Chuck vs. the Bells – A Christmas Story
CAST (in order of appearance):
Chuck Bartowski – Zachary Levi
Emmett Milbarge – Tony Hale
Big Mike Tucker – Mark Christopher Lawrence
Morgan Grimes – Joshua Gomez
Lester Patel – Vik Sahay
Jeff Barnes – Scott Krinsky
Anna Wu – Julia Ling
John Casey – Adam Baldwin
Nicholas Klassen – David Ogden Stiers
General Beckman – Bonita Fredericy
Sarah Walker – Yvonne Strahovski
Devin Woodcomb – Ryan McPartlin
Ellie Bartowski – Sarah Lancaster
Hark how the bells
Sweet silver bells
All seem to say
Throw cares away
Chuck Bartowski was late. He knew it, and every time he looked down at the face of his watch, he felt like it was mocking him. He suspected that there was a miniature camera behind the faceplate, with the man on the viewing end being John Casey – who he KNEW would be mocking him.
The worst part about being late on Christmas Eve was the fact that he had to park way out in the north forty – the parking spaces BEHIND the Sports Authority on the north end of the plaza. And so Chuck was running as fast as he could, the front of the Buy More growing larger with each footstep.
He never thought he would be thankful for having to run so much to keep up with Sarah and Casey, but right at the moment, fifteen months of more exercise than he had been used to was REALLY paying off. He was barely winded as he entered the front door of the Buy More –
Chuck cringed at the sound of Emmett Milbarge's voice. The man was downright creepy. "Good morning, Emmett," Chuck sighed wearily.
The thin man stepped in front of Chuck. "Why so late, Chuck? Were you out shopping? Getting some last minute Christmas presents?"
"Yes," Chuck replied sarcastically. "I had to make sure to get you a present, Emmett."
Emmett raised an eyebrow. "As long as it wasn't a seal."
Chuck looked at Emmett quizzically, and then continued walking, shaking his head. "No seals, Chuck!" Emmett called after him. "I HATE seals!"
Christmas is here
Bringing good cheer
To young and old
Meek and the bold
"Bartowski!" the voice hissed.
Heaven help me, Chuck groaned inwardly. The voice of Big Mike was not a particularly welcome sound just at that moment.
"Little busy, Big Mike," he replied, worming his hand around inside a particularly cramped Dell desktop, trying to find the plug-in spot on the motherboard for the digital audio plug.
"Bartowski, I need your help right now!" his boss replied. "I've got some bigwig from corporate coming in, and the store's a nightmare."
Chuck diverted his attention from the computer, turning it to Big Mike. "Isn't that why Emmett's here?"
Big Mike rolled his eyes. "Milbarge is a two-timing, back-stabbing, no good piece of horsey poo, Bartowski, and you know it! Now are you gonna help me or am I gonna have to suggest to Emmett that you're being insubordinate?!"
"Gee, Big Mike, thanks for the loyalty," Chuck deadpanned, withdrawing his hand from the interior of the Dell. "Alright, what's this guy's name?"
"Nicholas Klassen," Big Mike replied. "Won't tell me where's he coming from or anything."
"Superb." Chuck rolled his eyes and followed Big Mike out of the stock room.
Ding dong ding dong
That is their song
With joyful ring
"Is this really necessary?" Casey grumbled under his breath.
"Corporate, Casey," Chuck stage-whispered back to him. "The NSA will be mighty pissed at you if you lose this job, don't you think?"
The assembled staff of the Buy More were lined up near the entrance to the store. "Now I know it's highly irregular for a corporate big-shot to stop in on Christmas Eve, but that's the way it goes, and that's the way we handle it," Big Mike told the staff.
"'Christmas' Eve, Big Mike?" Lester asked, a slightly offended look on his face.
"Stuff it, Patel," Big Mike growled. "December 24th is Christmas Eve. You got a problem with that, take it up with the calendar people."
Big Mike stopped and stared at Jeff. "Put the thermos in your locker, Barnes."
He continued walking down the line. "So here's the deal. While this corporate guy is here, you listen to me, you listen to Emmett. If there's a problem, you go see Bartowski."
Emmett turned to Big Mike, a look of protest on his face. "Don't start, Milbarge," Big Mike growled. "They listen to him, and you know it."
One seems to hear
Words of good cheer
Filling the air
A blast of wind came rushing into the store as the doors open. Every head in the building turned to see a large, balding man with a white beard walk into the building.
Dressed in a black suit, he cut a rather imposing figure. Big Mike practically sprinted across the sales floor. "Mr. Klassen?" he asked, as he approached.
"That's me," he replied, a flat Midwestern accent coloring his speech. "You must be Michael Tucker."
"Yes, sir," Big Mike replied. "Let me introduce you to my management staff." He led Klassen over to Emmett Milbarge. "This is Emmett Milbarge. He's a Buy More efficiency expert, and for the moment, my assistant manager."
Nicholas Klassen regarded Emmett with an icy stare. "I remember you, Milbarge," he said menacingly. "You talked corporate into shutting down the toys for underprivileged kids at my Buy More in Anchorage because it 'wasn't efficient'."
Emmett's eyes went wide, and when he opened his mouth to reply, nothing came out but a little squeak.
"Uh, let's move along," Big Mike suggested, hastily. "This over here, this my Nerd Herd guru and general staff controller, Chuck Bartowski."
Hearing his name, Chuck turned around to see Big Mike and Nicholas Klassen approaching him –
a jet black semi trailer
a remote, snow covered bunker
a field with eight grazing deer
a CIA dossier
a candy cane
- and blinked, trying to clear his head. "Bartowski, this is Nicholas Klassen, from corporate," Big Mike introduced him.
"Bartowski, huh?" Klassen said, extending his hand. "I've heard good things about you."
"Really?" Chuck asked, his curiosity piqued. "Such as what?"
Klassen shrugged. "Oh, just that you're a fairly nice guy… and that you excel at your job."
Chuck narrowed his eyes. "Are you sure it was me, sir?"
Klassen smiled. "Trust me, Bartowski. I check everything twice."
Oh how they pound
Raising the sound
O'er hill and dale
Telling their tale
General Beckman shook her head. "We have nothing on this Klassen. No intelligence, nothing in the databases, not a thing."
Chuck looked at her in disbelief. "So you're telling me that the only scrap of intelligence that anybody happened to have on him was in the Intersect, and now the only place that it exists is my head?"
"Not necessarily," Beckman replied. "You said that you saw a CIA dossier – he could be in a 'black' CIA file, which would mean that the file technically doesn't exist. The CIA considers those to be too sensitive to entrust to a computer."
"So what do you want us to do?" Sarah asked.
"Follow him," Beckman said. "This could be completely coincidental, him showing up at the store that Chuck works at – or it could be a very serious problem. Stake out the Buy More, and when he leaves, follow him."
"Oh, joy," Casey drawled.
"Major Casey, can you honestly tell me you have other plans for tonight?" Beckman asked, a biting edge to her voice.
Casey straightened up. "Uh, no ma'am," he said. "I apologize."
Beckman nodded. "Alright then. Report in regularly. Major Casey, Agent Walker, Mr. Bartowski – merry Christmas."
"The same to you, ma'am," Sarah replied, closing the videoconference.
Gaily they ring
While people sing
Songs of good cheer
Christmas is here
"Alright," Casey grumbled. "I'm going to go check this out. The two of you, stay here."
When Klassen had left the Buy More at five o'clock, the three had followed him to a hangar at Los Angeles International Airport. He had gone in – and had been in there for three hours now.
"This is the worst Christmas Eve of all time," Chuck grumbled as Casey slid the door shut.
"Oh, come on," Sarah replied. "It could be worse."
"You're right," Chuck said. "If we were in a prison cell at Guantanamo Bay, it would be worse."
Sarah laughed and shook her head. "Hey, at least I didn't murder any alarm clocks this Christmas."
"That's true," Chuck admitted. "Which also means that Bryce Larkin wasn't around this Christmas." And with that realization, Chuck's face brightened. "Hey, maybe this isn't so bad after all."
"You are incorrigible," Sarah admonished him, though not without a smile.
"When he hides a fake test key under your bed, then we'll talk," Chuck shot back. "Until that time… wait a second."
"What's going on?" Sarah asked as Chuck moved to the window.
"There's a black semi truck over there," Chuck said, motioning toward the side of the hangar. "I saw that when I flashed on Klassen."
Sarah immediately moved toward the door. "Stay here," she replied. "I'll go check it out."
"Are you nuts?" Chuck said. "What if there's something in there that I can flash on? I need to go with you."
Sarah's face turned serious. "If you do, then if I tell you to do something, you need to do it, immediately. Is that clear?"
"Crystal," Chuck replied.
As he followed Sarah out of the van, Chuck realized that it was getting VERY cold – certainly much colder than usual for late December in Los Angeles. The ground shook as a landing jet passed overhead – and a gust of wind followed the jet, further chilling Chuck.
When they reached the truck, they found the back doors of the trailer open. Sarah shined a flashlight inside, revealing a narrow corridor through the truck, passing between rows of what looked like metal crates.
"This is very interesting," Chuck said, pulling himself up into the truck.
"Chuck, get down," Sarah said.
"No, no," Chuck replied distractedly, waving her off. "This is weird, Sarah. It feels like this truck is a lot bigger than it should be."
"CHUCK," Sarah snapped, anger entering her voice. "What did I say about doing what I said?"
Chuck turned to her, an amused look on his face. "Did you hear what you just said?"
"Sarah, come on!" Chuck replied. "Seriously, you need to check this out as well."
Sarah sighed and climbed into the truck. "Alright," she said, the edge still in her voice. "What are we looking at?"
"Look around," Chuck said. "Look at the interior of the truck – it feels a whole lot bigger than it should be."
"I'm sure that your eyes are just playing a trick on you," Sarah replied. "Now, can we get out, please?"
Chuck sighed. "Yeah, I guess so," he said, sounding disappointed.
But as they moved toward the back of the truck, the doors unexpectedly swung shut, trapping them inside. Chuck could barely see Sarah's outline, but he could tell that she was pissed as she turned to face him.
"I swear to God, one of these days, I am going to shoot you."
Sarah had spent about fifteen minutes trying to get the doors open – with no success – when they felt the trailer start moving. "Oh, this is not good," Chuck groaned.
Sarah looked at him, illuminated by her flashlight. "Wait a second," she said. "Do you hear anything?"
Chuck listened. "No…"
"That's really weird," Sarah said. "We should hear a diesel engine or something, shouldn't we?"
Chuck cocked his head to the side. "Yeah, we should," he replied. "That is weird."
Sarah squeezed past Chuck and headed toward the front of the trailer. "Help me get one of these boxes open, Chuck," she instructed him.
"I don't know, Sarah," Chuck replied. "The last time I helped you open a box, we got covered in fruit punch powder."
"Yeah, and this time, it could be anthrax," Sarah deadpanned. "Come on!"
Chuck sighed, and joined Sarah at the front of the truck. Taking the flashlight form her, he aimed the beam at the lock on one of the boxes while she picked it. After a moment, the lock popped out, and the door of the box swung open.
Sarah took the flashlight back and shined it inside – and her eyes went wide. "There's no way," she whispered.
"What?" Chuck asked, looking inside the box. It was filled with toys.
Chuck looked back at Sarah. "It's toys, Sarah," he said. "What's the big deal?"
Sarah looked back at him. "We're in a moving trailer that's filled with toys on Christmas Eve," she replied. "We can't hear an engine, and you keep insisting that it's bigger than it really is."
Chuck's look turned to one of disbelief. "Sarah Walker, I believe that you have lost your mind."
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas
"Hold the light STILL, Chuck!" Sarah insisted as she worked on the hatch at the front of the trailer.
"I'm trying, crazy person," Chuck grumbled, a note of humor in his voice.
"I will hurt you," Sarah growled menacingly, with no humor in her voice.
"Okay," Chuck squeaked, holding the light still.
After a moment, Sarah made a triumphant noise as the hatch opened. She swung it open to reveal a sleeping area that one would normally find in a semi truck cab.
"Come along, Chuck," she instructed, as she clambered over the bunk. Drawing the curtain aside, she revealed –
"Good evening, Agent Walker, Mr. Bartowski," Nicholas Klassen said, looking back at them over his shoulder.
Chuck's jaw dropped. "HO-LY SH-"
"Ah, ah!" Klassen, interrupted Chuck, holding up a finger. "Wouldn't want to have to mark you as naughty on Christmas Eve, now, Chuck!"
Sarah turned back toward Chuck, a look of glee on her face. "I KNEW it!" she squealed.
"Well, Sarah, that's because you never stopped believing in me," Klassen said. "Chuck, on the other hand – he decided I didn't exist back when he was about twelve."
"Whoa, whoa," Chuck said. "Are you kidding me? There's no possible way –"
"Have you taken a look at my method of transport?" Klassen asked, interrupting Chuck again.
Chuck climbed over the bunk, and he and Sarah joined Klassen in the open-air front end of the cab. "WOW," Chuck breathed.
The black trailer was hooked to the rear of the cab, but in front of the cab, stretching out about forty feet ahead of it, were nine reindeer, eight of them yoked side by side, the ninth with a glowing red light at its tip. "This is insanity," Chuck whispered. "I'm going crazy."
"Then, you might not want to look down," Klassen warned him.
And of course, Chuck immediately looked down – to see the lights of a city FAR below him. "Yikes," he gulped, sitting down on the bench seat.
Klassen smiled. "Chuck, I told you not to look down."
"Sorry," Chuck replied. "I seem to have a problem with authority figures. When people tell me to do something, I tend to disobey."
"Boy, do you ever," Sarah muttered.
Chuck shook his head. "I don't understand," he said. "How is this possible?"
Klassen grinned. "First of all, Chuck, think about my name. Nicholas Klassen? Could I have been more blatant?"
Chuck grimaced. "Yeah, I guess not," he replied. "But why does the CIA have a dossier on you?"
"Ahhh," Klassen breathed. "So YOU'RE where the Intersect ended up."
Sarah's jaw dropped, and her eyes widened. "How do you know about the Intersect?"
Klassen shrugged. "I developed the technology," he replied. "Six billion people, it's difficult to keep track of who's been naughty and nice without a supercomputer – and thus, the Intersect was born. I offered the technology to the CIA and the NSA. In exchange they would no longer harass me about freezing time every Christmas Eve."
"Oh, come on," Chuck said. "Now you're just being ridiculous."
"Oh, am I?" Klassen asked as the truck descended. "Wait thirty seconds, and then tell me that again."
As the truck got closer to the ground, Chuck could see that they were over New York. But something seemed wrong – and it took him a moment to realize that NOTHING was moving. "This is unbelievable," he whispered.
"And that's your problem, Chuck!" Klassen insisted. "You stopped believing. But Agent Walker never did. Don't ask me why a twenty-eight year old CIA operative still believes in Santa Claus, but there you have it."
Chuck turned to Sarah, whose face was bright red – albeit with a smile across it. "I knew there was a reason I liked you," he teased her.
"Oh, shut up."
On, on they send
On without end
Their joyful tone
To every home
Chuck and Sarah only stayed with Klassen long enough to cross the United States. It was just before midnight in Los Angeles when he dropped them off.
Klassen had called General Beckman – "Old friend, Dianne," he had told them, much to their astonishment – and asked her to let Casey know that Chuck and Sarah were alright. As a result, Casey's apartment was already dark when Chuck and Sarah disembarked from the reindeer-towed semi on the street in front of Casa Bartowski.
The Bartowski residence, however, was still brightly lit, and Chuck was rather surprised that he had no voicemails reminding him that he HAD to be home at midnight. It was family tradition – everybody got to open one gift at midnight.
"I should go," Sarah said as they crossed the courtyard.
"Nope!" Chuck insisted, keeping a firm grasp on her hand. "You are not getting out of this this year."
"Fine," Sarah relented, laughing and shaking her head.
"'Bout damn time!" Captain Awesome boomed as Chuck opened the door, leading Sarah in.
"Sarah!" Ellie exclaimed with delight. "Oh, I'm so glad Chuck got you to come this year."
Sarah smiled and nodded as the older woman hugged her. "He's a persuasive one, your brother," she replied.
Ellie and Devin opened gifts that they had given each other – "And here are the gifts you two got for each other," Ellie said, handing a box to Sarah and a black wrapped tube to Chuck.
Chuck and Sarah gave each other a confused look, but then realization dawned on Chuck when he saw the barely-visible N.K. embossed on the gift tag. Nicholas Klassen, he mouthed to Sarah, who smiled and nodded.
Sarah's gift was a diamond pendant, a gem so brilliant that it reflected light from every angle, set in gold. "How exactly did you afford that?" Ellie gasped.
"Why do you think he still lives with us, babe?" Devin cracked.
Chuck's gift turned out to be a poster of some sort. Confusion crossed his face as he unrolled it –
"My God," he whispered. It was a detail-perfect pencil sketch of him and Sarah. They were looking into each other's eyes, and whoever had drawn it had managed to actually make the simple lines on the paper convey more emotion than Chuck would have thought possible.
"Wow," Sarah whispered, wrapping her arms around Chuck's upper arm. "That is incredible."
Thirty minutes later, Ellie and Devin had headed to the bedroom to get ready for bed, and Chuck was walking Sarah to the door. "So," she said quietly, "do you believe in Santa Claus again?"
Chuck shook his head. "I'm not entirely convinced yet that this night was real," he replied. "For all I know, I'm going to wake up in the morning and learn that I got some spiked eggnog from Morgan or something."
Sarah laughed. "It's real, Chuck," she replied. "Trust me."
Chuck stopped in the doorway. "You ask me to do that quite a bit, you know that?"
Sarah looked up at him. "Have I failed you yet?"
Chuck slowly grinned. "Fair enough," he replied, nodding.
As he nodded, he felt his hair brush something. He looked up – "Of course Devin would put mistletoe in the doorway," he muttered.
He looked back down at Sarah, who was looking up at him with an expectant smile. "Come on, Chuck," she teased. "There are rules to Christmastime."
"Yes, there are," Chuck replied. Pulling Sarah close to himself, he leaned down and gently kissed her.
He could feel her sigh contentedly as she pressed her body against his, but he didn't let the kiss go too far, breaking it off after just a moment. Her eyes still closed, Sarah smiled and made a small noise of contentment.
"Come on," Chuck said, taking her hand. "I'll walk you the rest of the way to your car."
Ding, dong, ding dong… dong!
John Casey looked out his window as Chuck and Sarah crossed the courtyard, hand in hand. "I thought those two were never gonna call it a night," he grumbled, pulling the headphones from his head.
Crossing his darkened apartment, he picked up the phone and dialed. "This is John Casey, secure," he said a moment later.
"John," he heard from the other end. "Everything go as planned?"
"Yes, sir," Casey replied. "They got the gifts, and they did, in fact, end up sucking face under the mistletoe."
"Lose the cynicism, John," he was rebuked. "It's unbecoming."
Casey sighed. "Yes, sir," he replied.
"Was there anything else?"
"No, Mr. Klassen," Casey said. "Merry Christmas, sir."
"Happy Christmas to you, John, and have a good night."