January 20th – Jessie and Santa visit Claudia’s bakery

When Santa and Jessie entered Claudia’s Cake and Cookie Creations the bell rang on the door.   It was breakfast time and the store was full of Elves picking up their daily cookie orders.  Santa spotted Claudia at the cash register and waved.   He led Jessie over to an empty table and sat down to wait for Claudia.

Jessie loved Claudia’s store.  The scent of cinnamon, and cloves wafted through the air.  Jessie waved her nose in the air and sniffed expectantly.  Claudia made special cookies for Jessie.  They were  made from bananas and Jessie adored them.  Jessie could smell their aroma now and her mouth watered.

As if Claudia read Jessie’s mind, the woman hurried over to the table carrying a mug of coffee and a croissant for Santa.  On a separate plate she had several of Jessie’s favorite banana cookies.  She smile at the pair.  “Hello you two and thank-you for coming.  I haven’t had time to eat this morning so why don’t I explain my problem while we enjoy some baked goods.”

Jessie barked and wagged her tail expectantly She stuck her nose up and over the plate of banana cookies.  Drool rolled down her chin as she pounded the floor with her tail.

“I see you’ve found your cookies Jessie.  Just let me put the plate on the floor for you while I talk to Santa.”  Claudia placed the cookie plate on the floor and smiled as Jessie gobbled up the sweet treats.  She began speaking with Santa.  “I’ve never seen a dog that likes those cookies so much.  I wonder if she knew that they were healthy dog treats if she would  like them as much.”

Santa shrugged and murmured under a mouthful of coffee.  Claudia absentmindedly picked up the now empty plate.  “I guess I should tell you about when my problem started.  It was right after your trip down south. That was the trip where I got you to pick up some cases of vanilla for me.  I brought back the vanilla cases from the airstrip and everything seemed to be fine.  However,  the very next day I noticed that all my green sprinkles were gone.  It was a big problem for me that day as I had to deliver twelve dozen cookies to the nursery school and I had to have three dozen green cookies.   I had to borrow sprinkles from the bakery at your manufacturing facility in order to get the cookies baked on time.”

“Anyway, I put in a special order for double my usual amount of green sprinkles that day.  When they arrived I  very carefully packed the sprinkles away as I  still wasn’t sure I just hadn’t misplaced them the day before.  But when I came back the next day there was just a empty sprinkles bag sitting on the shelf. Every day I replace the sprinkles and every night they go missing.”

“Are you sure the sprinkles aren’t going missing during the afternoon rush,” asked Santa?  “It sounds like a prank.  Someone could be moving the sprinkles as a joke and you just haven’t made the connection yet.”

“No, I’m sure they are all there when I leave.  I check every night before I lock up that they are put on the high shelf at the back of the bakery but every morning they’re gone again,” said Claudia.

“Is there anyone other than yourself who has keys to the bakery,”asked Santa?

“No, I’m the only one,” sniffed Claudia.  She took a bite of a delicate tea cookie and gave the remainder to Jessie under the table.

Jessie grabbed the cookie and thumped her tail against the Santa’s leg.

Santa reached down and grabbed Jessie’s collar.  He stroked the dog’s back and pulled her away from the cookies on Claudia’s plate.

“Well Claudia, I don’t know how the sprinkles are going missing but I do have a suggestion.  We have several Elf cams up at my office.  They are  the magic cameras that we use to check up on naughty girls and boys.  I could have my engineer install one where you store your sprinkles and we could run it overnight.  In the morning Jessie and I will come back to review the video.  That should tell us where your sprinkles are going. ”

“Excellent, Santa!  I really appreciate your help. Is there anything I can do to thank-you?”

“There is one thing Claudia.  I don’t suppose you’d give Molly the recipe for those healthy banana cookies?  Jessie does have a sweet tooth and we’d like to keep her healthy.”

“Of course, Santa.  I’ll have the recipe for you tomorrow when you come back to view the video.  It’s the least I can do.”

Santa reached down and grabbed Jessie’s lead.  He stood up and walked with Claudia to the door.  “Jessie and I will see you tomorrow Claudia.  Don’t worry.  We’ll know by morning how your sprinkles are going missing.”

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