Fruitcakes by G.R. George
The large man behind the bar walked over. “I think you’ve had enough for one night, buddy. Let me call you a cab.”
“I’ll be the one deciding if I’ve had enough, lad.” Bran was dead set on celebrating. Tomorrow he’d be catching the transport to take him to the North Pole and back to his real job. “If you’re not for being nice, I’ll have ye put on Santa’s naughty list.” He chuckled to himself. Like Santa would ever put someone on the naughty list just because he suggested it.
The bartender reached out and put his hand on Bran’s shoulder. “Look, fella, I think it’s time for you to go.”
Jumping to his feet and knocking over the stool he’d been perched on, Bran put up his fists. “Don’t ye be touching me, Philistine! I neither have the time, nor inclination to go.” Tonight, after all, would be the last time to tie one on before three days of hard, but rewarding labor in Santa’s workshop. “Do you even know who you’re dealing with?”
“Uh, aren’t you that underwear model on several of the billboards around town?”
Bran worried his lower lip with his teeth. “Yes…technically.” During the off-season, which was year round, he worked as a model for some of the local department stores in Kansas City. “But, most importantly,” he said pompously, “I’m one of Santa’s Elves.” Admitting that in public should have been his first clue it really was time to go, but Bran had a snootful and he wasn’t about to back down. “I’m good at two things, mister.” He held up three fingers. “Looking good.” He pushed his index finger down. “And making the shite out of toys.” He pushed his ring finger down next, leaving only the middle finger, giving the birdie to the large angry man.
“You’re nuttier than a fruitcake, little man.”
“I’m not little! I’m an Elf. Hell, I’m quite tall for an Elf.” In one quick leap, he jumped up onto the bar. “Call me wee one more time and I’ll be for kicking your arse, pudgy!”
A crowd was forming around the bar and several of the patrons had taken to chanting, “Fight, fight, fight.”
Now Bran had been in several brawls in his lifetime, but he was usually a lover, not a fighter. However, between the crowd and the ten pints, and the elation of going back to the North Pole, he couldn’t help himself. He squared up and kicked the bartender right in the nose. This, of course, led to him falling backward and landing back first onto the hard concrete floor.
Cops rushed into the bar, pushing the crowd aside. They grabbed Bran by the arms and hauled him to his feet.
“I can’t go to jail,” he screamed, kicking out at the police officers. “I’ve got a transport to catch. Santa’s not going to understand. You don’t know him like I do. If I’m late, he’s gonna sack me.”
His protests fell on deaf ears as they carted him out of the bar.
Donner Thomas has been put into a mental hospital a few days before Christmas after a minor head injury has him seeing magical creatures; Elves, Fairies, Trolls, etc, masquerading as regular human beings. His suspicions are pleasantly confirmed when he meets his new roommate two weeks before Christmas, the gorgeous Bran O'Byrne.
Bran is one of Santa's Elves. In human guise, Bran gets piss-drunk the night before he is supposed to travel to the North Pole (they don't all live in the north!), brags about being an Elf to the wrong people, and now he's been placed in lock-down for 72 hours of observations. If he doesn't get to the next transport window by morning, he'll lose his job at Santa's shop, and there just isn't much he's good at other than looking good and making toys.
Sparks fly when these two meet, and they are fated to an encounter neither one of them will ever forget.