[Tuesday, 20 December, 2259 | The Hardest Working Elf]
“That was the easiest one yet,” Santa says. “You did good out there, kid. You’re getting the hang of it quickly.”
The lights in Virginia’s bedroom are dimmed. She stretches out on her bed, her head resting on her pillow. Santa reaches down and pulls the cover up to her chin.
The girl smiles up at Santa. “It’s for a good cause,” she says.
Santa returns her smile. “It is. The money we raise is going to help a lot of people, kid.”
“How many do we have left?”
“Well, if there are seven people on my list, and we’ve taken donations from five of them, how many does that leave?”
“Two, Santa. I learned subtraction years ago.”
“Ah, back when you were a kid?”
Virginia nods her head, struggling to keep her eyes open.
“Get some rest, kid… er, elf. The hardest working elf of them all,” Santa says. “We have a big day tomorrow.”
“I didn’t think we were going after Gigget until Thursday?”
“We’re not. But you don’t turn ten every day, do you?”
“You remembered?” Virginia’s eyes shoot wide open. Suddenly she isn’t sleepy. At all.
“Of course I remembered. I’m fucking Santa Claus.” Santa leans down and kisses Virginia’s forehead. “Night, kid.”
“Night, Santa.” Virginia watches as Santa walks towards the door. He flicks the switch and the room falls dark. As she hears the click of the door close behind him, Virginia closes her eyes.