CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 2011
The automatic doors of the department store slid open, and through them stepped a humanoid creature with a body made of glass. This figure was covered in angled patterns formed by black lines, with each portion of the pattern colored either red, orange, or yellow. On its face, among an overly complex design of crisscrossing lines and orange glass, were two yellow eyes that looked like curved rectangles, and on its chest was an emblem that resembled a sun.
The figure, Stained Glass Inmacula—or just Inmacula—emitted the sound of a sigh as it took two more steps forward and stopped again in front of a man who was face down on the floor. This man wore a brown jumpsuit, yellow boots, a yellow helmet, and yellow gloves, but one glove was a ridiculously oversized fist.
“Guts Style Pahrak,” Inmacula greeted. “Respond.”
Pahrak groaned, so Inmacula held out its hand and used its power to heal Pahrak, shooting a beam of white light that hit the man in back. When he was healed, Pahrak leapt to his feet, clenched his oversized fist, and shouted, “I was SO close this time, Inmacula! SO CLOSE!! But, alas, I hesitated as I reached for a cart, and—“
“You were trampled, as you have been every year,” Inmacula said. “I cease to see logic in your continued participation in ‘Black Friday’.”
Pahrak cast a longing look into the frenzied masses swirling about inside the store, saying, “Ah, Inmacula, my robotic friend, this is not something that can be explained by logic…Black Friday is a thrill!”
“I have no intention of having this argument again,” Inmacula said. “I merely came to retrieve you.”
“Ah…I suppose so,” Pahrak said, hanging his head solemnly, and then Inmacula used its teleportation powers to relocate them both to a small apartment.
The apartment had bare, gray-brown walls and a wood-paneled floor, and in the room in which Inmacula and Pahrak now stood, there was a medium-sized television, numerous video game systems, a coffee table, and a sofa. On the sofa lay a man—asleep—who wore a gray jumpsuit and several plates of brown armor, including two armguards that each sprouted a line of spines resembling those found on a Panrahk’s back.
Someone else then entered the room: a Bionicle with brown and yellow armor, a build similar to that of a Toa Metru, and the head of a Zadakh. The Vahki-headed Toa, Exo-Zadakh, said, “Hey, Pahrak, good to see you didn’t get deleted. Thanks for saving his bytes, Inmacula.”
Inmacula gave no response as it walked out of the room, meanwhile Pahrak crouched next to the couch. “Panrahk has yet to regain consciousness?” he asked. “Poor soul…he’s been like this since Thanksgiving Dinner.”
Panrahk snored, and Zadakh said, “You’re worried about him? He does this once a week. You got trampled and laid there for hours.”
“I care deeply for my friends!” Pahrak said.
Suddenly, Panrahk sat up and said, “Wha?! Oh, you’re back…hey, do we have leftovers?”
“…You just got out of a food coma, and you’re hungry,” Zadakh said, putting a hand to his head. “Are you sure you’re not a Vorahk?”
Panrahk thought for a second, and then he said, “You sound even more frustrated than usual…”
“Dost thou not remember?” Pahrak chimed in. “This is Zadakh’s Black Friday tradition: entering cynical hibernation until the dawn of New Year’s Day.”
Zadakh rolled his head (because having a Vahki head made it impossible to roll his eyes), and he strode towards the window and sighed. He prepared to speak, but then he heard music and turned to see Panrahk holding up an iPod.
“…It seemed like the cue for a show-stopping musical number,” Panrahk said.
Zadakh paused, then said, “If this was animated, then definitely, but it’s all text, so we can’t do musical numbers.”
“Oh, right,” Panrahk said, putting the iPod away.
“Anyway…” Zadakh said, turning back to the window. “In our culture, Black Friday is seen as the beginning of the Christmas—oh, I’m sorry, ‘holiday’ season…a month of greed where we throw money everywhere as if it can buy love and happiness, and you can’t even pick a specific holiday because it may offend someone. Let’s be politically correct, reject our own beliefs, and celebrate materialism.”
There was a pause, but then Pahrak said, “Unfortunately, I’ve yet to locate the world’s smallest violin.”
Zadakh sighed, and Panrahk said, “Look Zadakh, I feel the same way, but no matter how much we complain…or sing, if this was animated…it’s not going to change.”
“…There has to be something,” Zadakh said. “I mean for crying out loud, Christmas is Jesus’s birthday! If there’s ANY holiday that should be celebrated properly, it’s this one!”
Zadakh continued thinking, and then he turned around and said, “Alright, that’s it! Rather than sitting around and complaining, like I’ve done my entire life, this year I’m going to do something! Brainstorm!”
“Hm…we could have Pahrak hijack the Internet to foil Cyber Monday,” Panrahk suggested.
“Nah, we already tried that,” Zadakh said. “All we did was crash the BZPower server. Luckily, that happens so often that no one suspected anything…”
“Oh, I know!” Pahrak said. “We pull off a combination Grinch/Inception heist, diving into a representational world of our culture to steal the flawed cultural perception of Christmas!”
“Hm…that would take too long,” Zadakh said. “Besides, to do a Grinch heist you need to speak in rhyme, and you know how easily frustrated I am.”
Inmacula entered the room and said, “According to my calculations, your pre-formulated scheme ‘Epic Plan 52’ could be easily modified for these circumstances.”
“We can’t set it up in time,” Zadakh said, shaking his head. “For that to work, we all need to power up to Level 9999, we need to revive Godzilla and turn him into a cyborg, and at least one of us needs to be both a Super Saiyan and a paladin. We’re about 12% there after 3 years.”
“Well, maybe you should just leave Christmas specials to the professionals,” Panrahk said.
“Yeah? Any how many of those specials mention Jesus?” Zadakh asked. “Charlie Brown, and…oh, wait, I think that’s it.”
“Ah, such a wonderful Christmas special that is…” Pahrak said. “They do so much with such a little tree!”
“A little goes a long way,” Panrahk agreed.
“…Wait…that’s it!” Zadakh said. “Panrahk, that’s the smartest thing you’ve ever said!”
“It does not have abundant competition,” Inmacula said.
“We’ll do a little, and let it go a long way!” Zadakh said. “The little things! We can volunteer at a homeless shelter, or…go caroling! Or, uh…uh…some other third thing!”
“Your vagueness is truly inspiring,” Inmacula responded. “Feel free to attempt this scheme. I shall remain here.”
“Come on, guys!” Zadakh said. “We’ve gotta start somewhere!”
“Such as writing a poorly organized Christmas story that nobody will read?” Pahrak asked.
“It’s the thought that counts,” Panrahk said.
“Don’t you at least want to be able to say you tried?” Zadakh asked.
Inmacula left the room, but Panrahk stood up and said, “I’ll do it! I want to open people’s eyes!”
“Well…it is a worthwhile venture, whether we succeed or not,” Pahrak said. “I shall join you.”
“Great!” Zadakh said. “Let’s put the Christ back in Christmas!”
“…Is that going to be your catchphrase for the next month?” Panrahk asked.
“Maybe,” Zadakh replied.
So, for the next month, the three well-meaning morons did everything they could think of to help people and spread the word of Jesus Christ. However, it didn’t go so well…if this special were animated, we could show you a montage of failure, but I guess we’ll just name off a few highlights.
Caroling went fairly well at first, despite the fact that none of them were excellent singers, but then someone decided to send dogs after them, forcing them to retire early. Nothing particularly bad happened at the homeless shelter they volunteered at, but it wasn’t the most sanitary locale on their quest, and Zadakh, being a germaphobe, had to be removed before he had a stroke. They tried shoveling snow off of driveways, but each time they finished, a snow plow came along and shoved the snow from the street onto the driveway they had just finished. In a last-ditch effort, they decided to make some signs to position around the neighborhood, but some atheists saw them, destroyed all the signs, and then tried to shoot our main characters. The atheists ended up in jail, but that was really the only positive thing that happened to Zadakh and his friends. By the time December 24th came around, they were exhausted, discouraged, and more cynical than ever, and they said very little as they slowly walked down the street towards home.
“…Well, we tried,” Panrahk mumbled.
“In the end, one cannot change another’s perception so easily,” Pahrak mourned.
“…Hey, uh…you guys go on ahead,” Zadakh said, coming to a stop. “I’ll catch up.”
Panrahk and Pahrak continued on, and Zadakh looked around: he was alone on a dark sidewalk, with only a stone bench and a street lamp, with no sound but his own breathing. Zadakh sat down on the bench and sighed, “Cue lonely solo number…”
For a minute, he just sat there, but then he stood up and began to circle the bench, musing, “This was a disaster. But at least we tried, right? I know, you’re not supposed to do good things to get rewarded, you’re supposed to do them because they’re the right thing to do. Still…I don’t think we really accomplished anything…so was it worth it? Ugh…no one cares anymore. People just don’t care about Jesus anymore! Apparently there’s nothing that can be done about it! Why?! We’re supposed to be celebrating Jesus’s birthday, so why are we waiting for some fat guy whose name is an anagram of a REALLY bad name to bring us useless junk we don’t need?! Come on, people!! Is it really…rrgh…I guess there really isn’t Christ in Christmas anymore. It’s all Xmas now…how sad we are. We’d rather drown in materialistic greed than acknowledge the birth of our savior. We seriously need to get our priorities in order…oh, I shouldn’t be so condescending. We all have problems, and I know that I certainly don’t always do the right thing…but that still doesn’t mean there’s not a problem with what Christmas has become. And that’s not even including the whole politically correct, ‘Happy Holidays’ thing. I don’t care that other people celebrate other holidays—that’s their right—but I’m not going to reject my own beliefs by being purposefully ambiguous when I have a chance to let someone know that I’m a Christian. Of course…maybe a good Christian shouldn’t rant like this…oi, I have a headache…”
Zadakh leaned against the bench and put a hand to his head, and then he closed his eyes and let out a loud sigh. After a few seconds, however, he heard someone ask, “Are you okay, mister?”
He opened his eyes and turned around, seeing a young Ga-Matoran with a blue Kualsi who was looking at him with a mix of concern and curiosity. “…Um…yeah, I’m fine,” Zadakh finally said.
“Who were you talking to?” the Matoran asked.
“Myself, mostly,” Zadakh answered. “Just needed to get some confusion off my chest…not that it really helped…”
“What are you confused about?” asked the Matoran.
“Christmas,” Zadakh said. “Oh rather, the way people celebrate Christmas…what it means to them.”
“Well…what does Christmas mean to you?” she asked.
“Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ,” Zadakh said, “but it seems like not many people remember that anymore.”
The Matoran seemed confused now, and she asked, “Who’s Jesus?”
Two thoughts immediately came to Zadakh’s mind: “this proves my point,” and “what are her parents teaching her?” He didn’t voice those thoughts, however—instead, he told the girl about Jesus. He told of the manger, the star, the angels—the entire Nativity story, and also made sure to point out that Jesus is the Son of God. To further explain, he talked about the things Jesus did during his life: teaching, healing, saving, and, finally, Jesus’s death, resurrection, and ascension.
“Of course, his resurrection if celebrated on Easter, so…I guess I got just a little off-topic,” Zadakh said at the end of his explanation. “But, basically, that’s it. It’s an abbreviated account, but it covers the essential points.”
The Ga-Matoran was awestruck, and she whispered, “Wow…that’s incredible! How could people forget something like that?!”
“I wish I had the answer to that,” Zadakh sighed. “My friends and I tried to remind everyone, but…they didn’t want to remember.”
The young Matoran thought a moment, but then she smiled and said, “I’ll get my friends to help too! If more of us try to remind them, then they’ll remember sooner, right?”
“…Uh…I guess that makes sense…” Zadakh said. “Still…it’s a tough job…”
“Well we can’t just give up!” the Matoran said. “If something’s difficult, then it’s just that much more worth achieving!”
Zadakh couldn’t think of anything to say, so the Matoran turned and said, “Well, I need to go. Merry Christmas!”
She ran off, and Zadakh said, “Uh, Merry Christmas!”
He remained standing there, completely silent for a time, but eventually he looked down and chuckled to himself. Turning his gaze skyward, he said, “…Thanks. I needed that.”
As he turned to leave, it began to snow, and he added, “Okay, I get it! I won’t give up!”
Panrahk sat on the cough eating a plate of turkey, and Pahrak walked in holding an envelope. “We got another Christmas card,” Pahrak said.
“Really?” Panrahk responded. “Let’s see, we’ve already gotten cards from Tahu, Power, Millennia…is it from Stormer?”
“Stormer doesn’t send Christmas cards,” Pahrak said. “This is from Khadaz Ikhav. You know, that human friend of Inmacula’s?”
Panrahk nodded, and then Zadakh burst through the door and shouted, “We’re not giving up!”
Panrahk and Pahrak were startled, and Panrahk said, “You almost made me drop my turkey…but anyway, aren’t you supposed to be the most cynical out of all of us?”
“This is important—we can’t just give up because it’s difficult,” Zadakh said. “Tomorrow, we’re going to go back out there and keep doing God’s work!”
“…Do you truly think we can accomplish anything?” Pahrak asked.
“Yes,” Zadakh replied immediately. “We might not see the results, but if the right people hear us or see that we’re trying, it could inspire them, and then they could inspire more people, and so on and so on. Even if we only remind one person about Jesus, that will set everything in motion!”
“…Good point,” Panrahk said.
“Your enthusiasm is refreshing,” Pahrak said. He then caught a glimpse of the window and said, “Ah, it’s snowing.”
The three of them walked over to the window and watched the snowfall, and Zadakh said, “Well…I think that about wraps up our Christmas Special. If anyone’s reading this, thank you, and I hope you have a Merry—“
“Wait!” Panrahk said. “We need a special ending thing! Some deep or cliché scene to leave a lasting impression!”
“Hm…we could rip of Inmacula’s emblem and use it as a tree topper,” Pahrak suggested.
Inmacula entered the room and said, “You should remember, first, that we do not have a tree, and second, that I am indestructible. Your plan is implausible.”
“We could show a Christmas party,” Panrahk said. “It would be a great excuse to have a bunch of cameos!”
“Gosh, this would be so much easier if we were animated!” Zadakh said. “Look, let’s just sit in front of the fire, smile, and let the figurative camera do the rest!”
So the friends sat by the fire, filled with the true Christmas spirit, and in the night sky above them, the stars seemed to brighten and spell out two words…
“Yeah, I guess that’s good,” Panrahk said.
“Hey, that was supposed to be the ending!” Pahrak said.
“Both of you, stop talking!” Zadakh said. “Inmacula, cut the power!”
“Understood,” Inmacula said. “Commencing ‘Christmas Special Shutdown Procedure’…procedure complete.”