"Are you sure about this, Santa?" When Jangle asked the question, several of the other elves in the board room gently nodded their heads in agreement.
"Yes," answered Santa. "Yes, I'm very sure about this. It's time we put a stop to it, here and now." Many of the elves who nodded at the question were now shaking their heads ever so slightly. A few of the others nodded in the affirmative, including Cho-Cho, who pumped his fist and shouted, "Yes!"
"Are you aware of the ramifications of this decision, Santa?" Jangle asked.
"This is the Naughty or Nice board meeting, Jangle. Of course I'm aware of the ramifications," Santa answered, sternly.
"Are you? Are you positive you know all that this will effect?" Jangle continued to press Santa, to the point that many of the other elves in the room started to get a little uncomfortable. The Big Guy wasn't usually questioned on his choices.
"I think I do," said Santa, calmly. "But apparently you don't think so, Jangle. Why don't you tell me what it is that you think I don't know." A barely audible "Oooo" filled the room at Santa's stern reply.
Jangle cleared his throat, then took a sip from the mug of water in front of him. He cleared his throat again. "Well, Santa, if you hold firm to this decision, the naughty-to-nice percentages will be way out of whack. My elves are estimating it could be as much as a thirty-two percent swing toward the naughty side. That would put the overall totals well into the naughty camp."
"I'm aware of that," Santa said flatly.
"Do you know what that will do to production?" Jangle continued. "We'll have a surplus of goods. A big surplus of goods. We don't have the warehouse space to handle all that surplus."
"Then we might just have to cut back on production," Santa said. There was an audible gasp in the room.
"Does that mean you might lay off elves?" asked a suddenly very concerned Tooshi, sitting two seats down from Jangle.
"There will be no lay-offs," Santa said. "At worst some of the elves just might not have to work as hard, or they might get a bit more vacation time." Again there was a gasp.
"But the elves love to work!" Tooshi replied.
Santa looked Tooshi square in the eye. "When times are tough we don't all always get what we want." He turned back to Jangle. "Any other concerns?"
"Yes," Jangle answered. "It goes to intent. I don't think most of the people who are guilty of this are intending to be naughty."
"Then what do you think their intentions are, Jangle?" asked Santa.
"Oh," Jangle said, "I think they are just trying to be silly. Or funny. Or maybe even sexy."
"Maybe," replied Santa. "But I've got to draw a line somewhere, and I'm going to draw it here. It's right there in the song. All these people have heard it. 'You better not pout.' They know it, but they're flaunting it right in my face. They purposely pose for their selfies with a pouty face. I'm ending it now!"
"To be fair, Santa, most people call it 'duck lips,' not 'pouty face.'" Jangle could tell he was losing the argument.
"I don't care what they call it. I'm Santa, and I call it a pouty face. Therefore, everyone who has posed for a pouty face selfie this year is going on the naughty list." Santa spoke directly to Jangle. "Is that clear?"
"Yes, Santa," Jangle said as he lowered his head in defeat.
Santa turned to Cho-Cho. "Cho-Cho, you are in charge of this project. Make sure you check everyone's social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flckr, Tumblr, PhotoBob, and any other apps that might be out there." Cho-Cho nodded his head enthusiastically.
"And then," Santa added, "Check them twice."
Now choose a title that best fits this story.
O A. You Better Not Pout
O B. You Better Not Duck-Lip
O C. Naughty, Nice, And/Or Annoying
O D. Checking Them Twice
O E. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Edited from a post originally published on 12/4/2015.