Glamokie hated to see the Christmas season end. They’d hired him on for the late toy production and held him over for cleanup and the Feast of the Epiphany, but with no more work for the year, they let him go. He sang with sweet sadness at the caroling parties that marked the end of it all.
His skill set was limited to elvish tasks, such as fixing houses for porridge or cobbling shoes, which served him well in past centuries, but modern man had little need for such jobs anymore. Services and warrantees and Internets and disposable products all displaced those skills, so he had to find something else.
He considered working in journalism, but decided he should do more honest employment if he wanted to work for Santa in the future. For the same reason, he rejected legal work, health insurance claims adjustment, and apartment rental companies anywhere around D.C.
He first took a job at Wally’s Burgers, feeling qualified for most positions, perhaps even management. They started him making french fries during the evening shift.
The freckled kid on the grill named J.J. annoyed him by calling him ‘Glamokie from Muskogee,’ but he went out of his way to encourage the elf. “You’ll do fine. These floor fryers are plenty low for you. We don’t get many little people here.”
“I’m not a little people,”
He stopped flipping patties. “You’re not a big people.”
“I’m an elf.”
“Is that what we’re supposed to call you people these days?”
“What do you mean, ‘you people?’”
He went back to flipping patties. “Sorry, man. I didn’t realize you guys were so sensitive.”
A short, afroed Black kid named Marcus worked the drive-through register. He laughed. “Way to make the special needs kid feel welcome, J.J. Don’t listen to him little guy. He’s an idiot.”
“I’m not special needs,” said Glamokie.
“There’s nothing to be ashamed of, pal.”
“I’m not ashamed.”
“We got your back.” said J.J.
“I’m an elf, and I’m perfectly capable in every way.”
“Huh.” Marcus bagged up a burger he’d just made and stuffed some napkins in with it. He slid it to the window and looked at J.J. askance. “I guess we got one from the mental ward.”
Glamokie wrestled with the urge to send Santa a message regarding the naughty list.
Throughout the dinner hour the guys complimented him for his dexterity with a salt shaker for every single new batch of fries he dumped into the holding station. When he admonished them for patronizing him, it only seemed to encourage them more, so he kept to himself.
Grumpy and frustrated, Glamokie cleaned up after the rush. When his station was spotless and stocked, Marcus told him to mop the basement, so he pulled the mop bucket out of the closet and pushed it around the back of the restaurant looking for the door.
Not finding it, he looked all over the front area and checked the outside. When he came back in, he heard J.J., Marcus, and the manager laughing in the office.
“I could tell he was upset when I said he was special needs, but I swear he was going to punch J.J. in the nads if he said ‘nice salting job’ one more time.”
“What’s he doing now?”
“I told him to mop the basement.”
“Marcus! Don’t overdo it in one day.”
Marcus laughed. “Why not? You let me search for the damn thing for two hours my first day.”
Glamokie chuckled and pushed the mop bucket back into the closet. He was going to get along well here—and these jamokes were about to learn what happens when you mess with an elf.