“Where did you say she was?”
“Taking a day off from the workshop. She’s shopping in Laguna.”
“Hmmm, her naughty-to-nice ratio is surprising; are you sure this is accurate?”
I studied the reports and spreadsheets in my hands again but I knew I wasn’t going to find anything different. I had checked the information a 100 times before even considering presenting my findings to my employer. In this case, I had to be absolutely sure.
My boss furrowed his white eyebrows in thought, “Frumkin, how many elves have seen this?”
“None, sir. I imagined a matter this delicate would be better kept a secret and brought to you.”
He nodded his head and tugged at his beard like I had seen him do so many times before. But this time was different; this time we were talking about his wife’s naughty or nice list.
We sat in silence a few minutes. The only sound was a crackling fire in the red furnace.
My boss loved red. His office was full of red toys and crimson frames outlining festive pictures. The only other colors in the room were green and gold, if you didn’t count the mound of brown cookies that always sat on his desk.
“It seems as though she would have been on the nice list if it weren’t for these two columns.”
He pointed a large finger at the report. He lowered it over the desk so I could see.
“Yes, sir, it seems as though the CA was overdrawn multiple times as well as the PA.”
“In English, Frumkin.”
“Oh, of course. The Christmas Account was overdrawn as well as the Personal Account.”
“Have you looked into what caused the overdrafts?”
“Yes, sir.” I pulled out another piece of gold-lettered paper. “The Christmas Account was overdrawn a few times due to added spending for orphans.”
My boss gave a smile that lit up the room. “Well, there you go Frumkin, that’s why she’s on the naughty list. We can’t very well blame her for trying to help, now can we?”
“And the other column? The PA?”
“Your Personal Account, sir.” I could feel my cheeks redden as I stared at the information I knew I had to divulge. “The Personal Account was overdrawn a few times right around your birthday… overdrafts from Victoria’s Secret.”
We looked at each other, both our faces became as red as the fireplace.
He stood up and did his best to look composed. “Well, I’m glad we cleared that up, Frumkin. We’ll move some funds over from savings to the Christmas Account to balance out the extra money needed for the orphans and that should put her on the nice list.”
“Yes, sir.” Not needing more of an invitation to leave his office, I headed to the door.
“Frumkin, let’s keep this between you and me, OK?”
One foot outside, in the snow, I looked back to see him making his way to the fireplace, papers in hand. “Yes, Mr. Claus.”
Jonathan Yanez is a full-time author and part-time personal trainer. You can reach him at thebeastwithinbook.blogspot.com