riding the ice board and it was a lot of fun, but it was really fast. I fell all the way down the glacier, and the ice board broke Brubaker’s window!”

          “So I heard,” Zann said.  “Are you okay?”

          “Oh, yes. I’m fine now. I got a few bumps and lumps, but I want to try again.”  Ria hopped off the table. “I’m gonna find Duck and tell him what happened.” She bounced happily out the door.

 


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