What do you do when the company stinker threatens your job just before Christmas, and your reason for living is to get toys to kids who wouldn’t have them without you and your friends? Well, you call in the team, that’s what.
What others are saying…
“Each story is a tantalizing present waiting to be unwrapped. Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanzaa all get their due–as well as the Yule traditions of the ancient Scots. Faux Santas–including strip-joint waitresses in Santa beards–rub elbows with wise men from the east in the guise of armed desperadoes bearing gifts. Marley and Tym, complete with crutch, take on new roles. And, most amusingly, Santa’s reindeer provide names, starting with Helen Dasher, for an ad hoc team that conspires to give a holiday-spoiling charlatan his come-uppance.”
author of Sweet Man Is Gone
Neither Helen nor her friends did their Christmas shopping at Cranston’s. Not all children would wake up, like the children of Cranston’s privileged customers, to new skis and tickets to Switzerland. Helen and her friends spent their Christmas savings at sales and discount stores. They saw to it that the least fortunate children on their list – children they had never met – woke up to something, even if it were only a candy cane and a plastic truck. Too bad Santa’s workshop full of busy little elves was only a fiction.
Helen stepped into the elevator and punched the button for the toy department.
When the doors opened, Ray Donner, Assistant Sales Manager and Helen’s dearest friend, stood waiting for her. He was trim and athletic, with soulful brown eyes. He and Helen had grown up together, working side-by-side since the day they’d entered harness.
“Met my new boss? Basco?” he asked.
Helen snorted. “I met him. As if it weren’t bad enough they passed you over to hire him, he’s trying to talk Mr. Cranston into decisions I know are wrong….”
Ray smiled. “You know I don’t care about the promotion, don’t you? I’ve never been a leader.”
“Yes, I know. Still, it doesn’t do the team any good to have an outsider brought in ahead of them. Oh, we know it works out sometimes, but only when the whole team sees the need, and this is not one of those times. The man is a predator, besides.” Helen remembered Basco’s hungry once-over and shivered in revulsion.
Donner shook his head. “If Mr. Cranston wants to pay for bad advice, that’s his decision. It’s his company. As for his wolfishness….” He grinned. “He wouldn’t be the first wolf who learned that inoffensive doesn’t mean defenseless.”