On Winter Wish Eve, my father always threw a swanky soirée. The vibe was much more the glittering ’20s of the nineteenth century than the retro-futuristic ’50s that the decorum of Cratersville was based on.
Access to the party was by invitation only.
Out-of-era celebrations were strictly prohibited in our era-locked town—except during Alternative Eras Week—thus attending one of my father’s parties resembled the admissions process to a speakeasy during prohibition instead of a festive holiday get-together. (Think a darkened doorway down an abandoned alley, not a warmly lit front door of an intown house.)
That being said, I was just a little surprised to see the teacher I loved to hate, mingling amiably with a small group of party glitterati as I arrived with my friends, Bluesy and Blue.
It was not the first invitation that Mr. Greensworth had snagged, though this did nothing to lessen the chagrin of seeing him there. I don’t know if my father was working on the premise of keeping your enemies close, or if he enjoyed the way the little creatures always seemed to get the best of the buttoned-down professor.
Blueberry nodded to the teacher as he walked by before heading for the refreshments.
Bluesy, possessing a more socially aware nature than her brother, insisted on engaging in a brief exchange with my arch-nemesis which ended—surprisingly—without me being suspended or him saying something bone-headed about the little creatures “infesting” the town, which would have lead to the aforementioned suspension of yours truly.
From there, we joined Blue at the table where the eggnog was being dispensed. My sister Poppy, playing the part of a reckless teenager, had snatched a bottle from behind the bar and was introducing its contents into an opened carton of the featured drink to make it even more festive.
Blueberry took the first swig and nearly choked. “Hey Pops, do you want me to get smashed with the first sip?”
Poppy just giggled as she hid the illicitly procured bottle beneath the glitzy skirt of a heavily festooned table.
One sniff told me that I would need to cut Poppy’s concoction with a little sanity from an untainted source. Opening another container, I poured myself a nonlethal (though still illegal) dose of underage fun and set about mingling with the crowd, two Blues in tow.
It wasn’t long before Poppy made a reappearance, more mischievousness in mind. This time, she was adorning the assembled guests with little sprigs of holly.
The sprigs weren’t as innocent as they appeared, for Poppy and I had created them the previous day from some sketches in our Creation Books. They would provide quite the surprise as the night wore on—especially for uptight people such as Mr. Greensworth was concerned.
Fortunately, it wasn’t long before Mr. Greensworth found Poppy’s spiked nog and had ingested enough of the yummy goodness to make dancing-on-tabletops-with-a-lampshade-on-his-head seem like a good idea.
Thus, he wasn’t appalled in the least as the magically affixed holly came to life and started flying around the room. The little holly creatures provided a festive interlude that included not only a light show and sing-along but a special guest appearance in the proceedings by one Mr. Greensworth himself.
The little holly creatures weren’t done with the professor—not by a long shot.
Apparently, the little creatures thought my teacher quite worthy of his green name, thus, when he was far beyond caring, they propped him up and started decking him out as if he were a Winter Wish tree complete with little gifts at his feet.
I don’t know where they got these or what was wrapped inside the shiny, faux metallic paper. I was tempted to open the packages myself. Instead, I took a quick snap of the scene, just in case I needed a little leverage in the future.
Later, when I got home that night, I tied a new wish to the Winter Wish tree. It was a wish that Mr. Greensworth would find humor in all that had happened to him that evening, though wishing him a speedy recovery from the world-class hangover he would no doubt be experiencing the next day would have probably been more kind.
Either way, I wanted him to feel the warmth of the season, even if that warmth was coming from the hot blush of embarrassment upon remembering the events of the night before.
Make a wish for me!
—Jellybean Reds, Creator of Little Creatures