A little article I did for the Christmas edition of my school newspaper.
And, er, no, it isn't meant to be taken seriously.
Allusions are intentional :)
A draft whisks through the barren room, carrying a faded photograph on a swirling journey, up and over a bed laden with furs and perilously close to a flickering fire before resting it gently beneath a roughly hewn chair. Edwin Pinklebury mutters an apology and scrambles after it, then tenderly picks up the image and presses it to his chest. Breathing a sigh of relief, he climbs back onto his chair and straightens his worn clothes, all the while retaining a firm grasp on the photo.
He looks up, smiles earnestly and reveals a mouth of gaps and swollen gums. Beaming, he shows me the picture, a discolored portrait.
“This is my great-great grandfather,” he proclaims. “He came here in 1813. He built this house with his own two hands.”
The resemblance between the two is uncanny: the clear walnut shaped eyes, the fair skin, the rosy cheeks, and the elongated ears. These features are things of beauty, physical expressions of the kindly spirit that resides within Edwin.
But in the North Pole, they are viewed differently. The very traits that make Edwin unique put him at a disadvantage economically and socially, dooming him to live a life of poverty. He is not alone in his misfortune. Edwin is one of many elves, who make up the majority of inhabitants in the icy wasteland known as the North Pole.
In the early 1800s, a massive migration took place. Referred to simply as the “elvodus,” it was the largest movement of people under the height of four feet ever recorded. Fleeing discrimination, thousands of elves mounted their ponies and followed their compasses north in search of equality and a decent pair of red-and-white striped tights. On December 25th, after surmounting a long, perilous journey fraught with avalanches, frostbite, and low-quality stockings, the elves arrived at the North Pole. Because of the coinciding dates of their arrival and Christmas, the gleeful elves declared Christmas their national holiday.
For the next century and a half, the elves lived in prosperity. They formed a direct democracy in which all citizens over the age of 18 could participate. Each and every voice was heard. And every December 25th, the elvish community came together as a whole to join hands and sing around a colossal artificial Christmas tree (the climate was not conducive to firs). Afterwards, each family would return to their respective cottages and exchange hand-crafted gifts. Though this sacred ritual was once interrupted by a tall, hairy green elf, the efforts of Cindy Lou-Who quickly brought him to his senses and showed him the error of his ways. Peace, love, and snow abounded.
But everything changed on April 23rd, 1948, when Aleksandr Kuznetsov arrived. Stepping out his plane, he stained the pristine snow and the halcyon community with filth. Edwin, a mere child of 12 at the time, remembers the scene with horror:
“We saw a strange, metallic bird fly in over the horizon. . . It landed on the outskirts of our village, and men began emerge. They carried guns and scowls. We tried to approach them, but they couldn’t understand us, nor could we understand them. . . They began entering our homes and taking our possessions, especially the toys. I hid in my room, foolishly thinking that my blanket would protect me, but nothing could protect me from the devastation that followed. . . The leader (Kuznetsov) left the next fortnight, but he left many behind who did away with our democracy and way of life. . .”
The remaining members of Kuznetsov’s expedition quickly instituted a totalitarian government, which derived its power from fear and weaponry. Coordinating the operation was a young bearded man with a sinister twinkle in his eye. An egotistical tyrant, he demanded that he be addressed as “Santa” (Spanish for saint).
Under his regime, towering factories began piercing the skyline, leaving acidic trails of runoff in the snow. Teams of the newly subverted elves were seen shuffling out of the buildings after serving twelve hour shifts, their delicate fingers raw and bleeding from the tedious labor. The elves’ talent for toy crafting was exploited as the once treasured pastime became a perilous form of subjugation. The products were hoarded into a warehouse secured with a multitude of locks until December 24th, when they were shipped annually via UPSS (United Postal Sled Service) to millions of consumers across the world. The date’s correspondence with the elves’ national holiday only served to remind them how far they had fallen.
As Edwin Pinklebury will tell you, nothing has changed. The century of progress passed the North Pole by. Santa continues to reign, parading about in thick robes of blood red trimmed with polar bear hair. The elves’ rations are miniscule, barely sustaining them. As the world’s population blossoms to seven billion, factory conditions worsen in response to the increase in demand. Edwin’s four-fingered hand confirms this:
“I was working the night shift, and the lights had been dimmed to cut electricity costs. I heard a 'ca-thunk' in the Jenga machine and left my post at the Tinker-Toy station to investigate. A piece had been wedged between the blades. I went to pull it out, and the machine sprung back to life, taking my finger with it.”
Edwin never saw his finger again. As punishment for leaving his post, Edwin’s supervisor confiscated the appendage: “I don’t know what he did with it, but my friend said he saw it in doll assembly. I just pity the poor child who finds it under the tree.”
In the midst of oppression, a new movement claims that the end is in sight. After fifty years of complacency, this growing faction of elves has begun a series of sit-in protests, refusing to work until their demands are met. Though the goals of the group vary widely, they are united in their dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs. Beginning in the NYC (Norman Yo-Yo Construction) factory, they call their protest “Occupy North Pole.” The elves rally under the chant “We are the 99%,” citing a report noting that 1% of the inhabitants of the North Pole control the wealth.
“They’ve taken our liberty, our food, and our toys,” Edwin, no longer soft-spoken, proclaims. “What else do we have to lose?” He continues on to imply that if protestors’ demands are not met by the end of winter, violence may erupt. “The Elvish Spring will come,” he cries, voice shaking with passion, clutching the photograph of his ancestor to his chest. “I swear, on my great-great-grandfather’s dead body, we will be heard.”