Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Steampunk Christmas, Part 2

Part 2: The Evil Tiny Kitty Who Stole Christmas

We went back inside, and set about preparing the house for dinner. With two sets of hands, the work went quickly, and we finished earlier than we had anticipated. “We have plenty of time before Roland arrives,” I said. “Shall we go sing some carols in Glengarry? Miss Poppy and Mr. Margulis have decorated for the holiday and invited everyone. We can just make it.”

The Poppy-Margulis estate had been thoroughly bedecked in Christmas finery. Various neighbors had created and donated ornaments, a crèche, several trees, and more, while the lady of the house applied her vast talents to the project as well. What resulted was a dazzling array of glitter and shine. The steam generator out back wheezed as it struggled to keep up with the demands for electricity placed on it.

Miss Poppy stood on a box that served as a dais. Several dozen neighbors formed an arc in the yard, looking up as she thanked everyone for coming. “Shall we start with ‘Santa Claus is Steaming to Town,’” she asked. We started the familiar tune a little raggedly, but soon our voices were as one as we sang, “You’d better watch out, you’d better be good, Santa is steaming into your neighborhood…”

Just then, an airship glided into sight and hovered above the estate, not fifty feet off the ground. Through a megaphone came a mad cackling, and a feline voice called out, “Attention, Caladumbians! Your silly traditions offend me! Watch the power of my new ray destroy your so-called Holy Day! (Ray gun available at all Evil Tiny Kitty locations for a surprisingly reasonable fee.)”

Our singing came to a stop as one person after another dropped out. Soon there was silence, which was broken by a high-pitched humming emanating from the airship. A red beam of light shot from the airship and rapidly diffused across the yard. We stood, amazed, as, one by one, the Christmas decorations started to levitate, then made their way to the airship. First to go were the lightest: the tinsel, the bows, the ornaments. Candy canes and poinsettias, wreaths and gift packages, Christmas lights – all drifted upward. Then the individual pieces of the crèche went airborne, followed by entire trees. Finally, not a single reminder of Christmas remained, while everything else on the property was untouched.

The stunned silence was broken by a single, plaintive voice. “Why?” it called. “Why, Miss Kitty Cat? Why have you taken our Christmas things?”

Dr. Malegatto Alter laughed evilly. “Why indeed, little girl? Perhaps it is because I don’t like your singing. Or perhaps it’s just because my top hat is one size too small.”

Kathy whispered to me, “That is some good science!” I nodded; one had to admire the doctor’s ingenuity in devising such a scheme.

I cannot imagine what Dr. Alter expected our reaction to be, but I scarce imagined what actually happened. Although those in attendance had lost all their material reminders of the season, and one might have expected spirits to be down, I heard a soft singing around me. One by one, people started in again on the song. As one person started, his neighbor joined in. Soon, everyone was singing carols at full voice. When the song ended, and silence was restored, Miss Poppy shouted toward the airship, “Take that, you evil feline! Christmas is not about presents and decorations, it is about celebrating a holy event throughout the community. You may take our material things, but you can never take away the spirit of Caledon!”

The airship began to rise. “Nice speech, lady,” Dr. Alter replied. “What, I’m supposed to be filled with the spirit of the season, return everything, and have a cup of cocoa and a slice of roast beast with everyone? I don’t think so. I’ll be seeing you, suckers!” And with that, the ship rose out of sight.

No comments: