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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

by on December 21, 2011

A light snow gently drifted from the sky.  White-golden lights blinked placidly on and off. A few cars picked their way through the slush that mucked up the streets, but for the most part, hardly anyone was about in Edison City, which made sense since it was nearly three in the morning and the only establishments open at that time of night were White Castles and gas stations, and the odd Walgreens here and there. Thus, the small screech of a sleigh runner scraping across a rooftop in the suburbs went almost unnoticed.

Almost, but not quite. Hardly had Santa stepped out onto the rooftop when a new and unexpected sound shattered the peaceful stillness of the Christmas night. This wasn’t the prancing and pawing of little reindeer hooves, oh no, this was the harsh metallic click of a handgun being dramatically cocked. And not just any handgun, no, this was a weapon clutched in the eager hands of one of the city’s less-respected supervillains: Commander Cockroach. “Freeze, you!” he barked, his rasping voice quite unnerving the reindeer.

“I don’t believe this,” Santa said, utterly bewildered. “I thought you people had promised not to attack on Christmas Eve!”

“What kinda bonehead promise is that?” Commander Cockroach asked derisively. “‘sides, I ain’t part of the whole villain crowd, see? I’m whatchacall independent, see?”

Santa didn’t, really. “But…but I’m Santa Claus! If you shoot me, you’ll ruin Christmas for millions of children around the world!”

“Yeah, so?” the commander replied. “I gotta reputation to make. People lookit me and they think I’m just a stupid bug. I get all the wisecracks about skitterin’ away from bright lights, and whether my nemesis is Super Shoe and all. I’m a respectable bad guy, see? I got resilience! I could survive a freakin’ nuclear war, y’ know!”

“Dear oh dear.” Santa sympathized, shaking his head. “Your predicament does sound awful.”

“Tell me about it! So I figure, if I can take care of you, then they’ll have to give me some respect, right?”

Santa had cautiously moved his gloved hand towards his bag, and now he surreptitiously produced an object. “I doubt it,” he said sadly. “If your friends don’t respect you now, with your abilities, why would they trust you after this?”

“Y’ think so?” Commander Cockroach said.

“You know,” Santa continued, “I think I’ve met you before. Or perhaps I’ve read some of your letters…isn’t your real name Gregory?”

“Yeah! How’d you know?”

Santa smiled his jolliest smile. “I’m Santa Claus, naturally. And I remember, when you were seven you asked for a teddy bear, and you got one, and then you never wrote again. I assumed perhaps your older brother had stolen it. That does happen on occasion…”

“Eh, I set the thing on fire. Blazin’ teddy bears, ah, that was fun.”

“Well. Yes. Anyway, I thought perhaps you might like this.” Santa produced a brand new teddy bear and held it out towards Commander Cockroach. “Merry Christmas!”

The commander blinked. “Are you outa yer mind? You think givin’ me a teddy bear will instantly make me stop bein’ evil and turn to the side of good? What kinda supervillain you think I am? Honestly! Y’ know what, here’s what I think of your stinkin’ teddy bear!”

The gun bucked in his hand. A loud blam echoed across the rooftops, and the reindeer squealed in panic. The teddy bear’s head exploded in a shower of fluff.

“And now,” Commander Cockroach sneered coldly, “now f’r you, Santa!”

He took aim straight at St. Nicholas, his finger tightened on the trigger, and then there was a flash of red and white and the gun went spiraling into the air. “Wha-” Commander Cockroach said before a powerful fist slammed into his vertebrae and sent him toppling from the roof, landing smack on a rosebush festooned with lights. “Ow…” he whimpered from below. He stopped whimpering when a soccer ball walloped him in the head, and then exploded, pitching him out of the rosebush and into the side of a passing semitruck with a resounding and very satisfying splat.

“Santa!” Captain Happily Married said with obvious concern. “Are you unharmed?”

“Yes, but I fear this teddy bear is irreparable,” Santa replied. “I confess, I had forgotten about the risks involved in making deliveries to cities with supervillains in them.”

“Yeah, welcome to our neighborhood,” Super Soccer Mom said wryly. “Sorry about all this.”

“I’m just relieved you two were here to help.”

“Well, we had one more gift to get for the kiddoes. Left it till the last minute, and we still couldn’t find it. And of course nothing’s really open now…I don’t suppose…”

Santa smiled. “Leave it to me,” he said. “I am rather in your debt, after all. You did just save Christmas.” With that, his nose twitched and he was down the chimney, leaving Super Soccer Mom and Captain Happily Married alone with the reindeer. “God bless us, every one!” Captain Happily Married observed.

“Ditto,” Super Soccer Mom said. “Now, you want to take care of the commander down there or you want me to?”

They ended up taking the commander off to supervillain jail together. There was a slight difficulty in booking him in, as the records only showed a “Captain” Cockroach, not a “Commander” Cockroach but it soon worked out that they had the right person after all; the hapless supervillain had simply given himself a promotion. With that settled, he was ensconced in a secured cell, and Captain Happily Married and Super Soccer Mom raced back home to finish wrapping presents (super speed helps remarkably with that). They, like the rest of Edison City’s heroes, would be spending a happy Christmas with their families.

Commander Cockroach, of course, was spending his Christmas staring morosely at a grey cement wall. At least, he was, until suddenly a wave of blue-white ice spread across the wall, and it shattered into a thousand tiny shards. A tall figure cloaked in navy blue stepped through the gap, towering over the terrified commander. He rasped out something, but the words were completely alien to Commander Cockroach’s ears. At least, they would have been, except that the alien then helpfully translated into English. “I understand you are a prisoner here. Do you wish to stay?”

“Well, no, not really, but who the hell are-”

“Then join me, and I shall show you power beyond your wildest imagination!”

It was a cliched line, of course, and Commander Cockroach really should have suspected that his supposed liberator had no intention of sharing power with him at all. But he didn’t. Instead, he leaped eagerly from his cot and hurried through the gap after his rescuer, away into the drifting snow.

To be continued…

Also, this story was written with Prompt 48 of the Chrysalis Experiment. Thanks for reading!

  1. Writing the Jolly Old Fat Man is a challenge I wouldn’t want to undertake, but you did well. Nice job.

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