You say I took the name in vain
But I don't even know the name
And if I did, well really, what's it to ya'?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah
Spike and Faye skulked into the hanger dreading the lecture that was surely about to ensue. Spike especially. The fact that Jet had to call in a favor on his account didn't really bode well for his case. Jet considered his connections a sacred thing. You didn't pull strings like that on a whim, only when it was really important. Spike was essentially picked up for getting into a scrape on the schoolyard. More stupid than important, if you were to look at it objectively. Which Jet always did.
But Jet didn't say anything when they walked in. He just indicated to the fridge. "There's some leftovers in there," he grumbled.
Faye went to investigate but Spike, oddly enough, didn't feel much like eating. He walked in a semi-daze over to the couch. "Off," he shushed Ed out of the way. She obediently hopped onto the floor and he belly flopped onto the upholstery.
"Vicious?" Jet asked him.
"Yes," Spike said, his voice muffled in the cushions. Faye suddenly peeked out of the refrigerator in curiosity. So it really had been a bad Christmas for Spike. She wondered who had the worse one. She decided she would strike up the argument later that evening, all the while thinking of certain embellishments that would secure her victory.
Jet just rubbed the top of head and then clucked disapprovingly at Spike's arm. "Jesus. Who bandaged that up?"
"The secretary at the 36th," Spike mumbled, face still buried in the sofa.
"Do you want me to look at that? They did a shit ass job."
"Naaaahhhh," Spike sighed, rolling onto his back so that he could have a proper conversation. "It's not that bad. A love nip, really."
Jet gave him an incredulous look and then shifted his attention back on the TV. It was one of those movie of the week things, Not Without My Fill in the Blank, and the acting was just bad enough to distract everyone from their current woes. Faye soon plopped down on the floor beside them to watch, Spike occasionally picking off her plate from over her shoulder, nimbly dodging her attempts to stab him with her fork.
When it seemed as though the over the top melodramatics had lured everyone into a considerable stupor, Ed snuck her way out of the Bebop. She had one more contingency plan to shake the holiday up a bit and she wasn't ready to quit on her roommates yet. Now it was about winning. She couldn't allow this day to end with lukewarm leftovers and television for woman. After a fun filled evening of petty crimes and misdemeanors, it would be too anti-climatic.
So when the final credits rolled, she slunk back on to the ship and positioned herself with an air of importance in front of the television. Everyone was about to tell her to sit down when she asked, "Bebop-Bebop ready for presents?"
"Presents?" Jet asked in a low voice, his trepidation obvious.
Ed grinned in a way that made everyone nervous. "It's Christmas, isn't it? What's Christmas without presents?"
"Finally, somebody gets it!" Faye said, exasperated. "Material things. That's what this holiday is about. So where are they, Ed?" she said excitedly, rubbing her hands together with greed.
"Outside," Ed said cheerily, and then curled herself into a little ball and proceeded to roll out of the Bebop, singing Jingle Bells Batman Smells the whole way.
Faye rocketed to her feet to follow her, about half a gate shy of skipping. The boys, however, were visibly apprehensive as they brought up the rear. "So…what are you thinking?" Spike muttered to Jet. "Pagan sacrifices or something?"
Jet just sighed. "Here's hoping."
After Ed herded them neatly into a little group, she put on her goggles and picked up what looked like a small detonator. "Uh…" Spike and Jet both began in protest but it was already too late.
"Happy Christmas!" Ed shrieked as she pressed the red button.
A blinding light suddenly materialized out of thin air, accompanied with a loud popping noise. The crew ducked, seriously expecting the end of days. But to their surprise they remained decidedly un-obliterated. Slowly they opened their eyes to see Ed's present.
The entire ship was covered in Christmas lights. Covered doesn't even do it justice. It was engulfed. Enveloped. Submerged in Christmas lights. Once their eyes adjusted, one could make out the even bigger travesty. The Bebop was not only painted red and green, but was covered in what appeared to be some sort of mural.
Spike shielded his eyes as he attempted to get a closer look. "Ed, you wanna kill the lights a bit? I appreciate the drama and all, but I think my eye just blew a fuse." Ed shot him a look that she seemed to have picked up from Faye and then shifted a lever on her box. The level of light decreased from blinding to annoying. "Hey…" Spike said cocking his head curiously at the ship. "That's us."
Ed had painted the entire crew in all their glory right on the side of the ship. They were crude interpretations to be sure, Spike only really identifiable by the green glob slapped on the top of his head. Faye also had globs in all the right places, which was the only difference between her and Ed's self-portrait, aside from the hair color. Jet had an apron on, which Spike imagined was difficult for a stick figure to sport properly and Ein was sleeping next to his dog dish. Or rather, next to a red rectangle Spike assumed represented his dog dish.
"Does Bebop like?" Ed asked.
All eyes turned to Jet, who had been staring blankly at the ship the whole time in a state of near catatonia. He opened and closed his mouth a little bit, but could only really make little sputtering sounds. "Wh…Wha…Wh…"
Faye slapped the back of his head to jump-start him. "What paint did you use?" he finally spit out.
"The paint in the back," Ed shrugged, "The ones that said Super Permanent! Resilient to rust, water and nuclear holocaust!" she said enthusiastically.
Spike actually covered his mouth to keep from busting out laughing as he looked back and forth between Ed and Jet. "Does Jet not like?" Ed asked innocently.
"Jet…likes," Jet spoke as if he was constipated. "Jet likes so much, that Jet is going inside to think about how much he likes it." And with that, he turned and walked back into the ship. Only a few seconds past before a primal scream could be heard coming from the recesses of the newly fabulous Bebop.
Spike and Faye absolutely lost it. They laughed so hard their stomachs hurt and they both collapsed helplessly to the ground. Every time it looked as though they could calm down enough to catch a breath, they'd catch a fleeting glance of the ship and start right back up again. Finally, though, the guffaws managed to dwindle to a low roar, which dissipated into giggles, which finally petered out into merry little gasps for air. "Spike and Faye like?" Ed asked slyly.
"Like it?" he asked, coughing a bit from the strain laughing put on his nicotine riddled lungs. "That was the single greatest thing I have ever seen." He was still lying on his back in the snow, hardly aware of the numbness slowly creeping it's way down the back of his neck.
Faye, however, was not really dressed for such activities and lazily rolled back onto her feet in order to check the ship out in more detail. She thought the mural made her look kind of fat. Now it was Faye's turn to be a little apprehensive over a permanent monument. "You didn't really use permanent paint, did you Ed?" she asked.
Ed smiled a little guiltily and lobbed a plastic bottle in Faye's direction. It was a bottle of child's finger paint. Faye smirked and then ran her finger across the side of the ship, leaving a little smear in her wake. She held her dirty finger up to show Spike. "It'll be gone the next time it rains," she said. Then her eyes lit up with a mischievous twinkle as she realized little Edward just snowed Jet for their own amusement. "My God," she said, shaking her head in wonder. "It's true what they say. There are things better than money."
Ed shrugged her shoulders with a sheepish expression. Making Jet blow a valve wasn't in the original plan. "When Ed saw Jet Person's face," she admitted. "Ed could not resist. You do like it though, right?"
Spike finally summoned the energy to join the girls, still chuckling a bit at all that had just come to pass. "Ed," he said theatrically. "You are my hero." He held his hand up over his head and Ed gamely leapt into the air to slap it, getting over her guilt in time to bask in the warm glow of acceptance.
"Ha. Ha." Jet suddenly grumbled from behind them. He was standing in the archway of the hatch with his arms folded, but he was laughing. Maybe not outwardly, but they could see it in his eyes. "Gang up on the old fart. Everyone's favorite holiday tradition."
The three of them just stared at him like three kids who just got caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Jet sighed as he descended the stairs to get a look at the mural when he wasn't distracted by blinding, animalistic rage. He lit up a cigarette and the crew took in Ed's masterpiece with a goofy, casual sort of reverence. "You know…" Jet said at last, placing his hands behind his head. "It really is a good mural."
Yeah, so the "serious artist" in me said I should leave it with the last chapter but the goofy idiot in me said silly ending. Considering it's fanfiction I'm writing here, the "serious artist" was already fighting a losing battle.
Non-traditional music credits go to The Waitresses (Christmas Wrappings), Depeche Mode (Personal Jesus), Rogers and Hammerstein (Something Good), Gwen Stephani and Elvis Costello (Throw My Toys Around), REM (Monty Got a Raw Deal), Lyle Lovvitt (If I Had a Boat), The Vandalls (Oi to the World) Crosby, Stills and Nash (Love the One You're With), and Leonard Cohen (Hallelujah).
Well, kids. This is it. I was debating for a long time whether or not I should even post this one. I wasn't sure it was going to work and I'm still not sure that it did, but it was a grand and interesting experiment nonetheless. This whole shebang was a grand experiment. And what exactly did I learn?
Well, I'm not really sure on that point either. I just hope that I managed to entertain a few people as much as I entertained myself.
So thanks everyone. Thanks for reading and reviewing and yelling at me and laughing at me and scratching their head in bewilderment at me and of course an extra special thanks to everyone who is hosting me somewhere in the vastness of the Internet. Everyone has been very cool. Much cooler than I deserve, really.
So signing off as your humble narrator for the last time (and I seriously mean it now. I got nothing else collecting dust in the hard drive)….
Agent Orange out.