"The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies"
"Augh!!!! Stupid tradition! I cannot write another Christmas parody if someone offered me millions of dollars! But we've parodied famous Christmas stories for the past three years... I have to write one!" JenniAnn stared, frustrated, at her computer screen. She very much wished Audrey wasn't offline and very busy for the holiday season. She really needed some help. She'd tried parodying "Miracle of 34th Street" but whose existence would the story try and prove? Andrew's?? No use proving someone's existence when the audience you're writing for has regularly attended parties with him! So she moved onto "The Grinch" but rhyming was never her thing and she was bad at writing villains anyhow.
"Hey, JenniAnn, can I help you with anything before I leave?" Andrew asked as he appeared at the door of her office.
"Not unless you have a great idea for a Christmas parody!" JenniAnn exclaimed.
"No, I'm afraid I
don't. I wrote that one JABB issue and that was
enough for me! Anyway, I was just headed out on assignment. But I'll
try to be back for the party tomorrow tonight."
Andrew waved and then disappeared.
"This is crazy. I could just throw together a couple top tens... I'm the only one obsessed with tradition. At least, that I know of... Gosh, it's late." JenniAnn glanced at the clock that now read 11 PM. "Maybe... I'll just take... a little... nap." JenniAnn walked over to her couch and fell asleep just as her head hit the cushion.
"Vincent, this tree is ridiculous! I know this is your first Christmas here but you've seen the pictures! Usually our tree reaches to the ceiling and is all decked out in ornaments of all shapes and sizes. This tree barely reaches your waist and I bet if I put this Santa ornament on it, the branch would break right off!" Audrey stared, incredulous, at the tree Vincent had just carried into the ballroom.
in, all the while staring at her guardian. Since when
did he wear yellow and black shirts? What happened to the wool and the
leather and the cape?
"With all due respect Audrey, I think we should keep this tree. After all, Christmas is about love and that's what this tree needs. A little bit of love. Don't you agree JenniAnn?" Vincent turned towards the confused girl.
"Yes... love... Good tree." JenniAnn tried to shake a sort of deja vu feeling that accompanied the whole scene. Before she had quite recovered Andrew came running into the room.
"Audrey, JenniAnn! You have to hurry! Something awful just happened!" Andrew shouted as he turned to run back outside, this time with the two princesses and Vincent in tow.
When the four had
got outside they found Adam staring at a pile of
clothes, a couple of tears in his eyes.
"Whose are those?" Audrey asked.
"Henry's. We were reminiscing and all of a sudden the sun came out from behind a tree and he just melted away! Right before our eyes! Just disappeared!" Andrew rambled as he continued to stare in disbelief at the clump of clothing.
"Poor guy. And right before he melted he said something like 'I'll be back again someday. Thumpety thump thump' Must have been delirious with fright mumbling like that. Such a shame." Adam shed a few tears.
"Oh my gosh..." JenniAnn glanced around from face to face. "You're all crazy. What kind of sick joke is this? And for goodness sake's Vincent, that shirt looks ridiculous on you."
"My shirt? But JenniAnn, this is all I ever wear. I have a whole closet full... Of only this shirt." Vincent explained.
"And how could you possibly think Adam and I would make this up about Henry? He is... was a dear friend! Before he melted!" Andrew cried with a horrified look.
"You're right. I'm sorry, I don't know what I was thinking. You and Adam would never make this sort of travesty up. And Vincent... you look... stunning." JenniAnn managed with some difficulty.
A few minutes of
awkward silence passed as everyone just stared at the
Finally, Adam spoke. "I think we should head back to the castle. Henry would have wanted us to enjoy ourselves this Christmas."
By that evening the
Dyeland Castle party was in full swing. Guests
were still pouring in and the band was playing everyone's favorite
Unbeknownst to anyone else an uninvited guest had infiltrated the party, Grant. Grant lived on top of a mountain in the Forbidden Forrest. He was a monstrous sort of person. He looked quite normal but he enjoyed wearing a hideous green shade and lurking in vacant corners and rooms.
"This is it! My chance to steal the joy away from these insipid little Dyelanders and their precious President." Grant stared at Andrew, still dressed as Santa from an earlier segment of the party, and began to laugh. Slowly he made his way to the Christmas tree and began to secretly nab all the gifts. He then dashed over to where Andrew's golden Santa bag lay and threw every one of the gifts in there. He crept back to his corner to enjoy the fallout from his scheme.
"Well, everyone, I've had a lovely time once again but I'm afraid it's back to work for me!" Andrew explained as he walked towards his bag, hugging Dyelanders as he made his way towards it and the door.
"Hey, Andrew! What's in that bag of yours? I thought you gave all the presents out all ready?" Adam inquired.
"Gee, I don't know, I guess a surprise from someone. I'll have to check it out later." Andrew said as he slung the bag over his shoulder.
"You'd like that wouldn't you, Mr.!" A detective said as he walked into the room.
Grant howled with laughter when he saw that his call to the FBI had panned out.
"Open the bag, now!" the detective ordered.
"Sure thing." Andrew said laughing, sure this was an elaborate Christmas prank.
Shock waves went through the room as Andrew opened the bag to reveal all the Dyelanders' Christmas presents!
"That's it Mr. President! You're coming with me, going on trial, NOW!" The detective hauled Andrew away and out the door. Adam, Audrey, a hysterical JenniAnn leaning on a beleaguered Vincent for support, and a slew of other Dyelanders all followed them out.
"Adam, I think you should be Andrew's lawyer." Audrey suggested when she saw no one else had materialized for the role.
"Ummm, okay." Adam's red and green sweater gave way for an impressive, business suit.
Adam tried to prove that his client was indeed an Angel of Death and therefore, as a servant of God, incapable of stealing Christmas joy. For his part, Andrew did look incredibly innocent in the Santa costume. With some lovely legal maneuvering, Adam managed to not only convince the courts Andrew was an angel but also that God existed and should be trusted because, duh, it says so right on the dollar bill. Happy again, everyone returned to Dyeland.
Back at the castle the crowds had started to thin and eventually only the princesses, Andrew, and Vincent remained.
"Geez, I hope after all this nonsense my parents got me what I wanted for Christmas." JenniAnn said.
"And what was that?" Audrey asked.
"No, you don't want a cat! It'll scratch yours eyes out!" Audrey said dramatically.
"Augh... I'm asking
Vincent. My parents know him the most of everyone
here. Maybe they told him." JenniAnn walked over to her guardian, he
staring lovingly at his tree and still wearing that hideous shirt.
"Vincent, do you know what my parents got me for Christmas?"
"Was it by any
chance a pet of some sort..."
"No, sorry. Besides, JenniAnn, you don't want a cat. It'll steal your breath away when you sleep. And anyway, it'd scratch your eyes out." Vincent explained.
"Oh my gosh! You've read all those books and you actually believe that! Your father's a doctor, man!" JenniAnn began a torrent of declarations and rants. "An AOD melted!!!!! Andrew got arrested! And my guardian is dressed like a cartoon character!!! Where is Dr. Johnson?!? He said I'd be sane for Christmas. You know what I want for Christmas?!? I want that lunatic doctor in this room, right now, with a bow on him! Do you all hear me!?" JenniAnn had by this time thrown herself on the nearest couch.
Slowly, Andrew made his way to the door and stepped outside. Meanwhile, Vincent and Audrey stared at JenniAnn in disbelief. Andrew made his way to St. Andrew's Hospital.
A few minutes later,
Audrey and Vincent had managed to get JenniAnn
settle down and she was now staring blankly at the fire.
Suddenly there was a knock at the door. Audrey went over to open it and gasped. She moved away to allow the guests in.
JenniAnn spun around, horrified, to find Andrew and Dr. Johnson. The latter had a large red bow tied around his lab coat.
"Merry Christmas JenniAnn!" Andrew cried.
"I demand to be returned to the hospital! What is this all about? What is with this lunatic angel-president running into my office and kidnapping me?!?" Dr. Johnson screamed.
His question went unanswered because the same detective from earlier had come running in. This time he made a mad dash for JenniAnn and started to arrest her.
"May I ask what you're doing?" Vincent asked angrily.
"I'm arresting this
girl on kidnapping charges. She was overheard
saying she wanted Dr. Johnson here and then he disappeared. And... oh
my... there he is. Quite a good deal of proof here!"
"No but... Who keeps calling you here anyway?" Andrew asked.
Grant began to slink away from the sideroom he had taken over since Andrew's arrest and the ensuing panic.
"You have the right to remain silent..." the detective began.
"No... No..." JenniAnn screamed.
"No, what? JenniAnn, wake up. It's Saturday and we have to get ready for the party!" Audrey was now seated by the couch where JenniAnn had fallen asleep.
JenniAnn shot up and looked around her office, "A dream..." she sighed gratefully. JenniAnn jumped up and madly began to make last-minute preparations for the party.
Christmas party was winding down. After hours of
dancing, laughing, singing, and gift-giving people were preparing to
JenniAnn had made a
point of speaking with Henry and Dr.
just to make sure everything had indeed been a dream. It had.
JenniAnn, Adam, Yva, Jennie, and some other mutual friends of
Vincent were gathered in a corner exchanging gifts. This would be the
last time JenniAnn would see her guardian before the New Year.
Vincent excitedly unwrapped a lovely homemade book from Yva, a somewhat eccentric but well-intentioned homemade sweater-vest from JenniAnn, and an assortment of other gifts as did the rest of the group. Finally, for the last song of the evening, Yva and Adam serenaded everyone with a beautiful rendition of "O Holy Night." After enthusiastic applause, everyone filed out of the castle shouting wishes for a happy holiday season. At last, only the princesses, the two angels of death, Vincent, and John were left.
"Well, I guess this is it! Most of us won't see each other until January." Audrey said.
"Yeah but at least when we come back we'll have two birthdays to celebrate!" JenniAnn said happily as she looked at Vincent and John.
"Before we leave Andrew and Audrey and I have one last Christmas surprise, JenniAnn." John said.
"Oh really..." JenniAnn slowly inched her way towards Vincent and Adam, remembering a certain plot she had overheard months before.
"Well, see, a few months ago you overheard us talking about you and we think maybe we alarmed you." Andrew began to explain.
"You think?" JenniAnn answered incredulous.
"We just wanted to let you know it was all a scheme to help you keep your sanity, there was never a real plot to take over Dyeland. Or whatever it was, I don't even remember." Andrew continued. "Dr. Johnson said you needed some sort of excitement or else you would invent it yourself. We knew you were in trouble when you tried to impeach yourself over some guy named S. We were afraid you *would* impeach yourself and leave. So we started this story..."
"You mean Vincent, Cliff, and I built all those tunnels under the city for me to hide in over a joke?!?"
"Vincent, you really
could have told her about this before going to all
that work." John said.
"Vincent! You knew!"
"Yes, but you were
having so much fun with the tunnels... Decorating
and cleaning and... You know I really do hope you show Lisa all our
work. Then she'll know you aren't lazy."
"Hmm. Good idea. Well, I'm glad you've told me this. But I guess I am glad we have those tunnels, too. I just wish I could have written the annual JABB Christmas story parody." JenniAnn said sadly. "I even had a stupid nightmare because of the thing."
"Oh, I wouldn't worry so much about that." Audrey answered. "I have a feeling you'll be able to write the whole thing in a matter of minutes now. It's still only the 22nd."
"You're right. I
think I'll go do that." JenniAnn smiled.
Everyone said their good-byes and "Happy holidays!" In a shock of beautiful, bright light Andrew and Adam disappeared, leaving their friends in awe.