Santa’s elf, Corlie, secretively known as Callous Corlie by others, finished getting ready for work. She stared into the mirror, then swiped her brown hair behind a pointy ear. After blowing a kiss at her reflection in the mirror, she headed to the kitchen.
Aromas of coffee permeated throughout the single-story bungalow. Corlie filled a large mug with the steaming java. She added sugar and cream, then tossed the spoon into the brimming sink, breaking a drinking glass as it landed.
“Ugh!” she rolled her eyes. “I’ll call Mother. She’ll come over and will gladly do my dishes for me—and my laundry too. Hell, I’m sure she’ll prepare dinner for Kip and me as well.” Self-satisfied, she smirked then headed to work.
The toy-making factory at the North Pole consisted of two buildings, attached by a short hallway. One structure housed the completed toys while the other held toys that required assembling. Both buildings contained central platforms to construct toys or to store them until Christmastime. Rows of desks filled the remainder of the two buildings, and each elf was assigned a cubical.
The toy-makers were required to chart their daily output onto a clipboard. Corlie, however, not only kept track of her production but felt the need to inspect others. She walked around, holding her clipboard, and hovered over the other elves’ charts.
“Can you remove your nose from my space, please,” an agitated female elf spoke.
“I’m just looking over your chart ‘cuz I’m suure that I can help you to improve,” retorted Corlie. “I’m suuper intelligent, ya know. And, your work isn’t up to par.”
“No one needs your input, Corlie,” a nearby male elf retorted. “We already know how to do our jobs. And we do them quite well, thank you.”
The female elf crossed her arms and glared at Corlie. “You might want to brush up on your job’s responsibilities, ‘cuz bossing us around isn’t part of it.”
“Whatever!” Corlie shrugged a shoulder and sauntered away, unconcerned about any discord she created. Stupid elves—I’m way more intelligent than they are. Those imbeciles could benefit from my knowledge!
Hours later, the five o’clock bell rang, signaling the end of a workday for the elves. Corlie grabbed a bag from a desk drawer and headed to the cubicle at the end of her row. Scuffling in her curly-tipped elf shoes, she stumbled a few times.
“Phew,” Corlie exclaimed as she barged into Ivy’s cubicle area. “I wasn’t sure if you’d still be here.”
“Um, I have a ton to finish up, so I’m stuck working a bit longer. What do you want, Corlie?” Ivy responded without looking up. She was well aware that Corlie only paid attention to her whenever she wanted something.
Corlie ignored Ivy’s claims of a heavy workload and reached inside the bag she had carried over. “Here’s my red skirt. The hem is coming apart, and I need you to fix it for me. It’s suuper important, and it must get done right away. I’m attending a big party next week.”
The black-haired elf cringed. Just because I’m a seamstress—doesn’t mean I want to fix all your shit for free, she thought. “Fine, Corlie,” she said through a forced smile, then pointed at her desk. “Set it down, and I’ll take it home tonight to work on it.”
“Thanks, buddy!” Corlie strolled away without giving a second thought to her imposition.
She arrived home to a sparkling clean house. Her mother had spent hours doing the dishes, laundry, dusting, mopping, polishing, and the small abode was filled with the pleasant aromas of lasagna as it cooked away in the oven.
What a good mommy, Corlie thought as she giggled. I’m sure she won’t mind doing this for me next week as well.
Her husband, Kip, arrived home. His job as an engineer at Santa’s Sleigh Corporation kept him busy. Though, he didn’t mind putting in the extra hours. Doing so gave him a break from his wife. Often, her dramatic and demanding ways weighed on him.
“I have everything nearly ready,” Corlie said, taking credit for everything her mother had done.
“Okay, I’ll grab the sprinkle-cheese.” Kip opened the fridge and realized they were out. “Hhmm. No cheese. Oh, well, it’s fine.”
“No, no, no. I MUST have my cheese.” Corlie demanded. “Ya know what, I’ll just hop over to Mack and Nomi’s house to borrow theirs.”
Corlie headed over toward her neighbor’s house.
Inside Mack and Nomi’s bungalow
Nomi downed half a bottle of water, thirsty from her efforts to ready the house for the upcoming Christmas holiday: the accent wall painted, the bungalow cleaned, the house adorned with holiday decorations, the tree embellished with lights and ornaments, and the reindeer were cared for. Dinner simmered away on the stovetop. She adjusted her elf cap then swiped a strand of hair out of her face.
Nomi looked toward her husband, Mack. He worked as one of Santa’s Soldiers but had the day off. He was using a gadget in an attempt to fix a string of lights that refused to illuminate.
“Do you think it’ll work?” Nomi asked her husband.
“I think so. I’ll know shortly.” He kept picking away at the device.
The doorbell rang. Still holding a dishrag, Nomi set it down on the countertop then hurried to answer the door.
“Hey, buddy,” Corlie stood in the doorway, wearing a smirk.
“Oh, hi, Corlie,” Nomi responded.
“Do you have any of that sprinkle-cheese I can borrow? I’m suuper busy this time of year, as I’m sure you know. I didn’t realize we were out of it before I made dinner.”
“Sure, I’ll go grab some.” Nomi turned and headed to the kitchen.
Corlie noticed Mack seated at the table, focused on something. “Hey, Mack! Whatcha doing?”
“Oh, hey there. Nomi is getting stuff done around the house, and I’m trying to fix this damn thing.”
“Goodness!” Corlie began. “You work too hard! You really ought to take it easy! Tell wifey to stop giving you so much to do!”
“What?” Mack looked up. “Nomi did all of this.” He pointed to numerous decorations adorning their clean abode.
Corlie ignored the credit given to Nomi. “Look at you, fixing a broken light-string. You’re incredibly handy! Oh, I almost forgot, I muust thank you for the paper cups last week. You saaved my life. I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t helped me!”
Nomi returned from the kitchen with the container of cheese and handed it to her neighbor. Corlie took the bottle, offered a quick thanks then returned home.
Nomi laughed. “How does it feel to be a superhero?”
“What are you talking about?” Mack asked.
“When you do a favor for Corlie, or when you fix something around the house—” Nomi paused and flitted her hair. She finished her sentence using the same elevated and exaggerated voice that Corlie used whenever she verbally worshipped Mack. “It’s—it’s suuper-hero status.”
Mack busted up laughing and needed to set the device in his hands down for a moment.
“I feel like I need to hand her a tissue whenever she’s around you ‘cuz she practically salivates.”
Mack couldn’t stop laughing. “Yeah, she does carry on. It’s a bit weird.”
Back inside Kip and Corlie’s bungalow
“Oooh, my, goodness,” Corlie’s dramatic mannerisms kicked into overdrive. She placed a hand on her hip, and her eyes widened.
Here we go again, Kip thought but remained silent.
“Get a load of this. Their house looked suuper amazing ‘cuz Nomi is cracking that whip again on poor Mack. He was even stuck trying to fix something.”
“Well, everyone has things to fix in their home, Corlie,” Kip began to respond. “I’m sure that Nomi—”
Corlie spoke over Kip. “In fact, she suure had time to fetch the cheese for me.” She continued to ramble on.
Kip was intelligent enough to know that correcting his wife on her distorted reality was pointless. Corlie believed she was busier, smarter, and more important than everyone else. And there was no telling her otherwise.
“Oh, by the way,” Corlie blathered on. “When you get home from work tomorrow, clean the garage and all the windows. You’ll need to stop at the store on your way home to grab more glass cleaner because we’re out.” Corlie held a unique skill of assuming and judging others for something that was a common practice of hers.
At dinner, Callous Corlie continued to gossip while she ate her mother’s lasagna—on the plates that her mother washed, while seated at the table that her mother cleaned.
Later that evening, Kip headed to bed, leaving Corlie to watch TV by herself.
Movement from the window caught her attention. She jerked her head to look outside. Standing at the nearest window was a substantial, white beast. Its bloodied mouth revealed long, sharp fangs.
Corlie jumped up and screamed. “Help! There’s a snow beast! Heellllpp!”
In the master bedroom
Kip heard his wife call out but figured she was acting over-dramatic from a scary movie on TV. He rolled over, placed a pillow on his head to muffle her screams, and drifted back to sleep.
Outside the front door
Ivy stood with a finger an inch from the doorbell, ready to push it and return Corlie’s repaired red skirt. Corlie’s screams of terror reached her ears. Good lord! She probably found a tiny hole on a shirt and will expect me to repair that as well! Forget it—I’m not ringing the bell. I’ll just return the skirt to her at work tomorrow. Ivy turned and bolted away from the door.
The abominable snow beast smashed its thick, furry arm through the window.
The creature’s breath doused Corlie’s face with odors of decay. Her mouth twitched, and her stomach sank. She hollered through her raw, dry throat then turned to run, but the creature grabbed her hair with its claws and yanked her backward.
Inside Mack and Nomi’s bungalow
“Is that Corlie…hollering about something?” Nomi muttered.
“Beats me.” Mack shrugged a shoulder as he scanned through the channels in search of something interesting to watch on TV.
“Does her drama ever end?” Nomi rolled her eyes, shook her head, and closed the window.
The nefarious animal pulled Corlie out from her house, dragged her up to the mountains then ate her. The beast—also known as karma, suffered a severe case of gas after consuming such an insolent, calloused elf.
“It’s easy to sit around and judge other people. The hard part is looking in the mirror and judging yourself.” — Sonya Parker
“Selfish people often mistake selfishness for strength. It takes no talent, no intelligence, no self-control, and no effort to sacrifice other people for your ego.” — Author Unknown
“If you can’t be kind, be quiet.” — Anonymous