Snowflake Barbie stared at Elsi from the crowded aisle of Wal-mart, her sparkly blue eyes casting a spell. Elsi wanted to rip her out of the package and hold her, combing her snow white hair. Not only did she have a wand shaped like a falling star, her gown glowed like a shiny new Christmas ornament.
“She's pretty, ain't she?”
Elsi whipped her head around. A Wal-Mart employee wearing a Santa hat, not much older than her sister, stuck roll back labels on wads of tissue paper.
“Yeah, she's all I want for Christmas.”
The girl smiled. She had crooked front teeth, but Elsi thought it was cute. “Well I bet you'll see her underneath the tree.”
Elsi stuck out her lower lip and kicked the floor with her sneaker, making a squeak. “Nope. I never get what I want.”
“What do you mean, you look like a good girl.”
“I am. I try to do my homework on time, and I always, always make my bed.”
“That's real good.” The Wal-Mart employee crossed her arms like she thought real hard about it. “Sounds like you got yourself a case of the naughty elves.”
Elsi had never heard about naughty elves, just the nice ones that stood by Santa when she got her picture taken in the mall. “What?”
“The naughty elves like to pull pranks, you see? They were cast out of Santa's workshop for sneaking in his book and changing the stuff people wanted. That's why some people get the things they hate the most for Christmas. Like one year, I got this awful pink bunny suit. Made me want to throw up.”
Elsi stood in silence, digesting the new information. If the naughty elves were changing her wishes, how could she tell Santa what she really wanted? Her mom said they didn't have enough money to sit on his lap this year, so how was she going to let him know?
The Wal-Mart girl looked worried. “Where's your mom, honey?”
Elsi pointed to the next aisle. “She's over there, looking at jewelry for herself.”
“She should be looking at what you want for Christmas.”
“Naw. She works so hard, she doesn't have time for that.”
The intercom came on, “Assistant needed in hardware.”
The girl smiled at Elsi, “I've gotta go, kid. Good luck with Christmas this year.”
“Bye.” Elsi waved and returned to looking at Snowflake Barbie. If she twirled around, maybe her skirt would flare out just like Snowflake Barbie's gown...
Three of the packages of barbies suddenly fell crashing to the floor. Elsi put her hand over her mouth. Would she get in trouble? She hadn't even touched it and now look at the mess on the floor. Looking around, Elsi didn't see anyone else in the aisle. Maybe if she left now she wouldn't be caught.
But Elsi didn't move. What if it was the naughty elves spying on her? What if they saw her spinning like Snowflake Barbie? An idea sparked in her mind, as if Snowflake Barbie touched her head with her star wand.
Elsi raised her voice, “I hate Snowflake Barbie. She's the last thing I want for Christmas.”
She whipped her head around, looking for anything that wasn't Snowflake Barbie. There! She pointed, “I want those orange buckets for washing your car.”
Scuttling sounds came from behind the barbie boxes.
“Elsi, who are you talking to?”
Elsi jumped. Her mom stood behind her, looking at the strewn boxes with a narrow eye.
She grabbed her mitten, “Come on, it's time to go.”
* * *
Christmas morning came faster than Elsi thought it would. She woke up just as the sun came through her blinds and ran downstairs to see what lay underneath the tree. Part of her was afraid the story about the naughty elves wasn't true, and part of her was afraid it was.
Presents, all wrapped in blue reindeer paper sprawled out across the living room floor. Elsi dug through them, throwing each one over her shoulder.
“To my loving wife.”
“To Aunt Lisa.”
“To bingo, our furry friend.”
Then she saw them; giant orange buckets resting under the tree. Elsi gasped. Had she said the wrong thing in Wal-Mart? Had she confused Santa Claus? She bit back a sob and pulled out the tag.
“To Dad, with love, Clara.”
Phew! Her sister was giving them to her dad. But where was her present? Elsi twirled around, bathrobe catching on the picky tree. Her slipper stepped on a plastic package. She bent down and flipped up the tag.
“To Elsi, from Santa.”
The size was right. She held it up; so was the weight. Elsi ripped open a piece of the paper with trembling fingers and caught a glimpse of two sparkly blue eyes.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Posted by Aubrie at 9:12 AM