So Luther tried avoiding the ladies during daily deliveries, but they still latched onto any opportunity for humiliating the underling. Today’s full staff meeting presented another chance to put the ugly mail clerk in his place. Christmas was only a week away, and names were to be drawn for the Secret Santa gift exchange. As a box containing everyone’s name was passed around the room, Luther hoped the spirit of giving would result in Holly, Anne, and Ivy giving him a break. It wasn’t to be.
Luther pulled out a name before the box reached the secretaries, and he cringed when he saw Ivy Dantzer’s name written on the small piece of paper. But, the rule was you could only exchange if you pulled out your own name, so he decided to make the best of it. When the box came to his three office foes, Holly picked first. The tall, red-haired beauty groaned, made a horrible face, and looked directly at Luther. “Whoops,” she said. “Got my own name.” She crumpled the paper, then pulled out another name. After whispering something and giggling with her two friends, Anne, a lovely black girl known for her very short skirts and knockout legs, reached in and pulled out the same crumpled up sheet. She, too, looked at Luther. “Same thing happened to me,” she said and threw the paper back before picking another. Luther suspected something was amiss, but didn’t catch on until petite, busty, golden haired Ivy pulled out the same crumpled paper and without even looking at said, “Damn, I pulled out my name, too.”
Luther knew that Ivy couldn’t have pulled out her own name, and with all three girls laughing now, he also realized that it was his name on that sheet. And from the stares and snickers around him, everyone else knew it, too. As the meeting adjourned, there were still a few names in the box for people who were absent that day, and Luther’s crumpled name was one of them. Quietly, the mail clerk walked to the front, put Ivy’s name back in the box, and took out his own. Apparently Secret Santa would not be bringing him any gifts, especially any kind of change in his lovely tormentors.
Following previous attacks on his self-esteem by the three secretaries, Luther would quietly retreat to the mail room and self-commiserate, with a few tears of self-pity on occasion. But this time when he entered his sanctuary, his hurt and humiliation had turned to anger. “So, they don’t want to give ‘the freak’ a Christmas present, do they?” He shouted, kicking the mail cart and hurling boxes against the wall. “I just wish there was some way I could get a Christmas present from all three of them!”
The mail clerk’s tirade was interrupted by a loud “Ahem!” from the far side of the room. Luther’s anger was immediately replaced by fear. If any of the administrative staff had heard or seen him, he would be giftless and jobless for Christmas.
“Who’s there?” Luther asked, meekly.
From the shadows a large figure began ambling toward him. Luther initially shrunk back in fear, but as the figure came into the light, he saw an older, heavy set man, all in red and white and black, with large boots, a heavy coat, a long beard, and soft cap. But something was off. The boots were white, the coat and pants and cap were black, and the beard was red. “Ha! Ha! Ha!” The man bellowed. “No, wait, that’s not right. Hee? Hee? Hee? No, dammit, it can’t be that hard!”
“Ho? Ho? Ho?” Luther offered weakly.
“Yes, that’s it!” The man bellowed. As the man drew closer, Luther noticed that not only was his beard red, but his skin as well. “Well, Luther Hayes. I heard that you have made a very special Christmas wish.”
“What? Oh, what I just said?” Luther hung his head. “No, that wasn’t a very nice Christmas wish.”
The man smiled and rubbed his beard. “’Not very nice Christmas wishes’ are my specialty. So, you’re having some female co-worker problems, are you?” Luther nodded. “Your ‘friends’ are not very giving at Christmas, is that right?” Another nod. “Well, Luther, how would you like it if each one of those lovely ladies provided you with a very special Christmas gift. Things you could use and remember them by each and every Christmas for years to come?”
“I don’t know who you are – or what costume shop sold you that suit – but you are way out of your league here, Bub.” Luther countered, hoping the old man didn’t have a chainsaw in the large bag slung over his shoulder.
“Just call me Secret Santa, Luther. And as for being out of my league, well, I’m the founder, owner, commissioner, and umpire of this ‘league.’ And, by far, I’m this ‘league’s’ best player.” The old man saw from Luther’s confused look that this particular metaphor was sailing several feet over the mail clerk’s head. So, he decided to get down to business. He pulled his bag over his shoulder and set it down in front of him. Luther stepped back in fear, but the old man smiled and put out a reassuring hand. He then reached in and brought out three packages. Each was wrapped in shiny black paper, and tied with a red bow. “Here’s the deal, Luther. In order to get the kind of presents you’re looking for, you have to give something first.”
“You mean, like ‘it’s more blessed to give than to receive’?” Luther asked.
“Uhh, sort of, although I’d prefer you left ‘blessed’ out of the equation. There’s a gift here for each of your lady ‘friends.’” Luther started to protest, but again the man held up a hand. “Ahh. Ahh. Ahh. I know what you’re thinking. The last thing you want to do is give them a gift. Well, giving these gifts will ensure that you get a lot more in return.”
Luther knew this was crazy, but was still intrigued. “Well, I do just work in the mail room. And I’ve got rent and bus fare and groceries – how much will this cost?”
“Less than what you’ve got in your pocket,” the old man countered.
Luther emptied his pockets. “I’ve got ninety five cents – but I’m getting a Coke and NipChee crackers for break,” he put eighty five cents in his pocket, leaving a dime on the counter, “so that leaves ten cents.”
“Ten cents is the exact fee, along with a small surcharge – your immortal soul.”
Luther hesitated. “Gee, I don’t know. If I pay what you ask, I’ll be left with nothing.”
The old man thought a moment. “Okay. I’ll make it a nickel and your immortal soul.”
“Done!” Luther picked up the packages and set them on his desk. When he turned to speak to Secret Santa, the old man was gone. And on the counter where he had dumped his change sat a shiny nickel, and a receipt for one immortal soul.
A week passed, and despite their efforts at a special year-end humiliation surge, Luther would only return the secretaries’ abusive efforts with a strange and knowing smile. Finally, the last work day before the holidays arrived, and with it the office Christmas party. This was the one time of the year the girls forgot about Luther, focusing their efforts on how best to advance their careers by seductive means. But Luther had certainly not forgotten about them . . . .
Ivy had been handed a typed note, saying that Mr. Crenshaw, head of the firm, wanted to wish her a Merry Christmas privately in his office. After spending an entire hour trying to decide which junior executive would give her the best raise (in more ways than one), this was like having her Christmas bonus tied up in a neat pretty pretty package.
And that’s just what she found after she had discretely slipped away to Mr. Crenshaw’s office: a nice pretty package sitting on his desk, wrapped in shiny black paper and tied with a red bow. The old man was nowhere to be found, but she read the tag that said TO: Ivy Dantzer, FROM: Secret Santa. She sat down carefully in his leather chair, not wanting to wrinkle her shiny (and tight) gold lame dress, or put a run in her gold sparkled black pantyhose, and tore off the wrapping paper. It was a square box – not very large, but too large for jewelry. Printed on the top in fancy gold lettering were the words: “Sexy Christmas Ornery Mints.” The ‘sexy’ part was promising, but what in the hell were ‘ornery mints’? Ivy carefully opened the lid, pulled aside some red tissue paper, and then gasped.
The box was divided into small compartments, and in each compartment was what smelled like pieces of mint candy. But the gasp came from the candy shapes. Each was shaped like a provocative body part. Small white mint breasts with red candy nipples. Male sex organs in quite elaborate detail. There were lipsticked lips and, well, lips from other areas of the anatomy, as well. Ivy started to laugh as dollar signs danced in her head. This was a win-win situation – either the start of a very profitable affair with the wealthy head of the company, or prima facie evidence in a very profitable sexual harassment suit. While it would be better to keep the evidence intact, Ivy couldn’t resist at least tasting one of the candy pieces. She chose, of course, the anatomically correct penis. It was cool, and sweet – quite tasty, in fact. And then she bit down on the mint.
A stinging jelly squirted out and covered her tongue. The taste was bitter, and Ivy started to spit it out, but noticed that her mouth was becoming numb and hard. The effect was spreading to her lips, but she grabbed a mirror from off the desk and managed to open her mouth. The scream that formed in her throat had nowhere to go, as she saw that her tongue had shrunk to almost nothing, and turned to gold – as had the inside of her mouth and teeth, and even her lips were turning gold and beginning to shrink. Then she heard cracking noises, and looked down in horror to see the other mints in the box begin to crack open. The gel filling inside each piece shot forward onto the panicked blonde, and in minutes, there was gel in her hair, in the cleavage exposed by her low cut dress, on her dress and stockinged legs, even on her shoes. Though she could not cry out, she did try to walk or crawl to the door, but her attempt to get up simply landed her on the floor, and she felt her entire body begin to tighten and shrink and harden. The moans and gyrations lasted but a few moments, and then there was silence. Smoke began to arise from the floor where she lay, as her expensive shoes and dress and undergarments dissolved. When it dissipated, all that remained was a nude female figurine, in shapely gold. A black gloved hand reached out and picked up the tiny statue. It attached a gold loop to the head, and then carefully lay the nude figurine in the gift box, wrapping it in the red tissue paper. The box lid was closed, and the gold lettering began to move and reshape, now with the message: “Sexy Christmas Ornament.” The black wrapping paper magically covered the box, and the red ribbon retied itself at the top. And the black glove attached a new tag: TO: Luther Hayes, FROM: Secret Santa.
A couple of low wolf whistles followed Anne Vixon as she swayed down the hall away from the festivities. The voluptuous black secretary smiled appreciatively at the male reactions. She wasn’t sure whether it was her skin tight cream colored dress, or the matching sheer pantyhose that highlighted her shapely legs. Anne knew her legs were her best feature, and her office attire always highlighted that fact. Her current destination was the office copy room, to which she had been summoned by an urgent note from Ivy. But the sexy blonde was nowhere to be seen as Anne stepped into the room. Other than the various office machines – fax, copier, shredder – all Anne could find was a large, handsomely wrapped package sitting atop the photocopier. The tag read TO: Anne Vixon, FROM Secret Santa. Now what’s this about, she thought. Had Ivy drawn her name, and then given her something risque to be opened away from the party?
Anne carefully removed the red bow and black paper, and was greeted by a box with a colored picture of a delicious dessert pastry. It read, “The Make-Your-Own Christmas Cheesecake Kit” and a sticker affixed below the heading identified the flavor: Chocolate. The secretary remembered a couple of the older male executives referring to ‘cheesecake’ pictures of older movie stars showing a lot of leg. Maybe the gift was a subtle sexual compliment. Anne opened the box and found an instruction booklet, some large spoons and a spatula, a large tin container labeled ‘Cheesecake Mix’, and most interestingly, a number of small cake molds. She examined these more carefully, and found that one of the molds was in the shape of a female torso, while the other three were separate torso parts – legs to the waist, the chest and arms, and a head with short hair, much like her own. Well, she thought, this is interesting – maybe even a little kinky – but hardly worth a special and secret summons. This must be one of Ivy’s, and Holly’s, little jokes.
“Very funny, Ivy. If you’re watching, I hope you know you’ve done a lot better than this in the past.” Anne set the molds back into the box and lifted the mix tin. Great, it was empty. Just like this joke. Only one thing remained unexamined in the box - a large electrical cord. Maybe it was for a mixer that somehow didn’t make it in the kit. Anne got ready to close the box and return to the party, when she noticed the cord start to move. She stepped back, thinking it was some kind of snake, and maybe the real punch line of this practical joke. Nothing happened for a few seconds, and she leaned in once again. This time, the cord shot out of the box and dove to the power strip on the floor behind the shredder. That’s when all of the other machines came to life.
“That’s it! I am out of here!” Anne said backing away toward the door. But when her hand touched the doorknob, she felt a small electrical shock, and stepped back. Her hand reached for the fax machine to steady herself, and the rollers grabbed one of her loose bracelets, and began pulling her into the machine. As she started to call out, an extension cord flew off a shelf and wrapped itself around her head and mouth, gagging her. Other cords followed, and began to snake themselves up and down her body, loosening and removing clothing and jewelry, and dropping them into the shredder. As the attack continued, Anne tried desperately to unlatch the bracelet by which she was held fast in the fax machine. But the enlivened cords worked fast, and soon the young woman felt one cord snap open her bra, and another peel her pantyhose down her legs. Topless now, she finally unlatched the bracelet and was free of the fax. But before she could try and pry the cord from round her face, the lid of the photocopier leaped open, accompanied by a vacuum-like sound. Anne’s saw that the glass surface was gone, replaced by a gaping hole. The vacuum noise increased, and now Anne felt herself being drawn toward the copier. There was nothing to grasp for leverage, and in seconds her head and upper torso disappeared into the machine. Her feet left the floor as she was sucked in, and the living cords removed her heels and pantyhose from her kicking feet, just before they too disappeared into the copier. Once she was completely in, the lid closed, and there were a few moments of rumbling and grinding. And then, the Cheesecake Maker cord unplugged itself from the power strip, and everything stopped. A large figure in a black fur suit stepped into the copier room, and placed the cord back in its box. He then opened the front of the copier, and removed the large plastic containter that normally held powdered copier toner. Opening the large tin in the Cheesecake kit, the figure dumped the contents of the copier container into the tin. It was a fine, light brown powder, and it completely filled the tin. Everything went back to its place, and the Cheesecake kit box was closed, rewrapped, rebowed, and retagged, this time TO: Luther Hayes, FROM: Secret Santa.
When she felt a small pinch on her left thigh, and then her right, Holly Donner quickly looked around to see if some junior executive or salesman showed signs of having just wielded a rubber band and paper clip. Only a few were near enough, and they were busy hitting on other female partygoers. The only man looking her way was old man Boggs, Mr. Crenshaw’s hardly-ever silent partner, and the firm’s connection to investment capital. The usually prim and proper Mr. Boggs was staring at her legs, but surely he had done nothing to her. Holly averted his glance, and looked around for Ivy and Anne. Where did they go - she hadn’t seen them in several minutes. When she glanced back around, Mr. Boggs was standing just a few feet away, and trying to nonchalantly nod at her legs.
“At our home, Ms. Donner, we hang our stockings with care,” he said softly and discretely, with an unmistakable tone of disapproval. Holly felt like telling the old fart that their ‘stockings’ were probably the only thing in the Boggs well hung, but bit her tongue. She did glance down and saw that her tan shaded stockings had fallen beneath the hem of her skirt. That pinching sensation must have been her garters snapping. But both at once?
Slightly embarrassed, Holly moved behind a food table, and quickly slid each nylon back up her leg. She then moved quickly toward her cubicle, away from the party. Maybe she could make the necessary repairs. On the way, she silently chastised herself for wearing stockings instead of pantyhose today. She thought she would feel more chic - certainly less encumbered. Now she was a bit too unencumbered, and simply hoped she would find an extra pair of pantyhose in her desk.
Instead, she found a small flat package, wrapped in shiny black paper with a beautiful red bow. The card read TO: Holly Donner, FROM: Secret Santa. Her first thought was that black was a strange color for Christmas wrap. She much preferred bright colors, like the red bow. Holly knew she should find some remedy to her fashion problem first, but couldn’t resist opening the package.
And inside, she found her solution: a bright red Christmas garter belt, with silky red garters, and a white furry waistband. What an unusual coincidence . . . . And then she remembered Mr. Boggs’ glance and comments. Somehow, the old ‘gentleman’ had found a way to snap her old garters, so she would wear his ‘special’ gift. Boggs was no stallion - but ‘well off’ beats ‘well hung’ every time. Holly shut the door to her work area, removed her red velvet skirt, detached the broken garters, and pulled the new garter belt over her nylons and onto her waist. It fit perfectly, and the white fur was especially comfortable against her bare stomach. Now for the garters: front and back on the left leg, and then the front on the right, and then finally, the right back . . .
As soon as Holly fastened the last garter, she felt her nylons pull uncomfortably tight. She lost her balance, and hobbled back to her chair to sit and make some kind of adjustment. But it was the garter belt that would be making the adjustments. First, the soft white fur began to expand and move upwards over Holly’s stomach and breasts, reaching her neck and mouth in seconds, muffling any attempt by the attractive redhead to scream. Before the fur covered her eyes, Holly saw that the garters were pulling her legs upward and onto her desk. The tightness in her feet was gone, but only because what had been feet sheathed in nylon had merged and become one foot-shaped piece of nylon with no distinctive toes or tendons or ankles. The merging was moving up both legs, as her stockinged tan legs began to redden even as they joined together. But now, the white fur covered the rest of Holly’s face and shoulder length hair. And Holly’s consciousness was disappearing too - sinking into the soft fur and a new and altered oblivion.
The contrast was sharp: black furred gloves against the white furred top of a long, sheer, red Christmas stocking. The gloved hands carefully folded the smooth shiny mesh, and placed it back in the box. Before replacing the lid, a gloved finger touched the fur, and then wrote in fine white soft lettering on the top of the stocking ‘L u t h e r.’ The gift tag was similarly changed, and replaced at the knot of the beautiful red bow.
Luther Hayes took another bite of the creamy chocolate cheesecake - the right foot, this time - and slowly savored the delicious taste. This would be his last Christmas cheesecake for the season. New Year’s Day had come and gone, and while Luther didn’t have a date, he certainly hadn’t spent this New Year’s alone. Not with his Secret Santa gifts keeping him company. As Luther’s tongue worked its way over the confection’s silky texture, he heard and felt Anne Vixon’s soft moan of ecstasy reverberate in his mouth, as he had with each small cheesecake he had made over the last several days.
It had been quite a shock when Luther first discovered that his former tormentors, though transformed into seasonal decorations and treats, were still alive. It was Ivy who first revealed this bonus gift. Luther had already removed the shapely gold ornament from the tree several times for closer inspection, and it seemed the lovely blonde was immobile and gilded forever. But the day after Christmas, Luther had run his finger along her supple golden curves while she still hung on his small Christmas tree, and was delightedly shocked to discover that the figurine shuddered ever so slightly. Off the tree - no movement. On the tree - and the Ivy ornament seemed to enjoy Luther’s slightest touch. He immediately tried the same thing with Holly, his sheer Christmas stocking. Off the fireplace mantle there was only the feel of soft white fur and smooth silky nylon. But hung on the mantle, Luther’s caress brought a delighted sigh from the white fur stocking top, and shimmering movement up and down the length of the red nylon. There didn’t seem to be any reaction from the plastic cheesecake molds, which Luther assumed now contained Anne’s essence. It was only after making a small cheesecake in the full body mold and eating the same that Luther realized Anne had not been turned into plastic molds, but into the chocolate cheesecake mix itself. Needless to say, over the course of the next few days, Luther became a devotee of chocolate cheesecake.
But the Christmas holidays were over, and the girls’ reactions to Luther’s special care had already diminished. So, he realized they needed to be carefully packaged and stored away until next December, and many Christmases after. Except for Anne, he originally thought, since he would eventually consume all of the cheesecake mix. But he was delighted to discover that the tin container was now as full as when he first opened it. Like Holly and Ivy, Anne would be with Luther every Christmas to come.
Luther had just finished lovingly folding Holly and putting her in her gift box, when there was a sharp knocking on the door. When he opened it, there stood his voluptuous new neighbor, Linda Lane, looking quite angry.
“Listen, dweeb!” She started, before Luther could even say hello. “I thought I told you about that nerd-scooter of yours.” She pointed at Luther’s moped. “My boyfriend, Scar, damn near killed himself tripping over it last night. You’re lucky he isn’t going to sue your ass!”
Now Luther could have stated two important facts in his defense: one, that he had permission from the landlord to keep his moped in the hallway; and two, that he had heard Scar leave the night before, tripping over everything between Linda’s door and the next block because he was stone cold drunk. But Luther’s attention was on Linda herself. With her pouty lips, her tight t-shirt accentuating her ample breasts, her hands on her hips, and her legs spread wide and feet firmly planted - she looked exactly like that inflatable sex doll in the window of Harry’s Adult Emporium down on Third Street. Luther felt a rather strong longing in what his mother used to call the body’s ‘tropical’ area.
The door to Linda’s apartment opened, and Linda’s Oriental roommate, Lynn Wu, leaned her long and lithe body against the door frame. “And don’t forget about the music,” she practically hissed at Luther as she reminded her roomie of another Luther complaint.
“Oh, yeah, we’re getting really tired of that dumbass marching band crap you play in the evening,” Linda added.
“Yeah. Either get some taste, or donate your stereo to somebody who isn’t musically impaired.” Ms. Wu usually crept from apartment to work and back home in quiet fashion, but apparently she could bare her claws when she was riled. And yet, once more, Luther’s thoughts drifted to a Siamese cat that one of his childhood neighbors owned, and how he always wished he could have that kind of companionship.
“God, Lynn, he’s off in dreamland somewhere,” Linda said exasperatedly as she returned to her apartment. “What a loser.” Luther heard one of them say loudly after they had closed the door, followed by laughter.
Luther was more sad than angry. Sad that Christmas was over. Sad that his Secret Santa was gone. Sad that he only had one immortal soul to trade. He would’ve loved to had Linda and Lynn come to stay with him on a permanent basis. As he shut the door, and turned back to his Christmas packing task, he was startled to see a familiar red-skinned figure sitting on his couch. This time the visitor was much shorter, a cherubic looking face except for the beard stubble. He wore only a diaper, had a couple of short wings on his back, and carried a bow and arrow.
“Ho! Ho! Ho . . . , ahh crap, finally learned it, and it’s the wrong damn holiday!”
“What are you doing here . . . .” Luther started, but the visitor stopped him.
“Okay, here’s the deal. That whole Secret Santa thing worked out so well, I’m here with another proposition. Now I know you ain’t got another soul to trade, but the fact is I need a helper. Somebody to go around to some of my former clients, and, shall we say, expedite the closing date on their immortal soul payment, if you catch my drift.” Luther didn’t, but figured he’d learn.
“You’re offering me a job?” He asked excitedly.
“Right. It’s all expenses paid, and with every soul you move along, you get to choose some more transformations for your personal enjoyment. What do you think?”
“When do we start?”
“Great! First thing tomorrow.” The cherub blinked, and two arrows appeared in his hand. He put them in his quill, and strode toward Luther’s door. “I’ll be back in a few minutes with the details, and a signing bonus.” As the cherub walked by, Luther saw that the arrows were gold, and had gold writing on them. One read “Doll” and the other “Feline.”
The cherub left, and Luther heard him knock on his neighbors’ door. Then he heard Linda’s voice say “Who’s there - what the Hell . . .” and a short scream, followed by the sound of a pulled string, a whizzing noise, and a brief ‘thunk.’ While the cherub finished his task, Luther’s mind raced with the preparations ahead. A new job. New places to go. New places to see. He would need to get some things. A secure storage area for his prized possessions. New clothes for his job. Maybe even a new hair style. He would have to make a list so he wouldn’t forget anything.
Then he heard another short scream, and another arrow find its target.
One more thing for his list, Luther thought.
A litter box.