Merry Malfunction

“Today’s prompts seemed especially festive. So, I decided to visit Tinley Tinsel’s world again. Our story today was also inspired by the photo above which I took on a magical walk yesterday morning in the fog. Join me now for a little festive magic.”

I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
FOWC with Fandango — Fumes
Your Daily Word Prompt — Glitter
Ragtag Daily Prompt — Pearl
Word of the Day Challenge — Hogamadog

Merry Malfunction

What could better than driving to work on a beautiful December morning with Christmas music playing in your cab? Terry was loving it as he drove out into the countryside. He was a TV and broadband engineer and had been for many years. He loved these misty, bright frosty mornings. With temperatures below freezing the fog had picked out all the branches and berries in a white layer of icy glitter. The misty, diffused sunlight created golden beams through the trees. Yes, it was just magical this morning.

Terry’s first job was to discover why a pensioners broadband Internet refused to work. She lived in Buxton village and he’d be there soon. He’d been driving along a little lane with mist-cloaked fields beyond the trees and hedges either side for a while. He became aware of strange scents entering the cabin of his van. Cinnamon, nutmeg, roasting chestnuts, orange and cloves; the perfect fragrance of Christmas. With no air freshener, Terry had no idea where this smell was issuing from.

The fumes left him feeling warm and comfortable as he drove on. He became aware of a man walking silhouetted in the mist ahead as the clock struck 9.00 AM. Around the van, beams of sunlight began to swirl creating clouds of fog. Terry watched the lane vanish ahead as the fog rushed towards him. All became white, then swirling sky-blue. First one glittering white and gold pearl appeared. Soon thousands materialised shooting and spinning around Terry and his van.

Without warning the van thumped and bounced on the ground. Terry braked and brought it to a stop. The country lane was long gone. Now he was parked between candy-cane-like picket fences. He’d arrived in a snowy wonderland. All around him snow blankets covered fields and hills. The trees were evergreen below their dusting of snow. Each seemed to be wrapped in lights and hanging baubles.

“Well, colour me blue-and-gold and call me a Christmas cracker! I think I’m in Lapland!” Terry exclaimed. He felt his hair prickling with awe while watching a bunch of children rolling a giant snowball. A hogamadog perfect for a giant snowman if ever there was one.

“On behalf of Santa and the Laplandyii elves – Welcome to Santa’s village.” said a friendly, soft voice.

Terry flinched and banged his head on the roof of the van. A figure wearing a blue suit with fluffy white cuffs and hems had appeared in the seat beside him. His ears were elfin, his glasses seem to be made of candy and his braided, chestnut locks were amazing.

“Don’t be alarmed. You quite safe here with us, Terry. In fact, we need your help. I’m Electo Pentius, Santa’s technology expert and problem solver. Please drive on, we’ll go to my workshop.”

“Erm, sure. Nice to meet you, Electo.” Terry followed his instructions. ‘I must be dreaming, but I better do as he says and I don’t fancy becoming a Christmas pudding!‘ He thought. “So, what’s the problem?”

“Missing letters, quite frankly. Santa used to get hundreds of thousands of them delivered. These days not so much. A little research around the world showed me, children are still writing those letters but not posting them. They’re sending them by emailly thingamajigs. I brought all the knickknacks so we could receive those email thingies —Go through the gate and turn left.”

Terry drove through the great golden gate with wide eyes. Stretching out before him was a magical picture-postcard Christmas city. Little snow-topped gingerbread cottages. Glitter-filled Christmas trees on every corner. Elves bustling about with toys and decorations. “Un-baubling-believable! I’ve never seen so many Christmas trees in one place before!” Terry gasped, his eyes were drawn to a sky-scraping tree in the village centre. It seemed to be topped by a giant star-covered pearl.

“Quite spectacular in here isn’t it?” Electo said with a proud glow at his cheeks. “Mind you, Tinley Tinsel our tree decorator and coordinator doesn’t seem too pleased. She asked Santa to stop adding trees every year.”

“I can see why. It must take her all year just to decorate them all.” Terry replied.

“She has lots of help, I assure you. Anyway, even with all the doodahs, gadgets and gizmos I brought, I still couldn’t make anything work.” Electo sighed in frustration, “That’s where you come in — make a right at the ice sculpture workshop please.”

Terry followed the elf’s directions and was soon parked outside a large building shaped like a giant present.

Electo climbed from the van and beckoned.

Terry made to follow but was forced to wait for a reindeer-drawn sledge to pass by. “I’ll just get my tool bag.”

“No need. I should have everything you need in here.” Electo unlocked a door and creating jingling bells sounds as he entered.    

Terry was hit by the fumes of burned-out electronics as he ducked inside. What he saw made him go weak at the knees. Letting out a whistle he said, “Merry motherboards with sleighbells on! This is — What in the holy cranberry sauce have you been doing in here!” Terry was looking at a sea of workbenches piled with all kinds of technology and computer equipment. He could see modems and routers, laptops, tower computers, a PlayStation, satellite dishes, and more wires than a telephone exchange. There were even analogue TV aerials, and a whole box of car jump leads amid everything. The biggest issue; much of the stuff seemed to be gently smoking or in a dismantled state.

“Well, I did tell you I got everything I needed,” Electo blushed, “However, it seems I’m not as intelligent as I thought.”

“No, you’re a Yuletide fruitcake but we love you anyway.” A blonde elf with pigtails emerged from the sea of technology bearing a tray of steaming mugs filled with hot chocolate and marshmallows. “I saw you arrive and thought you might like some refreshments before you start, Terry,” she said with a radiant smile for the technician.

“Thank you. That’s very sweet of you.”  Terry accepted a mug and began walking around the benches with a curious expression.

“Cheers, Tinley. I’ll catch you at supper later,” Electo said as the cheery elf left with her tray. “That’s Tinley Tinsel the one who does the trees. I’m so in love with her. How do you humans ask each other to marry you?”

“She seems very nice. Just spend some quality time with her and at the right magical moment just ask. If it’s meant to be it’ll work out beautifully,” Terry replied with a bent satellite dish in hand. “Unlike this stuff. Most of this is junk, I’m afraid.”

“Thank you for your advice.” Electo’s grinned faded, “I was afraid you say that about this lot though.”

“Don’t worry we’ll find those emails. But, erm … How exactly did you plan on using the microwave?” Terry has seen the cooking device amid a stack of computer tablets and mobile phones.

“I … er. You see… I saw human with one of these micro-wafer things by his computer whatsit. It seemed it was important. So, I got one.” Electro slapped his thighs. “But, I guess I don’t need it after all.”

“Not unless you want to nuke some food within an inch of its life, no.” Terry grinned. “Anyway, let’s get you emailing, hey?”

“Aww, you’re the best, Terry. Thank you so much!” Electo waggled his ears and beamed in a relieved sort of way.

“Well, we’ll see about that when we switch something on, hey.” The engineer winked as he cleared a bench to work on. Next he went to work finding everything he needed amongst the technological mountain range in the workshop.

There were a few problems to solve. Lapland’s power supply and plug sockets were like nothing Terry had ever seen. He soon mastered the bizarre wiring so he could power a computer among other things. It had occurred to him early on that there’d be no fibre broadband cables in the Christmas village either. In fact, they didn’t even have phones here. The elves used what looked like toy gramophones connected to the walls to communicate around the village. Undeterred, Terry made use of one of a satellite dish with a plan of finding an internet connection that way. By lunchtime, he had everything installed and was ready to test it.

“The angels did bless us, Terry. It’s so pretty.” Electo wiped away a tear as he studied the computer monitor displaying a snowflake backdrop.

“I thought you’d appreciate a festive look to your computer. This is now Electo’s North Pole Communication Centre. Our modem here is connected to the satellite on your chimney. It’s relaying the internet to the computer. The bars here show it works. Now, all you do is click on the envelope and the app which appears will have all the emails.” Terry demonstrated.

Electo applauded and shook his head in awe. “Truly magical, Terry. You, sir, are a magician.”

“It gets better. I connected these phones and tablets to the Internet too. With these, you can check your emails all over the village. Just remember to plug them in and charge them like this,” Terry demonstrated everything and wrote very detailed instructions for the elf. He even showed him how to print the letters so they can be delivered to Santa with the regular ones. “The only issue is, children send emails to Santa using lots of different email addresses based on the store he works in and such. I don’t know how we can redirect them all here.”

“Ahh! Now, it’s my turn.” Electro produced a pouch containing rainbow glitter. He sprinkled some over the computer system, phones, and tablets.

Terry heard him say something in a beautiful eleven language. The screens flashed and sparkled. Then to his surprise, the email box began to fill up with letters to Santa from all over the world. The engineer smiled. “I could certainly use some of your glitter at times. However, I think my job here is done.”

“This is how the reindeer fly and the secret to how Santa can get his deliveries done all in one night.” Electo extended a hand. “Thank you so much for your help, Terry. Santa and I really appreciate it,” he said with an affable smile.

“The pleasure was mine. You call on me if you need anything else. Now, I must go home and do my job before I get fired.” Terry shook his hand.

“Of course, let’s get you home now.” Electo had Terry drive back out of the village. He had a glimpse of Tinley working on a tree. The hogamadog snowball had become a snowman. Without warning, Terry was back on the misty village lane with the person walking towards him out of the fog. The clock on the dashboard read 9.00 AM revealing no time had elapsed. Terry grinned and began singing a Christmas carol as he set off to enjoy his day’s work. He knew he’d just been shown a little slice of Christmas magic.

The End


Thanks for reading my friends and don’t forget there’s always plenty more stories for you in the Short Stories and Short Stories 2 tabs.

Have a great day!

11 thoughts on “Merry Malfunction

Add yours

  1. “Un-baubling-believable!” – My new favorite line! 🙂 Well done, Mason! I’d love to hear the Laplandii elves singing their Christmas songs ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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