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Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Santa's Helpers (Results)  (Read 489 times)

Sinitrena

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It's a busy time of the year, not just for us mere mortals but for Santa Claus as well. He has so much to do, he could never do it alone.

Get us in the holiday spirit and tell a story about someone or something that helps Santa do his job. That can be everything, from the reindeers pulling his sled to the retail workers posing as elves in the mall, or the parents and grandparents shopping for toys in the last minute, maybe even Krampus punishing misbehaving children.

Technically, you have time until 1. January, although I'm not sure how sober I'll be, so you probably have a day or two more.
« Last Edit: 04 Jan 2018, 15:26 by Sinitrena »

Baron

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Technically, you have time until 1. January, although I'm not sure how sober I'll be, so you probably have a day or two more.

Some of my best work was typed up with a bottle in hand.  The trick is to get down to business before you are hungover.  ;)

Ponch

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The trick is to let the magic genie in the alcohol bottle to do all the work for you. :=
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Sinitrena

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So what you´re saying is that you wait for your alcohol level to reach a certain hight and then you´ll start writing. Got it. (laugh)

Ponch

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So what you´re saying is that you wait for your alcohol level to reach a certain hight and then you´ll start writing. Got it. (laugh)
Precisely. Expect something incoherent and poorly spell-checked to arrive late on New Year's Eve night. :=
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Baron

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Looking forward to it, P.  By the by, in which time zone will it be late on New Years Eve night? ;)

For my part, I surprisingly have an early idea!  Actually, rather than go through the bother and risk of coming up with a new idea, I've decided to play it safe and just write a pale imitation sequel to a story that's already been proven to be a crowd pleaser.  Well, in fact it just kinda limped by last time, but that counts as success in my books and I'm determined to rest on my laurels rather than go through all the wrenching uncertainty and tumult of creating original art. (nod)

Baron

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Ho ho ho!  It looks like several people will be furiously typing up their entries with a pounding hangover, er, hanging over them. (roll)

My entry is a sequel to Coal Squad, a story I wrote an astonishing five years ago for this very competition.  I'm not one for repeating backstory, especially in a short story format, so if you can't piece together what is happening then you'll have to go back and read episode one to get your bearings.  Basically Coal Squad is the policing arm of Santa's operation that deals with giving coal to naughty folk.  They get a naughty list from CI5 (Christmas Intelligence) and bring retribution to the undeserving.  They're kind of a band of misfits with a critically important job, but they don't really fit in with the rest of elf society.

Coal Squad 2: Retribution Resolution

22:30 GMT 2017-12-24   Aleppo, Syria

   The night was black but for the occasional streak of tracer bullets.  An odd snowflake fell here and there, cold as the hearts of men, but melting to a child's tear drop on the dusty and blood-spattered ground.  The city cowered in the darkness as the occasional shell crashed through the ruins of the once prosperous streets.  And above it all flew a sleigh as silently as a stealth bomber.

   “Geez, what a shithole!” sneered Pidowski, a middle-aged elf sporting a fat belly and a thin moustache.  “What's the point of coaling someone when their house is crumbling down on top of them?”

   “You wanna park that fat ass of yours behind a desk in the Assessment Bureau to write the Naughty List yourself, Pidowski?” growled a mangy green creature in a sad imitation of a Santa Claus suit.

   “No sir, Captain Grinch!” Pidowski replied.  “Those desks aren't equipped for agents of my calibre!”

   Captain Grinch ignored the remark.  Pidowski had a sack of sass as bottomless as Santa's magic bag, but underneath the sass and lard he had a heart of pure gold.  The Grinch motioned for the rest of the squad to gather around.  Beside Pidowski was Garcia, another elf and thirty-five year vet, still quick as a Boxing Day shopper and solid as a frozen Toblerone bar.  Then there was Krampus, half elf and half goat, twirly beard blowing in the wind and a harsh edge to his stare.  Finally there was Green Melvin, another elf five years in the force but still learning the ropes.

   “Here's the intel,” barked the Grinch.  “Arms-dealing bastard playing both sides off each other.  Wife abuses the servants and sleeps around on the side.  Got a spoilt little daughter who bullies the neighbourhood children.  Our orders are to go in and coal with extreme prejudice.”

   The vets started checking their coal scuttles and holstering them securely, but Green Melvin as always picked an inopportune moment to ask awkward questions.  “Sir?  We're hitting one family in this sea of misery?  There's gotta be thousands of culpable naughties down there!”

   “Out of our jurisdiction,” the Grinch shouted.  “Naughty Muslims get goat-turded every second day throughout Ramadan by our affiliates down in the South Pole!”

   “That doesn't make any sense,” Green Melvin started.  “We hit the Buddhists, the Atheists, and the-”

   “Sense?!?” the Grinch screamed.  “Sense!?!  This is Coal Squad, soldier, not religion class!  Some people choose to believe in a jolly fat guy with elf minions and others choose to believe in a jolly porpoise with penguin minions and who are you or I to tell them otherwise!”

   “Er,” Melvin grasped, “I'm pretty sure the Muslims don't believe in-”

   “Have you ever discussed the Jolly Porpoise with a Muslim, son?!” the Grinch spat.

   “Uh, no sir.  But-”

   “Have you ever cut a Muslim open to peer into the deepest depths of their soul to see what they truly believe?!” the Grinch bawled.   

     “....No.” Melvin admitted, glancing sideways at his squad mates who were trying to make discrete cut-off motions.

   “Then where in Santa's Merry Realm do you get the arrogance to presume whose naughty list they should appear on!?!  Christians, Buddhists, Taoists, Atheists, Jedi, and Secular Jews are Santa's responsibility at the North Pole!  Muslims, Hindus, Animists, Neopagans, and the Zoroastrians get the Jolly Porpoise in the South Pole!  And Shintoists, practising Jews,  Baha'i, Jehova Witnesses, Scientologists, and the Miscellaneous Category get stuck with the Gleeful Octopus and his merry horde of butterfly-winged gila monsters from the mysterious East Pole!  There, is that clear?!?”

   Melvin blinked in stunned silence.  “What about the West Pole?”

   “There is no West Pole you geographic dunce!  You-!”

   “Sir!” interrupted Olive, their pilot reindeer, over the coms-link.  “We're approaching target!”

   “All right!” shouted the Grinch.  “No more tangents!  Coms on!  Make sure you're locked and loaded!  Prepare to insert!  Go, go, go!”

   Three elves and a half elf-goat fell from the sleigh in linear formation towards the chimney of a large compound.  Pidowski hit first, bunging the hole up with his unhealthy girth for just a moment before the force of his three comrades colliding with him forced him through.  A soft thump and a cloud of ash issued from the main fireplace inside. 

   “Santa's Bells, Pidowski,” groaned Krampus.  “That ass of yours gets any bigger and we'll need to lube you up before missions.”

   “Hey, maybe you'd like to go first and break my fall, horn-brain?” Pidowski retorted.

   “Cut the chatter!” Captain Grinch barked over the radio from the command sleigh.  “Green Group, secure the first floor.  Red Group, upstairs.”

   The Coal Squad agents drew their scuttles and split up.  Krampus and Green Melvin worked their way through the common rooms on the main floor, while Garcia and Pidowski climbed the stairs to the bedrooms.

   "A lot of festive spirit for a war-monger," Garcia commented, admiring the colourful lights and decorations that lined the banister. He knocked his pointy green helmet twice and waved upward.  “Two armed bogeys on the landing,” he whispered into his coms-link.

   “Salary men,” the Grinch radioed back.  “The tall one's just doing it so his family can eat.  The short one too, but he's more of a dick.  You know what to do.”

   Pidowski and Garcia nodded to each other.  They loaded canisters of Mrs. Claus's extra potent cooking sherry into their coal scuttles and charged up the stairs.  As the guards' jaws dropped in disbelief they each got a shot of the sherry and were knocked cold.  The short one got an extra shot of coal.

   “Landing secured,” Pidowski called it in as they proceeded to the first bedroom.  “Door's wired,” he muttered to Garcia.

   “That wasn't on the schems,” Garcia whispered back.  “Better call it in.”

   “No, I got this,” Pidowski answered back.  “Give me a boost up to the control panel.”

   “Yeah, right!” Garcia shook his head.  “If I wanted to carry an elephant around on my back I would have stayed in the Distribution Division.”

   “Dammit, Garcia!  Be a team player!  A bit of sugar plum dust on the buttons and we'll have the code cracked in two winks.”

   “You give me the sugar plum dust and I'll boost on you.”

   “You know my back can't take lifting!” Pidowski argued.

   “Well lie down then.  You're taller that way anyway!”

   The two elves fell to high-pitched fisticuffs.

   *   *   *   *   *

   “Dining room, clear!” Green Melvin radioed.

   “Living room, clear!” Krampus called back.

   “Did you hear that?” Green Melvin asked.

   “Hear what?”

   They both stood silent for a moment.  There it was again.  The faint sound of tinkling from the kitchen.  “Bogey in the kitchen,” Krampus radioed.

   “Negative,” the Grinch radioed back.  “Intel says all targets are tucked in for the night.  Might be a maid or a delivery kid.  Do not engage.”

   “What if they come out?” Green Melvin asked.

   “Neutralize any operatives heading for the stairs,” the Grinch called back.  “Otherwise, observe and recon.”

   “Sit and watch?” Krampus growled privately to Melvin.

   Melvin shrugged.

   “Hey.  Did you hear that?” Krampus asked, a mischievous glint to his eye.

   “Hear what?” Melvin asked back.

   “It sounded like they were heading for the stairs.”  Krampus crept towards the kitchen door, with Green Melvin reluctantly following.

   *   *   *   *   *   

   “Hold still, dammit!” Pidowski grunted to his partner below.

   “Gah, my shoulders!” Garcia squeaked.  “What are those, ballet shoes you're wearing?  All of the weight is concentrated into a tiny point!”

   “The podiatrist said they'd help with my posture!” Pidowski spat back.  He mashed the last couple of buttons on the control panel and the door buzzed open.

   “Thank the Tinsel,” Garcia sighed as Pidowski hopped down.  They entered the room, coal scuttles cocked.  “What the-?”

   *   *   *   *   *

   Krampus eased open the kitchen door.  The only unsteady light was from a candle left burning on the counter.  Melvin dove through the door and rolled into position by the dishwasher.  There was no one visible in the room, but a large island hid the far end of the kitchen from their view.  Krampus pointed Melvin to the right, while he crept stealthily to the left.  They both rounded the island at the same time, scuttles primed to fire.

   On the floor by the fridge sat a little girl of about three years in her pyjamas.  She was rubbing the ears of a kitten who was mischievously trying to get at a plate laden with cookies that was on the ground.

   “No, no, Fwuzzie,” the girl said, lifting the kitten back away from the plate.  “Those tweats are for Santy Claus.”  She bent down and kissed the kitten, then picked up the plate with her unsteady toddler hands.  Krampus squinted in confusion at Green Melvin, who instinctively lowered his scuttle.  Something was definitely wrong with the intel they were receiving.

   “We got a room full of gifts for the poor,” came Garcia's voice over the radio.  “Something's wrong here, Captain.  Permission to abort.”

   “Permission denied!” came the Grinch's grim voice.  “Our intel is solid.  These orders come from the top!”

   “We've got the daughter AWOL in the kitchen,” Melvin reported.  “Three years old cuddling a kitten and putting out cookies for Santa.  Your intel is bogus, sir!”

   “That's impossible!” the Grinch growled.  “Are you saying CI5 has been compromised?!?”

   “Abort!” came Pidowski's panicked voice.  “Extract!  Extract!”

   Green Melvin wondered for a moment what could panic a grizzled vet like Pidowski.  Then the fridge door swung open on its own and a squad of penguins with goat-turd rifles emerged.
   
      
      

Sinitrena

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Thank you for your entry, Baron, hwat an interesting story!

Ponch, do you still want to write something? Wins by default are so lame :(

I guess I leave the comp open for about 24h more, just in case.

Baron

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Lame schmame!  Victory by default! ;-D ;-D ;-D

Ponch is no doubt still nursing an epic Texas-sized New Years hangover.  It may yet be several days before he's well enough to string some words together.  It'd be best just to give ALL TEH TROPHIEZ TO MEEEEE!!!!

Sinitrena

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Well, I guess it is a win by default. It is a while since we had one of them, I think, but it happens. And you all had better things to do over the holidays, I'm sure.

So, on to the one entry we did get: What an interessting concept, what faszinating characters! (I vaguely remember your original story but haven't reread it.) I especially like how you set the whole thing up as a military operation - that completely failed because of bad intel. And the squad of penguins was hilarious.
For a funny, strange and unusual christmas story, Baron wins the Golden Satan Hat (TM) with 0 votes.


Congratulations!

kconan

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  Congrats Baron :)  I'm already looking forward to Coal Squad 3!