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psycho elf
a minimum wage holiday tale
by robert a. melos

In these tough economic times I have been forced to look outside of my career in real estate for a job that might pay me...anything. To this end I considered seasonal employment. I’m not talking about the mundane seasonal stock job or store clerk. No, I’ve always believed if you’re going to do something do it big, or for the most you can get out of it. With that thought in mind I approached the little booth where in less than a month Santa’s Village would be erected. Seated in the booth was an elf wannabe wearing a name tag that read “Todd.”

“Hi,” I said cheerfully. “I’d like a job application.”

Todd glanced up at me from his text messaging. “The Santa position has been filled,” he said.

“Do I look like I could play an overweight, out of shape old man?” I asked incredulously.

His eyes roved up and down my person before he answered. “Like I said, the Santa position is already filled.”

Oh yeah, Todd was cruising for a bitch slapping. I cleared my throat. “I don’t want to apply for the Santa position,” I said, drawing him once again from his texting. “I want to apply for the position of elf.”

This announcement stopped him mid text. He looked up again. “Elf?”




He paused and handed me an application. “You know our elves have to frolic.”

“I know how to frolic,” I replied, sounding a little too much like Clint Eastwood daring him to challenge my elvish ambitions one more time. Punk.

“Sure you do,” Todd said. He then looked up. “Do you have the legs for it?”

“I’ve got legs, and I know how to use them,” I snarked.

“Ha ha,” he said. “I’ve heard that song on the mall muzak.”

“See,” I replied, “we’ve got that in common. We listen to the same music.”

“Not out of choice,” he snapped back. “Besides, I was referring to the fact all our elves wear tights. Do you really think you have the legs for holiday green tights?”

“That’s not for me to judge.”

I looked over the application and began filling it out. The usual information, high school, graduated, college, work experience. “Todd, there’s only two lines for work experience. Should I list my other jobs on the back?”

“Most of our elves are high school seniors. We don’t expect senior citizens to apply to be elves, so yeah, list your work experience on the back. You do know this job pays minimum wage?”

I nodded. “It’s all that’s available to old geezers like me,” I sighed.

“You know our elves have to be happy?”

“I’m forty-seven years-old and considering donning an elf suit to earn minimum wage because the job I do doesn’t pay me enough to survive. I’ll fake happy.”

“Dude! You can’t fake happy. Santa will know. The children will know. The soccer moms will know,” he said. “You’ve got to feel the holiday spirit in your heart.”

At that moment I really wanted to drive a stake of holly through his heart. I envisioned the potential of mall carnage that lay ahead if I continued to fill out that application. I could see a dead Santa slumped in his throne, and eight slaughtered reindeer splattered all across Santa’s Village, with elves running for cover as I went postal on their jolly selves.

In that moment, I knew the job wasn’t for me. No matter how much I might need money, for the safety of the mall elf population, and my own sanity, I could not subject myself to the ho, ho, ho holiday spirit for eight hours a day.

I tore up the application and handed it back to Todd. “The life you saved may have been your own,” I said, still sounding like Eastwood. I slowly walked out of the mall as I heard the first strands of Joy to the World began to play over the mall speakers.


Robert is the author of the novels Cool Mint Blue, Melba Ridge, and the recently released The Adventures of Homosexual Man and Lesbian Lad; and the creator of the on-line comix Impure Thoughts found at his web site Inside R.A. Melos, as well as having been an on-line staff writer for QBliss where he had a monthly humor column, Maybe A Yip, Maybe A Yap. In his non-writing time, when he's not studying the metaphysical or creating a tarot deck, he sells real estate in Middlesex County New Jersey, hangs out with his dog Zeus, and spends time at the Pride Center of New Jersey in Highland Park, NJ, where he is on the Board of Trustees.

more about robert a. melos


sure beats working for a living
just not applying myself
by robert a. melos
topic: humor
published: 3.1.07

dear jim
breaking up is hard to do
by robert a. melos
topic: humor
published: 8.30.04


adam kraemer
11.10.10 @ 10:19a

A friend of mine played an elf for years at FAO Schwartz during the holidays. He even had a back story made up about who the elf was, his dreams and aspirations, etc. He loved that gig.

maigen thomas
11.18.10 @ 12:45p

That was awesome. I haven't considered being an elf, but perhaps I should add that to my life list?

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