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Mystery at the Christmas Cafe

Story title 1

“Rudolph here, checking in with air traffic control to see if the coast is clear to get these girls up safely to Santa’s Village in the Arctic Circle.” “Well, hello there dollies. I’m Rudolph. Nice to meet you girls and good to see you again, Attorney Malkah. Just checking weather conditions before sled takeoff. Time to pile in and buckle up! You too, Joselita!” * * * * * One snowy, holiday evening, Attorney Malkah, Rebecca Dolly, Daisy Dolly and Petunia Dolly sipped hot chocolate while baking Christmas cookies. Candles and Christmas carols set the mood as the aroma of sweet vanilla sugar wafted through the air. Wearing her adorable elf outfit, Joselita chomped on a chew toy, asking for an occasional snack. JackieClover perched on the warm hearth in front of the crackling fire cleaning her paws. Boss Kitty had propped her fat little self inside the Christmas tree, playing with ornaments and nibbling on garland. That is, until her chubby butt fell to the floor! The evening was near perfect. But something was missing. You see, Attorney Malkah liked to help others. And she wanted to do something special for the approaching holiday. “I know, dollies! Let’s take a holiday!” Malkah’s enthusiasm caught the dolls by surprise. But not for long. They were used to the young attorney’s crazy ideas that she always had up her sleeve. A moment later, Attorney Malkah’s phone rang. “Hello?” “Ho, ho, ho Malkah! It’s Santa! How are you, my dear?” Malkah eyes grew wide as she covered the phone and whispered to the dollies, “Dollies! It’s Santa calling! I haven’t spoken to him since last year!” As the dolls’ jaws dropped to the floor, Malkah replied to Santa. “Hi Santa! Merry Christmas! I’m doing great! How’s Mrs. Claus and the elves? The dollies and I are baking cookies.” “Mrs. Claus and the elves are keeping very busy.” Replied Santa. But he sounded a bit troubled. So, Malkah took a seat in the big, fluffy armchair by the hearth so that she could listen to what Santa had to say. “Oh, I wonder if you and the dollies could come here for the holiday and sprinkle a bit of cheer at the Christmas Café. A few of the elves who work at the café have become quite grumpy. Pepper and Alabaster are behaving strangely and even Bernard has turned into a scrooge and he’s the boss. Mrs. Claus is concerned because some of our regular customers aren’t coming in anymore.”

Story title 2

Explained Santa. “I think you and the dollies could spice up the season with your lively energy. In fact, the Mrs. and I would love to have you and the dolls stay with us in the spare bedroom. Ho!Ho!Ho! You can even bring Joselita! And I’m quite sure the Mrs. would cook up a storm for Christmas Eve dinner!” Josie yapped excitedly in the background because she heard Santa mention her name. And somehow, she understood the conversation. “Oh Santa! That sounds like a wonderful plan! I’ll check with the dollies, but I’m quite sure we’d love to come help out at the Café. When shall we come?” Asked Malkah. “I can have Rudolph and his crew pop by tonight with the sled, uh, if that’s not too soon.” Explained Santa. Malkah was practically screaming inside with excitement. “Wow! Ok, Santa. Hold on for just a minute while I ask the dollies.” As she covered the phone, Malkah quickly asked, “Dollies? How would you all like to sled up to Santa’s Village to help out for the holiday at the Christmas Café?” Santa must have heard their screams of delight and Joselita’s frantic barks as they all practically jumped on Malkah with boundless enthusiasm. “OMG! Yes! Yes! Absolutely!” Getting back to Santa, Malkah declared, “Santa, we’d love to. As soon as we finish our baking, we’re all going to pack out things. We’ll meet you on the rooftop at midnight.” “Ho!Ho!Ho! Spendid! Make sure all you girls wear your warmest winter gear and bundle up Joselita as well!” Exclaimed Santa. Well, it was turning out to be an epic holiday. SIDEBAR: Malkah and the dollies had no idea what mysterious situation awaited at Santa’s Christmas Café. They were in for a big surprise! Malkah and the dollies were thrilled to spread some holiday happiness. And they were thankful for Santa’s generosity. Just imagine spending Christmas with the Claus family in Santa’s Village! Just before the clock struck midnight, Malkah, the dollies, and Joselita bundled up, tightened their bags and headed for the rooftop to meet Rudolph and the other reindeer for the long journey. The weather was bitingly cold and snowy but they were excited! The night sky was studded with stars and the girls quickly shivered in the frigid winter air. Fifteen minutes later, Rudolph and the sled had still not arrived. Just as the dollies began to worry, a flurry of wind whisked around them. Off, in the distant sky, they saw a trail of faint, shimmering lights and a movement of legs that seemed to be pulling something. As the long object moved closer, Malkah and the dolls could see that it was indeed, Rudolph leading his team of reindeer pulling Santa’s sled!

Story title 3

Joselita barked as the girls laughed and giggled in pure excitement as their adrenaline pumped. Within seconds, Rudolph and his ensemble came to a smooth, gliding hault on the rooftop, right in front of the girls. How did he mystically arrive so quickly from so far away? The group wondered. “Hello my friends! I’m Rudolph. I’m here on directions from Father Christmas to teleport you all to the Village. Is everyone ready for our journey to Lapland?” Introduced Rudolph. SIDEBAR: Santa’s Village is actually located in Lapland, Finland in the Arctic Circle, not the North Pole proper. It was obvious that Rudolph was Rudolph just by the sight of his glowing, red nose. The dollies had never teleported before and did not even understand what the word meant. Attorney Malkah was familiar with the term as she had teleported to Santa’s Village the year before. But she had never heard of anyone else in the universe who knew how to do it. How else could Santa make it around the globe delivering gifts to the whole world in one night? Something about quantum mechanics? Anyway, she thought that was impressive! “Basically, dollies, it means that Rudolph will be transporting us really fast up to Santa’s Village. So we won’t get too cold and we won’t need snacks.” Explained Attorney Malkah. “Wow! This is so cool!” “I can’t believe it!” “Is it scary? Cried the dollies. “No, it’s not scary at all. In fact, it’s really fun! I do it all the time.” Laughed Rudolph. The other reindeer were getting anxious, so they all piled into the sled. “Fasten your seatbelts, girls. We’re going to be traveling very fast!” Warned Rudolph. With that, they were off! In fact, the departure was so sudden that the girls almost left their heads behind! In awe, they viewed rooftops, chimneys, roads, cars, horses, farms, lakes, forests, and tiny-looking people across many lands. Despite the winter, snowy weather, they were not cold at all. In fact, they were warm! Malkah and the dollies were mesmerized by the starry night sky and arial view for what seemed like hours, a truly enchanting experience. It seemed only a few minutes later that the sled glided to a smooth stop right in front of Santa’s home. Malkah and the dolls heard a faint jingle coming from the home and could see Santa in the window just by the Christmas tree. Mrs. Claus threw open the door and greeted Malkah, the dollies and Joselita with big, warm hugs like they were old friends. “Merry Christmas, my darlings! How was your journey?” Asked Mrs. Claus, with a big, loving smile. “Merry Christmas, Mrs. Claus! Our journey was incredible! Thank you so much for having us.” Replied Malkah and the dolls. With that, Mrs. Claus showed the girls to their room where they rested tucked away under big, fluffy blankets for several hours. Meanwhile at the Christmas Café, Head Elf Bernard had just opened the doors as the sun peaked over the chilly mountains in the distance and the village slowly came to life. Pepper and Alabaster arrived to begin their morning shift. The petite elves whisked about with their pointy ears and bell-tipped slippers, a sight to behold, for sure. They prepared the first batch of piping hot chocolate with sweet, whipped cream. Tourists who visited the Café couldn’t believe how real they looked. But the regular customers knew very well that the elves were indeed as authentic as can be. They also knew to keep their distance from Pepper and Alabaster as the two were always quarreling in front of everyone. And this was the very reason why the Christmas Café was losing its customers. Not long after, Malkah and the dolls arrived, accompanied by Santa himself. The Café was already filling with customers eager to enjoy the Café’s signature strawberry waffles. Suddenly, Attorney Malkah witnessed Pepper and Alabaster clearly and loudly arguing behind the counter. “No, Pepper. I am preparing the waffles today.” Claimed Alabaster. “Wrong, Alabaster. I am always in charge of the waffles on Tuesdays!” Defied Pepper. “Well, Pepper, you don’t prepare them as well as I do! And our customers don’t like your waffles!” Accused Alabaster. With that, the two angry elves pushed and shoved each other about, knocking the massive glass pitcher of hot chocolate off the counter and smashing to the floor! As the entire café froze in silence aghast by the horrible scene, the two elves disappeared into the kitchen where their quarreling continued.
An uncomfortable awkwardness filled the air as Santa’s cheeks turned ten more shades of red in embarrassment. And where was Head Elf Bernard to intervene in this shameful moment? One by one, customers began to leave the café. Even the dollies felt terribly uncomfortable and didn’t know what to do as the two elves could be heard squabbling in the back. Through all the fuss, Malkah spotted Bernard just outside the café chatting and laughing on his mobile phone! Now she understood very well why Santa had invited her to come and help out at the Christmas Café. Now, as an attorney, Malkah had learned about an important word called mediation. Mediation is all about sorting out problems between people when they don’t get along. And since she was always working out problems between her dolly friends, she had become an expert at mediation. She was excellent at helping folks fix their problems without making them feel bad in the process. Malkah immediately took charge. “Don’t worry, Santa. I got this!” Exclaimed the young mediator. She stepped outside and called Bernard. “Bernard! Can you come in here please? We have a problem with the elves.” Requested Malkah, as though she had been familiar with the café and the elves for years. “Yes, Maam!” Even though he had met Malkah the year before, he was still taken aback by the authority of the youthful attorney. Bernard snapped to attention, immediately ending his call, and scurried into the café. Santa sat at a nearby table as the dollies tried their best to console him, for he was visibly upset. Malkah and Bernard headed into the kitchen where Pepper and Alabaster were engaged in a food fight! And now screaming at each other. Oh dear. The situation had gotten far worse. The elves were not being very nice to each other, so Malkah interrupted the quarrel. “Pepper and Alabaster, we need to talk.” Surprised that the young girl so boldly interrupted their food fight, both Pepper and Alabaster immediately froze, stopped screaming at each other, and stopped slinging food. They turned, wide-eyed and stared at Malkah. Behind her stood Bernard, beginning to feel more confident as Malkah’s interaction demonstrated how to manage the two employees. And, of course, being the assertive girl that she was, Malkah wasted no time getting straight to the issue. “You two are creating a big problem here in the cafe, and Santa is losing customers. So, I am here to help us make things better so that you two can get along and customers will return to the cafe.” Explained Malkah. The two elves were speechless. “Let’s sit down and chat.” Offered Malkah. As Pepper and Alabaster sat down at the table in awkward silence, Malkah asked, “Bernard, could you bring us all some of that delicious hot chocolate that the elves prepared?” “Why, yes, of course, Malkah! I would love to.” Replied Bernard, with an increasing sense of relief. As they all quietly sipped their hot chocolate, Malka broke the silence and asked Pepper and Alabaster, “You two are lovely elves! And you have been friends forever. So, I am wondering how we can make things better again? As Pepper exclaimed, “Well, I like to make strawberry waffles.” To which Alabaster replied, “I prefer to prepare blueberry waffles!” Once again, the two elves fell back into their squabbling. [male voices arguing] “Strawberry waffles!” “Blueberry waffles!” Strawberry waffles! Blueberry waffles! Both elves got all worked up and would not back down. “Okay elves. Let’s calm down.” Guided Malkah. Once again, they both stopped with their eyes fixed on the young attorney as Bernard sat quietly. “Elves, I have a solution. The two of you can alternate! One day, Pepper prepares strawberry waffles. The next day, Alabaster prepares blueberry waffles.” The two miniature elves looked at each other in wonder, as they both declared to Malkah, “That’s a wonderful idea! Why didn’t we think of that?” “Bernard, can you post a schedule here on the wall so that the elves will know which is to prepare their waffles on each day of the week?” “I’ll get right on it, Attorney Malkah!” Enthusiastically declared Bernard. Seeing a friend in Malkah, Pepper opened up. “Alabaster and I used to be best friends, until we started working together. Now, all we ever do is argue about waffles. But you have offered us a solution.” Alabaster was a bit reluctant that the solution might not work and asked Malkah, “What if one of us doesn’t follow the schedule?” To which Mallkah replied, “Can each of you commit to following the schedule that you both have agreed upon?” Pepper and Alabaster looked at each other. And both replied, “Why, yes, I think we can do this.” “Both of you must promise each other that you will not argue, especially in front of the customers. Otherwise, they won’t want to come to the café and then Santa will feel bad. Now that the two of you have a schedule, maybe you can become best friends again.” Pepper and Alabaster looked at each other as big smiles spread across their faces. Bernard thought it was incredible that Attorney Malkah was able to resolve this problem in such a simple way and in such a short time. He immediately prepared the schedule and posted it on the wall. Convinced that harmony had been restored in the café, Malkah approached Santa. “Don’t worry, Santa. Everything is going to be just fine. We solved the problem.” Santa was so happy! “Ho, ho, ho, Malkah! I knew I could count on you. The dollies giggled because they were so proud of their friend. The next morning, Malkah and the dollies returned to the cafe to enjoy more of the delicious hot chocolate. It happened to be Pepper’s day to prepare strawberry waffles and Alabaster helped him! The friendship between the two elves was restored. “Pepper, these waffles are incredible!” Cried Rebecca. “Oh my goodness! I’ve never tasted strawberry waffles so delicious!” Claimed Petunia. That morning, Mrs. Claus began preparations for the sacred Christmas Eve feast. Meanwhile, Santa took Malkah, the dolls and Joselita sledding with the reindeer! Yippee! This is so much fun!” Yelped Daisy. Joselita was over the moon and barked throughout the entire ride. Later that evening, they all sat around the table in front of a crackling fire as Mrs. Claus delivered platters upon platters of the most succulent food the girls had ever seen. But now they understood why Santa was so jolly, since Mrs. Claus was an amazing cook. After the lovely dinner, Malkah and the dollies helped Mrs. Claus tidy the kitchen, as Santa claimed, “Ho ho ho, everyone, I must get busy. I’ve got a lot of gifts to deliver tonight. Later, Malkah, the dolls, Joselita, and Mrs. Claus enjoyed the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree, and cozy warmth of the fire, sharing stories and singing Christmas carols together. It was such a wonderful evening. Soon, everyone grew sleepy, and the girls headed to their room where they dreamed about Santa circling the globe, delivering gifts all over the world. The next morning, Malkah and the dolls packed up their things and headed out to the sled where Rudolph waited to teleport them back home. Joselita did not want to leave! Mrs. Claus grew teary-eyed and hugged each one of the dollies. Then Rudolph announced, “Let’s get going girls. I have a busy schedule!” And they all piled into the sleigh. A few hours later, they came to a smooth halt on the rooftop of Malkah’s building. She and the dolls all thanked Rudolph for being such a kind and gracious chauffeur. It was quite a sight to watch Rudolph and his team of reindeer take off into the starry, night sky! Once inside the apartment, Malkah and the dolls noticed an abundance of gifts around the tree! Santa had indeed stopped by. Getting a closer look, Malkah found an envelope atop the hearth, in between two red candles. It read, My dearest Malkah, Thank you so much for taking the time to come all the way up to the North Pole with your dollie friends and Joselita to make things better at the Christmas Café. It has only been one day but already customers are returning to the café and the elves are happy working together. None of this could have happened without you. Until next year, Yours truly, Santa. The end. https://lapland.nordicvisitor.com/travel-guide/attractions/santa-claus-village/

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