"Here's your place," the elf muttered grumpily as he slammed open the door letting the cold air and light powdered snow drift into the tiny room. "Your assistant will be with you sooner or later. You know where the feed trough is I assume. If you need anything else call the main desk; maybe they'll find someone who gives a fuck." Without another word he turned around and stomped off into the blowing snow.
David Hurwitz sighed and stooped down to enter under the short door frame. As usual he still banged his head but stifled the curse that came naturally to his lips. It wasn't that he thought it sacrilegious to swear in Christmas Town; if that were the case every elf indentured by SC would have been struck dead thousands of years ago. Foul creatures elves, he thought to himself; they have to be the nastiest things the Big Guy felt compelled to create. He must have been drunk that night, partying with Bacchus again more than likely and had a bit too much of the vino. What other possible reason could there be for creating a race of beings that had the hygiene of teenage boys and copulated like crazed weasels tripping on ecstasy? Shit, about the only thing they wouldn't screw is a ... Then he paused in his thoughts... No, I suppose they'd even fuck one of those if someone held its head. He sighed over the futility of thinking about elves and their personality disorders.
Taking two steps over to the low, unfinished and poorly constructed table, elf sized of course which meant it was too short for a normal human and uncomfortable to use, he set his laptop down. Taking off his overcoat he shook it out and hung it on the peg next to the door. He wanted to get out of his traveling clothes and into something more comfortable but naturally his luggage hadn't arrived yet.
"Probably lost it, again," he muttered. Sighing again he sat down in the chair next to the table, banging his knee of course, and flipped the laptop open. The unit hummed for a bit and then connected to the eternal-net. Typing in an address he was soon rewarded with the face of his supervisor, Ma'at, the Goddess of Truth and Balance who was consequently the head of the Eternal Auditing Corp. She had classic Egyptian features but had long ago given up the antiquated headdress and robes in favor of impeccably tailored Parisian dress suits. More than anything she reminded David of Suzanna Hoffs in The Bangles' music video Walk Like an Egyptian from his youth. Pretty yes but a bit demanding as a boss and a little older than he generally preferred his women, about five thousand years older.
"Ma'at here," she said briskly. "Oh, it's you, Hurwitz. What do you want?"
"I'm just reporting in," he said. "Just got here and I'm starting to set up. I won't be ready to start for a little while yet; my stuff hasn't all shown up yet."
"Lost your luggage?" she snorted. "You know after a couple of thousand years that joke gets a bit old. What's this? Your third time? Forth?"
"Sixth, actually," he corrected gently. "I'll call and complain and in a day or two they'll find it."
"Elves," Ma'at muttered. "Worthless creatures. The only thing they're good for is making the lists and putting together shoddy toys and it must be by divine intervention they're able to do that."
"They shit and fuck in the snow pretty well too," David added brightly.
"There's a bullet for your resume," Ma'at chuckled. "Anything we can do for you on this end? Sorry you got stuck with Christmas Town again but you know how it is."
"Low man on the totem pole," he shrugged. "It is what it is."
"Good boy," she nodded. "At least you don't bitch about it like some of the others. I'll remember that when the next assignment comes up."
"Anything special I should be looking for, Chief?" he asked.
"I'm getting some bad vibes from the lists and how the Christmas Spirit is being doled out," she said after a slight pause. "Nothing specific just a feeling but when you've been at this as long as I have, you learn to go with your feelings. Don't worry too much about the financials for now. I already know that idiot Cringle has them so hosed up I'm not sure even the Big Guy could figure them out. I'm going to send a special team in there after the first of the year to give the accounts a proctologic look over. I'm not one to second guess but if it'd been me I'd have looked for someone with a little more managerial skill and a little less of the fat and jolly.
"But that's not my call, nor our problem," she continued. "Dig into those lists and give them the once over. If you find anything, give me a call."
"Will do, Chief; Hurwitz out," David sighed as he hit the disconnect button. There wasn't much else he could do until the rest of his gear finally appeared so he made the obligatory call to the Help Desk and as usual was accused of lying about his lost luggage and cursed soundly for bothering them but finally obtained their grudging pledge that a search for his missing bags would be started immediately. Eternally the optimist David hoped this time it was actually true although he privately thought the chances of that were about the same as finding a lawyer or politician in Heaven.
Resigned to at least a day or two without his things, David opened his small carry-on bag and pulled out the thermal underwear he'd stuck in there for just such an occurrence; he could at least use them for pajamas. Hanging his suit in the tiny closet he shivered as he changed into the therms and crawled into bed. He was sure that for elves the bed was big enough to have a grand old orgy in but for him it was too short and of course didn't have enough blankets. Another thing he'd have to ask for in the morning.
The soft beeping from his travel alarm woke David up and he stuck his head out from under the covers into the frosty chill of his little room. Shivering, he dashed to the shower hoping beyond hope there would actually be hot water for once. It wasn't hot but he was willing to bet that any water free-flowing had to be warmer than his room. It wasn't just luck that he had a couple bars of hotel soap in his carry-on but experience and proper planning. He'd caught on after his second trip that the blank stares he'd received from the staff elves when he'd requested that particular item weren't from malicious and deliberate misunderstanding, not that he'd put it by the little buggers, but the fact was he'd asked for something completely beyond their ken. Soap wasn't just a four-letter word to elves; it was a four-letter foreign word.
Muttering while trying to dry himself with the one, semi-clean towel, he'd call it a hand towel or maybe a washcloth, and chiding himself for stupidly for not taking his thermal underwear into the bathroom with him he walked out into the cold room looking for the aforementioned garments.
"If you're trying to impress the help it ain't working," a voice like the tinkling of water in a rocky brook said sarcastically.
"Ack!" David screamed in surprise covering his crotch with the inadequate towel and turning around three times looking for the owner of that voice.
"Over here, dumbass," the voice continued from the direction of the table. Sitting on the edge next to his laptop was its source. Long pale blonde hair almost to the point of being white with hints of blue and green streaks flowed over her shoulders and down her back; huge sea-green eyes that seemed to envelop him even from across the room; the long tapered legs crossed at the knees would have been the envy of a swimsuit model and a chest so disproportional to her trim waist that it had to come from mythology or a Hollywood plastic surgeon. She was wearing a pale green dress that hugged her curves like it was painted on and looked like it barely covered her ass while her feet were encased in dainty little slippers the same color as the dress. She was without a doubt the most beautiful woman David had ever seen. She was also about eighteen inches tall.
"Got a good look or do you need to take a picture, shithead?" she quipped after a couple of minutes of silence had passed. She was frowning and those beautiful green eyes narrowed.
"Uh, sorry," he muttered and hurried over to pick up his thermals turning his back on her to pull up the bottoms. "You – uh – surprised me, that's all. I didn't expect to see anyone this early especially an elf," he said pulling the top over his head and reaching for his suit.
"I'm not a fucking elf, you moron!" she screamed. He glanced back over his shoulder and saw she was standing on the table shaking with rage.
"I'm sorry! I didn't mean to offend you," he said buttoning his shirt and wrapping the tie around his collar.
"Do I look like a fucking elf?" she screeched.
"Ah, I suppose not," he admitted. "You're – shorter and pretty and – clean. You're right, I should have known better but I don't think I've ever seen anyone up here other than elves. Well maybe the reindeer but you don't look much like a reindeer. Do you mind me asking who you are, what you're doing here and exactly what you are?"
"I'm a sprite, dipshit," she fumed. "A water sprite to be exact and I'm your assistant for this little boondoggle of yours. As for how I got here," her frown deepened and she sat down in a huff crossing her arms under her large breasts, "let's just say I had a little too much icewine one night while playing cards with some frost giants and the bastards took advantage of me. Got me to bet an indenture on an inside straight and then sold it to fat and jolly before I could sober up."
"Sorry to hear that," he said sympathetically. "So you're my assistant. I suppose it could be worse--at least you smell good."
.... There is more of this story ...