Location: One of the dark satanic mills north of Watford Gap.
The thin, half starved workers shuffled into the gloom of the factory, the night shift had suffered four deaths and seven manglings. All told a good night.
Silently the stick like figures began to work. The machinery hummed and spat, snapping at the workers and belching out toys and gifts. Everything from forged Barbie dolls to pirate copies of "The return of the King" playstation 2and a half games.
Behind a large glass window over looking the vast expanse of the shop floor, black leather gloves removes his black leather gloves and runs his hand though his grey curly hair.
The sack is behind him on the desk. A small pinch of the contents has been removed by the research department and was now being administered to the tester. One small five year old tied to a chair in the corner.
The researcher wiped his sweaty hands down his dirty white lab coat and placed the coated lump of coal before the child...
The poor child's eyes widened and she grinned. "Ohs... arrrsss ohhhsssssss" Fell from her small rosebud lips.
"Soooo..." The former black leather gloves purred. "We have it....."
December 8th, 2003, 05:34 PM
Location: Beneath the North Pole headquarters, in tunnels designed to move heat, water, and cookies from place to place.
“Okay, okay, the meeting needs to come to order.” The Head Gnome pounds his gavel on the head of the Recording Secretary Gnome, a satisfying gong emanating from the empty spaces therein. Seeing little response he hammers the podium into smithereens, a display shocking and awesome enough to gather the attention of the Republic of Gnomes party, at least. The Free Thinking Gnomes were still thinking freely and loudly and to no general agreement.
“….because the “g’ is silent, you nitwit.”
“then why don’t you spell nitwit with a “g’, gnincompoop?”
As well as other equally important arguments.
Finally, the Head Gnome has enough attention to begin the meeting. He pulls in everyone else with the words “NO MORE DUST” boomed into the cavernous cavern where they are assembled.
A thousand different “Huh?”s respond.
“About time you Gnomes paid attention. What do you think you made me Head Gnome for if you aren’t going to listen to what I have to say?”
From a distant corner, a muffled “I thought we made him head gnome, you know - the guy who does the cleaning.”
The Head Gnome ignores that remark and gets to the point.
“Santa’s magic dust is missing. If it isn’t found there won’t be any Christmas flight. If there is no Christmas flight, there will be no spoils of peace and love and good will. If there are no spoils, there is no dust to smoke the echo chamber. If the echo chamber is not smoked, it’s going to be a very long year listening to those idiot elves singing Deck the Walls With Cows and Pollie.”
Before the riot can truly erupt, the Head Gnome gets in a last bit of information.
“We need to conduct a search of the lower levels of the North Pole. The perp could have buried his treasure. If we find it; it all goes back to the fat guy. All of it. If we don’t do this right, Mrs C will start her spring cleaning early and we’ll be house hunting again.”
The cavern clears in less than a second, a thousand gnomes infiltrating the duct work of the North Pole looking for new little dust bunnies.
December 12th, 2003, 02:41 PM
Time 9.00pm or 21.00hrs GMT.
Location The Dark Satanic Mill; (The middle of the long line of the afternoon shift in the process of clocking off)
George sniffed and looked round again. Check your six, his instructor's voice boomed in his memory. be on your guard 24/7. At work, at play and especially on the loo.
You see George was a member of the SAS (Santa's Army Special. ok Sanda moved the letters when Mrs C wasn't looking, he was a fan of the Andy MacNabb books) People like George, kept an eye on the toy trade, the latest fashions, fads etc and removed protential trouble,( Faulty toys, those with metal spikes in etc) before they could hit the shops.
Here George had hit the motherload of all bad toys, he had come across something else as well, a number of small children in a total state of "Arrrrrrrrrrr....ohhhhhhhhh...... pretty........."
Mrs C had to be told, someone had either brewed their own dust or.... George did not want to think of it. The line shuffled closer to the clocking off clock. George needed to get out of here fast and contact his fellow member of the SAS, who worked in the soft toy division.
December 16th, 2003, 05:55 PM
Time: hard to tell at the North Pole due to the convergence of the time zones. Inspector Bear's watch told him it was 3:15 (the big Mickey Mouse hand was over the "3" and the little Mickey Mouse hand was hiding underneath). However, it was pitch dark, so the time was anybody's guess.
Location: A big wrought iron gate in the middle of a snowy wasteland on top of the world.
"Phew, that was a long trip. Are you sure this is the place?"
"Penfold, when you've been a detective for as long as I have, you will be able to spot those clues that are commonly overlooked. In this particular instance, you may have failed to notice the word "Clause" on the mailbox at the entrance to the driveway. You know, the one you stubbed your toe on."
"Gosh! What a well-trained pair of eyes you have, Sir."
Bear muttered under his breath, "Give me strength!" Then he buzzed the intercom. A scratchy, tinny voice soon responded. "Yes? Who is it?"
"This is Inspector P. Bear of the Yard. I have my assistant, Junior Detective Penfold with me." "Very junior," Bear said to himself.
"What do you want? Is this about the robbery?"
"Yes. We'd just like to come in and take a look around. Ask a few questions if that's alright. May we come in?"
"Err...yes, I think that would be alright, as long as you don't take too long. We're very busy, you see," said the tinny voice.
"We will try not to take up too much of your time. There's no sign of your plant from here. Where do we go?" All that was visible to the naked eye, even Bear's well-trained peepers, was this wrought iron gate in the middle of snowy nowhere.
"Oh, err...follow the yellow-brick road."
"What?" replied Bear.
"FOLLOW THE YELLOW...no wait a minute. I've only just moved here from Oz. Sorry. Umm...when you come through the gate, just keep walking. You'll see it eventually." With that, the intercom clicked and the tinny voice was gone. Then, the deadbolt on the gate clicked and the gate swung back giving just enough room to allow the Inspector and his trusty assistant to walk beyond it. Once they had passed the threshold, the gate swung back and the deadbolt shot back into place, as though it had returned home after a thirty-year absence. Inspector Bear and Penfold began walking again. They kept the gate at their backs as they trudged northward. After about ten minutes, they noticed a dim light, shining brightly in the distance. (Bear noticed it before Penfold, of course.) As they walked towards it, the now not-so-dim bright light became increasingly apparent. What they saw made them gape. A very ornate-looking factory, along the lines of the Disneyworld castle, glowed brightly, bedecked as it was with thousands of Christmas-tree lights. The factory windows glowed with a warm orange-yellow colour.
"This must be the place," whispered Penfold.
"Yes, Penfold. I suppose it must," Bear whispered back.
December 17th, 2003, 09:36 PM
Time: The following day (I think!)
Location: The crime scene - Nick's office. Nick and Mrs C are present, along with Inspector Bear and Penfold, his trusted assistant.
"So, Mr Clause, when did you notice that the bag of magic dust was stolen?"
"Two Sundays ago! You took your bleedin' time gettin' 'ere! You've got precisely seven days to get it back, or everyone's goin' to 'ave an 'orrible f****** Christmas and I'll be out of business the day after!"
"There's no need to take that tone with me! I could easily have you detained at Her Majesty's pleasure for that!"
"Now, look 'ere Inspector. Are you gonna get me my magic dust back, or aincha?!"
"Mr Clause, I understand your predicament, but..."
"Really? 'ave you ever 'ad to deliver prezzies to millions of kids all around the world in one night? I don't think so. It's a logistical nightmare, I can tell you! You've no idea 'ow bad this is gonna turn out if there's no smiles on the littl'uns faces come Christmas mornin'!"
"Now, dear." (Mrs C.) "The Inspector is just trying to help. I'm sure if we cooperate fully, he will be able to track down those responsible, and recover the magic dust. Isn't that right, Inspector?"
"We will do everything we can. Now, err... Penfold?"
"Yessir!" Penfold looked up sharply at hearing his name called.
"Take out your jotter pad and take notes please."
"Now, Mr Clause, let's..."
"Yes, Penfold. What is it?"
"I seem to have lost my pencil."
Inspector Bear sighed and handed his trusty 2HB to Penfold, who promptly licked the nib.
"Ewww! Penfold, do you have to do that?"
"Do what Sir?"
"Lick the end. That's disgusting. The pencil will work just fine without your spittle, my lad!"
"Sorry Sir. Won't happen again, Sir."
"Ok. On with the proceedings. Mr Clause, you say you noticed the bag missing over two weeks ago. Now, think back to that Sunday. You too, Mrs Clause. Now, did either of you notice anyone acting suspiciously, or anything unusual? Out of the ordinary?"
Mrs C was the first to reply. "I didn't, really. The elves were just beginning to get ready. You know, dusting off their tools, firing up the furnaces, starting up the machinery and such like. The reindeer were off out for a formation test-flight. So, the place was a hubbub of activity, but that's normal for this time of year. Wouldn't you say, Nick?"
"Yes, yes I would. Except..."
"Except what, Sir?"
"Well, the reindeer did seem a bit more unruly than last year. I mean, Mary and I caught Rudolph flyin' round the ceilin'. And apparently, we've been 'earin' that Blitzen's more 'orny than usual. A lot more 'orny. She's makin' all the other male reindeer as randy as a rabbit who's just been released from prison! Magic dust sends 'em daft like that, if you're not careful."
"I see. And you found Rudolph flying round the ceiling. Hmm, very interesting. Where, may I ask, do you keep the magic dust?"
"Why, in the safe over there in the corner, Inspector."
"I see. Is the door to the safe supposed to hanging off its hinges like that?"
"No, of course not, you daft bug... err... sorry Inspector. No, the door ain't supposed to be 'angin' like that. Normally, I'd keep it shut, but it's been like that ever since the magic dust got nicked!"
"Hmm, looks like a small explosive device was used to open the door. That's two explosions in the Arctic Circle in as many days."
"Yes. Three penguins were discovered having been mysteriously blown to smithereens on an ice flow further south."
"Really? I didn't hear about it. Did you, Mary?"
"No, no I didn't."
"Well, we tried to keep the media out of it. But somehow the BBC found out and broadcasted it on the Six O' Clock News. They even sent Kate Adie to cover it. Damned hacks! It's nigh impossible to keep anything from those people!"
"Oh I see. Well, we don't watch the Beeb on principle, do we dear?"
"No, we don't!"
"Oh, and why's that?"
"Can't pay the license fee."
"Hmm. Are you getting all of this down, Penfold?"
"Can't...pay...license fee. Yessir, every word. So what do you make of it all, Sir?"
"Well, as you know Penfold, penguins are notorious criminals. Master thieves, the lot of 'em. Now, do you remember that breakout six months ago?"
"Erm...breakout. Oh yes, yes I do, Sir! Three penguins escaped from the penal colony six months ago! Oh my gosh!"
"Yes, Mr Clause. Otherwise known as the Antarctic. All the free-roaming penguins were deported there ages ago, to help keep crime-rate down. People have forgotten since, though. Most people now just think it's something to do with the continental drift theory. Just don't tell anyone else, ok? We're not supposed to tell members of the general public, even those as prestigious as your good self, Mr Clause."
"Not a word, and you neither Mary, alright?"
"Ooh, Nick. I love it when you're all masterful!"
"So you think those escaped penguins did it? So 'ow did they come to get blown up?"
"Good question, Mr Clause. I'd say they were working for someone else and they probably got stroppy about getting paid. Hence...kaboom! Now, it would take quite a bit of money to develop an explosive that's powerful enough to blow the door off your safe without anyone hearing the bang. And it would take someone with extraordinary nerve to have a bunch of penguins steal Santa's bag of magic dust, then kill 'em off like that, from a passing plane."
"Sorry, Mr Clause. I'm not at liberty to divulge such details."
"Oh, bull****! Erm...I mean...err...why not?"
"Because, Mr Clause, if the people who I think are responsible really are responsible, I don't want you and Mrs Clause to be put in any danger. My life is already in danger simply by suspecting them. They have spies everywhere. They could be listening in even as we speak! If I utter the name of this organization, and they find out about it, the two of you might just as well consider yourselves gonners!"
"Oh," whispered Mr C.
"Where to, Sir?"
"What? Without any transport? It'll take us weeks to get there on foot."
Nick sighed. "Take a couple of deer. It'll be quicker. Bob? BOB!!! Where is that blasted elf?"
"It's alright, dear," cooed Mrs C. "I'll do it. Inspector, and...Penfold is it? If you'll just follow me."
"Give 'em Prancer and Dancer, love. They're about the sanest...umm...I mean, fastest!"
December 18th, 2003, 02:41 PM
The room is dark save for an ominous red glow. The breath of two deer provides the noise, one panting heavily and one with just a small measure of excitement.
“Forget it, Rudolph. Ain’t going to happen. Not now. And…if you don’t turn me loose…probably never.”
“I’d have known it was you with or without your red light.”
Begrudgingly conceding the point that nothing is going to happen, Rudolph turns the conversation to the real reason he brought Blitzen into this cellar.
“Are you going to talk, spill the beans, tell everything you know or ain’t you?”
”What the hell are you talking about?” Blitzen doesn’t seem to be finding any humor in this situation.
“The magic dust, Blitzen. Give it up, okay? Everyone has noticed your hind end floating off the floor.”
She has the good grace to blush but in the dark but who can tell?
“Oh, that,” she says which is no answer at all.
“Yeah, that, Blitz. If Santa has no dust; we don’t fly on Christmas Eve. You know that. What were you thinking?”
Puzzled, Blitzen responds: “What are you talking about? I talked to a guy who new somebody who could get me a little dust. Enough for the few days before Christmas. That’s all I did.” Now, anger, resentment, and bitchiness come through: “And what’s the big deal? It’s not like I’m the first who ever did it, you know. Old sanctimonious Vixen does it every year. She’s not happy because this year I got some and she didn’t.”
“Who was the guy, Blitz?”
“Well, Prancer put me on to the dude, you know. Why don’t you ask him?”
“Because I’m asking you.”
“It was an elf. I don’t know his name.”
“Can you point him out to me?”
“Not unless you get him in a dark corner. That’s where I met him and even in the light they all look the same to me.”
“Well, that’s something anyway. Thanks. Blitzen. You sure you don’t…”
“In your dreams, Rudy. In your dreams.”
As they walk down the hall Rudolph thinks to himself that that’s all it’s ever been, in his dreams.
December 19th, 2003, 05:27 AM
High noon( Well, low noon, the big finger is stuck on George's watch. It happened last time he tried to synchronise watches with Joan.)
Location: The stationary cupboard in "The Big Bosses" office. In the Dark Satanic Mill north of Watford Gap.
George's eye was pressed to the keyhole. Joan was pressed to George's back. George was having trouble keeping his mind on the events unfolding in the office. All George could think of was Joan's breath on his neck and her front rubbing his shoulder blades.
Joan was like the cuddly toys in her department all soft, warm and arrrrrrrrrrrrrrr snuggley at bed time!
"Can you see it?" Joan whispered.
"Not quite.... yes.... oh... yes..." George groaned
"You see in now?" Joan asked again and pressed closer trying to peer over his shoulder.
"No... oh yes... no. I mean no, I can't yes... yes... I mean I can!!!"George's mind slid off the one track they were on and rammed into the fact that "The Big Boss" had a sack in his hands and was laughing.
"He has it." George hissed.
"Then we have to get it back." Jaon said as she began to wriggle against George's back.
"Oh God....." George whimpered.
"For Santa and Christmas." Joan bellowed and pulled out her mark four seven shot candy shooter and began to move between George's legs in an effort to get into the office.
George sat down, pushing Joan to the floor, he had been wanting to get on top of her for six months, but not this way, but he had to stop her.
Joan squealed her candy shooter went off, slamming through the cupboard door and hitting the sack. A puff of dust rose and was quickly inhaled by "The Big Boss"
December 23rd, 2003, 11:56 PM
23/12/03 - Christmas Eve Eve
Time - 12:10 pm
Location: Outside a dark, rundown and satanic-looking mill just North of the Watford Gap, England. Dark? Satanic? Dun Dun Duuuun!!!
Inspector P. Bear of the Yard knocked on the old wooden door.
A shrill voice emanated from the other side. "Yes, who is it?"
"This is Peter Bear. Is my brother in, by any chance?"
"And who would he be, then?"
"Your boss, probably."
"Hold on. I'll go and get 'im!"
"Is this true, Sir?"
"Yes, Penfold. I'm afraid it is. My elder half-brother Alfred is an arch-villain. One of the most feared and wanted criminals in the history of crime fiction - I mean, err...criminal investigation!"
"Gosh! I never knew. You must feel awful about that Sir. Him being an arch-villain and you being a master crime-solver and all that. Makes you think, doesn't it, Sir?"
"I try not to, Penfold. I try not to. If I didn't have crimes to solve, I'd probably end up in a loony-bin, most likely."
The door opened and the owner of the shrill voice motioned with a gnarled and twisted hand for them to come inside. As our brave duo stepped in, the short, knobbly doorman with the curved spine shuffled out of the way, then carefully shut the door behind them, before pushing the bolt across. The doorman said "'e's upstairs. Go on up. 'e's expecting you." The doorman finished off with a gruesome and twisted smile, showing jagged yellow-green teeth, which was a bit hard to do given the lack of light inside the old, dark, satanic mill! Bear and Penfold trudged up the stairs in inimitable Plod fashion.
As they reached the top, a light flicked on. The light spilled out into a small, atticy-looking room. In the middle of the room was a big oak desk. Sitting behind it was a wily-looking man in his middle forties, wearing....a pair of black gloves. Dun Dun Duuuunn!!!! He smiled heartily and warmly welcomed our heroes. "So, what brings you to this neck of the woods, my little half-brother. Or is it...step-brother twice removed? I can never remember. It's been so long and I've had little contact with the outside world. I spend most of my time in here with my ledgers, trying to keep track of what little extra money my business earns." He finished with a dramatic deep sigh and tried to look oh-so-nonchalant.
"Oh can the bull-****, for God's sake, Alfred. I haven't got all day. Christmas is just around the corner."
"Is it really? I hadn't noticed."
"Now, look 'ere, Mr Bear, just you come clean about..."
"It's alright, Penfold. Just let me handle this."
"Handle what? Come clean about what? My dear Peter, exactly what preposterous notion have you come up with this time? Hmm?"
At that precise moment, a slight gleam from the desk caught Bear's eye. He moved slightly to get a better look. Unmistakable. It was a tiny speck of magic dust.
"Christmas. That's what this is about. Christmas. It seems that a bag of magic dust went missing from Mr Christmas's toy factory and...umm...he'd be very grateful if he could get it back."
"And you thought you'd come to your dear elder, and may I say wiser, brother, for assistance. Is that it?"
"Well, not exactly, you see, Alfred..."
"Oh, come now, Peter. Surely you don't think I'd have anything to do with it, would you? Come now."
"Can you explain your whereabouts on December the fifth?"
"Yes, of course I can. I was right here, as usual."
"Well then," said the Inspector, moving forward at lightning speed and picking up the speck of magic dust from the desk,"how did this get here? Ah ha! Got you!"
Alfred took off one of his black gloves and casually inspected his nails, then replied, "No, my dear boy. It is I who have got you." As he spoke those words, his other hand rose up above the desk, holding a revolver aimed at Inspector Bear's left scrotum.
Time: fifteen minutes later
Location: the cellar of the dark, satanic mill.
With the echo of the cellar door clanging shut and being locked dying in his ears, along with the fading sound of footsteps and jangling keys going up a set of steps, Penfold utters "What do we now, Sir?"
"Be quiet Penfold," whispered Bear. "I'm thinking."
"About what, Sir?" Penfold whispered back.
"Why he didn't gag us, as well as chaining us to the wall like this."
"Why should he gag us? No one can hear us down here."
"I know Penfold. But if he gagged us as well,"Bear responded, his voice getting louder, "I could try and get some thinking done without you whispering in my f****** ear!"
January 22nd, 2004, 01:28 AM
Location; outside the door of the cellar of the dark, satanic mill
Time; 15 mins after Joan had slapped George across the face. This was 10 mins after they had managed to get out of the stationary cupboard. (ok the handle was stuck, that was George's excuse and the pocket full of chocolate santas kept them going or rather the leomonade made them want too.) It was also 30 mins after they had watched "the Boss" order Inspector Bear, an imposing creature and something called a Penfold, to the cellar.
This George had observed through the hole smashed in the door by the shot of the mark four seven shot candy shooter.
"Shush!" Joan hissed as she pulled the wire from her bra to pick the lock.
"Sorry," George mumbled and whistled, trying not to look.
"Get in there..." Joan mumbled as she worked the wire in the hole in the door.
"Good show," George said.
"You told me you wouldn't look!" Joan snapped.bam! Her hand went back, slapping George across the cheek again making his teeth rattle.
"I think I am in love...." George sighed rubbing the hurt bit.
"I think you are mad!" Joan huffed and entered the dark cellar. "Coooeeee Mr Bear. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr" Joan fell over a large pair of feet in policeman boots and landed on something soft.
"Thank you, you have shut Penfold up. " A deep brown(sorry, white) bear voice said.
January 22nd, 2004, 09:25 PM
Location: Inside the cellar in the Dark Satanic Mill.
Time: about 5 seconds later...
"Ah well, that was five seconds of peace and quiet that was well worth spending, but all good things must come to an end I suppose. Again, thank you madam for rescuing me," said Inspector Bear presently.
"You should wait until I've got you out of these chains before thanking me," replied Joan, sweetly.
"No. I mean thank you for rescuing me from Penfold's incessant babbling! By the way Miss... err... Miss... err..." Bear could see a little better now due to the slight increase in the ambient light, caused by the cellar door being open. He noticed that Joan's bra was slipping.
"Joan, my name is Joan. Joan Baez, actually!"
"What, the Joan Baez?"
"Not hardly, but my mother was a fan," Joan replied sweetly.
"Ah, ok. Well, Miss Baez, I hate to be blunt but your bra's falling down."
George's ears instantly pricked up and he was at Joan's side within a nanosecond, peering over her shoulder and slavering like a hound of hell being offered a juicy virgin bunny (girl or rabbit - you choose). Luckily for Joan, Inspector Bear's warning had given her enough time to cover her composure, although for some strange reason, she couldn't help feeling a slight warmth in her nether regions at the thought of this handsome polar bear seeing her topless. Maybe it was the thought of cuddling up to a nice , warm, hearth rug that attracted her so. She made a mental note to give him a better look later, but right now, there was work to be done. Besides, she added to her musing, I'd have to get rid of George. She thrust an elbow square into George's side, making him double up in pain.
"Oof!", responded George. "What was that for?"
"Oh, sorry George. Didn't see you there. I was pulling out the other bra wire for you so that we could rescue these two and get out of here." She looked up at Inspector Bear and winked. Inspector Bear grinned slightly, then recovered his composure.
"Good idea," said Bear. "The guard will be coming back at any moment. I wish we could leave Penfold here. You know, just to act as a diversion, but I fear that my brother would kill him. He can be a right royal sometimes, but he has his uses too. By the way, George who?"
"George Burns, SAS," replied George. "It's a pleasure to rescue you," he added.
"George Burns?" replied Bear, rather suspicious now. "SAS?"
"Yes. We in the SAS, Santa's Army Special, like to take on names of famous people. It confuses the enemy, you see."
"Is that right," reponded Bear, now beginning to fear for the safety of the general public if the secret services are all staffed with jokers like Mr and Mrs rampaging hormones, here!
Joan swiftly removed the wire from her other bra cup, and handed it to George, nodding in Penfold's direction since she wanted to be the one to rescue the famous Inspector P. Bear of The Yard. Joan added, "You'd better wake him up before you untie him, George." Then she set about squirming all over her soft, warm, hearth rug as she picked the lock on each of the shackles that fastened him to the wall by his wrists.
Once they were freed, Bear and Penfold and George and Joan formally shook hands, then peered out of the cellar door to check that the coast was clear in both directions. Joan did the Eenie-Meanie-Miney-Moe thing in her head. Then she said out loud, "this way", grabbing Bear by the hand and turning left out the door.