A Rihanna Carol
|This tale has been told! It's done!|
In tune with a familiar nerd's transformation in days long gone by, the Bureau of Fiction's Commission on Morality chose Agent Meltie to learn a quick lesson in Christmas morality. Haunted by mystical headphones, Rihanna takes a journey into the past, present, and future in a short tale that will not take nearly as much time to read as that novel of yore.
Chapter 1: I Really Do Hate Christmas
One snowy day in South Pole City, Agent Meltie, often referred to as Agent, AM, or even Rihanna, was on her way to her job at the mall. It was December the twenty-fourth, Christmas Eve, and she didn't seem to notice that the Christmas decorations were already up. She walked up to the McDoodle's joint in the food court and frowned, as she often did. She hated her job, but loved the money, so she didn't complain, at least out loud, anyway. It was time to work at the worst job in the world. Her boss, Mr. Bitters, walked up to her. He was wearing a Santa hat and a fake white beard that looked like a mess of cobwebs. He also looked surprisingly happy, as if nothing had gone horribly wrong yet.
"Rihanna? Why aren't you in uniform?" Mr. Bitters handed Agent an elf costume complete with pointy shoes.
Agent rolled her eyes. "New uniform?"
"We discussed this at the meet-Wait. Where you even at last week's meeting?"
"No, Mr. Bitters. I was sick." This was only partially true. She called in sick to get out of working last Tuesday.
"Okay. Well, pull it on, Rihanna!"
"Fine." She grabbed the costume and waddled into the changing room of Emo Fashionz. "Eew, green," she moaned as she stepped out. Agent sighed and held her head down. Her job was stupid already, and the typically bitter Mr. Bitters being happy about the festivities made it worse. She hated Christmas. She hated holiday cheer. She was very negative. She wanted a black Christmas tree with no ornaments. It was once a holiday suggestion. CHRISTMAS WAS TOO CHEERY.
"Worst job in the world," she mumbled as she walked into the food court. "Welcome to McDoodle's, how may I help you?" she added to a customer, immediately slipping into a fake attitude.
The customer tapped his beak. "I'd like a double Fishburger with extra pickles, a small fry, and a medium Orange Fizz Master."
The penguin handed Agent the money. In about a minute, the over-processed, artery-clogging fast food was ready for the customer. He'd be lucky if he didn't have a heart attack at this time of day.
"MERRY CHRISTMAS!" Rihanna faked as he waddled off with his tray.
"...if you're not me."
Chapter 2: Christmas Past
That night, Agent couldn't sleep. Her weird dreams had returned (they were sometimes seasonal). She dreamed of a Christmas tree eating her, the jolliness of a fake pine tree consuming her darkness. She woke up, immediately startled and uncomfortable. A sharp pain jabbed her in the neck. She screamed loudly, not even knowing how her headphone set got around her neck.
"What's wrong?" asked a strange voice.
She screamed again. First it was the seasonal dreams, now she was most certainly hearing things.
"Stop screaming, will ya? It's me, your headphone set." The headphone set nuzzled more around her neck, nearly choking her.
"Shh.....I'm gonna show you your Christmas past."
"Christmas past?" Agent raised an eyebrow in confusion. "And juat how will you do that? Are you a Time Lord or something? Taking me on trips in a big blue box?"
The headphones moved closer to her. "I'm no Doctor, but I'll try my best without your sarcasm, miss." A strange buzzing sound emerged from the headphones. A loud screech followed.
"Shut up, will ya?!" the headphones yammered.
Agent stuttered, "I-it, wasn't me...It must have been the wind."
The headphone set loudly sighed. "Go outside to see if everything's okay."
"Okay." Agent put the headphones in her right flipper and stepped into the foyer. She saw an eight-year-old penguin who looked a lot like her opening presents by a Christmas tree.
The girl gasped. "A Snowtendo 64!" She glared at a woman, who resembled Mrs. Meltissimo, Agent's mother. "It's about time," the girl grumbled.
A little purple penguin in princess pajamas, probably Rocket Slug, crawled along, pulling a little rocket-shaped toy. "Pwesent," she gurgled. The younger RS grabbed a wrapped box and tried to yank it open, falling on her butt in the process.
The other girl, Agent thought, should have helped the little Rocket Slug open it, but she didn't. Instead, the gray penguin with black pigtails looked for another box with her name written on it.
"What? She didn't help her own sister?" Agent glared at the past scene.
The headphones coughed. "Duh. That black penguin with the dark hair and green eyes...that's you from Christmas 2000."
"I knew that."
Chapter 3: Christmas Present
Agent Meltie woke up, sighing. She rubbed the morning gunk from her green eyes. "That sure was a weird dream."
She got up and pulled out her black laptop with a knitted cozy around it. She popped on the headphone set, as usual, to listen to her playlist.
"Hey," said the headphone set. "Back for more?"
Agent screamed. The headphones toppled to the floor.
Agent kept quiet and put down the laptop. She focused her attention on the knitted cozy, purple with accents of skulls and crossbones.
"Good," the time-traveling headphones sighed.
"Why are you here again?" Rih asked the headphone set as she pulled it around her neck.
"I've still gotta show your Christmas present."
Agent squealed happily. "Christmas present? I'm going outside to see what it is!" She ran out and found herself waking up on Christmas morning. The first thing the penguin did was look to see if Santa Claus ate the milk and cookies. They were still on the coffee table, now stale and crumbly. The milk was spilled, and a white mess lay on the linoleum.
She checked her stocking. No candy canes, no video games, or fruit, or even Christmas candy, but instead a lump of coal (not even the chocolate kind!) with a message taped to it.
|“|| Happy holidays, Rihanna. That's right. I didn't even say 'Merry Christmas' to you. You've been on my naughty list for eighteen years because of your brutal negativity, rudeness, sneakiness, disobediance, insubordination, dishonesty, disrespect, irreverence to your parents, extreme sibling rivalry, actual crimes, villainy, and for vandalism- that was thirty-seven bottles of black and red spray paint! That, and I really don't like your attitude, punk. Hope you enjoy this cruddy Christmas.
May the sky programmers have mercy upon you,
-Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle; Santa Claus."
Agent crumpled up the letter and tossed it into the burning fireplace with the agility of a pro basketball player. "Meh. That's normal. Happens every year." She walked towards the tree expecting a colony of cool presents, many with her name on the tags. There was only one, labeled "To Agent, from Rocketta with Love." Agent opened it eagerly. It was, unfortunately, just a stack of sticky notes, each one saying, "Just kidding! You're too mean to get a present from me! Love, RS.".
Agent Meltie paused. "That's a new addition. I must have been... really naughty this year." Tears began to well up in her eyes.
The other Agent Meltie peeked from behind a corner. "Wow. Is it really going to be that bad?"
Meanwhile, Rocket woke up and saw Present AM sitting, crying hard. "APRIL FOOL'S! YOU GOT STICK'D!" She did a bit of a stupid victory dance.
Agent sniffed. "First thing's first: It's not April, jerk. And second, when you give someone a gift, give them something they actually want!" She began to cry some more, her eyes seeming to leak like waterfalls.
Phineas34720 smiled. He had been hiding behind RS the whole time. After all, he was only 3 feet tall, although pretty tall for an Adelie. "Hey, I was gonna get you a fruitcake, fruitcake. Lemme go get it." He ran to his bedroom and came back holding a fruitcake. "Oh, yeah, it's missing something." He slapped on the bow from the wrapping on Rocket's rude gift. "Merry Christmas, sis. One fruitcake for the fruitcake."
Both Agents, the one watching what tomorrow would be like, and the one in the vision, cried.
Chapter 4: Christmas Future
Agent Meltie woke up again, with the crazy dreams running circles in her thoughts. "Why do I have all these weird dreams? That's Rocket's thing!"
She got up from her bed, holding a skull-shaped pillow.
"I'm armed, Mr. Headphones. Don't think you can sneak up on me anymore. My boyfriend's a ninja and a poet!" She held the pillow in front of her like it was a weapon.
Metalmanager, meanwhile, who was asleep in his own bed 20 miles from here, screamed suddenly to the heavens, "I'M NOT YOUR BOYFRIEND!"
The headphones leaped up (as puffles do) and fixed themselves onto Agent's neck.
"Just...tell me it's you. I promise I won't scream."
"It's your headphone set."
Agent sat straight up and screamed once more.
"Ugh...you're so annoying!!"
Rih paused. "Tell that to my sister. She's the obnoxious one. Always so cheerful and all that crap."
The headphones chuckled. "You've still gotta see your Christmas future. Y'know, what it'll be like seventy years from now."
"Okay, whatever. You know, I don't really like these time-traveling trips..."
The bedroom jiggled. The pillow slipped from her flippers, rolled around, hit the roof, and dropped on her head.
Not even a minute later, the bedroom had stopped jiggling, but she was no longer at home. She waddled outside and realized she was in Snowflake Valley Retirement Home. She knew this because of her sister's persistent pestering to volunteer there. She took the elevator into the lobby of the facility, where assorted geezers were sitting in chairs and benches with their posterity hugging them, all laughing and having a grand time. It was then that she heard sniffling. She gasped as she saw an old penguin in Gothic black- what seemed to be a mourning dress -at the counter. The oldster rang the service bell and a younger staff member approached.
"Excuse me," the shaky figure groaned in a crackly voice. "Has anyone come to visit me? It's... it's Christmas, you know..."
"Miss Meltissimo-Slugster*, no one has visited you since you were inducted to the Home. I'm sorry, but...I don't think you're getting any visitors this year..."
"Oh. Oh...all right..." The senior hobbled away and sat down near a Christmas tree. She turned towards the stockings hanging onto the radiator in the corner of the room. The one with her name on it was empty. The elderly Rihanna held her beak in her flippers and sobbed.
*Jim left her many years ago because she was too bossy.
Agent, meanwhile, sniffled and dabbed her eyes with her nightgown sleeve. "Am I really going to be that lonely?"
"Mm-hm," the headphones added. "Mm-hm.....mm-hm..."
Chapter 5: A Changed Bird
Agent woke up for hopefully the last time. "Wow, that was one weird dream." She pulled on her headphones, waiting for the usual reply and time-traveling adventure. "Hello? Mr. Headphones?"
Her headphone set was surprisingly silent.
Agent smiled. "Awesome." She put the headphones on top of her computer and heard bells ringing from outside her window. Instead of her usual "KEEP IT DOWN!!!", she opened up the window and called out, "Merry Christmas!" to all the children, who were terrified and began to run.
She waddled downstairs. The rest of her family, her mother, her stepfather, her stepsister, and her brother were all waiting for her. She smiled as big as she could and ran towards the tree. Instead of looking for a present with her name on the label, she looked for the Christmas pickle first. It was behind the "Christmas Mabel" ornament of Mabel wearing a Christmas hat and screaming in a little plastic speech bubble. An extra gift magically appeared with a note attached to it.
The family grabbed their stockings from the mantle and dumped them out. Agent heard cries of, "No WAY!" "That's awesome!" "I'm saving that candy for later!" and "This'll come in handy." Agent smiled. She dumped her stocking out herself and found out that it was stuffed with trinkets and all sorts of wonderful goodies. She found a note at the bottom. It read,
'Dear Rihanna Lymerzo Meltissimo-Slugster:
It's great that you discovered the secular half of the True Meaning of Christmas. That was truly wonderful! Have a happy holiday and don't forget that Christmas is not about getting a Vii U or whatever, it's about family time and the spirit of giving. And giving makes you feel good, right?
Merry Christmas, Rihanna.
Love, Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle; Santa Claus.
Agent smiled and folded up the letter. She would keep it forever.
The family began to open their gifts. Once again, happy, joyful Christmas gift cries abounded. Agent had bought everyone a gift, instead of not doing any holiday shopping at all. This was the first year she had driven to the mall and bought each and every gift herself.
After the gift opening, Agent noticed one last gift. It was wrapped in newspaper comics and it had a note sticking out of the bow. She opened it up and found a new coffee machine, perfect for use by the entire family. The second note said,
Just in case you've already forgotten about that note I lefy in your stocking, just be good. -Santa
She kept that too.
When everyone was opening up the packages, Agent plugged in the coffee machine and made a cup without sugar or sweeteners. She liked her coffee black, just like her metal. Rocket was headbanging to the music she had on her new icePhone 5, and Phineas using his building set to make a fort big enough for him. Agent put down her mug and read the notes again. They gave her a warm-and-fuzzy Christmas feeling inside, and she would definitely treasure the feeling.
Phineas stood up and stood by Agent. "Two things, first of all, can I have some? I was too busy on my fort. And second, what's that?"
Agent thought for a second, tapping her beak with the stirring stick. She was about to say, "No way, dude. Get your own," but instead she said, "sure," and passed thd machine over. "Those letters were...just some emails I printed out yesterday." She walked upstairs to her bedroom and got dressed, not in a black dress and tights, but a puffle pullover and skinny jeans.
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!" she screamed out the window happily. The children were still scared out of their minds.
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