Twinkles loved December 24th. The day that led into the big night. His time to shine. He woke three hours early to get a head start.
He rolled off his bunk, careful not to wake Sugarfoot, and pulled up his green leggings. He’d wait to put on his shoes so the bells wouldn’t jingle.
Twinkles made his way through the dark hall, the tink-tink of his shoe bells the only sound. He reached the door at the end of the hallway.
The elf opened the door and gasped. There stood the sleigh in its hangar, gleaming under the lights. The glossy red paint looked like the skin of a juicy apple. The sight stole his breath every year.
He began setting up Santa’s sack to receive the presents, prepping carrots for the reindeer, and jingle-testing each of the silver bells. He noticed Mrs. Claus left her milk on the counter.
Twinkles shook the last bell. Ring-a-ling-ding-ting. Perfect. He stepped back and admired the preparations. He had worked up a thirst. His eyes fell back to the glass of creamy milk.
Curiosity bested him, and he stalked over to the counter. He peeked over his shoulder and wrapped his fingers around the cold glass. Twinkles lifted it to his lips and swallowed the entire contents in one gulp.
Bleh. The drink left a sharp flavor his tongue. It wasn’t spoiled—it tasted like the drink he had last year in Russia. Dizziness grabbed him by the legs and shook his head, so he laid on the bench of the sleigh.
Twinkles slumbered for hours, going completely unnoticed during the buzz of Christmas Eve preparations. He slept through the chatter, the shuffling of presents, the jostling of the reindeer. He continued to doze as a hefty red rump lowered onto the sleigh’s seat.
Services will be held for Twinkles on January 3rd.