Candy Canes & Coffee Beans
Release Date: December 18
Will Christmas' biggest fan get his own taste of holiday magic?
Asher Rye lives for happiness—for himself, and the rest of the world. By day, he spreads joy one cup of coffee at a time as a barista. At Christmas, he's Dasher the elf, spreading the magic of the holiday season to every child and adult who visits Santa.
When a sad little boy visits Santa's castle with his stuffed goat and uncle in tow, Asher is determined to show him that Santa never forgets. In his quest to show the boy and his uncle the magic of Christmas, he never expects to be sprinkled with holiday magic himself.
Will Christmas' biggest fan get a Christmas miracle of his own?
“Oh. My. God.”
“Told ya,” I said smugly. Lulu never believes me. She maintains that I tend to be a just a wee bit dramatic in my descriptions. Witch. It’s a good thing she’s my best friend.
“It really is...” her head nodded as she attempted to finish her sentence.
“A giant candy cane breast pump,” I finished for her. She really should have believed me.
We stood in the middle of Upper Canada Mall, staring up at the newest addition to Santa Claus’ holiday castle. Someone had designed it. Someone had approved it. And someone had thought the giant clear plastic sphere filled to the brim with striped candy canes, and topped with an equally giant funnel, would pass as a magical treat contraption. Instead, much to my amusement, it resembled a giant festive breast pump. You would think that if I, a twenty-two year old gay man, could see that, someone else just might have made the connection. Sadly they hadn’t. Now I get to spend my evenings next to this yuletide abomination thinking of a body part that has held absolutely no interest to me since I was weened. And I weened early.
“Well?” I asked in an expectant tone and with a raised eyebrow.
“Well what?” Lulu answered, her pierced lip fighting not to curve upwards. My purple haired, inked and pierced best friend hated to be wrong. However, this time I had her. She’d refused to believe in the existence of the monstrosity right in front of us. Ha! I loved to be right.
“I presented you with the holiday boob pump, and I think I pretty much nailed it.”
“Uh huh...” I continued to stare at her, and was amazed I could hold my brow arch for so long. Finally she threw her tattooed arms up in the air. “Oh fine! You were right! I’m sure you both will make wonderful memories together. I have to get to work, Hermey.” She drew out that last word as she leaned over to lay a smacking kiss on my cheek, while somehow managing to miss the swipes I was taking to mess her purple bob. Did I mention she’s a witch?
“That’s the wrong elf, woman!” I called after her as she ran off cackling. Actually cackling! See? Witch. She knew I hated it when she called me by the name of that tooth-loving elf from the children’s classic. “I’m way cooler than a pointy eared dentist!” I flinched, hoping that the patients at the dentist’s office that was located behind Santa’s castle didn’t hear that remark.
I checked the time on my phone and realized I’d have to book it if I wanted to grab a much needed caffeine boost before getting changed and escorting Father Christmas to his throne.
Deep within the labyrinth which held the mall’s administration offices, I savored my double espresso shot latte with cinnamon as I entered the space they set aside for Santa’s “staff” to change into their costumes. To say it’s a tight fit for me would be a gross understatement, and I’m a pretty slender five foot nine. Wiggling into green and white tights while bumping my ass on the copier and various cases of bottled water was, well...actually more action than I’d seen in a while. I tried not to flirt with the mental image of Karl Buchner, our very own Santa, wrestling himself into his red velvet suit in this cramped space. I love the guy; he’s like a grandfather to all of us wayward seasonal souls. However, imagining what’s under Karl’s stuffing would guarantee me never being able to look the man in the eyes again. But I digress.
It is in this room that I change from Asher Rye, part-time college student and local barista, into Dasher, Santa Claus’ welcoming elf. Yep. I’m am elf. Not the camera elf. Nor the child wrangling/parent mollifying elf. Not even the cashier elf. I’m the welcome elf. I am the Christmas elf.
I love Christmas. I’m sure most people would tell you that they love the holidays, but I madly, deeply, truly love Christmas. For me, the magic of the season never waned, even when I discovered that there really wasn’t a jolly fellow in a red leisure suit living at the top of the world. Lulu once told me I lacked that adult filter people acquire once they obtain body hair which strips their ability to see magic. I think she’s right. Even though my brain knows very well that there’s no bearded man delivering presents near and far, my heart believes that once a year, smiles are given a little more freely, people look beyond their own personal bubbles, and goodwill is able to linger in the air just a few seconds longer before it is whisked away by the realities of the world. Presents may not magically appear under trees, but do not tell me that this season is not special.
Two years ago, when I was hired as part of the mall’s seasonal Christmas staff, I jumped at the chance to don the tights and jingly hat as the front line elf. Each year I stand proudly by the winding line of children and parents, getting them ready for their visit with St. Nick. My co-workers think I’m crazy. Ok, most of the people I know think I’m a little nuts. Hey, it’s part of my charm. But people just don’t understand my thrill of standing by that velvet rope, greeting cranky parents and children alike as they wait for their turn to ask their Christmas wishes. Nuts, remember? As I never developed that grownup filter and I’m basically still a big kid, I usually win the children over in a few short words. Then, having put smiles on little ones that had only minutes before tried the patience of even the most loving parent, I became a superstar to the adult folk. Feet that had been dragging as they slowly made their way up to the front of the line suddenly became light and skippy as they were led along the red striped carpet to the man with jolly laugh and candy cane in hand. I so loved my job!
Tech Geek. Caffeine addict. Sarcasm aficionado .
Saxon resides in the outskirts of Toronto with a hubby, teenaged minion, two cats, and a dog. Her family lives in constant fear of finding events and conversations woven into her tales (because seriously, sometimes you just can’t make that stuff up). She believes that love is love, and although she does believe that all her characters deserve a happily ever after, she’s not opposed to messing with them a little bit before they get there.
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