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Santa’s Grouchy Helper


By Vanessa Sgroi 




“Roooyy . . .”


“Yeah?”  DeSoto could hear the whine in his partner’s voice and bit the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing out loud.


The paramedics, as well as the engine crew from Station 51, stood in various stages of undress in the 4th Floor staff locker room at Rampart Hospital.


“What I want to know is--why did they pick me to be an elf?”  Gage grumbled.  “I mean . . . c’mon . . . a tall, skinny elf?”


Roy bit his cheek just a little bit harder before finally saying, “I dunno.”


“Chet—now Chet I can understand!  HE looks like an elf.”


This time DeSoto couldn’t hold back his chuckle.  His partner had a point there.


“But me?  ME?  It’s . . . it’s ridiculous!”


“Johnny, we’re just doing Mrs. Claus . . . I mean Dixie . . . a favor.  With so many people out with the flu, she was desperate for some volunteers to dress up for the pediatric Christmas party.  Cap was kind enough to volunteer us before he . . . uh . . . knew exactly what it entailed.”  As he spoke, Roy began strapping a pillow around his waist.


“Well, why can’t Brackett be an elf?”




“Morton then.  Morton would make a perfect elf!”






“Flu.  Besides he was supposed to be Santa Claus.”


“Yeah, well, how come I couldn’t be Santa Claus?”


Roy shrugged.  “I guess Dixie thought I made a better Santa.”


“Ha!  Shows ya what she knows!  I’D make a better Santa Claus.”


The blond paramedic shook his head.  “You know, Jolly Ol’ St. Nick isn’t exactly known for being tall and skinny either.  And even if you had this pillow . . . well . . .” he skeptically raised his right eyebrow.


“But, ROY—look—just look at this costume!”  Gage shook his fist which tightly gripped said outfit.  “There’s . . . there’s tights!  Red and white STRIPED tights!”


DeSoto glanced at his watch.  “Junior, you better get a move on.  The party starts soon.”


“And did I mention the shoes?  The CURLY-TOED shoes?  Ahh, man!”


“Look, Johnny, it could be worse, you know.”


Miserable, Johnny growled, “Worse?  How could it be worse?”


“Well, you could be dressed as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer like Captain Stanley over there,” Roy pointed at Hank who stood on the other side of the room testing his blinking red nose.


“Or you could be a snowman like Marco,” DeSoto moved his arm to the right and pointed to Marco Lopez who was donning a rather complicated and uncomfortable looking snowman ensemble.


With a nod to the left, Roy continued, “Or even worse—you could have been stuck being the giant dancing candy cane like poor Mike.”


Conceding defeat, Johnny took a deep breath and let out a sigh.  “Yeah, yeah—okay.  You’re right.  I’ll survive.  At least Chet’s an elf too so I don’t have to put up with his jokes for the next month.”


“Good.  Now hurry up and get that outfit on.”  Roy then concentrated on getting his wig and beard in place.  He pulled the Santa hat into place just as a smiling Dixie, as Mrs. Claus, popped into the locker room.


“Ooohh, you guys all look great.  They’ll be bringing the kids down to the Pediatric Lounge soon.  I have the goodies for you guys to hand out to them.”  Mrs. Claus took Roy’s arm and said, “And Santa and I will pass out the gifts waiting under the tree.”


The Christmassy-clad group migrated to the lounge.  Once there, Mrs. Claus directed Santa to his place of honor.  Turning her attention to the two elves, she handed them each a brightly decorated bag.  Chet’s bag held peppermint candy canes, while Johnny’s held miniature coloring books.


“Hey, Chet, gimme one of those candy canes.”




“Gimme a candy cane.”


“No way, man.”


“Fine.  Be a stingy elf.  You make a good one anyway.”


“Yeah, well, at least I’m not a grouchy elf like you, Gagey baby.”


Johnny opened his mouth to retort and then stopped—a contemplative look decorating his face.  Turning his head, he looked at Mike Stoker, the Dancing Candy Cane.


“Hey, wait a minute—why isn’t the giant candy cane handing out the candy canes?”


“Because,” retorted Mrs. Claus, “he’s handing out the popcorn balls.”  She dropped another brightly decorated bag in Stoker’s hands.


“A giant candy cane handing out popcorn balls?” mused Johnny, “Man, I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone.”


“You look like it too,” chuckled Santa Claus, with a merry old twinkle in his eye.


“Watch it, fat man,” growled Johnny, “this elf is your ride home.”



* * *  The End  * * *

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Stories by Vanessa            Christmas Stories