Leroy Elf, III, had a very serious job in Santa’s workshop. His father, Leroy Elf II, had held the job before him. And, before that, it had been the duty of Leroy Elf, Sr.
Leroy’s job was to put a drop of oil from his bright red oilcan on just the spot where each new toy might have a squeak. In this work shop toys ran quietly and smoothly, and only made the noises they were supposed to make.
The toy train said, “Chug, chug,” the Mama duck and ducklings said “Quack, Quack”, and the rocking horse said nothing but looked elegant.
The only place in Santa’s toy factory that allowed squeaky toys was the SQUEAKY TOY SHOP. There, special elves who didn’t mind squeaks, manufactured squeaky rubber ducks, squeaky bouncing balls, and all sorts of other squeaky toys. But no toy came out of that room until it was boxed and ready for Santa’s sleigh
So, Leroy Elf III had a VERY important job. And he always took it seriously. At least he always HAD taken it seriously. But today, Leroy’s mind was not on his bright red oilcan or the squeaky spots on each new toy. In fact, Leroy was very UN serious today!
His mind was on Emma Lou Elf with whom he had shared a table at tea the day before. Leroy was remembering how daintily Emma Lou lifted her teacup, and how her eyes sparkled when she laughed and…
“Oops!” a dump truck almost got by Leroy’s bright red oil can!
For the next few minutes Leroy worked very hard at being serious. He oiled the wheels and hitch pin on a tractor, the rockers on a fine dapple-gray pony, and tested a Mama Doll’s ‘mama’ voice.
Then, Leroy remembered that Emma Lou had invited him over for supper tonight. “My, my!” smiled Leroy, “How much better can life get?” And he never even noticed that a toy train with three cars and a caboose had chugged right under his oilcan! Suddenly, instead of going ‘chug, chug, chug’, the little train went ‘chug, chug, SQUEAK’!
“Oh, no!” cried Leroy, “What have I done?” And he ran after the little engine. But, before he could catch the squeak with his bright red oil can, it jumped into a Mama Doll that had come down the line. ‘Ma, ma, SQUEAK, SQUEAK!’ called the Mama Doll with a surprised look on her face.
Leroy raced to the doll, but the squeak was too quick for him. It hid in the wheels of the Mama Duck and Ducklings that waddled along in a row. ‘Quack, Quack, Quack’ they were supposed to say. But now, they said ‘SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK!’ The other elves noticed. Tom Grundy yelled, “Grab the oil cans, Leroy’s let a squeak loose!” Elves came running from every direction, as Tom Grundy stopped the assembly line.
Leroy just missed catching the squeak in the ducks when it hopped into the rockers of the elegant rocking horse. ‘Rock, rock, SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK!’ Suddenly, as Leroy ran toward the rocking horse, he stubbed his toe on a workbench and fell KERTHUMP right in front of the dapple-gray pony. The bright red oilcan went bouncing over the floor and the squeak jumped into Leroy’s shoe! As the little elf got up and took a step, everyone clearly heard him SQUEAK!
The other elves began to run toward Leroy, but he held up his hand to stop them. Then, he walked around as though nothing was wrong at all, his shoes SQUEAK SQUEAKING all the time.
Master Elf set Leroy’s bright red oilcan on the corner of a workbench and, as he passed it, Leroy picked it up without stopping. Still walking and SQUEAKING, he screwed off the top and poured a big puddle of oil just off to one side. He did it so quickly the squeak didn’t notice. Leroy walked around the room again and, just as he reached the puddle, he jumped in with both feet!
Everyone listened……. All they could hear was a little bit of ‘squish, squish’ as Leroy’s shoes soaked up the oil. “He did it!” yelled the Master Elf. “The squeak is gone!”
Leroy breathed a sigh of relief. The Master Elf looked at him sternly. “Leroy, that was a very serious mistake! What have you to say for yourself?”
Leroy looked at his shoes, all limp and uncurled at the tips. “I’m sorry, sir,” he said, “I was thinking so hard about something else that I forgot to pay attention. Must I turn in my bright red oilcan?”
“Not this time, son,” said Master Elf, “but don’t let me see that kind of thing happen again! Now, check those toys on the line for squeaks before we start up again. Let’s get moving, people!”
Everyone hurried back to their workbenches and the sound of hammers and humming filled the shop. Leroy gave each toy an extra squirt just to be sure he hadn’t missed something, and nodded to Tom Grundy to start the toys coming again.
Soon the toy trains and Mama Dolls and rocking horses moved smoothly and quietly off the line. The trains said, ‘chug, chug’, the Mama Dolls said ‘Ma ma, ma ma’, and the rocking horse said nothing but looked elegant. And Leroy? Leroy decided not to think about Emma Lou Elf except at Teatime and after work. And ALWAYS to take his job seriously!