Naughty or Nice
Naughty or Nice
“Would you look at the ass on this elf!?”
Max glanced over from his work to see Anne lifting the skirt of the “Christmas Elf” he had just unboxed. Beneath her frilled green hem, jingling with tiny brass bells, he saw the elf’s shapely contours in stark detail. He was almost mesmerized by the way the red and white of her candy-striped tights stretched across the smooth, round surfaces of her cheeks.
“Uh… yep!” Max agreed, hastily forcing his attention back to prying open the next crate.
“’Yep?’ You see the plum pudding they gave Jingle here, and all you can say is, ‘Yep?!’”
“What am I supposed to say?” he grunted, prying open another corner of the human-sized wooden crate. That ass is not half as nice as yours? Even in her uniform’s drab khakis, Anne’s generous hips and bountiful backside could not be suppressed, its tantalizing swells and the precise curvature of her panty line seared into his mind’s eye.
“I dunno, maybe show some enthusiasm for just how horny this setup is going to be? Oh shit,” she gasped. “These elves are kinda stacked… and I think they even gave them nipples! C’mon Max, check this out - I know you’re a breast man!”
He felt his face flush as he glanced up again, his eyes inadvertently but inevitably finding Anne’s full, round, and perfect breasts, an enticing glimpse of pale cleavage peeking through the unbuttoned grey of her work polo. She beamed as she tested the blankly-staring elf’s chest, her apple-cheeks glowing from a wide grin. “I’m kinda busy here,” Max muttered, starting on the last corner of the crate.
“Jeez, what’s with you tonight?” she asked, moving on to explore the robotic elf’s nearly identical ‘sister’, Sprinkles.
“This just wasn’t how I planned on spending my Friday night!” The crate’s lid groaned as it came loose with a final pry.
“Somewhere you’d rather be than an empty mall with the E-Cell assistant manager and salesperson of the month for November?” Anne asked, a faint pout not entirely sarcastic in her voice.
He dropped the crowbar, startling them both as it hit the floor with a metal clang. “Sorry,” he said, meeting her dark brown eyes. “It’s not you, I just had this sprung on me last minute. Why are you stuck here, anyway? Is Troy picking you up?”
“Maybe I just want to spend some quality time with my work-husband,” she said airily, going back to prodding the elf-bot. Max felt relief when a smile returned to her pink lips. She was right, he should be enjoying a late-night hang with her. Despite seeing her regularly throughout the day, it was nice to be around her after closing. She was so much more relaxed, none of that ‘sales-mode’ she seemed to be stuck in during mall hours. At night, she’d let her dark, auburn hair fall down over her shoulders, undo the top buttons on her shirt... he shook his head, refocusing on the task at hand.
“You know what I think it is?” Max asked aloud, pushing aside the wooden lid. “It’s that last year, we had a human Santa.”
“Buddy, if you’re lamenting the displacement of the human workforce by horny robots…“ she manipulated Sprinkles’ arms until the droid was grabbing its own breasts, “…then you’re a little late to the party.”
“Yeah, yeah, I saw the new girl at the sunglasses store.” A supermodel fitted with cheekbones that had to have been machine-milled.
“The sunglasses girl is when you noticed? Not the garden store? Not Teddy Bear Palace? That artisanal olive oil place? Every barista at every Star Roast? The inform-”
“Wait, olive-oil girl is a robot?!” Max exclaimed. “But she’s always eating those sticky buns!” A second later. “Wait, is the sticky buns guy a robot?”
Anne snorted. “Of course he is. “ While adjusting the elf’s jaw into a rapturous grin, she muttered, “Still wouldn’t mind him stickying my buns, though…”
“But wait, you’re saying they built a robot that craves pastries?”
“And that sells overpriced olive oil! The latest bots do all sorts of ‘behavioral emulations’, ways to appear human so apathetic shoppers and particularly dense IT workers don’t kick up a fuss while all the flesh-and-blood staff are replaced by plastic-and-oil sales drones.”
Max sighed. “Man, I thought I had a real rapport with olive-oil girl.”
“That must be why you call her as ‘olive-oil girl’,” she muttered, carefully tilting the elf’s head back.
“We’re not on a first name basis or anything, but…”
Anne rolled her eyes. “Did you buy some artisanal olive oil from her?”
“Some citrus-infused vinegar, actually,” Max said, a little defensive.
“That is the entire basis of your ‘rapport’, an if-else statement that runs flirt dot E.X.E whenever you pay a five-hundred percent markup.” She finished posing the elf who now appeared to be having a religious experience while grabbing her breasts. “Whereas our relationship will always be strictly unprofessional, and I would never have it tainted by something as tawdry as commerce.”
“You made me fix your broken phone last week!”
“Yes, but I didn’t pay you for it!” she said with prim satisfaction, moving on to pose Jingle.
Max shook his head, glancing at the paper taped to the Styrofoam lid inside the crate, warnings in bold and italics stressing the importance of immediately updating Mrs. Claus after unpacking her. “Robots everywhere… I can’t believe I didn’t notice…”
Anne sidled up next to him, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Hey, cheer up! Is it the existential crisis that's got you down? Or is it olive-oil girl being less Olive, and more oil?”
“You are the literal worst,” Max groaned, trying not to give her the satisfaction of a smile. “Just help me get Mrs. Claus on her feet.”
“Ooh!” Anne exclaimed excitedly, stopping Max before he could remove the inner lid. “Do you think she’s, like, a super sexy dominatrix Mrs. Claus? Because after those two elves…”
“I’m guessing the Eastbrook Mall opted for the more traditional ‘milk-and-cookies granny’.” He pulled up the lid and was a little disappointed to see he was correct. Inside was a quintessential grandmother dressed in red velvet trimmed with white fur, a pair of gold-rimmed spectacles perched on her bulbous nose.
“OK,” Anne said, only slightly deterred, “but what kind of ass is she working with?”
“Probably more prune than plum,” Max replied, the two of them lifting the inert figure out of the crate. “Plug her in, would ya?” He picked up the control tablet, ‘Mrs. Claus’ appearing in the list of devices beneath Jingle and Sprinkles as soon as Anne attached the power cord. He was surprised at the myriad options available when he selected her – among them, a particular slider caught his eye.
“Hey, Anne,” he called, his finger poised.
“Hm?” she asked, pulling her head from beneath Mrs. Claus’s dress.
“Check this out.” Max ramped the slider all the way down – in response, the machinery within Mrs. Claus hummed to life. Her skin drew tight across her as she stood up straight from her stooped posture, her shawl parting slightly from the swell of a bosom filling the blouse beneath. Her gray curls loosened into golden ringlets beneath her lacey bonnet, framing the face of a beautiful woman at least fifty years younger than the one they had unpacked.
After a moment of stunned silence, Anne stalked toward him. “Give! Me! That!” she demanded, snatching the tablet out of his hands.
“Don’t fuck with her too much,” Max cautioned. “I haven’t updated her yet, and-“
“I can’t believe this!” Anne exclaimed, her fingers flitting across the settings screen. “Who knew Mrs. Claus was so into discipline!” She guffawed, then quickly pulled the tablet away when Max tried to see what she was doing. “When I’m done!” Max stepped back, watching with growing curiosity while Anne continued to adjust settings, muttering to herself, “Some of this… definitely this… why, Mrs. Claus, I had no idea!”
“We should probably update her, though…” Max tried again.
Anne ignored him, running her finger swiftly up and down the tablet's surface. The statuesque beauty suddenly withered back to the kind-faced septuagenarian, then immediately springing into her young, gorgeous incarnation. “Naughty! Nice!” Anne repeated as the droid shrank and grew between the two extremes, machinery inside her facilitating this repeated transformation starting to whine and hiss. “Wait, are her boobs getting bigger every time I do this?” Anne muttered, going faster still.
“Anne, I can see smoke!” Max cried, snatching the tablet from her.
“But I’m not done!” she exclaimed in manic glee, snatching it back. “Just let me-“ the tablet suddenly fell from their hands, cracking sharply against the concrete floor.
“Fuck,” Max summarized, looking between the shattered screen and a young, busty Mrs. Claus, smoke wisping from beneath her red bonnet.
“Max…” Anne started, but was cut off by the metronomic clacking of stiletto heels.
Both her and Max turned to the fast-approaching Evangeline Eastbrook, the mall’s heiress, proprietor, manager, spokeswoman, figurehead – her position wasn’t entirely clear, but what Max did know was that she was his superior many times over, and her sudden appearance never made things easier for him.
“What is this shit?!” she demanded, gesturing at the smoldering, voluptuous blond robot and the lewdly displayed elf.
“Ms. Eastbrook, you’re looking lovely this evening!” Anne attempted. It was true, but when wasn’t it? Evangeline was always immaculately put together, a mannequin perfectly proportioned for the sheer pencil skirt suits she wore. There was never a hair out of place in her severe platinum bob, her austere makeup applied with laser-precision across a face no wrinkle or laugh line would dare besmirch.
She turned to Anne. “E-Cell is starting its new holiday promotion tomorrow.”
“Right as ever, Ms-“
“Then why are you here?”
“Just… helping…” Anne finished meekly. With an apologetic look toward Max, she turned and left, managing her departure with some dignity for the first few steps before breaking into an all-out sprint back to her store.
“And I repeat,” Evangeline stated, the weight of her full attention shifting back to Max. “What. Is. This. Shit?”
“We… I fucked up. Completely! But I promise, this will all be fixed by the time we open!” Her perfect lashes closed slightly, focusing her gaze into a drill-press that Max could feel at the exact midpoint between his eyes. “er… fixed before we open! Hours before we open!”
Finally, Evangeline relented. “Let’s hope that you do,” she said, striding over to Sprinkles and restoring the elf to a more natural pose. “And I want these two ‘elves’ plugged into my security system ASAP.”
“They’re supposedly Holdfast compatible. If so, I could use them in the off-season for patrol and incident response.” Max was having trouble imagining the spritely pair hauling off some rowdy drunk, even if they did lose the tights and bells. “And I want to know if they’re actually going to work, or if I need to send them back.”
“You can count on me,” Max said, trying not to stress over the myriad compatibility issues he was bound to face, given their security system was a few updates behind.
“I suppose we’ll see, won’t we?” Evangeline said coldly before turning away, the clack of her heels echoing in his mind long after her departure.
“Well,” Max sighed, retrieving the cracked and glitching tablet from the ground. “Time to get to work.”