Author's Notes:

Five free minutes! Time to write a story. :-)

So maybe I've had too much nog, but here is my 1998 Christmas quickie. It can easily be labeled as a PWP (Plot? What plot?) Story. I assure you I won't get offended if you don't get the humor (think vegetables, okay) and shake your head in disgust. In fact, the only reason I'm posting this is that I know how sweet and understanding Senfic readers are. :-) Besides, it's so short, you can easily blink and forget it ever existed.

Sorry about the stories you've been expecting. Christmas demanded more of me than I was prepared for. But I'm working on the four stories and I've been energized by the fact that The Sentinel will be back on the air January 18, 1999. Go Tribe!




D.L. Witherspoon


Mary Sue inspected her appearance in the gleaming metal outside the elevators as she waited for her car to arrive. As usual, she was perfect. Her uniform had not one wrinkle and the candy-striped bib hung completely straight. Her short blond hair shone as brilliant as corn silk and was as soft to the touch as a baby's.

The elevator arrived and she stepped inside, tapping the button for the geriatrics floor of the hospital. She liked working with Senior Americans. Most were quite sweet and those who were ornery, well, they had lived long enough to behave as they wanted. In other words, she respected their right to be difficult. Just as the doors started to slide shut, she heard a voice call out, "Hold the elevator, please!" and being the nice, sweet person that she was, Mary Sue pressed and held the Door Open button.

"Thanks," the man said and because Mary Sue had been taught never to look a stranger in the eye (it was very rude), she first noticed his feet. The black boots appeared normal, but what was the white fuzz around his ankles. She dared to look up a bit further. Bulky red pants. Ah. She was beginning to understand. She smiled and glanced up at his face. After all, Santa was no stranger. He had always been her friend.

The smile faded though. Not because Santa was so tall she had to strain to see his face since he was so close to her. Not because Santa was African-American. After all, she fully supported a multicultural society. But the frown faded because between Santa's lips was a cigar. She debated whether to remind him that the hospital was a smoke-free environment but soon noticed the cigar was unlit. Then she was going to begin a casual, but firm lecture on the dangers of tobacco. She knew that most people only thought cigarettes were cancer culprits, but she knew better. Why, Santa could be developing lip cancer even as he stood beside her.

Just as she opened her mouth, he did too. "Get your elfin butt in here, Sandburg," he growled, stopping the door from closing with a massive, mitten-encased hand.

Around the corner came an elf, or a facsimile thereof. He wore the required green from felt shoes to tights to the cutest green dress-- oh, she guessed it wasn't a dress, but what do you call elf outfits? And perched atop a mass of brown curls defying the band that tried to hold them back, was a pointed green hat. Perhaps he wasn't altitudinally-challenged enough to be a real elf but as deep blue eyes caught hers, she figured the children-- and the nurses too-- wouldn't care about the slip. Over his shoulder was slung a huge bag which she suspected was full of gifts. "Pediatrics?" she asked as she reached for the button since his hands were full.

"Yes," he said as she blinked as he smiled at her. "But if you don't mind, there's one more person we're waiting on and I'm afraid if he doesn't ride up with us, he's going to back out of this."

"He can't back out. Sadie will have our heads if he backs out and I'm not going to walk around headless just because he's embarrassed. Ellison!" Santa barked. "You better be here by the time I count to three! One! Two!--"

Mary Sue was expecting another elf and perhaps that was what she got. But that was not the first thought that popped into her mind as she stared at the newcomer. He too was in green but nearly as tall as Santa. In fact, it took several seconds for her eyes to travel from the tip of his green slippers, up the green tights, past the green dress that strained against the admirable pecs, to finally reach the eyes which were as blue as a clear summer day. Once again she opened her mouth but was stopped from speaking.

"Please," he pleaded, twin blue orbs focusing on her. "Please don't say it."

Behind him there was a snicker and finally, outright laughter and she noticed how red the newest elf turned, so she nodded in sympathy and kept her comment to herself. As the elevator opened onto the pediatrics ward, he smiled at her again. "Thank you. And Merry Christmas!"

"Merry Christmas to you too," she managed to mumble although she knew mumbling was not very nice. The elevator doors remained open until she could no longer see the retreating trio.


On the geriatrics floor, a young nurse and an old nurse were talking about Christmas recipes when the elevator opened and deposited Mary Sue. The old nurse frowned. She didn't like the volunteer. Not only was she perfect in dress and manner and oh, so wholesome, but she was too...perky. She walked perky. She dressed perky. And truth be told, her breasts were just too perky. Wait until she's thirty, she thought with an evil smile.

"Hi, Mary Sue," the younger nurse called. "We were just discussing our favorite Christmas recipes. What's yours?"

"Take one Santa, two elves, and a can of corn, whole kernel, I think, and dripping with butter," she said dreamily.

"What in the world does that make?" the nurse asked bewilderedly.

"One hell of a party mix," Mary Sue mumbled and went to get her library cart.

The younger nurse gazed at the retreating figure in confusion, but the older nurse watched with a smile. Maybe there was hope for Mary Sue after all.


Okay, for those of you who didn't get it either because you're too worn out from preparing for Christmas or aren't familiar with American products: Jim in an elf suit would look incredibly like the symbol for Green Giant canned vegetables. Remarkably, he is called the Jolly Green Giant and likes to stand over corn fields, putting his hands on his hips and going, "Ho, ho, ho, Green Giant." Maybe Santa has competition he doesn't know about, huh? Let's see: one brings presents, the other vegetables. Nah. No competition there. :-)


Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays!

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