Dec. 7th, 2011

I had to think fast. I couldn't keep taking turns to see if my shadow would stay on my tail; sooner or later he'd catch on that I had caught on. There were three basic things I could do – shake the tail, lose the tail and then follow him, or catch the tail and brace him. I opted for the last one. I had been beaten up, carried around and insulted quite a bit in the previous forty-eight hours, and I felt I was due for a little unpleasantness.

I decided to pull a Polar Bear. On the next block I spotted a promising place to do it – a homeowner's private igloo with no smoke coming out of the chimney. I ducked inside it, hoping it was unoccupied. I was lucky; the lights were off and the house was empty.

My pursuer didn't come in right away. He must have looked at that wind-flap for a minute trying to decide what to do. But I knew he couldn't resist. A polar bear knows if he waits by the air-hole long enough, a seal will stick its head through. It has to.

The elf poked his pointed hat through the doorway. I was waiting. I grabbed him by his ears and pulled him through. He yelped and stumbled, landing hard on his face. "Hi, honey; I'm home!" I said, grabbing him by a shoulder and rolling him onto his back. He was an aging elf with once-sandy hair going white, a somewhat vacant expression and perfectly straight teeth. His nose was starting to bleed. "Oh, gosh," he said, putting his hands to his face, "I hope I didn't break any crowns!"

"Hey, wait a second," I said suspiciously. The elf looked familiar to me for sure. I snapped my fingers.

"You're Hermey," I said.

He nodded unhappily. "The dentist," he said. "And Rudolf's best friend."

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September 2012

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