Jessie sat on a couch with Santa. She was hot, bored and itchy. Early in the morning Molly had woken Jessie and put her ugly Christmas sweater on. Then she had dragged Santa and Jessie to the town square for the Christmas in July Sidewalk Extravaganza.
Molly,Santa and Jessie had shopped in almost every store in town. They picked up stocking stuffers for Molly’s family and a few small trinkets for Molly’s elf friends. But, Jessie thought that the real purpose of the sale was for the town residence to gossip and socialize. Jessie had heard three times this morning that the Post Office Pete had fallen and broken his nose. She’d also heard four times that another leak had been found in the manufacturing facilities walls.
The worst part of the sidewalk sale was that everyone was always touching her. Jessie liked to be petted. But she didn’t like sticky hands and when a toddler had gotten his candy cane stuck in Jessie’s honey hair Santa had intervened and left Molly to her shopping. Instead Santa and Jessie sat on a couch in the town hall waiting for Molly to finish her visiting.
Jessie turned herself in a circle and then sat down on the couch. She used her teeth to pull a small green pillow from the back to use as a head rest and she closed her eyes to doze off. Her mouth was moving and feet were kicking when she felt something land on her.
Jessie bolted upright and looked around. There was nothing there except Santa in an oversized chair snoring with his glasses tottering half way off his head.
Jessie sighed and sat back down on the couch. She opened one eye and then closed it again. She tried to drift off to sleep but she kept imagining that something was in front of her. Eventually, she dozed off and awoke abruptly when something pinched her nose.
Jessie sat upright, jumped off the couch and ran to Santa’s chair. She jumped up in his lap and hid her head under his sweater. Santa awoke with a snort. Confused, he stared at the dog. His gazed shifted to the couch and a small green, fluttering object hovering above the pillow.
“Well, hello Cora.” Santa greeted the fairy messenger. “What did you do to Jessie?”
“I pinched her nose. The two of you were snoring and I couldn’t get your attention. I have to say. That dog is a little bit of a coward. She didn’t even fight back. She just ran and hid behind you.” Cora sniffed and held up a small scroll. She began to read to Santa.
“The Queen of the Faeries invites Santa Claus, Molly Claus and Jessie Claus to a ball in celebration of Christmas in July tomorrow evening. Dress is black tie and the dog is to be on her best behavior. Celebrations commence at fifteen hundred hours with dinner, speeches, a moving picture show and cocktails before the fireworks.” Cora rolled up the scroll and quizically looked Santa in the eye. “I am to wait for a reply to the invitation.”
“We’ll be happy to attend Cora. Just do me a favor please. Don’t pinch my friend on the nose. She is very sensitive.”
Cora sighed and rolled her eyes. “Very well. I shall see you tomorrow. Until then…” Cora raised her hand and disappeared in a wisp of blue smoke just as Jessie peaked her head out from under Santa’s sweater.
“Well, girl We have a party to attend tomorrow. If I know the queen as well as I think I do there will be lots of lovely things for you to munch on and a lot of boring conversation for me to listen to. It can’t be helped though. The queen is helping us with our weather magicians. I wonder how they are doing under her schooling? We’ll find out soon enough when we try to repair the wall again.” Santa leaned back in his chair and tickled Jessie’s chin.
“Let’s have another snooze, Jessie. Molly will be back soon with parcels for us to lug home. Then there’s the community spaghetti dinner. It’s going to be a busy evening and one can never get enough sleep.” Santa pulled Jessie closer to him and leaned back in the chair. Soon the pair fell asleep each dreaming happy thoughts.