Gypsy

Mayor Maywho went to the spot where the Christmas tree once stood. It was nothing more than a pile of ash, broken glass everywhere. He was completely mortified and disappointed: the Grinch destroyed the party and his niece had an emotional outburst. And it was all that Lou Who girl's fault! Her stupid suggestion to invite the Grinch and look what it had done!

"I'm hurt, Lou," Mayor Maywho said. "And I don't hurt easily. But you and your family...I'm so..." He paused to search for a word. Looking at Cindy Lou, he wagged a grey gloved finger at her. "So disappointed."

Cindy Lou lowered her head in shame; her baby blue eyes brimming with tears.

"Can we just get back to Christmas like the way it should be?" Mayor Maywho said. "Grinch-less?"

Whobris handed him the crown and he went about calling "Merry Christmas" to the crowd. The atmosphere became cheerful despite the disaster.

While Mayor Maywho attempted to bring holiday cheer in Whoville, something crunched under his black polished shoe. He found Augustina's ruined jewels: the clasp was broken, the gems were covered in salt, sand and snow. He was so angry at Noelle. If she came back, he would punish her for sure. This time there would be no coming out once a year. He would shut her away for good.

Still, if she came back during the day...everyone would see her and know the terrible secret. Then again, maybe she wouldn't come back. She was eighteen...she was an adult now.

Even though he promised Julius he would take care of her, there was no point anymore. He decided just let her go. Maybe she would be better off out of his life. He wouldn't have to hide anymore. No more locked doors. No more shut curtains. No more paying the staff to keep quiet about Noelle's secret. He would come up with a clever story about what happened to Noelle. Everyone will buy it. She went off to boarding school far away.

Once Whobilation was over, Mabel saw that Noelle didn't come home. Usually she came home with Mr. Mayor, sullen. This time it was just him. Of course, the Grinch had come and destroyed the party.

"Sir?" said Mabel. "Where's Noelle?"

"She's gone," he replied.

"Gone? Gone where?"

"It doesn't matter," he said.

She couldn't believe how absurd this was. How could he?! He would allow his own flesh and blood run away and not even care if she was lost.

"Sir, that is your niece! You're not even going to look for her?!"

"This is for the best, Mabel," he said.

"Mr. Mayor!" Mabel exclaimed. "You promised..."

"I don't care what I promised my dead brother! He was a loser! An embarrassment! It's all his fault he and his wife gave birth to that...that monster!"

"Mr. Mayor. That is your family! The only family you have!"

"Family means nothing to me!" he replied heartless.

Mabel was incredulous. The Mayor was a selfish, spoiled child.

"You know, sir," Mabel said. "All she ever wanted was to please you...make you proud of her, yet you shut her out! You push her away...just like Augustina. Julius would be ashamed of you if he knew how you were raising his daughter. He loved you too...and you shut him out the day Noelle was born. He was heartbroken... and you never made amends with him."

Mayor Maywho sulked silently as he recalled their last conversation. Julius wanted Noelle to attend school in Whoville and get socialized. How he adamantly refused. How bitter his fight was. If anyone knew this green abomination was related to him, it would be a scandal.

Mabel decided to look for her anyway. Convince her to come home. After all, Noelle was the only one who would listen to her. She plucked up her coat, hat and gloves and went out into the night to search for her.


Shivering, Noelle went inside the cottage and made a beeline to the fireplace to warm herself by the flickering flames. Only four hours until Christmas Day. Not that it mattered anymore. Her birthday party was once again ruined! Her stupid uncle did it again. She had enough! This was the last straw. This time, she decided that she would hate Christmas forever. It was all his fault!

"Seems crazy to be wandering about on Christmas Eve at a time like this," said the old woman. "You know a storm is coming...and of course Christmas is only four hours away. Shouldn't you be home in bed waiting to get gifts from Santa?"

"No," said Noelle. "I don't believe in Christmas anymore."

The old woman frowned. She had never heard of a Who who hated Christmas...well of course, maybe two she recalled. One was the Grinch...another was...well, it was long ago...

"Why not? Won't your family worry about you?"

"No," she said sulkily. "He doesn't care. He ruined my life."

"How so?"

"All he's ever done is kept me locked away from the world, then shame me because of my appearance."

"Why, I don't see anything wrong with you."

"I don't always look like this," Noelle said. "This only happens...at night. Otherwise I'm a beast by day."

Now the old woman looked over the girl. There was something very familiar about this Who girl. How she recalled a beauty with dark hair and green eyes from a time long, LONG ago...


FLASHBACK

Long ago, when the winter blew ice winds upon a Christmas eve...the gypsy woman shivered down to her old bones. It was getting colder by the minute and the storm continued to rage, blowing freezing winds through her ragged dress.

No lights were on in the town of Whoville, for all were asleep, awaiting for Christmas morning. She saw only one light on an elaborate house. With a shivering hand, she knocked on the large door and there appeared Augustina Maywho, who was no more than twenty-two.

"Please," the gypsy witch pleaded. "It is so cold. I have nowhere to go. Please...let me stay here for the night until the storm passes."

Augustina Maywho wrinkled her nose and her eyes were cold, filled with revulsion for this hideous creature.

"Go away, you wretched old hag!" she spat, slamming the door in her face with a go away.

Insulted by this cold dismissal, the witch's ugliness melted away, revealing an enchantress fair. She appeared to Augustina, who stared upon this beautiful woman: hair golden that waved in the wind, a dress as white as the snow, her eyes glowed with blue and spoke to her in an ethereal voice, 'Your heart is cold and cruel as the mountain air. A curse upon your house, Mistress Maywho, for all girl children shall inherit from you. A girl child born upon the eve of Christmas, a beast by day, a beauty by nightfall. The curse shall be broken should the house of Maywho admit their fault.'"

Then, green swirls swished around Augustina Maywho, who watched in horror as her porcelain skin became green! Green hair sprouted from all over her body. Her beautiful Who face became hideous. Her fingers became long. She looked in the mirror at her new appearance...and she screamed, horrified by her hideousness...causing it shatter along with all the glass in her house...

Her family came to see what had happened...only for them to scream in terror and they fled from the horrible sight of Augustina.

"Wait!" she called. "It's me! I've been cursed! Help me!"

Her hopeless pleas echoed throughout the hall...Augustina collapsed to her knees, weeping...alone...she had nothing. No one. Her family abandoned her. She shut herself away from the outside world, becoming a recluse.


"Are you...sure you don't want to go home?" asked the old woman.

"Yes," asserted Noelle.

"Y'know," said the woman. "I think you should make amends with your uncle."

Noelle was a little livid. This stranger was telling her what to do and yet she knew nothing about her life.

"Why?" she said. "He will just tell me how I embarrassed him tonight and punish me. He won't listen to me."

The old woman shrugged. "Maybe so," she said. "But have you actually told your uncle how you feel?"

"He doesn't care," she replied sullen. "All he cares about is himself and how people will judge him! Never about how I feel."

"And what are your feelings, my child?" asked the woman.

"I just want him to accept me for who I am, despite my flaws. I want him to stop being ashamed of me and love me as his niece."

"Seems like you two share something in common : you both are stubborn and want to please everyone."

"I'm not like him," she insisted. "Uncle Gus is selfish, self-centered...arrogant..."

"Well don't you think running away from home is a rather selfish thing to do? Don't you think that he is worried about you?"

"No," sighed Noelle.

"Still, you should make amends, dear. If you admit your faults, you can show everyone that you are the mature one. Maybe your uncle will actually like that you are maturing and he will be proud of you."

"I guess...that does make some sense," she replied reluctant.

"Go. Tell your uncle you're sorry. Be the mature one and mend the family bond."

Noelle nodded. She stared into the fireplace, thinking of what she was going to say. She was a mature adult.

"Something on your mind, dear?" asked the woman.

"Mm...well it's about my family," Noelle replied. "Can I tell you a secret?"

The woman nodded.

"My family...they're cursed. I am the only one who has it...aside from my ancestor. She caused the curse." She sighed. "I just wish I could tell that gypsy who did it that...I'm sorry."

The woman merely smiled. "I'm sure she would greatly appreciate it, wherever she may be."

Noelle nodded. "I mean...that's my only Christmas wish: to find her and tell her that."

Another smile. "You're very sweet, dear. Now why don't you go home? Christmas without family is no Christmas at all."

"Yes. I guess I should go home. Thank you for letting me stay here."


Meanwhile back at Whoville, the Grinch decided to rid Whoville of Christmas once and for all. He decided to get back at Mayor Maywho. He scratched the plexi-glass and sucked off the window, carrying it gently, not to make sure he activated any alarms. He looked around Mayor Maywho's house: big spender. He thought.

Up the stairs...he saw a small room with padlocks...there was Noelle's name green. It was unlocked...he helped himself to Noelle's presents. Not that she would care he guessed. She didn't seem bothered that he didn't get her a present. He looked around the little Maywho's room until he saw the VERY same cloak he had met that little female Grinch in the street that day he decided to cause a little mischief.

Ohhh! Now it ALL made sense. This is what Mayor Maywho's dirty little secret. His niece was a Grinch! He laughed delightfully...oh if EVERYONE knew! Well, first he decided to pull a nice little prank on the fat boy who had the nerve to humiliate him twice in his life.

Tiptoeing to Mayor Maywho's bedroom...he found the sleeping fat boy, who he was surprised to see that Mayor Maywho was completely FLAT in front. He seemed to recall that he was HUGE at the Whobilation. And he wore pink curlers in his hair!

"Looks like someone stuffs himself," the Grinch said gleefully. "And is girly himself."

"Martha," said Mayor Maywho, still asleep. "Have you ever kissed a man who lost his tonsils twice?"

"No, silly," said the Grinch in a girly voice.

Mayor Maywho made kissing noises, still asleep. The Grinch picked up Max, slowly approaching the bed, looking at him with an evil smirk.

"But it's an experience that I've always longed for," he added, still talking in a woman's voice. He turned Max's butt towards Mayor Maywho. "Kiss me, you fool."

Of course he lowered Max toward the sleeping fat boy's lips. Max let out a whimper and proceeded to drag his butt across his very expensive carpet. The Grinch chuckled evilly as he saw a lovestruck Mayor smile in his sleep. Then the Grinch attached a hook at the foot of his bed and attached it to Officer Wholihan's police car. Oh! How humiliated fat boy will be when everyone saw him tomorrow morning.

He slipped away into the night...continuing his quest to rid Christmas. Morning would be here soon.