Happy Holidays, everyone. :)

This here is my third attempt at writing an Attack of the Killer Tomatoes cartoon. This story is a parody of one of my favorite Christmas stories, The Nutcracker. The Killer Tomatoes cartoon is property of Marvel and Fox and the creation of Costa Dillon while The Nutcracker is the creation of E. T. A. Hoffmann.

The Tomatoes Nutcracker Suite

By Cullen Pittman

We see a stage and then the curtains open revealing a room decorated all Christmasy. Stockings were hung over a fireplace along with a Christmas tree covered with what looked like vegetable shaped ornaments. In the center of the room, we see a bunch of little kids sitting in front of a huge chair. Then news reporter, Whitley White who was dressed in a red and green sweater instead of his regular trench coat and tie, came in and sat down in the chair.

"Seasons greetings, all you December loving kids", smiled Whitley as he took out a huge book. "This is Whitley White here to tell you all a story. That's right. Since it's Christmas time, we're doing something different in this episode. Instead of one of our regular Killer Tomatoes episodes, I'll be telling you all the classic story of The Nutcracker."

"Wait a minute!" shouted a shrill annoying voice. Whitley turned his head and saw the Censor Lady stepping in. "The Nutcracker? That sounds vulgar and violent and I'm not sure if you should be telling such a story during this time of year."

"Now see here, my good lady!" said Whitley. "The Nutcracker isn't a vulgar story. It's a famous classic cultural story and ballet. Surely someone must've read it to you when you were a child?"

"No, I haven't seen nor heard of it", said the Censor Lady.

"But of course, how thoughtless of me", grumbled Whitley, "It wasn't written during your childhood which was the dawn of time!"

"I heard that!" shouted the Censor Lady as she whacked Whitley on the head with a stocking.

"Ow! What's in that stocking?!" grumbled Whitley, "Coal?"

"Exactly", said the Censor Lady, "And I intend to give any naughty people around here a stocking of coal to the head if they don't shape up during this joyous time of the year. Go ahead and tell your story, Mr. White. And remember, Censor Lady's watching!"

Whitley just grumbled, cleared his throat, and opened his book. "And now, kids", said Whitley, "The Nutcracker! Once upon a time somewhere in Germany during the late 1800's, there was a small town known as Zuchinniburger. And all the citizens were getting ready for Christmas tomorrow."

The screen starts to ripple and we see some snow falling and a small German town where people were on the streets buying Christmas gifts and greeting each other while classic Nutcracker music was playing in the background. A man bought a Christmas tree from a nearby lot and noticed there were little round red things hanging from the tree.

"How lovely", said the man, "This tree already came with ornaments. Saves me a lot of work tree trimming." But then he took a closer look at the red things and saw that they had evil eyes and hungry fanged mouths. "They're not ornaments!" gasped the man, "They're tomatoes!" The small tomatoes jumped off the tree and started chasing after the man. Soon all the townspeople were running in fear at the tomatoes who were chasing them.

"Wait a minute!" called out a kid's voice as the story stopped and we see Whitley again. "Wait a minute!" said a boy in the group. "I thought you said this wouldn't be one of your regular killer tomatoes stories."

"Yeah!" said a girl. "There were no killer tomatoes in the original Nutcracker story."

"Sorry, kids", sighed Whitley. "But this cartoon series is called Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and we had to stick some tomatoes in somewhere. I mean you wouldn't like to see a Transformers episode without any Transformers or a Ninja Turtles episode without the Turtles, would you?"

"I suppose", said the boy.

"Have it your way", said the girl.

"Thank you", sighed Whitley, "And now back to the story."

The screen rippled again and it showed the small killer tomatoes chasing after the townspeople. "Hold it right there, you tomato fiends!" called out a voice. Everyone turned around and saw a man dressed in an old soldier's uniform holding a sword.

"Look, it's Wilbur Finletterbaum!" called out a lady, "Our town's hero!"

"You red menaces won't be terrorizing these fine citizens on Christmas Eve!" shouted Wilbur as he started to charge at the frightened tomatoes while shouting things like, "Deck those halls! I see you when you're sleeping and I know when you're awake! A stake of holly through your hearts! How would you like to be a spotted elephant or a choo-choo with square wheels on your caboose?"

The tomatoes ended up hopping out of the town and started to hide in a snow bank. "Ha, ha! I'm going to roast some beasts!" said Wilbur as he started to jump up and down on the bank. "Now to check for any red snow!" said Wilbur as he dug through the snow, but found nothing. "Oh, sauerkraut!" grumbled Wilbur. "They escaped!" A grumpy Wilbur slowly walked back into the town while all the townspeople cheered.

"You did it, Mr. Finletterbaum", said a woman. "You saved us from those awful tomatoes!"

"Please don't praise me madam", sighed Wilbur, "Those red monsters have escaped and they could come back again, probably tomorrow. But don't worry, Wilbur Finletterbaum will be on the alert. There's no day off for this soldier. Which reminds me, I have to get back to my other job, making knockwursts!" Wilbur left the crowd and headed over to a small shop that read, Finletterbaum's Tomatoless Knockwursts. He stepped inside and saw customers at the tables eating knockwursts and headed for the kitchen.

Wilbur got out of his soldier's uniform and put on his shopkeeper's outfit that consisted of a green shirt, black pants, and an apron. Then he plopped some knockwursts into a boiling pot of water. "Chad boy, are you home yet?" called out Wilbur.

"Coming, Uncle Wilbur", called out a boy's voice. In came Wilbur's 10 year old nephew Chad dressed in a white shirt, brown pants, red suspenders, and a brown cap. He came in carrying a small walnut tree in a pot. "Merry Christmas Eve, Uncle Wilbur", said Chad.

"And a Merry Christmas Eve to you my nephew and best knockwurst making apprentice", smiled Wilbur. "Where've you been?"

"I was trying to get us a Christmas tree", said Chad. "But all the salespeople suddenly ended up destroying all their pine trees."

"That's because savage killer tomatoes have been hiding in all of the pine trees in the area", scowled Wilbur. "I just don't know where all these mysterious vegetable monsters came from, but they've become even worse than those two rats that usually raid my profits!"

"Luckily, one guy was able to sell me this walnut tree at a reasonable price", said Chad as he put it down on a nearby table. "Maybe we can paint the nutshells different colors so it'll look almost like a Christmas tree."

"That could possibly work", said Wilbur. "Or we can celebrate with my new Christmas themed knockwursts!" Wilbur took out a tray and showed his nephew a whole bunch of weird looking knockwurst on buns.

"What did you make this time, Uncle Wilbur?" asked Chad, looking queasy.

"This here is a hot chocolate and marshmallow knockwurst", said Wilbur, proudly, "Second is my egg-nog coated knockwurst, third is my figgy pudding knockwurst, and finally, my peppermint flavored knockwurst. Have a bite."

Chad looked funny at the red and white striped knockwurst and said, "Maybe later, Uncle Wilbur. Right now we have a customer." And he pointed to a guy wearing glasses and lederhosen sitting at a table.

"Oh right", said Wilbur as he approached the guy. "Happy holidays, sir and welcome to Finletterbaum's Tomatoless Knockwursts", said Wilbur, "Can I interest you in a gingerbread knockwurst or a chestnut flavored knockwurst? And all knockwursts come with these special Christmas side dishes. 5 onion rings, 4 cauliflowers, 3 French Fries, 2 turtle soups, and a parsley in a pear treat."

"All I want is a knockwurst covered with TOMATO KETCHUP!" said the guy. All the customers screamed at that terrifying T word and ran out the door.

"How dare you say that evil word in my restaurant!" shouted Wilbur as he pulled on a rope ringing some kind of bell. Two policemen came in and grabbed the Tomato Guy. "I hope Santa will bring you nothing but fruitcake tomorrow!" scowled Wilbur.

"You want Santa to bring yourself to my house?" asked the smiling Tomato Guy as the police took him out of the restaurant.

"Hold on a minute!" called out another little boy's voice as the screen went back to Whitley.

"And what is it now?" asked Whitley showing off a fake smile to hide his impatience.

"This story has Tomato Guy in it along with Wilbur and Chad?" asked a boy. "This isn't going to be like one of those episodes where familiar characters play different parts like in those Christmas Carol parodies, is it?"

"To be honest with you", sighed Whitley, "At first we planned to do our version of a Christmas Carol. But then the network realized that too many other TV and movie studios already did too many lame versions of a Christmas Carol over the years and couldn't stand to see another one, so they decided that we should do The Nutcracker instead. And it's a shame too. I was originally cast to play the Ghost of Christmas Past and I was going to wear a neat white shining costume too."

"Will we be seeing Dr. Gangreen and Tara in this story soon?" asked a girl.

"And will Zoltan do one of his funny voice impersonations?" asked another boy.

"And will Igor be talking in surf even though it's the 1800's?" asked another gril.

"Okay, please stop interrupting my story with all these questions", demanded Whitley, "This isn't the Family Circus! Anyway, to continue, after the police took the annoying Tomato Guy away, another person entered the restaurant. It was Wilbur's fiancé…"

The screen started to ripple again and we find ourselves back in the knockwurst place. In stepped a woman in brown pigtails dressed in a white fur coat and furry hat. "Merry day before the Christmas, my Wilburovich", said the woman.

"And a Merry Christmas Eve to you, Mary Jo", smiled Wilbur as he went over and took the woman's hands. "What brings my fiancé to my humble little knockwurst shop?"

"I'm just be spreading the cheer of the yuletide", smiled Mary Jo as she took out some mistletoe and hung it over Wilbur's head. "You be under the mistletoe", said Mary-Jo, "Does that give you the hint?" And she started puckering her lips.

"I'll say it gives me a great hint", smiled Wilbur as he took the mistletoe from Mary Jo. "This will make an excellent spice for my latest knockwurst recipe. Thanks, Mary Jo. I can't wait to start cooking." And he left the room while Mary Jo stood there confused and a little disappointed, but then smiled when she saw Chad sweeping the floor.

"Ah, Comrade Chad", smiled Mary Jo, "And how is my future step-nephew enjoying his holidays?"

"Oh, it's going pretty good", said Chad, "How about you?"

"Your sometimes clueless Uncle Wilburovich denied me my Christmas kiss", sighed Mary Jo, "But maybe I can be giving you one in the meantime." And she started approaching the boy.

"Eyew! Christmas cooties!" cried Chad as he ducked under Mary Jo's legs before she could give him some Christmas affection. Chad tried to escape out the door, but Mary Jo used her gymnast skills to leap in front of him, pin him to the ground, throw another mistletoe on the ceiling like a dart, and smooch the struggling boy on the cheek quite a few times.

"Now that was not so bad", smiled Mary Jo as she helped Chad back on his feet. "I also want to be giving you another Christmas gift", said Mary Jo as she handed the boy a small wrapped present. Chad opened it up and was shocked to find what it was.

"It's a tomato!" gasped Chad seeing the small round red object he was holding.

"You be relaxing, it is only a toy tomato", smiled Mary Jo. Chad got a closer look and saw that it was just a toy wooden tomato with pretty eyes, a big smiling mouth, small green feet, and two green leaves on its head that almost looked like a wind up key. "And watch the wonderful feature this toy be having", said Mary Jo as she picked some walnuts from the walnut tree and placed them on a nearby table. Mary Jo took the toy tomato from Chad, wound up the two leaves on its head and put in next to the nuts. The tomato started to walk like a toy robot, picked up a nut with its huge mouth, and cracked the shell.

"Hey, it's a nutcracker!" smiled Chad as he watched the cute little toy tomato crack some more walnuts. "It's a tomato that only cracks nutshells instead of people. Thanks, Mary Jo."

"I am so happy you be liking it", sighed Mary Jo. "I be finding it in an old toy shop and the shopkeeper told me it be a special toy, like it was royalty or something."

"Well I really love it", smiled Chad, "But what about Uncle Wilbur? He hates tomatoes and might not like me owning a toy based off a killer monster vegetable."

"I'm sure your Uncle Wilborovich won't be minding that you have just a toy tomato instead of a real tomato that is a killer", smiled Mary Jo.

"Sorry I left the room in such a rush, Mary Jo", called out Wilbur as he entered carrying a meat tenderizing mallet. "I just had to… WHAT IS THAT?!" Wilbur had stopped his sentence when he saw a small tomato on the table cracking walnuts. "A tomato in my Tomatoless Knockwurst restaurant?!" shouted Wilbur, "That is unforgivable!" and he started to raise his mallet.

"Wait, Uncle Wilbur!" cried Chad, "It's not a real….!" But it was too late. Wilbur slammed the mallet on the helpless tomato nutcracker smashing it as well as the table.

"NOOOO!" cried Chad.

"What have you done?!" demanded a shocked Mary Jo.

"I was just protecting you all from a deadly killer tomato", said Wilbur, confused. Then he looked over at his saddened nephew who was searching through the smashed wooden table. "I'm sorry, Chad", said Wilbur, "I hated to destroy such a good table, but it had been tainted with the evil scent of a tomato."

Later that night, Chad was lying in bed holding his new damaged toy. The tomato nutcracker was no longer round, but in a crumpled, bumpy shape, one of its pretty eyes was closed, and its huge smile was replaced with a painful frown. Chad sadly tried to turn the key on top of the nutcracker's head, but it ended up popping off and flying somewhere out of sight. "Oops, sorry", said Chad as he took a small bandage and wrapped it around the top of the nutcracker's head.

Just then, Wilbur popped his head through Chad's door. "Is it all right for a paranoid old fool to come in?" asked Wilbur.

"Sure, whatever", sighed Chad as he was still looking at his broken toy.

"Chad, boy", said Wilbur, "I am really sorry for what I did. When I saw that little red round thing, I thought it was a killer tomato out to destroy the people I love so my protective instincts took over."

"I understand, Uncle Wilbur", said Chad, "You were only trying to protect us. I too thought it was a live killer tomato at first until I got a better look at it."

"I just don't know why Mary Jo would get you such a thing for Christmas", said Wilbur, "Doesn't she realize how dangerous this new killer tomato threat is? I tell you whoever created these monster vegetables has to be biggest rat in the world. I mean, a real king of the rats!"

"Please forget about it, Uncle Wilbur", sighed Chad, "Christmas is the time for forgiving."

"Thanks, Chad", said Wilbur as he handed his nephew a small box. "I want to give you my present early to make up for what I did. I saw these things at the same shop Mary Jo got that toma.., I mean, nutcracker from and I had to get them for you."

Chad opened the box and saw that they were two action figures. One was a deep sea diver wearing a rusty metal diving helmet and the other looked like a bulky lone ranger. "These look pretty neat", said Chad.

"I was looking around the store and all of a sudden, I found those two in my shopping cart", said Wilbur, "It was like they had jumped in and wanted me to take them to you. Strange, isn't it?"

"Thanks, Uncle Wilbur", smiled Chad, studying the action figures and placing them on his bedside table next to the tomato nutcracker.

"Merry Christmas, my dear nephew", smiled Wilbur as he patted Chad's head and then left the room.

"Merry Christmas, Uncle Wilbur", whispered Chad, "And Merry Christmas to you my new friends", said Chad turning over to his three new toys and then fell asleep.

As Chad was asleep, something red and bright flew into the window. It looked like a tiny fuzzy tomato with fairy wings. The Fuzzy Tomato, or F.T., saw the damaged tomato nutcracker on the table and made a sad squeak. Then he started to shake around and release some kind of magic powder. But before it could land on the nutcracker, Chad ended up picking up the toy in his sleep while the powder landed on the table next to the two action figures. F.T. made a frustrated squeak and tried to pull the nutcracker free by grabbing onto Chad's fingers with the tiny vines on his head.

"What, what's going on?" yawned Chad as he woke up and found the small fuzzy tomato holding onto his fingers. "A KILLER TOMATO!" gasped Chad as he looked in shock. The fuzzy tomato became scared and quickly flew out the bedroom door. "Oh no you don't you evil tomato pixie!" shouted Chad as he placed the nutcracker back on the table, got out of bed, slipped on a pair of brown pants over his white nightgown, put on his shoes and hat and left the room. When the nutcracker touched the magic powder that was on the table, it magically started blinking its eyes and then turned around and looked at the cowboy and diver who were blinking their eyes as well.

Chad had followed F.T. into the kitchen and managed to catch him thanks to the fly paper on the table that F.T. landed on by accident. "Wow, Uncle Wilbur was right about that yucky looking fly paper", said Chad. "Now you can't get away! Wait, you don't look like a killer tomato to me, just a cute and fuzzy tomato." F.T. started making squeaking sounds like he was trying to tell him something. Then he started pointing his vines to the floor. Chad turned around and was shocked to find over 50 killer tomatoes on the floor looking evil eyed at the boy.

"Oh no, you brought reinforcements!" cried Chad. F.T. started to squeak like he had nothing to do with those other tomatoes. Just then, without thinking, Chad picked up one of the tomatoes and got a closer look at it. "Wait a minute", said Chad, "This tomato has rat ears, whiskers, and a rat's tail."

"Yeah, that's right kid", said the rat tomato in a Joe Pesci sounding voice. "I'm a tomato rat. Does that amuse you? Do I make you laugh? Am I like a clown? Huh?"

"Well…" said Chad, but before he could answer, the tomato rat started laughing and bit Chad's finger. "OW!" yelped Chad as the nasty tomato rodent jumped out of Chad's hand and was caught by his tomato comrades.

"That certainly made me laugh!" laughed the tomato rat and watched as Chad suddenly found himself shrinking.

"What's happening to me?" gasped Chad as he found himself the size of a mouse looking above at the giant table. Then he found himself surrounded by a horde of now large looking tomato rats. "Uncle Wilbur!" cried Chad as a tomato rat seized the boy with its long green tail.

"Forget it, kid", laughed the leader tomato rat, "Your unkie can't save you now. He can't hear you with that now small sized voice of yours! Soon you'll become one of us!"

Just then, a trumpet was heard and all the tomatoes turned around and saw a shadow shaped like a huge rat approaching. "On your stems you guys, the king approaches!" ordered the leader tomato rat. The tomato rats squatted down while the tomato rat that held Chad captive forced him to get down on his knees.

"Presenting his most royal fuzzy germ infested-ness, Rat King Gangreen", called out a surfer sounding voice in the darkness. Suddenly, in stepped what look like a large green rat with a white wig and mustache, wearing a royal red robe, and holding a scepter with a tiny soup can on top.

"All hail the Rat, um, uh, citizen?" said the tomato rats looking puzzled. The so called King Gangreen became shocked at those words.

"What do you mean rat citizen?" demanded Gangreen, "I am your beloved monarch, The Rat King! Shouldn't the crown upon my majestic head tell you seed brains otherwise?" Gangreen felt his fuzzy head and found no crown. "Oh, I see", said Gangreen, "Igor! Where's my crown?!"

"Coming, oh glorious mouse monarch", called out the same surfer voice. Out of the darkness ran a tan colored mouse with blonde hair on top and wearing red shorts with two white buttons and large yellow shoes. "I got your crown all polished right here", said the tan rat as he was holding a small yellow crown that was made of hardened cheese. Then he placed it over the King's head.

"All hail The Rat King", said the tomato rats.

"That's more like it", said Gangreen. "I felt naked without this crown. It's been in my royal family for years."

"Royal family?" asked Igor, "But I thought you told me you were an orphan rat and you made that crown out of a piece of cheese that was too old to even eat."

"Silence, you simple headed spoilsport!" grumbled Gangreen as he bonked Igor on the head with his scepter. "And take off those copyrighted red shorts. Do you want that other cartoon studio to sue us?"

"Oh, all right", sighed Igor as he was about to pull down his shorts until the Censor Lady came in with a censored banner covering up Igor's pelvis.

"No, no, no! No stripping of pants in this cartoon!" demanded the Censor Lady, unless you want me to follow you around throughout this episode holding this banner."

"That would seem kind of awkward", said Igor.

"Fine", grumbled Gangreen. "Igor, just remove those two buttons so we can avoid censorship and copyright infringements."

"That would be easier for me and the censor dudette, oh wise rat emperor", said Igor as he pulled off the two buttons from his shorts.

"Now can we please get on with the story?" called out Whitley's voice.

"You're the boss", said Gangreen, "For now! Heh, heh heh!"

Gangreen then approached the leader tomato rat, "Ah, Zoltan, my fine captain of the guards. What have you to report?"

"Well, boss, I mean, your highness", said Zoltan, "That formula you injected into my vegetable hide worked again and I was able to try it out on my second victim, this little twerp whom we made even smaller!" Gangreen looked at the trembling Chad who was still being held by the tomato rat thug.

"Ah ha!" cackled Gangreen as he used his scepter to lift up Chad's chin. "It's Wilbur Finletterbaum's nephew. He'll make an excellent addition to my future tomato kingdom. You've done well, Zoltan."

"You know my Uncle Wilbur?" gasped Chad, "And what have you done to me?"

"Oh, where are my manners?" said Gangreen, "I know all of this might seem confusing to you, my boy. Not to mention all the therapy you're going to need in the future. But I'll tell you my tragic past story. For many years, Igor and I were two hungry rats living in this town of selfish humans who don't appreciate what fine noble creatures we are. Every time we entered human homes and try to get some food to feed our starving selves, we get hit by brooms, wooden planks, and they even sent their cats after us."

"And I still have the scent of tuna breath from the last kitty who tried to bite off my cool looking face", said Igor, picking a small fishbone from his blonde hair.

"To continue", sneered Gangreen, "Your Uncle Wilbur was the worst of all you humans, always chasing us out of his place by attacking us with cooking forks, greasy pans, and even meat grinders. We wanted revenge on him the most. Then one day, your foolish uncle threw out a bag of rotten tomatoes and that gave me a brilliant idea. During my days as a lab rat in a science laboratory, I fiddled around with some chemicals and discovered a wicked formula. And I figured I'd go ahead and make it. First, I injected some of my own DNA into those rotten tomatoes creating my loyal army of tomato rats with rotten attitudes! And I sent them into the town to see how good they were at terrorizing you spineless humans."

"And that was loads of fun too!" said Zoltan, "Right guys?" The other tomato rats jumped up and down agreeing.

"And while my red headed subjects were busy terrorizing, I started working on my second evil formula and fed it into my top tomato rat, Zoltan", continued Gangreen, "You've heard of the Black Plague? Well, I've created the Green Plague. And every time my fierce little Zoltan bites people, they'll get infected. And you, dear boy, had the honor of being the second victim of my successful plague."

"You're gonna shrink people like you did me?" gasped Chad.

"Shrinking is just stage 1 of my plague", said Gangreen, "In exactly 12 hours, you will slowly start to mutate and become a tomato. Not a killer tomato, a helpless motionless tomato."

"No, you can't mean that!" gasped Chad.

"But don't worry", said Gangreen, "You'll soon have more tomato comrades for I'm going to give the rest of my tomato army my Green Plague formula and change all of Zuchinniburger into tomatoes! HA HA HA HA!"

"You're a mad rat!" cried Chad.

"I'm not a mad rat, I'm an angry rat!" grumbled Gangreen, "And I'm angry at your uncle too. I think I'll make that crazy rat thrasher my next victim. Tomato troops, head into Wilbur Finletterbaum's bedroom and give him a taste of Green Plague!"

"No, not my Uncle Wilbur!" pleaded Chad.

"I'm doing you a favor", cackled Gangreen, "If your uncle sees you as a tomato, he could squash you. So I'll make him one too. Like uncle, like nephew. HA HA HA!"

"I won't let you do this!" cried Chad, trying to struggle free from the tomato rat's grip, but couldn't.

"And just who's going to stop us?" demanded Gangreen.

"I am!" called a girl's voice. There in the center of the room was the tomato nutcracker. "You have gone too far, Rat King Gangreen!" shouted the nutcracker in a pretty girl's voice while walking with her toy feet.

"My nutcracker is alive?" gasped Chad, "And can talk and walk?!"

"Whoa!" said Igor, "Must be an advanced foreign toy."

"I recognize you!" said Gangreen, marching towards the tomato nutcracker, "You were the first victim of my plague! But how can you be walking and talking? You're supposed to be an unmoving silent tomato!"

"Let's just say I got a little help from my friend!" said the nutcracker as she looked above at the fuzzy tomato that was still stuck on the table above. "And now I'm going to turn you into green ratatouille!"

"And how is one silly little toy tomato going to fight off 50 of my dangerous tomato rats?" smiled Gangreen as his tomato rat army jumped in front of the defenseless nutcracker.

"With the help of my loyal warriors", said the nutcracker, "Sam, Floyd! I need you!" Suddenly, in came the cowboy and diver action figures each carrying a weapon.

"My other new toys are alive too?" gasped Chad, "I gotta stop eating Uncle Wilbur's egg nog knockwursts!"

The tomato rats charged at the two warrior toys. "You're looking at the Floyd Bridgework action figure", said the diver, "The rare version they took off the market for I come with a trident that was considered a choking hazard!" And the diver started poking and slicing up some of the tomato rats with his trident until they were paste.

More tomato rats were about to attack the cowboy until he started spinning around and appeared in a cook's outfit. "That's right", said the cowboy now transformed into a cook, "I'm Sam the Sham Smith. The dress up doll with a thousand disguises. And I come with 100 different outfits to choose from. The other 900 are sold separately." The tomato rats looked in fear as Sam took out a pressure cooker and a sharp cleaver.

"And this toy also comes with action cooking moves too!" said Sam as he charged at the tomato rats with his vegetable slaughtering kitchenware causing some the frightened vegetables to flee in terror.

"Cowards!" shouted Zoltan, hopping up and down, "They're just a couple of cheap toys!

"Then I suggest you go out there and lead your army to victory", shouted Gangreen as he used his rat tail to snap Zoltan on the bottom like a wet towel.

"All right, I'm going!" grumbled Zoltan as he hopped over to help his army.

Gangreen and Igor were too busy watching the battle to notice the nutcracker sneaking from behind and taking a bite out of the tomato rat's tail that was holding Chad captive. "OW!" cried the tomato rat as he ran away crying while sauce was oozing from his now snapped off tail.

"Are you all right?" the nutcracker asked Chad.

"Yes, I'm okay", said Chad wriggling himself free from the now detached rat tail. Then he looked at the smiling nutcracker that was now the same size as he was. "I can't believe you're this big."

"Actually, you're the one that's small now", said the nutcracker. Just then, Sam and Floyd rushed over to the boy and the nutcracker while the remaining 25 tomato rats had them cornered.

"We tried to fight them off as much as we could", said Sam, "But they're just too many of them!"

"We're sorry we failed you, princess", said Floyd.

"Princess?" asked Chad looking at the worried tomato nutcracker.

"Now we're going to show all of you the true meaning of a red and green Christmas!" cackled the mean green rat king who was standing behind his hungry army of red tomato rats.

Just then, Chad looked up at the ceiling and called out to the tomato rats, "Hey look. Your king is under the mistletoe!" The tomato rats looked above and sure enough, there was mistletoe on the ceiling and Gangreen was right under it.

"Who are we to argue with Christmas tradition?" said Zoltan. "Men, pucker up!" and all the tomato rats started to pounce on Gangreen smooching him non-stop.

"Stop it you fools!" shouted Gangreen, "I command you! I'm your king! Igor, come help!"

"I'll be there in just a sec", said Igor, spraying his mouth with mouthwash. "I hope those tomato dudes leave some room for me to kiss."

Chad and the toys watched as all the tomato rats had piled themselves on the rat king while smooching noises were heard. "Now that's sure to leave Christmas cooties crawling all over the place", groaned Chad as he watched Igor jump on top of the tomato pile.

"Now that we got them all in one spot", said Sam, "How do we get rid of them?"

A squeak was heard and our heroes looked up and saw the fuzzy tomato fairy carrying the giant fly paper that was still stuck to his bottom roots.

"Look out!" cried Chad, "It's that annoying fuzzy tomato who bugged me while I was in bed!"

"Relax", said the nutcracker, "F.T.'s here to help." The fuzzy tomato nodded, flew down and covered the pile of rats and tomatoes with the fly paper like a sticky blanket. Then F.T. managed to snap free from the sticky trap and flew to our heroes.

"Somebody's going to pay for this!" shouted Gangreen from inside the sticky ball of wrapping.

"Whoa, smells like caramel in here", said Igor, "And I can feel it against my skin, because it's ripping off my fur."

"Would you boys kindly take care of our unwanted guests?" the nutcracker asked Sam and Floyd.

"At once my princess", said the two action figures as they took out their rolling pin and trident and approached the huge wrapping. Chad and the nutcracker watched as Sam and Floyd pushed the imprisoned villains out the back door and a lot of beatings, yelps, and squishy sounds were heard outside.

"Don't worry, Chad", said the nutcracker, "We'll make sure that awful rat king and his rotten rodent creatures won't hurt you ever again."

"Thank you, princess", said Chad, "And are you really a princess?"

"I may not look like it right now", said the nutcracker, "But I soon will be with the assistance of F.T." The Fuzzy Tomato fairy nodded and sprinkled some kind of sparkling dust on the nutcracker. Suddenly, the tomato shaped toy started to sneeze and change form. And to Chad's surprise, he was looking at the pretty wooden face of a beautiful teenage girl doll. She had long light brown hair, a beautiful smile, red spots painted on her cheeks, and she was wearing a toy soldier's uniform with a matching soldier's hat.

"You're, you're a doll!" gasped Chad as he stepped back, "And a girl too!"

"Not just a girl", smiled the doll, "I am Tara, princess of the Nutcracker Kingdom. The evil Rat King Gangreen had me turned into an unmoving tomato thanks to one of his evil tomato rat minions and then he had me sent to a toy shop. I spent many days there, hoping one day I'd be returned to my normal princess self. And it's all thanks to the magic sugar plum dust provided by my dear friend, F.T, the Sugar Plum Fairy." The furry fairy made an agreeable squeak while Tara hugged him.

"Sugar Plum Fairy?" asked Chad, "He looks like a fuzzy tomato to me."

"He's just wearing his warm red fur coat", smiled Tara as she pulled down a zipper that suddenly appeared on the top of F.T.'s head and undid the red fur. It now showed F.T. as a cute little purple plum fairy.

"He is a Sugar Plum Fairy", said Chad, amazed. F.T. made a bashful squeak as he redid his red fur coat making him look like a fuzzy tomato once again.

"F.T. prefers to wear his red coat at all times", explained Tara, "Santa Claus is his role model."

"This is so amazing", said Chad still trying to take this in. "I'm talking to an actual princess who has a Sugar Plum Fairy disguised as a tomato for a friend."

"And I'm your friend too, Chad", smiled Tara as she approached Chad ready to give him a hug and a kiss. Chad tried to back away nervously, but F.T. flew over and pushed the boy into the princess's arms and Tara gave Chad a kiss on the cheek with her wooden lips. "You don't have to worry about getting cooties from a nutcracker princess", smiled Tara, "Termites maybe."

"Well thank you for saving me from that ugly old rat king", said Chad blushing from that kiss. "Who knows what more he could've done to me."

"And thank you for nursing me back to health when I got smashed by your uncle", said Tara, trying to shake that memory out of her head.

"I'm sorry for what my Uncle Wilbur did to you that afternoon", said Chad, "He's just so overprotective of me and thought you were a killer tomato."

"No", said Tara, "I'm no destroyer of humans, just a destroyer of nuts." Tara then spied a walnut on the floor and an uncontrollable urge started to develop in her. She took out a mallet and started smashing the nut to pieces.

"Tara, what are you doing?" wondered Chad.

"I'm sorry", said Tara snapping out of it, "I am a nutcracker after all. When I see a whole undamaged nut, I just lose control, kind of like how your Uncle Wilbur loses control when he sees a tomato."

Just then, Sam and Floyd came back in with embarrassed faces. "Chad, this here is Sam, the captain of my royal army. And Floyd is the captain of my royal navy", said Tara.

"Wow, it's so neat to meet such cool living action figures", said Chad.

"Did you take care of those evil villains?" Tara asked the two warriors.

"Well", said Sam, twiddling his fingers, "Floyd and I managed to squash all of the tomato rats into rodent Ragu. But the head tomato rat called Zoltan managed to slip out of our fingers."

"Not to mention the rat king and his surf brained sidekick", said Floyd, "Sorry, your highness."

"Oh no!" gasped Tara, "Who knows what more evil Gangreen could cause? Look what he's already done to poor Chad."

"Yeah, I got shrunk thanks to that rat", protested Chad as he removed his hat and started scratching his head. But then he felt something green and leafy on top. "What the?" gasped Chad as he ran to a nearby mirror and saw a small leaf growing out of his blonde hair. "Ahhh! I'm a leaf head!" cried Chad.

"Uh oh", said Tara, "It must be stage 2 of Gangreen's sinister formula!"

"He said in 12 hours, I'm going to transform into a helpless tomato!" cried Chad in a panic. "I don't want to be a tomato, especially if my Uncle Wilbur sees me!"

"Don't worry", said Tara placing her hands on Chad's shoulders trying to calm him down, "F.T., can you cure him with some more of your magic sugar?"

F.T. squeaked and flew above Chad and shook around a lot. But all that came out was one tiny speck of sugar that ended up missing Chad and landed on the floor. "Oh dear", said Tara.

"I don't like the sound of that", said Chad, worried.

"F.T. used up all of his magic sugar to cure me", said Tara, "But don't worry, Chad. We'll go back to my Nutcracker Kingdom and get some more sugar from the magic Sugar Plum Tree. And you'll be cured and returned to your regular size."

"I would like that very much", said Chad. "Where is your kingdom? Is it far away?"

"We'll go there by snow submarine", said Tara. "Floyd, if you would please."

Floyd took out what looked like a tiny submarine from his utility belt. Then he went outside, attached a pump to it and started pumping until it grew into a large submarine sitting in the snow.

"Awesome!" smiled Chad.

"Shall we go now?" asked Tara.

"Not yet", said Chad finding a piece of paper on the floor and a quill feather. "I need to write a note to Uncle Wilbur so he won't get worried." And he started to pick up the quill that was like a flagpole to him because of his small size and carefully wrote a note. "Dear Uncle Wilbur. This may seem farfetched, but I got infected and shrunk by a tomato rat and I'm off to a place called the Nutcracker Kingdom with my new friends to get cured. Hopefully, I'll be back around either Christmas or New Year's Eve. But if I don't make it back in time, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, from Chad."

Chad left the letter on the floor and stuck the quill in the center so his uncle would notice it. Then Chad, Tara, F.T., Sam and Floyd went outside and boarded the submarine and it started to sink in the snow leaving only the periscope showing and then it started racing off leaving a trail.

Wilbur stepped into the kitchen wearing a nightgown and a nightcap yawning. "I need some warm milk coated knockwursts to get some sleep", said Wilbur. But then his eyes bulged awake when he saw ketchup and squashed tomatoes on his floor. "Killer tomatoes were here in my kitchen?!" growled Wilbur, "The outrage! Oh no, Chad boy! Are you all right?" Wilbur then saw the quill and note in the center on the floor. He picked it up and read it while a huge question mark appeared over his head. "Nutcracker Kingdom?" asked Wilbur as he saw the back door open and a periscope trail in the snow.

Later, we see Chad enjoying the ride inside the snow submarine. He was in his seat with Tara and F.T. sitting next to him while Sam was looking through the periscope and Floyd was piloting. Chad was looking out the side porthole and saw lots of white crystal snow outside for they were traveling through snowy banks instead of the sea. "This is a neat sub", said Chad, "It's like something I remember reading in a story written by Jules Verne."

"I can't wait till I show you my kingdom", said Tara, "I've been sitting in that toy shop as an unmoving tomato for so long that it'll be great to sit on my throne once again."

Just then, the sub came to a crash causing our heroes to get thrown out of their seats. "Land ho!" called out Sam who was peeking through the periscope.

"You could've told me sooner", grumbled Floyd who was trying to back his submarine up.

"Sorry", said Sam, "I was too captivated by the beauty of what I just saw."

The hatch of the sub was opened and our heroes stepped outside. To Chad's amazement, he saw a beautiful castle made of sparking sapphire and covered with pretty jewels. "Sparkling!" was all that Chad could say.

"Welcome to my Nutcracker Kingdom", smiled Tara as she took Chad's hand and rushed over to the front gate while F.T, Sam, and Floyd followed after them. When they arrived at the front gate, they were greeted by two wooden soldiers who were wearing the same uniform Tara was.

"My princess, you've returned", smiled the first soldier, "Happy days!"

"Thank you, my loyal soldiers", smiled Tara.

"Oh joy!" said the second, "We thought that evil rat king had taken you away from us forever. Please say that he is finished."

"Alas, no", sighed Tara, "King Gangreen is still out there and he might try and come back. I need you both to stand guard and make sure that evil rodent and his lackies don't enter the palace."

"Yes, your majesty", said the first soldier as he blew a whistle and suddenly a whole army of nutcracker soldiers arrived pushing out cannons with pop corks inside them.

"If those scoundrels try anything, we'll give them such cork burns!" said the second soldier.

"Very good", smiled Tara as she led Chad into the castle.

Chad looked around the inside of the castle and it was a regular toy store paradise. The citizens consisted of wooden nutcrackers of every shape and size. There were people nutcrackers, animal nutcrackers like cats, dogs, bears, and alligators. They were all cheering for the return of their princess while jumping, dancing, and throwing confetti and streamers.

"You're very loved here, Tara", said Chad.

"I know", sighed Tara, "I just wish they wouldn't waste the royal budget on confetti and streamers every time they see me."

"Hold on, I think something got inside my boot", said Sam as he took off his boot and out plopped a tiny walnut.

"A NUT!" shouted all the nutcrackers in the palace as they took out mallets and started up their nutcracking instincts by pouncing on the tiny helpless nut cracking it.

"They really are nutcrackers", said Chad.

"And I am too", said Tara, trying hard not to pull out her mallet and charge into the pile. But before she could reach her mallet, a royal trumpet fan fare was heard causing Tara to forget about the nut. All the nutcrackers got back up and returned to where they were standing.

"What's going on?" asked Chad.

"It's the Sugar Plum King", whispered Tara, "He's on his way." After the trumpet players stopped, in stepped a small midget nutcracker holding a scroll.

"Presenting his most royal sweetness and a real plum pudding", said the small nutcracker reading from the scroll, "Link, the Sugar Plum King."

Two giant doors opened and Chad became shocked and scared at what came in. It looked like a giant monster tomato. It was covered in red fur, had green vines for arms and legs, sharp fangs, and was wearing a crown. It almost looked like some kind of missing tomato link.

"ANOTHER TOMATO!" cried Chad.

"A tomato?!" gasped the monster tomato, "Where?"

"Relax, Chad", giggled Tara, "He is not a tomato, he is only our beloved Sugar Plum King wearing his red winter wardrobe, just like F.T. here."

F.T. unzipped his coat again to remind Chad. Seeing this, the giant king unbuttoned his red coat too revealing he was a giant sugar plum. "Now tell me, dear boy", asked the king, "Do I look like a scary tomato to you?"

"No, not anymore your majesty", said Chad, humbly bowing, "I'm sorry I said that to you."

"No harm done", said the king as he buttoned his red coat back up, "Please just call me Link. I don't like feeling that I'm above all my dear friends."

"You're always so modest, my foster father", smiled Tara, hugging the furry king.

"Tara, my sweet", smiled Link as he picked up the girl, "You're not a tomato anymore! Oh, how splendid! I thought after how that dastardly rat king transformed you and stole you away from us, I'd never see you again. Which is why I sent my best men, Sam and Floyd, to rescue you as well as my favorite sugar plum fairy, F.T., to help cure you." And he patted the smiling fuzzy tomato fairy on the head. "And it looked like the sugar from our beloved sugar plum tree did its magic on you, my dear princess. You're back to your pretty self once again! This is a time for celebration!"

"Thank you, Link", smiled Tara, "But before we start celebrating. We need to help our new friend, Chad. He too was a victim of Gangreen's evil Green Plague and he's going to turn into a tomato in exactly 11 hours. Show him, Chad."

"Do I have too?" whined Chad, "It's kind of embarrassing."

"Link does like to have proof", said Tara as she removed Chad's hat revealing the leaf on the boy's head.

"Yes", said Link studying the leaf, "I see that the first two stages of the Plague happened, the shrinking and the leaf growing out of your hair. You my poor child have got the Green Plague."

"And I'm definitely not liking it very much either", sighed Chad.

"Can we please have access to your hidden sugar plum tree so we can cure Chad?" Tara asked Link.

"But of course", said Link, "But not yet. First you both must watch the dance show I had been organizing for a long time. Oh, you're going to love them. They're performers that do delightful dances of different candies and treats."

"Can't we see them later?" asked Tara, "We really should cure Chad right away."

"I'm sorry, my princess", said Link, "But the dancers need to perform right away. They're booked for another show in another town. Do you realize how hard it was to get this world famous dance company to perform for us? This kingdom will never have another chance to witness this fine performance again. So I insist we start now." Two nutcracker guards grabbed Chad and Tara and led them to a throne and a smaller chair. Tara was seated on the throne and Chad was seated next to Tara in the smaller chair.

"How long will this show be?" asked Chad.

"I'm not really sure", said Link, "But I believe it won't really last 11 hours. So sit back and enjoy this once in a lifetime show."

"All right", said Tara, "Don't worry, Chad. I'm not going to let you become a tomato while you're a guest here."

"Thanks, Tara", said Chad a little nervous.

"Now the first dance represents rich sweet chocolate", said Link. Then in came a group of living chocolate bars wearing Spanish outfits and dresses. They were doing Spanish dances while clicking castanets made of chocolate chips.

"Aren't they just divine?" smiled Link.

"Will they be giving us any chocolate once they finish their dance?" hoped Chad.

"Oh no", said Link, "These dancers don't give out the actual sweet treats. Their wonderful dances are the only treats worth having."

"Speak for yourself", whispered Chad.

"Our next dance represents tea from the Orient", said Link. In came a group of Chinese dancers doing a dance that involved pouring tea into cups and serving them to each other.

Soon, our heroes saw dances that represented taffy, candy canes, coffee, bon-bons, and more. Chad and Tara were trying to look interested but deep down they were bored with all the countless dancing.

"Shouldn't we be getting a bathroom break soon?" asked Chad.

"Bathroom break?" asked Link, "Why would you want to take a bath right now when you're witnessing such marvelous dance performances?

"I'm sorry, Chad", said Tara, "Just sit tight. This should be over soon, I hope."

"I just hope I won't take root here", said Chad nervously looking down at his shoes, hoping he'd still have them once the day was over.

Just then, a circle appeared next to Chad and Whitley White appeared in it. "I know how you feel, kid", whispered Whitley, "These dances are making the kids I'm reading to fall asleep. How about I fast forward us all the way to the last dancers?" said Whitley winking as he took out a remote control. Chad nodded as Whitley hit the fast forward button and the rest of the dances were speeded up. "Why don't you all move to the next scene?" said Whitley, "Even fast forwarded, we still seem to have a long way to go."

Outside the palace, Rat King Gangreen and Igor were watching over a tall hill. "There it is, Igor", said Gangreen, "The home of that troublemaking Nutcracker Princess." Igor, are you paying attention?

"Look, your highness", said Igor, lying down in the snow and spreading his arms and legs, "I'm making snow angels. Wanna make some with me?"

"No, Igor", grumbled Gangreen, "Angels always seem to keep bugging me when I try to do my daily business of evil. Right now, we have to find a way to get inside that nutcase castle and steal their secret sugar plum tree. It's the one object that could destroy my wonderful Green Plague for good. All of my plagues must succeed!"

"All of your plagues?" asked Igor, puzzled, "You have more plagues?"

"My Green Tomato Plague is just part 1 of my plans", cackled Igor, "And I'm developing a whole bunch of other food plagues as well. Let me explain it to you with a musical number." Gangreen then started signing this song.

"It's a sinister responsibility, from the genius of this rat king majesty!"

"Every human on this Earth will soon be, mutated into food because of me!"

"Turn Italy into tomato sauce, that'll show them I'm the boss!"

"Turn Brazil into coffee beans, that'll awaken my evil dreams!"

"Change the Irish into potatoes and watch their terrified eyes!

"And seal the French in tight can-cans and turn them to French fries!"

"It's a sinister responsibility, from the genius of this rat king majesty!"

"Every human on this Earth will soon be, mutated into food because of me!"

"Transform the Swiss into cheese, that'll set my mind at ease!"

"Turn Canadians into donuts, and watch them all go nuts!"

"Let's make an apple pie out of the whole U.S.A!"

"Pretty the soon the entire world will be my own buffet!"

"That sure is a sinister responsibility", sang Igor, "From your genius, oh rat king majesty! Every human on this Earth will soon be, mutated into food because of you!"

"Igor, you out of tune oaf!" growled Gangreen, "That last word didn't rhyme!

"Sorry, your musical lover-ness", sighed Igor.

"Now if only Zoltan would get here with reinforcements", said Gangreen.

"Right here, your rodent kingship", called out Zoltan as he started jumping through the snow with a whole army of brand new tomato rats. "I hope we can go inside soon, we're becoming frozen vegetables here!"

"Frozen vegetables?" said Igor, "Wait till I tell my friend Swanson about this."

"We'll be inside our new castle home soon, my dear frostbitten tomato rat", smiled Gangreen, "Now all you tomato rats. Prepare for Operation Clause of Fury!"

"Cool!" said Zoltan as he turned to his fellow tomato rats, "Here that, guys? Assemble!" All the tomato rats got together and started to form into a huge red giant with a long wool hat shape.

"Whoa!" said Igor, "It's Santa Claus!"

"Correction", said Gangreen, "It's an imposter Santa made up of 1000 tomato rats. A real Ketchup Kringle."

"That's pretty impressive", said Igor, "Only he doesn't have a beard."

"That's where I come in", said Gangreen as he pulled a long white beard out from nowhere and put it on. "I'm going to be the beard as well as the face and the brains of this outfit." Gangreen crawled up the body of the giant Tomato Santa and sat himself where the face would go.

"You comfy, your majesty?" called out Zoltan from the very top.

"Other than being surrounded by the smell of rotting tomatoes, I'm fine", said Gangreen through his beard.

"What part of the body can I be?" asked Igor, "How about I be Santa's spleen? Huh, huh, huh,"

Gangreen grumbled as he unrolled his beard onto the ground and said, "Just climb in, stay hidden, and keep your snout closed. Let me do the talking."

"Right, your ill-tempered-ness", said Igor as he grabbed onto the beard and it rolled back up trapping the clueless surfer rat like it was a deep cloud.

"Now, my loyal tomato rats in disguise, march!" said Gangreen.

"Okay, troops", said Zoltan, "Like we practiced. Put one foot in front of the other and soon you'll be walking across the floor, I mean, snow." And the giant fake Santa started moving to the palace.

"Halt, who goes there?" asked the first soldier.

"It's me", said Gangreen, "Jolly old Santa Claus. HA HA HA!"

"Hey, boss", whispered Zoltan from above, "That's Ho Ho Ho. Long O."

"Oh yeah", whispered Gangreen and started going, "HO HO HO! Won't you two fine crafted young toys let me in so I can visit your good little princess?"

"Are you sure you're really Santa Claus?" asked the first soldier suspiciously.

"Prove it", said the second, "What are the names of your eight reindeer?"

"Reindeer?" gasped Gangreen nervously, then ducked his nose into his beard, "Igor", he whispered, "Do you know the names of those reindeer that drag Santa's fat behind around?"

"I think they were….", said Igor as he started whispering to Gangreen. Gangreen pulled his snout out of his beard and recited, "100 Yard Dasher, Dirty Dancer, Artist Formerly Known as Prancer, Nixon, Compost, Q-bert, Don Rickles, and Blisters."

The two guards looked at him funny. "Is all that right?" asked the second soldier.

"I wouldn't know", said the first soldier, "I celebrate Hanukkah."

"And I celebrate Kwanzaa", said the second guard, "But maybe we should let him pass. Our princess would never forgive us if we actually sent away Santa Claus." The two guards cleared the way so the giant tomato Santa could step inside.

Whitley was still fast forwarding through all the dances until it was finally over. He then set the remote back to normal speed. "There we go", said Whitley, "Now we can continue with the good parts of the story." And the circle Whitley was in closed up, but squishing him on the nose. "OW!" yelped Whitley as he yanked his nose free and disappeared.

"Bravo, bravo!" said Link, clapping his vines together, "Weren't those dancers just remarkable? I guarantee you will never forget an experience like that!"

"You can say that again", sighed Tara as she got up to stretch her wooden legs.

"And look at you, Chad", smiled Link, "The performances must've gotten to you so much you're blushing."

"Blushing?" gasped Chad as he saw that his hands were red. "A mirror, quick!" requested Chad. Tara handed Chad a mirror and became horrified when he saw that his face was turning a bright tomato red. "AHHH!" cried Chad, "I'm a red head! And I don't mean my hair!"

"How long did that show last?" gasped Tara as she took out her pocket watch, "Oh no!" cried Tara, "We only got a few minutes before you become a full round tomato!"

"Oh dear", said Link, "I guess those performances were longer than I predicted."

Link, you have to get us to that tree right now!" demanded Tara, "Before Chad becomes a vegetable!"

"Right this way", said Link as he approached a huge steel door that seemed to lead to a secret room and opened it.

"Make way! Make way!" called out a small nutcracker soldier. "We have a special visitor! That cool king of the North Pole, Santa Claus!" Everyone in the castle stood there silent as they saw the giant red Santa slowly walk in and sit down in the center of the palace.

"Santa Claus, here in the Nutcracker Kingdom?" gasped Tara.

"HO HO HO, my children", laughed Gangreen, "Yes, it's me. Santa Claus, here in the red flesh! Won't you all come closer to me?"

"I can't believe it!" smiled Link, "It's Santa Claus in person. Oh, I have to sit on his lap right now!" As Link rushed over to the giant Santa trap, Chad noticed something not right. He rushed over and grabbed Link's viney legs tackling him. "What are you doing you silly child?" Demanded Link.

"No, don't go near him!" pleaded Chad.

"Aw, come on, little boy", smiled Gangreen, "Come sit on my lap. I won't bite."

"But your lap will!" shouted Chad as he pointed to Santa's lap that consisted of many hungry fanged mouths.

"That's not Santa!" gasped Tara, "TOMATOES!"

"The jingle jig is up!" said Gangreen, "Tomato rats. Separate and scramble!" To everyone's horror, the giant Santa broke apart into thousands of tomato rats. Everyone hid as the red rodents started growling and tearing up the place.

"That's it, my red ones!" cackled Gangreen. "You keep those nutbrains in hiding while Igor and I search for that sugar plum tree! Igor, front and center!"

"Do I have to?" called out Igor from inside the fake beard that was on the floor. "This beard feels all soft and squishy, much squishier than the leading brand of beards."

"Move it, mousebrain!" grumbled Gangreen as he reached into the beard and pulled Igor out by the tail. Then Gangreen started sniffing and his snout led him to an open steel door. "I smell sweet sugar plums", said Gangreen, "Right through here! Let's move!" And Gangreen and Igor scampered through the door while the tomato rats continued with their palace wrecking.

In a nearby storeroom, Chad, Tara, F.T., Sam, Floyd, and Link were all hiding in there peeking through the door. "I can't believe those red ruffians are doing this to my happy home", wailed Tara.

"Savages, all of them!" grumbled Link.

"Can't you send an army of nutcracker soldiers to defend this castle?" asked Chad.

"Sorry, kid", said Sam, "We're only nutcrackers, not tomatocrackers."

Chad looked over and saw huge cans that read, WALNUT COLORED PAINT. "That gives me an idea", said Chad, "Floyd, can I borrow your pump?"

"Keep it up my fellow ratfinks!" shouted Zoltan as he was on a table chewing on a lime sherbet sculpture of the princess, "Look for any nutcrackers you can find and crack them!"

"Hey, cheese breath!" shouted a voice. Zoltan and the rest of the rats turned around and saw Chad standing there holding a pump that seemed to lead into the storeroom. "This ends now!" said Chad with a determined red face.

"Well, look at you, kid", cackled Zoltan, "You're a nice shade of red. Looks like you'll become one of us very soon."

"Not if I change your color", shouted Chad as he activated the pump and started spraying light brown paint all over the place covering it up in a huge brown cloud.

"Hey, what are you doing?!" growled Zoltan as he started coughing up paint. When the cloud cleared, the tomato rats found themselves a walnut color instead of a ripe red color. "You guys look like nuts!" gasped Zoltan as he looked at his reflection in a nearby punch bowl, "And so do I!"

The nutcrackers came out of hiding and saw all the light brown tomato rats. "Say, they do look like nuts", said a cat nutcracker.

"Then let's all go nuts!" shouted a dog nutcracker as he took out a mallet and so did all the other nutcrackers as their nutcracking instincts happened once again and charged over and started bonking all the surprised tomato rats turning them into splattered sauce.

"Yep, they're definitely nutcrackers all right", said Chad, proudly.

"And so are we!" shouted Sam as he stepped out of the storeroom and took out his mallet, "Come on, Floyd!"

"I'm right behind you!" said Floyd as he took out his trident and ran out of the storeroom with Sam to crack open some nut colored tomato rats.

"No offense, princess", said Link, "But your nutcracker subjects should really learn some self control. What they're doing is kind of barbaric."

"Aw, lighten up, Linky", smiled Tara, "It's a nutcracker thing. Which reminds me…", Tara took out her mallet and charged into battle shouting out a warrior's scream.

F.T. started making shouting squeaks urging the princess and her subjects to fight on.

"Don't you start too, my littlest servant", sighed Link.

"Quick you guys, this way!" called out Zoltan as he and the 4 remaining tomato rats rushed over to an indoor fountain in the palace, dove in, and washed off the brown paint. The nutcrackers stopped and dropped their mallets in fear as they saw that the monsters they were attacking were once again red colored killer tomato rats. "That's right", growled Zoltan, "We're red and you're all dead!"

"You haven't won yet!" shouted Tara.

"And just who's gonna stop us this time?" demanded Zoltan.

"I AM!" called out a voice.

"Uncle Wilbur?!" gasped Chad. Sure enough, there was a giant sized Wilbur who had just entered the palace. Giant sized to the small nutcrackers and the now small Chad.

"Finletterbaum!" growled Zoltan.

"We finally got you dirt crawling tomatoes right where we want you!" shouted Wilbur, pointing his sword. "Right, Mary Jo?"

"Of course, my Wilburovich", said a giant sized Mary Jo as she did a huge flying flip and stomped on the 4 surviving tomatoes squashing them.

"You're all alone now, you dirty rat", said Wilbur as he tried to slice up Zoltan. But the fast little tomato rat managed to dodge his sword and head straight for Wilbur's ankle.

"Why don't you pick on someone your own size?" shouted Zoltan, "And I'll make you my size by turning you into a tomato!" He was about to bite down on Wilbur's ankle until a lasso snared him. "What the…" gasped Zoltan for he found himself tied up with the tube from Floyd's pump Chad was still holding.

"You're not gonna infect my Uncle Wilbur with your Green Plague!" shouted Chad as he started pumping on the pump, "Or anyone else ever again!" All the air from the pump caused Zoltan to blow up like a Christmas parade balloon.

"Bah humbug!" grumbled Zoltan as he exploded and caused sauce to cover the walls and floor. And all that was left of the evil head tomato rat were two pairs of blinking eyes. The eyes started to hop out the front door and sink into the thick snow.

All the nutcrackers in the palace cheered for the heroes that saved the day. "Uncle Wilbur", gasped Chad, "How did you know I was here?"

"Don't you remember, Chad", smiled Wilbur holding up a piece of paper, "You left a note telling me where you went. And when I saw the periscope trail in the snow, I just had to follow it and see what was up."

"And I met Wilburovich along the way and just had to join him", said Mary Jo, "This is quite the find, no? Nutcracker dolls that do the living and breathing."

"Chad boy", gasped Wilbur as he bent down and saw his now tiny red nephew. "Did you shrink a few inches over night? And why do you have such a bad looking sunburn in December weather?"

"Well, Uncle Wilbur", explained Chad, but before he could explain. Chad let out a scream as he found himself curling up in a round shape. And, POOF, Chad had finally become a silent, motionless, red tomato.

"My own nephew's become a to-to-TOMATO?!" yelled Wilbur in shock and fear.

"Oh no! CHAD!" cried Tara.

Wilbur was about to reach for his sword again until Mary Jo grabbed his wrist, "No, Wilburovich!" cried Mary Jo, "You cannot be destroying him. He is your nephew!"

"I don't want to do it!" cried Wilbur trying to fight the urge, "But when I see a tomato, I have to squash it! Please try and stop me, Mary Jo. Don't make me hurt Chad!"

"Quick, Link!" cried Tara, "Get Chad to the tree right now! No delays!"

"I think the tree might be going away!" gasped Link, "LOOK!" Everyone in the palace turned and saw a potted sugar plum tree being carried away by two rats.

"Uh oh, King Gangreen", said Igor, "I think we're busted!"

"Use your rat instincts!" shouted Gangreen, "Gnash your teeth at them!" The two rats tried to scare our heroes off with threatening gnashing of teeth. But it didn't work. Wilbur got over his urge to squash a tomatoized Chad, ran over and grabbed the two rats by the tails.

"I recognize you too!" growled Wilbur, "You're those two pesky rats who keep raiding my restaurant! Did you have something to do with all these rodent tomatoes and the fate of my poor nephew?!"

"If I tell you the truth, you won't kill us?" asked Gangreen nervously.

"Don't count on it!" growled Wilbur as he was about to squish the rodents.

"Wait, put them in here!" called out Sam as he and Floyd rolled in a cage. "You don't want to squish them and get rat guts all over your hands, do you?"

"I suppose you're right", sighed Wilbur as he dropped the two rats in the cage and closed the top door. "Rats guts on my hands could ruin my knockwurst making career."

"Don't worry", said Sam, "We got a suitable punishment for these two", And Sam and Floyd ended up pushing away the wheeled cage that contained the two traumatized rats.

"How is the tree, Link?" asked Tara as she watched Link examine the sugar plum tree with a stethoscope.

"She's a little shaken up", said Link, "But I think she'll survive and so will all her children."

"Mommy!" squeaked F.T. as he hugged the trunk of the tree.

"Yes F.T, I'm glad our dear mother tree is safe", smiled Link, "Now how about gathering up some of her sweet magic sugar so you can help our human friend?"

F.T. nodded as he fluttered his fairy wings and started dancing around the tree gathering up some magic sugar. Then he flew over to the Chad tomato and shook the sugar on top of him. Everyone watched as they saw the tomato go, "AH AH AH CHOO!" and the tomato turned back into a normal colored Chad who grew back to his normal size.

"Chad, boy!" smiled Wilbur as he and Mary Jo hugged the surprised boy, "You're not a tomato anymore!"

"Thanks to F.T. here", smiled Chad as he bent down and stroked the tiny fuzzy fairy with his finger.

"It's so great to see you back to your normal size again", smiled Tara who was now doll sized in Chad's eyes. She went over and hugged Chad's finger.

"Thank you for everything my kind nutcracker princess", smiled Chad as he picked up Tara lovingly.

"Comrade Chad has himself a new doll friend", smiled Mary Jo.

"It's certainly much better than that awful looking tomato nutcracker you gave him", said Wilbur.

"Attention please", called out Link, "In honor of Christmas and our victory over the evil Rat King, may I present this spectacular light show. Floyd, if you would please."

"As my French cousin Jacques would say", said Floyd as he pulled on a lever on the wall, "Joyeux Noel!" Everyone watched as the center floor opened and out rose a giant Christmas tree covered with beautiful decorations and colored lights. Then it started to turn around slowly so everyone could stand there and watch it. Everyone gathered around it in a big loving circle and started singing, Hark, the Herald Angels Sing. Tara was sitting on Chad's left shoulder while leaning her small wooden cheek against his big cheek. As everyone was still singing, Wilbur asked Sam, "How are you able to get that tree to turn around like that?"

"Let's say we got two rats on community service", smiled Sam.

Down in the basement, it turned out the bottom of the turning Christmas tree was connected to a hamster wheel. In it were Gangreen and Igor running like crazy while a Schwarzenegger-like nutcracker was cracking a whip. "Faster, you puny rats!" shouted the muscular nutcracker, "Put your Christmas spirit into it!"

"All my plans, roasted away on an open fire!" wailed Gangreen while panting.

"Cheer up, my king", panted Igor, "When they take us back to our cells, I'll whip us up a Christmas dinner. I have head cheese stashed away in my ears."

"Jack Frost has truly nipped at your brain", sighed Gangreen as he and his happy lacky continued running in the wheel.

Then we fade to black and see Whitley White and the kids again, "And that's the story of the Nutcracker", smiled Whitley, "With a tomato twist."

The kids started cheering for they liked the story and so did the live studio audience who was clapping and cheering.

"Thank you, thank you all", smiled Whitley as he and the kids stood up. "And let's thank our regular cast of performers. Come on out here everyone!" Everyone cheered as the extras and dancers came out first and bowed, next came Tomato Guy and Censor Lady. Then came Link, next came Sam and Floyd, then came Wilbur and Mary Jo. Mary Jo kissed Wilbur on the cheek causing him to blush.

Gangreen and Igor, carrying Zoltan and his small gang, stepped on stage next. "That's right", said Zoltan, "I didn't really blow up. That was my stunt double, Harvey. Why don't you all send him some Christmas cards to cheer him up? He's at the San Zucchini Hospital."

"Keep talking and you'll be joining Harvey in the hospital", whispered Gangreen.

And finally the biggest cheers were heard when Chad, Tara, and F.T. came on stage. "The Nutcracker was really fun to do, Chad", smiled Tara.

"It was fun, wasn't it?" smiled Chad, "Despite the fact that we seemed to have butchered a classic story."

Everyone on stage took one last bow while Whitley said, "And from all of us to all of you out there…."

"MERRY CHRISTMAS!" shouted the cast.

"And a Happy New Year TOMATO!" shouted Tomato Guy. The audience screamed and rushed out the exits. The cast looked annoyed at the blushing Tomato Guy. "Um, Happy Hanukkah everyone", said Tomato Guy as he tried to shield his face with an electric menorah.

THE END

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I hope you enjoyed this special Christmas episode. Merry Christmas and God bless us one and all!