Friday, June 29, 2012

Jolly Part 2


Zis vould not do. Zis vould not do at all.

Vis Krampus and Bartel both in chains behind me, I had gone scouring zee city in search of a zuitable factory.

And yet, the only factory zuitable for zee task vas old.

And dirty.
And abadoned.
And nearly fallen apart.

It had been used to manufacture toys first, before being converted for veapons manufacture later zat same year.

Zee Mayor sold it off to zee Disciples of Adam.

Zey scavenged vhat zey could and left zee building to rot. Zey would not be receiving toys zis year.


I sighed, trailing my fingers through my hair.

Krampus and Bartel shifted uneasily behind me. Damn zat accursed ringing. Who's idea had it been to bell zem anyvay? Zere ver fewer ornaments on most Christmas trees zen zere ver bells on dere hides.

"Bartel, Krampus, ve are going hunting."

"Hunting for naughty?"

"Ja, ja. Hunting for naughty."

If I couldn't very vell start production, I could at least be able to start punishing somevun.

Stimme started zinging "Ode to Joy."

My thoughts exactly.


It vas mid-day on ze Solstice before ve finally caught hold of vhat ve were looking for.

Quarreling in ze snow ver three different gangs of youths, no older than twenty, no younger than sixteen. Knives and pistols had been drawn and at least vun of zem lay in the snow bleeding to death as I rode up on Brittany.

"I'm not even going to bother asking you hooligans if you're been naughty or nice zis year. Just come vis me or take ze sack, it makes no nevermind to me."

Zere ver shouts and curses, a few howling catcalls mocking my blue and vhite armor. A single shot rang out and the bullet barely missed giving my cheek a kiss.

Alvays the hard vay. Never vunce could zey make meeting my deadlines easy could zey?


I lashed Stimme out into zee crowd, my vip joyfully wrapping around a pistol-vaving fool's wrist. His arm started to turn blue, frost forming on his fingers. Stimme was singing about Jack Frost and nose-nipping.

I vhistled softly and jerked Stimme back to me. Both zee young punk's hand and the pistol therein ver still vithin Stimme's grip.

From zee alleyvays behind zee pack of delinquents, Krampus and Bartel lumbered forth. Both vere carrying great green and black sacks in zere hands.

"Now, ze rest of you vill either get into a sack or join your friend on ze pavement, screaming like a little girl who's lost her kitten. Ze choice is yours."

At first, zey had no intention of complying. How tiresome. Two vis knives lunged at me. Stimme caught vun at ze throat, icing his aorta closed. He fell to zee ground as zee rest of his blood coagulated in his veins. Zee other vas greeted by a metal tipped boot. I kissed him vis my boot on each cheek and then just below his sternum. He fell to zee ground, gasping for air.

Zee others ver having ever more trouble as Krampus and Bartel simply picked zem and stuffed zem headlong into zee sacks. Vun fool made zee mistake of firing at Bartel. Bartel scooped him up, bit off zee moron's arm. He vas just beginning to stuff him into zee sack as vell vhen he saw me shaking my head.

"No damaged goods Bartel, you know zee rule."

"Bartel naughty."

"Ja, ja, but it vill be alright. Just try not to hurt anymore. And if you do, just toss zem in zat dumpster behind you."

After zat comment and zee resounding thud of their fellow hitting zee dumpster bottom, zee rest of the gangers lined up for zere turn to climb into zee sack. It vas almost commendable.

If ve hadn't alveady been late.

I cracked Stimme and my vip began to hum again. Standard funeral march. Much beter. Now just to get dese vee buggers vurking at getting ze shop cleaned up.

I had hoped that ve might just meet zee deadline after all.

My hopes ver shattered as ve rounded ze last corner leading to ze shop.

The Disciples of Adam ver vaiting. Like I really needed zis. Vhat did I body have to do to get respect for zere schedule?

I took a deep breath and held it for a minute so zat it felt less like a sigh before letting it out and realizing it vas anyvay.

"What do you think you're doing, encroaching on Disciple grounds? This is consecrated land, per Adam 2.0's orders."

"Ja, it is holy ground. Zat is vhy I chose it. Zat is vhy it vurks as a place to build toys. Now get out of my vay before I start getting angry."

Zere were two dozen of zem, clanking, clinking, clicking, grinding like my grandfather's cuckoo clocks. Zis vas getting out of hand and needed to be stopped. Now.

Before the monstrosity zat vas in charge could react, I spurred Brittany forvard and lashed Stimme around his steely neck. He vas short, fat, and very little of him vas really upgraded. Nothing naughtier zen being a phony. Vis Stimme's teeth sunk into his steel and flesh, I kicked Brittany into a full gallop, dragging him behind me.

The others started to move, zee stink of oil punctuating their every step. Krampus and Bartel ver zere, swatting them with the sacks, flattening zem out on the ground. As zey staggered each set of Disciples, zey simply grabbed hold and stuffed zem into dere sacks as vell. Good boys. Never miss an opportunity. Never drop your guard. Never let a captive escape vunce you already have them in hand. For better or for vurse, it simply is zee vay it is done.

The tin man's flesh vas growing blue and his steel vas throughly icy vhen I finally forced Stimme to release him. I svung off of Brittany and landed next to zee frigid Disciple as skidded to a stop. He had been gold-plated, but zee cold and zee scraping of ze asphalt beneath him had already chipped avay most of zee gold.

"Vat is your name?"


I zought for a moment. Ja, zat vould do. Zat vould do nicely.

"Chris, have you ever run a factory?"


"You're about to. Zat is, if you vant to live to see Christmas Day."

"W-w-what do I have to do?"

He vas shivering, and not from zee cold. I leaned down, peering into vun true eye and vun composed of lenses and gears. I tugged my hair out of my eys, flipping it aside. So annoying.

"You are going to be my head elf Christopher. Do not question it. Do not quarrel vis me. And ve vill have ourselves an understanding. Deal?"


Superb. Maybe, just maybe, I could zalvage zis.

I sighed and took Brittany leads, sauntering in through zee factory's doors.

"Vell don't just lie zere, get in here and get to vurk. Ve have a deadline to meet."

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