Christmas Train Trouble

Once upon a time, there was an icy, snow-covered workshop full of elves. The elves had one goal in mind year after year, and that goal was to keep Christmas magical. They worked for Santa Claus, a man dressed in red with a beard as white as the snow on the rooftop. He was a large man, but inside that goliath shell was a jolly heart full of gold. Every year, he and the elves worked hard making toys for all of the world’s children. They crafted trinkets and gadgets and all sorts of things, and when Christmas Eve arrived Santa would deliver them all to the children who had behaved nicely that year.
One particular evening, the elves were hard at work when Santa came and made them a promise. He entered the workshop with a large rolled up paper and gathered them all around.
“If you all can finish this task by midnight on December 21st, you can be the first ones to try it out.” He unrolled the paper, revealing an intricate schematic. “I need you to build this train for a child. His letter asked for a small model train, but he has filled this year with generosity and kindness. He has been very good, and has earned a train that he can fit in. “
The team of elves looked over the blueprint eagerly, ready to get to work. The only thing they loved more than building the toys was getting to test them!
“You got it, boss!” Pinkerton chirped enthusiastically. “We won’t let you down!” Pinkerton was the oldest of this team, making him the lead elf.
“We really get to test it, Santa?? You mean it?” asked Chime, a younger elf who had just joined the team earlier that year.
“Of course, young one. Finish the train by December 21st and I’d be glad to have you take it for a test run. Pinky, take this radio. If you press 3-3-3, it will connect to mine,” he instructed, pulling an identical radio from the pocket of his red coat. “If you need any help, that radio will be the best way to reach me during these busy days. Thank you, and good luck!” Santa left them the blueprint and they got to work right away.

Pinkerton tinkered with the smallest moving pieces, while Chime decorated the intricate details. She may have been the youngest, but her painting skills surpassed the rest of them. Franklin did the woodwork, and Twisty put all the pieces together. They had two weeks to finish this train by the deadline, and it was going to take a lot of teamwork to make sure it was perfect.
“I sure hope we finish in time.” Twisty said as they worked. “I reaaaally want to ride on the train!”
“We will finish, Twisty. Aside from finishing so we can test it out, we can’t disappoint Santa.” Pinkerton always had a way of reminding them all of the reason they work so hard every year. “We have one week left to finish. Let’s make every minute count!”
Franklin looked towards Pinkerton’s station, an idea forming in his cheery elf brain. “I have an idea! What if we try to finish the train before the 21st? Then we can test it out sooner, and fix any mistakes with the time we have left!”
Pinkerton thought for a minute. He always loved impressing Santa, and was excited about the chance to make sure the train was perfect before they unveiled it to him.
“That is a great idea, Franklin! Alright, team, let’s have this train ready for the test drive by the 20th! Move, move, move, we have plenty of work to do!”
The team of elves worked day and night. They ate lunch at their stations, and took turns napping to maximize their efforts. Just before midnight on December 20th, they put the finishing touches on the child-size locomotive.
“We did it! We finished the train! I’ll go tell Santa so we can take it for the test drive!” Twisty exclaimed as he began shuffling out of the workshop.
“Twisty, no!” Franklin yelped. “We are testing it before we tell Santa, remember?”
“That way we can fix any mistakes we made before he sees the finished product. I’m fairly certain it is perfect already, though.” Chime patted on the side of the train triumphantly. The four elves climbed into the train, with Franklin at the front.
“Franklin is in charge of the whistle, since this was his grand idea!” Pinkerton said. “Ready, team? Let’s test this train!”
Franklin pulled the train whistle, and the train began to move. It was working! The team cheered and high-fived each other. Everything was working perfectly, a whole day before the deadline Santa had given them. Pinkerton smiled, so proud of himself and his team. Santa was going to be so happy to see what they accomplished! The train was working at its full speed, the elves enjoying the ride in circles around the workshop.

“Uh, Pinky?” Chime mumbled in a nervous tone. “Do you think we’re going a little too fast?”
Pinkerton looked at the controls next to Franklin. A red light was flashing, an indication of something malfunctioning in the mechanics of the train. He motioned for Franklin to pull the brake, but something was wrong. The train wasn’t slowing. In fact, it seemed to be speeding up!
“It’s going to crash!” yelled Twisty, covering his eyes.
“No, Twisty, WE ARE GOING TO CRASH!” Chime ducked below the seat. The other three followed her lead and braced for impact.
CRRRAAASHHHH! The train slammed into the workshop wall, shaking the toys from the shelves on the wall. As the dust settled, the elves picked themselves up from the rubble.
“Why is it so dark?” coughed Twisty, grabbing at Franklins arm. There was a small crack of light coming through near the back of the train. Pinkerton looked around, trying to make sense of what was happening. The train was still in one piece, and looked pretty good considering that it had just crashed through the wall.
“The train is fine, so what is all this mess?” Chime kicked a large piece of stone away from the train.
“This mess is pieces of the wall.. and it’s dark because the pieces are blocking the exit!” Pinkerton squealed. How were they going to get out of here with enough time to fix the train? He sat down on the dusty floor next to the train, feeling defeated.
“Oh, Pinky, we will figure it out,” Franklin said gently, trying to feel his way towards Pinkerton in the dark. “You always know how to get us through the tough times!”
“Easy for you to say, Franky!” Twisty said accusingly. “It always seems to be you who gets us into the tough times with your ideas.”
Franky glared in Twisty’s direction. “At least I have ideas, Twisty. You never think of anything! You hardly contribute to the team at all!”
“Please stop arguing, it isn’t solving anything.” Chime said sadly, still moving pieces of the demolished wall away from the train.
Pinkerton knew she was right, but he felt so ashamed. Not only had he gotten his team stuck, but now they were turning on each other. Chime was right, though. Sitting there feeling sorry wasn’t going to get them free from the inside of the wall. He thought of ways they could manage to get through the blocked hole in the wall, wishing he had his workshop tools. He patted his pockets, and felt something rectangular in one of them. Franklins eyes widened with glee as Pinkerton pulled the object from his pocket.
“The radio from Santa!” they cried out in unison. The elves all cheered and danced for a moment.
“Wait. Are we going to get in trouble?” Twisty said worriedly.
Pinkerton sighed. “We might get in trouble. Santa will be disappointed, and you all know disappointing him is my biggest fear. But we made a mistake, and we need to make it right. The first step in fixing our mistake is telling Santa and getting help out of here.” He turned the radio on and pressed 3-3-3.
“Good job, Pinky.” Chime said to him as they waited for Santa to respond. “You are very brave, and I’m glad to be a part of your team.”

A few days later…
“We finished it! The train is all finished, and the brakes should be working properly now!” Twisty cheered happily to Santa, who was hanging the shelves back on the newly fixed wall.
“It looks wonderful, team. You’ve exceeded expectations with this one! Oh, and Chime. The new paint on the wall looks incredible.” Santa gestured towards the wall as Chime smiled proudly. “You can’t even tell there was ever a train full of elves inside of it! Ho ho ho!” he laughed his big belly laugh.
“Thanks again for getting us out of there, boss. I’m sorry we tested the train without your permission. We- I- just really wanted to make you proud by having it perfect before we showed you.” Pinkerton looked at his feet, still feeling embarrassed about the accident.
“Pinkerton, mistakes are bound to happen. You were trying to accomplish something with good intentions, and that makes all the difference. You are forgiven, and I am very proud of the work you and your team have accomplished. I have no doubt that boy is going to love this train.” Santa patted him on the head. “In fact, I think it could use a quick trip around the track before it gets delivered. What do you say, everyone? Take it for a spin!”
“Really, Santa??” Franklin asked excitedly. “Can I blow the whistle again?”
“Of course you can, Franky! Hop on, all of you!”
“Thank you, boss. I think this is the most magical year, yet. Merry Christmas, Santa.” Pinkerton said as he climbed into the train car.
“Ho ho, Merry Christmas!” Santa shouted. Franklin pulled the train whistle and the elves began singing Jingle Bells. They sang every Christmas carol they knew that evening. They rode the train until midnight, and at midnight they gathered with all the other elves and helped Santa load the sleigh. It was Christmas Eve, and toys they had all worked so hard to make were going to be delivered to all of the children of the world. They had kept the magic of Christmas alive for another joyful year.

This concept came from my three year old daughter, Charlotte. I told her I needed a story, and she gave me a fantastic tale of Santa’s Kingdom full of elves that crashed a train and got stuck. Her imagination is wildly vivid! However, she didn’t appreciate the creative liberties I took with her story, and refused to listen while I read it to her. Thank you for reading this weeks short story! Merry Christmas, from my family to yours!

Categories: Short-Story Saturday

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