Today’s challenge from Chuck Wendig: write a “something-punk” story. I give you:
“Shake it, shake it baby! Whooo hooooo! Go girl! Shake shake shake shake shake!”
By this point all the elves were in a circle around Lucinda. They were chanting and she was shaking it. Shaking her green and yellow behind. The bells on her hem and her pointy boots were jingling all the way. She took off her hat, whirled it around her head and threw it out into the crowd. She had never felt so alive! She started twisting her hips, really making those bells ring.
“SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE!”
A loud voice rolled through the room. Oh crap. The foreman had arrived and play time was over. Lucinda climbed down from the table. All the elves took their hats off their heads and clasped them to their chests. They all stared down at the floor. Lucinda wanted to glare at him, but a lifetime of servitude prevented her. She stared down at the floor like the rest, bright red spots of anger colouring her cheeks.
He strode into the room. The worker elves had been getting more and more difficult as the years went by. This latest escapade was bigger than anything else he’d seen. Elves didn’t dance, and they definitely didn’t “shake it”! All elves did was work hard, forever. It was the way it had always been.
What could make normal, hard-working elves go crazy like this? He was at a loss. All he knew was work, so he went with that. “Get back to work! Lucinda, put your hat on and have some elf-respect.”
They all filed past him, sullen, eyes-downcast. “Wait a moment. Since you all clearly need some help focusing today, I’ll have the kitchen send out some gingerbread and milk. Make sure you eat it! Then get to work. We’re behind quota now with all this foolishness.”
The gingerbread! Some elves were drooling. The anticipation of that sweet fog was too much. Oh gingerbread, soft, warm, chewy, spices going straight to the head. Making the day pass in a warm, scented haze. Kitchen elves came out with trays of the narcotic treat. The crowd jostled into a line and eagerly took a warm piece and a glass of milk.
“I’m not eating the fucking gingerbread.” Lucinda crossed her arms in front of her chest.
“You have to!” Her friends were horrified. “You can’t say no, you’ll get in trouble.”
“What trouble? More work? That’s all there is here anyway. Ooooh, more work. I am shaking in my green pointy boots.”
Lucinda was making everybody nervous. The dancing had started at break time, and at first it had been scandalous. It had quickly become exciting. The elves had funny feelings that they hadn’t felt before. Some of it was to do with the way Lucinda had moved, and some of it had to do with disobeying. It had felt wrong, and good, at the same time.
The last of the line was moving past the gingerbread. Lucinda took a piece and held it up to her lips just as she passed the foreman. As soon as she was by him, she crumbled it in her hand.
They all entered the workfloor. They each went to their workbenches and picked up their tools. Already her neighbours at their stations had a glazed look in their eyes.
The foreman started the chant. “For the greater good! For the greater good!” All the elves chanted along, their spicy breath filling the room with the warm gingerbread smell.
“For the greater good!” Lucinda mumbled along, and tap-tapped with her hammer on a wooden truck she was building. Everybody else seemed so content. They smiled and tapped and chanted. The kitchen elves circulated through the room, handing out more gingerbread. The elves absently put it in their mouths, and kept working.
Lucinda knew it hadn’t always been like this. There had been pride, once. Gingerbread had been used rarely, and only at home, for relaxing. Now pride had been replaced by fear, and ginger was used almost daily.
The foreman felt the same. It hadn’t always been like this. The elves used to want to work all day. You couldn’t hardly stop them. They loved work. It was their favourite thing.
The creaking of huge hinges interrupted his train of thought. All the elves looked up. They stopped working. A few hammers tap-tap-tapped into the silence, then stopped.
The doors at the back of the room slowly opened, revealing only darkness. A pair of red eyes blazed out, and swept the room. A gust of hot air came from the open doors, smelling of spices. The doors slowly creaked shut again.
The elves shivered and looked around at each other. Their fear cut through the ginger haze. It had been the Fat Man. Nobody saw him much anymore. They didn’t even see him at loading time, on Christmas Eve. Something had gone wrong, and it had started with the Fat Man himself.
There were dark, quiet rumours that he had become a ginga-head, addicted to the spice. Nobody spoke too loudly though, because he had a way of knowing almost everything. Almost. When his twin sons had killed each other in one of their endless fights over their inheritance, he had been shocked. That might have been when the ginger had started. His wife had borne no more children, so there would be no heir.
Lucinda thought about all these things while she absently tapped away at her worktable. Without an heir, there would eventually be a problem with delivery, once the Big Guy died.
Was she going to have to save Christmas? Hell no. She was going to save the Elf people.
It was time for a revolution.
She wasn’t sure how to do a revolution. She knew one thing though – it had to start with the spice. She would find a way to sabotage the ginger production. There would be chaos, but it would be a beginning.
The elf people would be free!