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January 3, 2013

A Very Hraet-y Non-Canon Holiday Special (2)

Beat 1-2: Merry Mrfhmfhmas!

“Heh HA!  And another round of ho ho hos for good measure!  The time has finally arrived!”

Lloyd made his way out of the kitchen with a smile -- or at least an attempt at one.  It looked like a fusion between a grin and a grimace, with his muscles and veins pulsing as he dragged himself forward.  But as promised, he didn’t venture out alone; he carried with him (or at least towed) a burlap sack almost as big as him, and twice as wide -- and inexplicably plastered with a pink and fuchsia heart.  “Ready your souls and your faces, my comrades!  For before the light of dawn tickles your chilled skins, I intend to bless you with smiles as heavenly as mine!”

Lloyd (ignoring Trixie’s clear revulsion) brought the sack to a stop at its destination: two inches away from where he’d first appeared.  “Now then.  Who’s ready for a present?”

“I’m ready.  I was born ready,” said JP.

“Oh ho, so you would deprive Miss Walters and Lady Overdose the honors they so deserve?”


“Then you should be glad that I got you this.”  Lloyd reached into the bag and pulled out a book, and showed it off to the group.  “A Discourse on Relations with the Fairer Sex.  I imagine that if you’re not in dire need of it now, you will be soon enough.”  He tossed the book over to JP.

Of course, JP didn’t even bother catching it -- not just because of the throw’s poor trajectory, but because he folded his arms and pouted.  “A book?  You got me a damn book?  This is the worst Christmas ever.”

“Oh, but is it?  Don’t you want to at least…look inside the book?  You may…find some…HIDDEN wealth?  Mmmmhmmmhmmm?”

JP chose to ignore Lloyd’s glittering eyes, but got up and scooped up the book nonetheless.  He thumbed through a few pages, only to come to an abrupt halt at the halfway point.  “What the…?  You’re serious?!”  He held up a handful of dollar bills -- crisp, fresh, and more than a little numerous.  “How did you --?”

“The same way I managed to buy all these presents,” said Lloyd.  He gave his brother a thumbs-up.  “Through unspeakable harm to my person that will haunt me until the end of days!”

JP slid the money into his pocket and took a seat once more.  “Guess you actually did something right for once.”

“And I shall again!  Eventually!  But for now, the time has come for YOUR gift, my beloved father!”  He fumbled through the bag and pulled out what could only be described as a sledgehammer.  “Observe!  The Paul Bunyan S-Tier Meat Tenderizer!  The perfect gift for turning a mere meal into a feast for a hearty man!  As seen on TV!  Warning: not to be used on human skulls!”

Patton took the tenderizer out of Lloyd’s hands and sat down, and examined it as he would a particularly hefty rifle.  “Mmmm.  This’ll make my dinners better than ever.”  He looked up at Lloyd.  “Now, if I use this on a human skull, will that void the warranty?”

“I assume not.  As far as I can tell, it’s merely a suggestion on behalf of the manufacturers.”

“Then it’s perfect.  Thanks a bunch, son.”

“No thanks are necessary -- I merely ask that you continue to exude your aura of joy!”  Lloyd thrust his hand back into the bag.  “And now for you, Lady Overdose!  I admit that I had quite a bit of trouble finding the perfect gift for you, but I do believe I’ve managed quite a success.  I only hope my theory and observations are enough to sway your heart.”

Mrs. Overdose wriggled the reed through her mouth.  “Wait a minute.  Didn’t you already agree to be my servant?”  She frowned.  “And now that I think about it, I think you still owe me a foot rub.  And I guess apparently, you’ve owed me one for mo-”

Lloyd dangled a pair of fuzzy slippers in the air.  “Milady!” he sang.  “I believe these are for you!”  He flung them at her with all his might, just barely managing to have them brush against the tips of her toes.  “Try them on!  I implore you!  Mayhap these wooly sheaths will ease your feet, so wizened and well-worn from your decades of travel!”

“Her feet ARE pretty gnarly,” JP mumbled.

“Oh, if you wanna see gnarly, I’ll be happy to…”  She slipped her feet into the slippers.  “Oh.  Oh.  Oh.”  For a moment, she had a gleam in her eye that matched -- and even surpassed -- Lloyd’s.  “Hey.  I could get used to this.  They’re all warm and junk.  Better than my old ones, that’s for sure.”

“Then the servant has done his duty?” Lloyd asked.

“Yeah.  Good job.  But how did you --?”

“A good servant will always follow the orders of his lady.  But a splendid servant will take initiative, and aid her in ways she may never have foreseen.”  He bowed like a well-paid butler.  “It is an honor to serve you, milady; I’m merely thankful that my instincts -- and my measuring of your feet whilst you slept -- proved accurate.”

“Wait, you what?”  Mrs. Overdose would have started reaching for her shotgun if she hadn’t shifted her toes inside her slippers, and immediately lost all traces of rage-born bloodlust.

 “And now the time has come for your gift, Miss Walters!  Accept it with open arms, so that you may embrace the splendor and joy infused within it -- within me!”

Trixie raised her eyebrows, hoping that Lloyd didn’t catch a glimpse of her swallowing hard.  Oh jeez.  What the heck did he get me? 

“This is for you!  Accept it with as much gusto as I present to you!”  He pulled it out of the bag, and held it up for her to admire: a pale blue sundress.

 “Is that…is that for me?”

“Well it’s hardly for JP -- he’s the sort that prefers a nice pair of shorts, you see.”  He let it unfurl and waved it to and fro, as if playing the role of matador.  “For a moment I feared I feared that I’d misinterpreted your measurements, but it seems like the numbers given to the tailor managed to be correct.  Great fortune, indeed!”

“I -- wait, measurements?  What the hell did ya do to me?”

“Nothing scandalous.  I’ve just been staring at you since we first met; it’s merely natural for me to try and put numbers to you.”  He covered his mouth.  “I would assume you’re --”

Trixie turned redder than Lloyd’s syrup and leapt out of her seat, knocking her pancakes onto the floor.  “Don’t even THINK ‘bout tellin’ nobody my measurements, pal!” she yelled.  “’Cause if ya do, I’ll drop-kick yer face right outta that window!”

Everyone stared at Trixie, and then turned to Lloyd.  “…I was going to ask if you were six foot two,” he said calmly.  “And a half.”

Trixie stood silently in place, and somehow managed to turn even redder.  “Oh,” she squeaked.  “Uh.  Um.  Yeah.  Yeah, I am.”  She flopped back down and stared intently at her lap -- which had also turned red, incidentally.

“Excellent!  Then this should be a perfect fit!”  Lloyd draped the sundress over the TV.  “Now then, let’s do something about that mess, and we’ll be able to commence with even greater festivities!  Festivities so grand and fantastic that…that…”  Before he could leave the room, he froze and smiled sheepishly.  “That they’ll be amazing as soon as I think of them.”

“Again, Lloyd?  Again?”  JP shook his head.  “Every year you wake us up early, and every year you peter out before the sun’s even up.  That’s five for five.”

“Now, now, I DO have an auxiliary plan for the rest of the day.  And my plan right now is…to sit here and stare at one another for the next two hours so we can admire each member of our little clan.”


“Okay, then how about this: we spend an hour telling the person on our immediate right one thing that they like about --”


“Then how about --”

“I think we’re done here.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go look for something to invest this money in.  Or maybe buy myself a new baseball bat.  I figure that’ll come in handy around these parts.”

“Mmmm.  My boy’s gonna be a fine bone cracker someday,” Patton said with a nod.  “Or a debt collector.  Either way, it’s the kind of thing that’ll make a father proud.”

Mrs. Overdose picked the last crumbs of pancake off her plate and then set it aside.  “So we’re through.  All right then.  Guess I’ll…crap, what the hell should I do now?  Hey, do they show Family Feud before dawn here in Porbeagle?  ‘Cause if not, then I’m just gonna sleep for the rest of the day.”

“You’ll do no such thing!” Lloyd blurted.  “If you do, you’re certain to miss the feast that I probably should have started planning for about three days ago!”

“Will there be steaks?” Patton asked.

“Of course.  Steaks, and steaks galore.  Steaks as far as the eye can see.”

“…God, I love my sons.”  He grabbed his plate and stood up, as did JP and Mrs. Overdose.  With a slight sigh -- but smiling all the same -- Lloyd started picking up the mess Trixie had left, making sure to leave her plenty of personal space (before she assumed he wanted to lick her feet or some other heinous act).

“H-hey!  All o’ y’all, wait a sec!”  Trixie slid out of her seat and stood up.  “That’s it?  Ain’t y’all forgettin’ somethin’ real important?”

Lloyd looked up at her.  “Oh, you’re still wondering about the bag?  Those are gifts for numerous Porbeagle residents; I’ll have to begin delivering them once I’m done here.  Let’s see…I believe that I should start with --”

“No, not that.”  She held out her hands.  “What about givin’ each other gifts?  It’s Christmas -- it’s all about givin’, not just receivin’.”

“I already gave them my gifts,” said JP.  “Dad gets some new seasoning, and Grandma here has one of my old books on playing the stock market.”

Patton nodded in agreement.  “I already gave JP money.  And Mrs. Overdose here got my favorite pillow -- perfect for her old back.”

Mrs. Overdose’s brow tightened.  “You guys know I ain’t THAT old, right?”

Trixie pointed at her.  “So wait.  Does that mean --?”

“What?  You don’t think I can give gifts?  I’ve been givin’ gifts since before you were swimmin’ in your daddy’s britches, Annie Oakley.”  She ran a thumb across her lips, and brushed against her reed.  “It was on short notice, yeah, but I let the big guy in on an old family recipe.  Very sacred.  Very important.  I don’t tell that crap to just anybody, let me tell you.  And as for the kid, I gave him a penny.”

“A penny?  You mean just one cent?”

“She’s just being modest,” said JP.  He pulled a coin out of his pocket -- one so old that it looked almost black, and far from legible.  “All I have to do is hold onto this baby for a few years, and some nutball coin collector will pay big bucks to get his hands on this.  Like an idiot.  But hey, who am I to tell people what to do with their money -- you know, besides give it to me?”

Trixie’s mouth moved, but no sound came out. 

“Ah!  You must be wondering why you yourself have yet to receive more than one gift!” Lloyd said as he sprang to his feet.  “Well, that’s largely because of my intervention.  I reasoned that in order to honor a maiden such as yourself, it would take a supreme gift -- a masterstroke, if you will.  Precisely why this sundress is yours and yours alone; you may very well consider it the culmination of our love and respect for you.”

Trixie didn’t dare raise the question of “respect”, given that she’d been taunted, ogled, and humiliated thoroughly in that morning alone.  “So it’s really for me, from all of you?”

“So to speak.  Consultations were required on certain design aspects, so you could say it wouldn’t be possible without your clansmen’s aid.”  He gestured toward it with a slight bow.  “As you’re a lady of the south, I imagine that it would be a perfect outfit for the summer heat.  Or if not that, certainly the best way for you to enjoy a warm day in Porbeagle…whenever we’re graced with one again.”


“What is it?  Is it not up to your standards?  Curse that tailor!”  He covered his eyes with a forearm.  “Miserable peddler!  I TOLD HIM that the neckline should go much lower!”

“No, no, it’s fine!  It’s fine!  It’s…wait, what about the neckline?”  But before she could make another outburst, she shook her head rapidly.  “Forget it.  Lloyd, don’t you feel like there’s somethin’ missin’?”

“Eh?  Like what?”

“Where’re your presents?”

“I didn’t get any.  I didn’t ask for any, either.”

“What?”  She turned to Patton.  “So you didn’t give him a thing?”

“He hasn’t accepted a gift -- from me, or from anyone else -- in five years,” Patton answered.  “Like you said, today is all about giving, not receiving.  And nobody’s more eager to give than my boy Lloyd.”

“So nobody gave him anything?”  She turned to the others; JP crammed his hands in his pocket and shrugged coolly, while Mrs. Overdose seemed content with wriggling her feet inside her new slippers.  “Don’t ya think that’s kinda…ya know, sad?”

“Sad?”  Lloyd let fly a good-natured laugh.  “Why, it’s nothing of the sort!  I’m merely doing my duty as an agent of the house of Claus!  As a benefactor to my fellow men!  I’ve no need for material gain; as long as my acts of kindness and altruism reach my comrades and the common folk at large, then this holiday season -- just as it’s been in the past -- will be a success!”

“But --”

Lloyd shook his head, and offered a polite smile to Trixie.  “There’s no need for you to strain yourself on my account, Miss Walters.  Let me give to my heart’s content -- because in the end, that’s all I truly desire.”

Trixie raised a finger to object, but couldn’t bring herself to do so; beaten, she dropped her hand and lowered her head, signaling the others to start moving about toward their business.  “Yeah, I guess ya got a point.  If yer dead-set on givin’ this Christmas, then I can’t force ya to take any gifts.”  She turned aside and rubbed the back of her neck.  “And I guess it’s pretty noble o’ ya to to care so much about others instead o’ yerself.  So if ya don’t want a thing, I’ll won’t try an’ force ya to take one.”

“I’m thankful that we understand one another, Miss Walters,” said Lloyd.  “No need to fret, of course; just because I’ll receive no presents doesn’t mea-”

“Are ya kiddin’ me?  GET YER HEAD OUTTA YER ASS, PAL!”  Trixie roared, almost with enough force to bowl him over.  “I know ya got yer manners an’ traditions, but I ain’t about ta let ya go without a gift from me.  Like it or not, you’re gettin’ your thanks, courtesy of this Rockwood gal!  So get ready, ‘cause I’m about ta give ya the best damn Christmas ya ever had!”

Mrs. Overdose raised a hand from the sidelines.  “Can I get in on some of that?  Wouldn’t mind a nice foot rub over here.”

The request went unheeded (to her clear dismay).  “There’s no need to work on my behalf,” said Lloyd.  “Not only because you’re a guest in this house, but because I’ve no need for anything at the moment.  If you’ll let me be a bit presumptuous, I would say there’s nothing you can offer me that would make this day any brighter…well, save for your ever-entertaining hot-blooded outbursts.”

“That sounds like a challenge.”  Trixie gave him an impassioned smirk.  “Fine.  If that’s how ya wanna play it, then that’s fine with me.  If ya won’t accept somethin’ ya want, then I’ll just hafta give ya somethin’ ya need!”

“S-something I need?!  What a turnabout!  What did you have in mind, exactly?”

Trixie stood in place with the same heated expression, hoping that Lloyd and the others didn’t notice her sudden quivering…or the increasingly-long pause that followed Lloyd’s question.  Okay, Trixie.  Keep yer cool.  This here’s nothin’ to worry about.  Ya said somethin’ crazy, but yer a smart girl.  Well, smart enough. Ya can figure somethin’ out before anybody thinks yer just full o’ malarkey.

“She’s got nothing,” JP grumbled.

“Mmmm,” Patton said with a slow nod.

…Okay, that’s a lost cause.  But ya can still save face as long as ya just say somethin’.  Right now.  Like, right, right now.  She looked Lloyd in the eye, all too wary of his childlike face; to say she’d bluffed would have been like Santa kicking him in the stomach.  Think!  What does Lloyd need more than anythin’ else in the world besides a brain that works right?  What kinda hints did he give ya today? 

She racked her brain for an answer, some clue that he might have dropped so casually.  But to her surprise, Lloyd’s words didn’t come to mind.  JP’s did.

I’m not about to take science lessons from someone who thinks sand is just dried-up sugar!

“Lloyd, I’m gonna teach ya how to swim!”



  1. haha not to impressed with getting a book eh :P, enjoyed this.

  2. Well, he is a middle school boy. I would have figured he deals with enough books in class; his reward for a job well done outside school halls shouldn't be MORE books. And to a similar extent, clothes.

    In any case, glad you enjoyed it. Stick around; there's more where that came from.