By Dale Bell

GRINNELL, IA—Late last week, sources confirmed that the silly little magic elves that write essays (and sometimes mend shoes) while students lie snugly in their beds, cannot write Sociology papers for shit. The elves—who are widely known across Grinnell college as the mischievous little men who live in the Mac Field Oak—have a history of helping the most stressed students by writing their overdue essays and leaving them, tied up with a pretty little bow and smelling of cinnamon, on the students’ doorsteps.

That is, until three days ago, when third-year SOC major Mike Marner woke to find his course readings neatly stacked outside his room next to a paper, with “WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT” printed in whimsical little letters across the header. Marner agreed to speak about his experience to B&S reporters after we threatened to turn him in for D-Hall fruit theft:

“I was halfway through my third Redster Mule (Red bull, Monster, Vodka) and only a paragraph into my SOC paper on gender identity through a hyper-constructivist pre-postmodern Marxian dialectic lens when I passed out. Going into that night I was pretty sure that the elves had my back. They covered me on an ENG paper last year when I mis-dosed my shrooms and spent the whole night thinking I was the train. Anyway, when I woke up yesterday morning and saw the message I was like, shit, I’ll just write it myself tomorrow, but this morning all my Redster Mules, and weed, and acid, were gone and the essay was written, although I think there may have been some blood on the cover page. I didn’t even flip through it before turning it in.”

The essay was returned to Marner later that day by Professor Webster with a large red F written in highlighter and the comment “This essay was so bad I drove to a Staples in Des Moines just so I could buy that highlighter.” Marner left the essay under the Oak to see if the elves could incorporate some of the criticism for a resubmission. The elves, unaccustomed to failure, seem to have fractured in the wake of tanking Marner’s paper.

One group, initially dedicated to doing all the SOC course readings, was radicalized by the unit on Marxist thought and has refused to write any more essays citing the “master-slave dynamic” and “alienation from their labor” enforced by writing students’ essays for them. Rebranding themselves as the ELF (Elf Liberation Front) they have launched an insurgency across campus, sabotaging wifi signals, turning off students’ alarms, and robbing the train.

As of press time, the remaining elves, so stressed and burned out from all their work, have instituted a bold new policy meant to “completely shift work culture” and “substantially ease the burden on hard-working elves.” Elven administrators call this idea “Working Differently Days.”