“I'm not kidding. Nothing says I love you like stolen goods. Show him he's worth the risk!” He fluffed his mutton chops.
I knew my mouth was hanging open, but I just let it hang for a minute. While the shocked chemical cocktail in my head was settling, I looked at the certificates on the wall behind his desk. The Institute of Higher Evil, they said. Law, marriage counseling, psychotherapy, dishwashing, editing- you name it, it was up there. “Signed by Yugot Riptov, president?” I read.
He shrugged. “So? Somebody's gotta be president. Anyway, to get back to your problem-”
“Look,” I said “I don't need to steal anything- I've got money. But I can't think of anything he doesn't have.”
His face lit up and he leaned over his desk. “Well, that's easy to fix! Steal what he has! Then you can buy him something. Oh, and um...” He pointed to one of the certificates: E. Editor, Pawn Broker. “If you need any help getting rid of the goods...”
I crossed my arms. Christmas season or no Christmas season, I was getting ideas about where to put my tree. And not one of those nice trees either, one of those spiny, prickly ones.
He pursed his lips. “Coffee Machine?”
“I'd like a refund pl-”
“Spent it. Socks?”
I opened my mouth-
“Let me guess; no feet, right?”
“You're a riot.”
“Gummi Bears? No? I got it! Do a strip tease.”
That did it. He just sat there, stunned, as I pulled the magic burlap bag out of my purse and yanked it down over him. I tossed the near-weightless bundle onto the floor and hauled out my Elfcom. “Seymore? Mrs. Claus here. Yeah, I got him. Send a sleigh, will you?” The bag wiggled. I kicked it. “Yeah, he's veeeeeeeeeeeeery naughty... Santa's going to love it- best present ever! Just the asshole to edit his memoirs... 20,000 pages, last count, why? Pfff... Not my problem. Anyway, that's what happens when immortals write their memoirs... Coffee? Sure, I'll stop at Dunkin'... ”