Casting furtive glances over her shoulder, droplets of sweat forming on her upper lip, Helena Young, a first-year Finnish Studies student, is attempting to do the unthinkable. Behind her, sitting pompously on the ledge of her bookshelf rests Dingle, a smiling ‘Elf on the Shelf’ doll, clad in a festive red dress and striped stockings.
Despite its harmless appearance, Helena knows that the grinning elf is reporting each one of her movements to the big man in the North Pole. Every Christmas since her parents gave her the cursed doll, she’s leaped out of bed only to find her long wool stocking hanging from the fireplace, stuffed to the brim with hunks of black coal.
But this year can be different. She’s been extra good (for the most part), and she isn’t going to let that pointy-eared snooper ruin the festive season. There’s only one problem: her far from family friendly search history. The exact contents of her surfing are far too niche and disturbing for inclusion, but suffice it to say that Santa would be shaking his head, saying “No, no, no.”
Peering around her room, Helena notices that Dingle, in a lapse of duty, has fallen asleep with his head resting on her prized collection of Nickelback CDs. She knows that the time for action is now.
Helena boots up her laptop and opens her web browser. With knees weak and vomit on her Christmas sweater already, she clicks the three dots in the top right corner of her screen and opens up her history. Scrolling through, she gags at her own depravity. Taking a final glance over her shoulder, she hits the “Clear Search History” button with a loud click of the mouse.
She stares at the screen for what feels like an eternity, until finally, it's all gone! Smirking to herself, she swivels around in her chair with glee, only to find Dingle sitting erect on the shelf, with his small beady eyes penetrating into her soul.
Did the elven agent see what she just did? Is she in the clear, or is she due for another year of fossil fuels hanging above the fireplace? Only time will tell, but hey, there’s always 2021, right?
Photo Credit: Emory Claire Mitchell