By Hunter J. Keith
NORTH POLE, Republic of Claustria — Citing a pattern of hypocritical fitness standards, elves of the Arctic Toy Making Command expressed exasperation after Santa Claus once again obtained a waiver to pass his physical training test, a handful of elves told Duffel Blog on condition of anonymity.
“What do you expect when the mess hall only has peanut brittle and fudge?” one older elf said of being denied promotion over a failed waist measurement. “Meanwhile, the guy who's supposed to fit through chimneys gets a waiver for that part."
Another offered a more measured but nonetheless critical tone.
"Saint Nick says it would be rude not to sample from every home's cookie offering —which by the way is exempt from ethics regulations on receiving gifts — but everyone knows that's just political pandering he uses to cover his gluttony," said the elf, gesturing to the former Tannenbaum Rec center, now called the Nestlé Tastitorium.
"Sure they paid for the renovations, no one's saying that upgrading the gingerbread scaffolding to wood wasn't the right move. But at the cost of our integrity?"
Another described the "slippery slope" that began with Santa's first private sector contract, awarded to Coca-Cola. "Before the lifetime soda supply that came with that partnership, Santa's abs were as hard as a candy cane,” one elf said.
One elf did not hold back in describing how his previous commander at Royal Air Force Base Lakenwreath, Col. Craig Krampus, would exercise with his elves.
"Not like here, where that jolly lardass had us get up for a 0500 run to 'raise morale' while he sat by the fireplace reading fan mail,” the elf said. “Fucking Saint Thickolas."
Col. “Red” Rudolph of the 65th Airborne Division dismissed elven concerns.
"Oh deer, what a load of yellow snow. These complaints are coming from the same elves whose laziness is causing the Playstation 5 shortage.”
Rudolph went on to praise Santa for his high-stakes negotiations with Holidaytheon, saying the elves are going to welcome the contractors’ assistance. “Makes my nose red seeing them betray their oath," added Rudolph, the commander of the 65th, nicknamed the “fightin’ reindeer” for their service in World War II.
One elf attributed the reindeer response to an elitist culture where flyers are allegedly given preferential treatment. Holding back peppermint tears, he shared how just last year at the academy, reindeer allegedly spray-painted "Santa's Helpers" outside the elven dormitory. "Such antiquated terms remind us that there is a long way to go in making the yuletide army a more fair and just organization."
"It's emblematic of problems in the whole Department of Frankincense."
When reached for comment, Maj. Cinnamon Sprinkles Rodriguez of the public affairs division rejected all of the elf stories.
"Commander Claus is committed to a fit and fair Christmas force. Any allegations to the contrary are fabrications of a few bad candy apples, unable to keep up with the rigorous standards that Commander Claus expects of his troopwaffles. Such slander constitutes a war on Christmas, and we are confident that our internal investigation will prove as much."
"Just intimidation masquerading as an investigation," said one elf through the plume of a candy cigarette smoke. "They'll find any excuse to sack an elf that doesn't toy the line. A buddy of mine lost his clearance just for adding the wrong classification markings to the naughty list."
"In spite of these concerns, we will always carry out the mission," she added, having just approved Santa's travel in DTS thus saving Christmas.
Hunter J. Kieth is a former Airman of the former Air Force Space Command. Hunter defended his country from the alien threat one computer restart at a time. Now he lives by the Contractor’s Creed: Duty, Honor, Direct Deposit. History nerd, movie fan, wannabe competitive Smash Bros player.
Hey there, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at Duffel Blog! We’re so thankful for you reading our stories, laughing at our jokes, and supporting us through 2021. We’re going to take a little break and recharge our batteries. Don’t worry, we’ll be back in your inbox on Jan. 3, 2022. Hope you have a Happy New Year. We’ll see you then!
—Paul Szoldra, editor in chief of Duffel Blog