Arts & Entertaiment
It’s the time to be jolly? You must be joking! I’m up to my eyes in union disputes, cash flow problems, and diva reindeers! Where to be begin? Maybe I should go back to the start.
It all began in the summer when Mrs. Clause and I sat down to plan Christmas 2014. We both agreed that our workloads were too much and we needed to take on extra staff to help out. Of course she wanted a PA for herself, but wouldn’t allow me to have one. Now she has Molly doing her clerical work while I’m still organizing my own diary. The fact that I’m double booked for 2 sale of works on Sunday tells you it’s own story! Mrs. C decided we needed a financial controller despite my protestations. We don’t need someone to manage our finances at this stage. Head Elf has been doing a fine job for decades. But here we are with 2 extra staff, and I’m still struggling to cope.
As summer drew to a close, our new Financial Controller, Barney, held a staff meeting and decided that the elves should be paid as per their skill set. Well, I needn’t tell you that this went down like a fart in a convent! Two full weeks the elves downed tools for. Then they decided to unionise themselves and work different shifts. We now have the carpenter elves making the wooden toys finishing in early December and the elves making the plastic toys finishing a week before Christmas and all other elves finishing on the 19th. Then it’s over to distribution until the 24th. Have you ever heard the like? Of course if we try to approach the elves, we inevitably end up in the Labour Court. Shop stewards, and union reps. How has it come to this.
Barney was on a loser from then on. There is also the fact that Barney insists on being paid in cash, as he doesn’t trust banks. Closed his account down, he said. Burnt by the financial crash of 2008. “Doesn’t say much for a financial controller then does it?” I asked. This didn’t go down well, especially with Mrs. C. I ended up sleeping in Rudolf’s stable for a week. Barney’s here blue-eyed boy and she won’t have a word said against him. I’m not a fan. He’s very shifty, and won’t answer a direct question. The delivery from Amazon should really have arrived by now. Especially the computer consoles and games. These can sell out quite quickly I can tell you, and the elves really aren’t up to making them. That’s not even an issue now as they keep shouting about diversification. Where do they get these ideas? We’ve already had lightning strikes over overtime, working conditions and pension schemes. I had to go and meet the tooth fairy about how to deal with these issues. Mrs. C wasn’t happy with me consulting the Tooth Fairy. The Tooth Fairy and I had a history before Mrs. Clause was on the scene and she’s slow to let me forget it.
In the first week in December I went to our distribution centre to check on the first Amazon delivery so be told it hadn’t arrived yet. I rang our contact in Amazon to be fobbed off about credit terms and purchase orders. I ended up apologizing, and for what I have no idea. I vowed to leave it to Barney to sort out. We’re way behind and we can’t afford to be down on deliveries.
It is now ten days to Christmas and we’re in a real muddle. The carpenter elves making the wooden toys finished up yester evening and had their Christmas party in Blakes last night. Problem being that they took the girls from cosmetics and jewellery with them. It was a great party by all accounts which is good to hear but now I’m down ten elves and six cosmetics girls. There was mention of a party at Prancers’ barn that went on early into the morning. Prancer is a little diva coming up to Christmas. Ever since that foggy Christmas Eve, his nose has been put out of joint by Rudi. But that’s another story for another day. I’m down production in a big way going into the final stretch.
Then the worst news hits. Mrs. Clause is in tears, and can hardly speak. I’m racking my brains to think of something that I might have done to upset her. The last time she was this upset, it was over the “little misunderstanding” with the pretty girl in accounts over mobile phone pictures and outfits. Again, as I said least said, quickest mended.
I’m looking around the room scanning to see who’s present as Mrs. Clause weeps. It’s who’s not there that startles me. Neither Molly nor Barney are here. Of late, it’s been Molly who’s fussing about Mrs. Clause. Mrs. Clause eventually steadies herself and explains the stark reality to me. Barney and Molly have been in cahoots and have run off with our cash, credit cards and chequebooks. The fact that we have chequebooks comes as a surprise to me and shooed away with “Oh, Nick we don’t have time for this now”. Basically we’re broke, and worse, none of the items that we usually purchase are on-site. No computer consoles, no computer games, no tablets, no handheld computer units. Shite. And there’s worse to come.
One of the “brainwaves” that Barney had was for the Elves to set up companies for themselves and sub-contract themselves into us. Saves us paying income tax, and so forth he said. “Cobblers” I said, to be overruled again. Sometimes I wondered whose name was over the door? Anyhow I digress. So the Elves started different companies and worked for each other. For example Mickey Blue Eyes had the plastics division. He employed 300 elves and took care of the plastic toys. And now he’s at the door. Banging on it.
“Where’s my cheque Nick?” Shite, he only uses “Nick” when he’s about to go off on one. “What cheque?” “The one I’m owed. I agreed with Barney that I’d get paid every 30 days. And I haven’t had a dime. And now I’ve 300 elves looking for wages and of course their Christmas bonuses.” Bonuses, am I hearing things? What is happening to the world? They never had a bonus in my time running it. So we get into it and it appears that Barney hadn’t issued any cheque to any company and no elf has been paid since October, and now ALL the elves are on strike. And I’ll pay Mickey if I “know what’s good for me”. Christ. I go to the Reindeer barn to chat to Blitzen as he’s an excellent soundboard for problems. However, I’m denied access to the barn as the reindeer are now walking in circles with placards and shouting obscenities in my direction.
It’s time to speak to Mrs. Clause. What exactly is going on? We’re going through the statements and on the phone to suppliers. Cheques have been cashed everywhere, and we’ve zero in our accounts. We owe suppliers for goods that we don’t have, and all the elves are on strike. Plus the reindeer have now joined them. It can’t get worse I thought, but it does. The lights go out, and I realize that the power has been turned off! I pick up the phone to ring the Electricity company. No tone! Mobiles are also out of credit. What now? It’s time to make the call. Now you’re up to date and I’m still stalling.
I go to the wardrobe and take out the shoebox. Inside is the mobile phone that Mrs. Clause found with “those” photos on it. Again, say nothing and you can’t be quoted. Mrs. C gasps, and throws me a look that makes me realize that the barn barricade better end soon as I’ll need it to sleep in again. I dial the number and it goes to voicemail. I try again, several times and it keeps going to voicemail. I have to make another call to find out his location. For this I must leave the room. She answers on the 2nd ring. “Hello you. Surprised to hear from you on this phone!”
It’s the tooth fairy. She’ll know where he is. “How you doing?!” I ask casually. “Here, I’m looking to get in touch with The Easter Bunny, but he’s not answering his mobile. D’ya know where I’d get him?” She’ll know. She’s the greatest gossip that I know, and she has a crush on Bunny. But then again what girl doesn’t? “Is he not at his beach house? In California? I’ll text you his American mobile number.” “Thanks. Happy Christmas! Ho, ho, ho!”
Bunny will know what to do. He was the one who started making money from merchandise, and sponsorship. Over the centuries, he’s even been able to farm out the supply of Easter eggs! Think about it: how many kids do you know that stay up all night, waiting for the Easter bunny???? He supplies the major chocolate manufacturers, and they do the rest. Genius. It beats selling carrots and bottles of whiskey stored from all those glasses parents leave out for us. You hardly think me and Rudolph drink them do you?? Sure, Rudolf only drinks gin and I’m more of a vodka man myself. Still, we take the glass, empty it into a large container and throw it up on E-Bay on the 2nd of January. Usually one of the major brands buy it off us, and we’re good to go for another year off the proceeds. Bunny laughs at me for doing the deliveries. “Get with it Nick. Use Fedex, or paypal and get the parents to collect the gifts at a parcel motel”. I wouldn’t even know where to start! You see Bunny was into Facebook and Twitter long before anyone else. Me? I wouldn’t even know where the ignition switch is in a computer. Tooth Fairy’s text comes through and I start dialling. He answers on the 2nd ring. “Bunny here. How you doing?” It’s do or die time!