VIVA LA HOLIDAYS LA LAS VEGAS
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is my essential attempt to do a proper third story for the franchise, with the classic characters whose presence was greatly missed after Lost in New York. With this year marking Home Alone's 25th anniversary, now seems a good time to go ahead with this.
This story is dedicated with love and respect to the memory of Christine Marie Gieseke, long distance friend and fellow John Hughes aficionado, through whose cooperation I was able to do the prototype of this storyline some time ago.
Home Alone and all related characters and indicia are registered trademarks of Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation and the John Hughes estate. And now, as always, sit back and enjoy the story.
"I know your game here, Harvey; you've got your whole crew stashed in the back trunks of every car on the block here," Johnny the gangster sneered at his well-dressed rival standing in the middle of the snow covered street across from him on the TV set, "You was plannin' to ambush me and take all the dough yourself."
"That's a lie, Johnny; you know you can trust me," Harvey said quickly, nonetheless sweating.
"That ain't what your pal Codsy told me. I met him in his shower, and he blabbed everything," Johnny shot back, "You can confirm it with him right now if you want, right Codsy?"
He abruptly pulled a severed head out of the driver's seat of his car and tossed it at a wild-eyed Harvey. Watching the scene unfold on the bed near the TV, Kevin McCallister grimaced at the gruesome image. "How did that get back the censors back then!?" he wondered out loud. Nonetheless, he kept watching as several dozen mobsters now poured out of the car trunks Johnny had predicted and joined Harvey in the middle of the street. "Well, Johnny, you found me out," their leader collected himself, handing Codsy's severed head to a colleague, "But as you see, I have you outnumbered twenty to one. So you'd better start begging right now."
"Actually, Harvey, you're the one who should start begging," Johnny snarled cockily, "You may have bigger numbers, but I got bigger firepower. So here's how it's gonna go: I'm gonna give ya to the count of five to all get yer filthy, worthless, no good stinking hides off my territory..." he strode over to what seemed to be a snow covered car, and whipped off a tarp, revealing a very large artillery piece underneath, "...before I introduces all of ya to my howitzer!"
"They're in trouble now," Kevin muttered out loud, knowing full well things were about to get rather violent. Indeed, Harvey had turned very white at this abrupt reversal of fortune. "Very well, Johnny; you strike a hard bargain," he managed to mutter. He turned to his gang. "All right men...GET OUT OF HERE!"
The gangsters took off running all over the street. "FIVE!" Johnny roared, opening fire with the howitzer. Kevin covered his eyes, not wanting to witness the carnage, although the gangsters' cries as they were mowed down still rang out loudly. He finally dared to look, and while the slaughter had stopped, Johnny was still firing insanely at every building on the street, sending bricks, glass, and plaster showering into the street...
"What's this rubbish you're watching!?" came the unwelcome voice of Uncle Frank from the doorway. Kevin's uncle was frowning at him with his hands on his hips. "Come on, Uncle Frank; it's not even rated R," Kevin protested, "And I'm ten now, I think I can..."
"Frank, come on, we're getting ready to go," came Aunt Leslie's voice from the base of the stairs. Uncle Frank gave Kevin one final frown before disappearing from sight-to be replaced moments later by Kevin's mother. "Are you ready, yet, Kevin? Your teacher said to be at the airport at six thirty, didn't she?" she asked.
"I think she said so-yikes, is that the time!?" Kevin for the first time in some time glanced at the clock on the nightstand, which now read 5:20. "I'll be ready in two minutes, Mom."
"Please do be," she advised him, disappearing from the doorway. Kevin started rummaging around under his bed for his backpack. His class had arranged for a trip to an elaborate Santa's village located somewhere west of Chicago. They had rented a plane for the occasion, and it would be leaving within the next hour. Kevin had been looking forward to going since it had been announced, as it provided a good close to the school year, which had ended earlier that afternoon with half a day of class. And with most of the rest of his family going sledding that evening north of the city, there would be no conflicts for him.
Grabbing his backpack, he bustled out into the hallway, not hearing the news report coming on the TV behind him, stating, "This breaking news bulletin: a snowstorm to the west of Chicago has unexpectedly intensified, and will be reaching the city within the next three hours; snow amounts have been upgraded to at least eight inches over the next twenty-four hours." All over the McCallister house, people were bustling about with great gusto, preparing for the sledding excursion. This year, however, that was the farthest they were going to travel for Christmas, as his parents had managed to convince his aunt and uncle that this time, they should just stay at home for Christmas. And after everything that had happened the last few years, Kevin couldn't blame them; he'd had enough of Christmas mishaps himself. He started down the stairs...
When abruptly he was tripped and sent tumbling head over heels down it. "Uh oh, looks like you took one trip more than you needed to, Kev," came Buzz's snickering voice from the top of the stairs, "Got to be more careful."
Kevin's blood boiled as he jumped back to his feet. For all the lip service Buzz had made to him and their parents about treating him better, he'd gone back on his word privately too many times, including now. He turned towards the top of the stairs with his fists clenched...but then stopped and closed his eyes. "Don't do it, Kevin," he told himself firmly, taking deep breaths, "You'll only get yourself in deep trouble like you did the last two years. Buzz'll get his soon enough..."
"You OK there, Kevin?" his father had bustled over to examine him.
"Yeah, I'm fine, Dad," Kevin told him, nonetheless shooting a glare at Buzz, whose face was now innocent at the top of the stairs.
"Good, let's get going then, honey," his mother had her coat on. "Be back soon, Peter," she told her husband.
"I'll be waiting," he gave her a kiss, "Finally, a night with just the two of us together alone..."
"I say you're a drip, Peter," Uncle Frank grumbled as he walked past, leading Cousin Fuller by the hand, "Leaving me to handle all the kids by myself..."
"Frank, we promised them after they requested time together," Aunt Leslie chided him from the door to the basement, "Help me with some of these sleds."
Uncle Frank growled softly, but shuffled over to the basement anyway. Kevin hastily put on his coat and followed his mother outside to the car. "You ready for this trip, Kevin?" she asked him, a strain of hesitancy in her voice.
"Have been all December, Mom," Kevin climbed into the front seat next to her, "I'm glad you agreed to sign the permission form."
"Well, I'll admit I had some reservations about it, but I know you wanted to go," she confessed, pulling out into traffic, "Just promise you'll call when you land back at the airport after the trip?"
"OK, if you insist," Kevin nodded softly. Part of him thought she was still too uptight about everything that had gone wrong the last two Christmases, but at least she wasn't preventing him from going, and that was all that mattered.
"What do you think you're going to get at Santa's?" she asked him now.
"I don't know yet," he admitted, "I guess it'll depend on how much it costs. I just wish the trip could be to see the real Santa, though."
"Well, you never know, maybe some day you will," she said, looking both amused and surprised, as if she thought ten was too old for a strong belief in Santa, "I guess your friends are all excited too?"
"Most that are going, yeah," Kevin nodded, "Alex was out sick today, and Miles already went back to Indianapolis with his folks to spend Christmas with his grandparents. The rest of the guys are all going though, and I can tell they need it," he sighed softly, "Nate's up in arms about becoming a big brother still, for one..."
"Oh, he's still not comfortable with it, is he?" his mother shook her head, "Well, I understand where he's coming from. Half your brothers and sisters were uncomfortable when you arrived...I think they've were uncomfortable when they all were born."
"Tell me about it," Kevin thought to himself; sibling rivalry was rampant in the McCallister family. "And Ethan's been bad all week," he continued, "His folks are splitting up. So he REALLY needs the time away, even if just for a few hours."
"Hmm," again his mother looked concerned. "Well, if he wants to sleep over a couple nights after the holidays, I guess that would be fine."
"I'll ask him if I get the chance. And Mom," he turned towards her, "Seeing what Ethan's going through, I am glad you and Dad are still happily married. I realize now how lucky I have it."
"Well, your father was the right man to come along for me, and I'm glad we've been able to stay together this long," she said with a smile, "And I want you to know, Kevin, he and I will always be there for you no matter what."
"I know, Mom. After you both went the extra mile the last two years for me, I know," Kevin smiled back at her; after his recent experiences, he'd had a greater appreciation for his parents.
The rest of the ride into the city was uneventful, and in no time, they had arrived at O'Hare. "Which gate is it again, Kevin?" his mother asked.
"Sixty-six," he explained, "Mrs. Ingram said to meet her at the Cross American concourse."
"Maybe I'm just worrying too much, but I still think I should have agreed to have chaperoned..."
"Mom, trust me, you ARE worrying too much," Kevin assured her, "I'll be fine; we'll all be fine. There's Nate now," he gestured at the car pulling up to the curb in front of them, "And uh oh, looks like he's still upset..."
Indeed, a harsh conversation was clearly visible inside the front seat of the car ahead of them. Moments later, the passenger door swung open. "...had it with your stupid baby this, stupid baby that!" Nate was shouting as he jumped onto the curb, "I wish she'd just go away for good-I wish you'd all go away for good!"
"Nathan James Ostrowski, I have had it with your attitude lately!" his mother's equally furious shout could be heard inside the McCallister's car, "When you come back, you're grounded until New Years!"
"Fine, maybe I'll never come back then!" Nate bellowed contemptuously, "Maybe I'll hitch a ride to the North Pole and live there! Maybe I'll actually be appreciated there!"
"OK, you're ground till the middle of January now...!"
"I HATE YOU!" was Nate's parting shout. He slammed the door shut and stormed into the terminal. Kevin grimaced from the intensity of the fight. "See what I mean, Mom?" he asked her.
"Yeah, I see," she nodded grimly. "Maybe we could have him spend a few nights over too after he's done being grounded."
"That would be nice. Well, I'd better get going," Kevin climbed out of the car.
"Aren't we forgetting something?" his mother got out too.
"Oh, oh yeah," Kevin gave her a parting hug. Except his mother seemed unwilling to want to let go. "OK, Mom, that's good," he protested, trying to pull away, "Mom, really, I'm going to miss the plane..."
"Oh, sorry," she finally let go, "I guess, after everything that went wrong at the airport the last two years..."
"Mom, nothing's going to go wrong this time-how could anything go wrong this time?" he posed with raised eyebrows, "I'll be back in less than five hours and safely back in bed, OK?"
"Right, right," she took a deep, nervous breath, "Well, good luck, Kevin. Promise you'll call when you land, right?"
"Promise, for the second time. See you later, Mom," Kevin started for the door. He didn't want to take the chance of her having a change of heart at the last minute and trying to stop him from going, as he'd long feared she might.
He bustled through the crowded terminal, searching for the Cross American concourse. "Kevin, over here," came the call of his home room teacher Mrs. Ingram ahead to his left. And indeed, he saw the rest of the Wilden Elementary School's fourth grade class-both his own class and the others in the grade, milling around by the window. He bustled towards the group, his eyes zeroing in on Nate in the corner, crying softly against the glass. Nate had long been his best friend, living only three blocks up Lincoln Boulevard, and Kevin hated to see him suffering as he was, even if he disapproved of the way Nate had handled the situated he'd just witnessed. "Hey there," he greeted Nate by the window, "Everything OK?"
"I wish this flight was to the North Pole, Kevin," Nate muttered without turning to look at him, "They barely even remembered I was going on this trip; they spent all afternoon on baby shower preparations. It's been nothing but their precious new daughter for the last two months; they don't even care I exist anymore..."
"I think you're overreacting a bit, Nate..."
"Am I!?" Nate finally rounded on him, "You're not there, Kevin; you don't know what I go through! They always told me I was their special child; now they don't even notice me anymore! I wish they'd all just disappear," his fists clenched in rage, "I wish they'd all just go away and never come back!"
Kevin gulped nervously. "You shouldn't say things like that, Nate," he told him worriedly, "I used to think that way, and it almost cost me big, remember?"
"Your folks care; mine don't, not anymore. You don't know how lucky you have it, Kevin, being the youngest. You don't have to get shoved aside when a new child comes," Nate started sobbing again, "You'll always be their special one."
"Not necessarily; I told you that...hold that thought, here comes Ethan," Kevin had noticed another close friend approaching, and although his eyes were dry at the moment, his face was contorting with misery. Ethan Rhodes was one of the smartest kids in his class-and as such had often been targeted by bullies (Kevin had personally witnessed him getting nailed over a false rumor that he'd worn dinosaur pajamas), so Kevin had sympathetically become close to him. "Evening, Ethan," he greeted the brainy kid now, "Doing OK?"
Ethan broke down in tears himself. "Sorry, sorry," Kevin quickly apologized, "They're fighting again, aren't they?"
Ethan nodded with another burst of grief. "I just want you to know, you're welcome over my place any time you want," Kevin put an arm around him, "Right now, you'd probably have to share the bed with my cousin Fuller, and that's no picnic..."
"Sure, Kevin," Ethan cut in quickly, "I'll go anywhere but there. It got...it got really nasty tonight. And since I messed up that social studies test, they started blaming each other over it, so this one's my fault...!"
"No, no, it's not your fault, Ethan; nothing's your fault," Kevin assured him, "I guess it just wasn't meant to be-sorry again," he quickly apologized when this made Ethan sob harder, "Didn't mean it that way..."
"Am I missing anything, guys?" came a new voice behind them. Julian Clark was Kevin's other close friend, and his wingmate on the Shermer youth hockey team, which was currently on Christmas break. "Oh, not too much, Julian," Kevin told him, pointing to Ethan and mouthing, "Nothing about divorce," to the newcomer. "Hopefully at least your day's been all right."
"Not really," Julian sighed, plopping down in a chair, "I had another fight with my dad," he admitted grimly, "He wants me to take up wrestling as soon as possible. I told him I'm only interested in hockey, but I don't think he cares. He can't distinguish me from Andy at all. I don't know why parents always think they know better..."
"Tell me about it, they always insist they do," Nate grumbled, sitting down next to Julian, "We'd be better off without parents in our lives."
"Nate, I told you, that's not the right thing to say," Kevin protested again, "I know for a fact that's not true at all."
"Well you've got the perfect family, Kevin; there's no fighting among your mom and dad, and they move heaven and earth to help you, like they did when you got left behind the last two years. Wish mine would go that extra mile," Ethan rued.
"Wish mine would too," Nate grumbled, "I wish we could just make them all disappear for a little while. Maybe that would teach them a lesson."
Kevin rolled his eyes softly. Apparently it was pointless to continue the conversation. His gaze fell out the window at the tarmac. "Is it snowing?" he frowned, seeing snowflakes starting to fall.
"That's nothing, Kevin; they were calling for a light dusting beforehand," Ethan told him, "We should be off the ground before it really sticks; probably only about fifteen minutes to boarding now," he checked his watch.
"Good, the sooner we're there, the better," Julian agreed, "I've got to get away from everything for a while, just like it seems the rest of you do."
"Unless something goes wrong and we get grounded," Nate muttered, apparently expecting the worst.
"Trust me Nate, nothing's going to go wrong," Kevin assured him, sitting down himself and leaning back in his seat, "What COULD possibly go wrong with this trip...?"