Dear Santa,

I think I finally figured you out! After all this time, everything is clear to me, now, about how you tick! Before today, I would spend hours wondering and guessing how you're able to deal with the stress of delivering toys to every single kid on this entire planet within twelve hours. How you were able to fit billions upon billions of toys into one red bag and how only eight magical reindeer would be capable of keeping it airborne. How you're able to afford all the raw material for your elves to make toys out of! Well, now I've finally worked it out! You work with interdimensional energy and time travel don't you? When you run out of time when you're delivering presents, you use the Time Vortex to go back to the beginning of the twelve hours and continue where you left off! And that's how you're reindeer work, isn't it? They've absorbed so much energy from the vortex, they're able to fly, now! And you're bag of toys is just a fancy hypercube, isn't it? It stores all the presents you need, and you just have to fetch them when you get to the houses! Interdimensional energy also explains how you get down everyone's chimney's, too! The only thing I haven't worked out, yet, is where you got you're elves. They're either from a parallel universe of midgets or they're aliens from another galaxy with no other source of income. I'm sure I'll figure it out, sooner or later.

Anyway, on to my Christmas list. I've included a seven volume set in this year's package. I have alphabetized and created a index for your convenience. Please study it carefully, as last year I only received three items that were on my previous list. None of which were any form of nuclear or otherwise explosive weaponry. I'm sure you've gotten more organized this year, so you won't mix my order up and give me socks and underwear again.

Sincerely, Calvin

Calvin chewed on his pencil eraser and read over his letter.

"Perfect!" He grinned.

He then turned and looked down at the side of his desk, where there sat a stack of paper that was as tall as he was.

"Now, I just have to find a box big enough to mail this in," He said, jumping off his chair, and walking out of the room.

"Hey, Mom!" Calvin called, as he came down the stairs. "I'm mailing my Christmas list to Santa, now. Where do we keep our boxes?"

"There should be some empty ones down in the basement," Mom said, rolling her eyes, as she sat in her chair watching A Christmas Story.

"Thanks," Calvin grinned.

He climbed down the stairs, made a right, and went down into the basement.

Several minutes, later, he reemerged, carrying nothing in his hands.

"Mom, we don't have anything big enough. Don't we have anything as big as my Time Machine?"

Mom sighed.

"Calvin, if you can't fit your list into any boxes down there, then that means the list is too big. Make it shorter."

Calvin looked offended.

"Why, I'm outraged! Everything on that list is of vital importance to me! I can't just take stuff out!" He shouted.

"There's nothing on that list, that you can't live without?" Mom asked, glancing at Calvin.

Calvin paused.

"Well, I guess the atomic bomb can wait until next year." He considered. "I already put 'hydrogen bomb' in Volume Two..."

Mom rolled her eyes, and went back to the movie.

Calvin grumbled to himself, then started up the stairs.

Suddenly, his eyes brightened.

He raced up the stairs, and burst into his room.

Hobbes was laying on his stomach on Calvin's bed, moving a crayon across his coloring book.

"Hobbes, quick, we have to go to Socrates' place!" Calvin said, frantically, grabbing his hypercube, and absorbing the list into it.

Hobbes looked up.

"Sorry?" He asked.

"I don't have a box big enough to mail my Christmas list in. We have to go fetch one from Socrates." Calvin informed Hobbes, slipping the hypercube into his pocket.

Hobbes stared at him.

"Couldn't you just shorten the list?" He asked.

Calvin glared at him.

"No. Come on!" He growled, picking up the MTM.

"Well, why do I have to come?" Hobbes demanded.

"Because I don't want to pranked by that raving lunatic," Calvin said, glaring at Hobbes.

"Oh," Hobbes said. "Very well,"

The tiger got up from Calvin's bed, and walked over to Calvin.

"MTM, activate teleporter!" Calvin ordered.

"Oh, want now?" MTM yawned, apparently just waking up.

"We have to get to Socrates' house! I need a box to mail my Christmas list in!" Calvin announced.

MTM paused.

"Can't you just shorten the list?" He asked, finally.

Calvin glared the CD player, while Hobbes snickered.

"Just do it," He growled.

MTM sighed, electronically.

"Teleporter activated." He said.

BRZAP!!!

Blue light engulfed Calvin, Hobbes, and the MTM, and they suddenly vanished.


BRZAP!

Calvin and Hobbes reappeared in a flash of blue light in front of Socrates' door.

"Ah, excellent!" Calvin grinned. "I'll have that thing mailed off, today, if we hurry!!"

Calvin pushed the doorbell.

DING, DING, DING, DING, DING.... DING.... DONG!!!

A musical novelty doorbell ring rang out.

Calvin and Hobbes rolled their eyes.

There was a short pause, before finally, the door swung open.

Socrates stood in the doorway, grinning madly at Calvin and Hobbes. He was wearing a red Santa hat.

"Merry four days before Christmas, dudes!" He grinned. "What up?!"

Calvin and Hobbes stared at Socrates.

Socrates' grin remained unfazed.

"So, what can I do for you on this fine December day?!" He grinned, hopping out of the way, so Calvin and Hobbes could enter.

"Socrates can we borrow a box from you?" Calvin asked, stepping inside. "I need to mail my list to Santa,"

Socrates stared at Calvin.

"Can't you just make the list shorter?" He asked.

Calvin gave Socrates a dark glare.

"Righto! A big box for your greedy needs! I'll be right back!" The red tailed tiger shouted, happily, bouncing down to the basement.

Calvin glared after him.

"What's he so happy, about?" He asked, suspiciously, looking over at Hobbes.

Hobbes shrugged.

"Well, you know Socrates." He said. "He virtually goes insane every time a holiday rolls around. When he gets into the Christmas spirit, he becomes the happiest organism on the planet."

Calvin sighed, and turned back to the basement door.

Suddenly, the tiger reemerged from the basement, carrying a large cardboard box with him.

"Here we go! One box ready for mailing!" He grinned.

"That'll be perfect!" Calvin grinned, reaching for the box.

"By the way, would you mind doing a favor?" Socrates asked, innocently, as Calvin took the box.

Calvin glared at Socrates.

"Oh, now you want me to do something for you, do you?" He demanded. "Even though I have to pack my list into my box, pay ten dollars for postage and prepare for Christmas, overall?!"

"Yep!" Socrates grinned.

There was a pause.

"Fine. What do you want?" He demanded, slipping the box into his hypercube.

"Well, I was wondering if you wouldn't mind helping Andy, Vermin and I decorate my mansion for Santa Day?!" Socrates grinned.

Calvin and Hobbes stared at Socrates.

"I see," Hobbes said. "And, uh, are Andy and Sherman aware that they're going to be helping you with this?"

"Just let me give them a call real quick before I answer that!" Socrates said, holding up a hand, and rushing out of the room.

Calvin and Hobbes rolled their eyes.


"OK, so here's the plan!" Socrates said, marching back and forth in front of Calvin, Hobbes, Andy and Sherman later that day. "Elliot and his parents are out doing Christmas stuff, so I predict that they'll be back in about three or four hours!"

"You're owners do a lot of Christmas shopping?" Andy asked.

Socrates stared at him.

"No," He replied. "They did Christmas shopping last week. What makes you think they're shopping?"

Andy opened his mouth to question what they were doing, but thought better of it.

"Now then, we have to get this place decorated before they get back, just for the heck of having a time limit! Nothing says drama like a time limit!"

Everyone rolled their eyes.

"Now let's get started!" Socrates grinned, spinning around.

There was a pause.

Andy coughed into his hands.

"Uh, Socrates?" Hobbes asked.

"Yes?" Socrates grinned.

"Where are the decorations?"

There was another pause.

"That's a good question," The red tailed tiger considered.

"You mean to tell us you dragged us over here to help you decorate, and you don't even know where your decorations are?!" Sherman demanded.

"Well, I really didn't think ahead of this point," Socrates admitted. "I was too busy planning pranks,"

Everyone groaned.

"Fine, then," Calvin said, holding the MTM up. "MTM, locate the decorations."

MTM didn't reply.

Calvin, Hobbes, Socrates, Andy and Sherman stared at him.

"MTM?" Calvin asked, glaring at it. "Locate them!"

MTM didn't say anything.

"MTM!" Calvin shouted, starting to get angry. "LOCATE THEM!!"

The MTM didn't do anything.

Calvin's eyes burst open, and he began foaming at the mouth.

"MTM!!" He shouted, angrily, jumping up and down. "LOCATE THE STUPID DECORATIONS!"

MTM remained silent.

Calvin paused.

"Please?!" He hissed through gritted teeth.

"Why certainly," MTM said, cheerfully. "You're so polite."

"Just do it," Calvin growled.

"Well, ho, ho, ho to you, too," MTM sniffed.

There was a pause, then the MTM beeped, again.

"Specified items located," The CD player said.

"Good where are they?" Socrates grinned.

"Oh, I've found them, now you want me to show you where it is?" MTM demanded.

Everyone acquired dark glares, as they stared down at the MTM.

"Very well, they're in the attic," MTM replied. "Right hand corner. Can't miss it."

"Thank you," Calvin hissed. He looked up at Socrates. "Let's go get them, and get this over with,"

"Righto! Socrates grinned, cheerfully, and with that, he rushed up the stairs towards the attic.

Everyone sighed, and followed him.


Several minutes, later, Socrates' livingroom was filled with boxes of Christmas decorations.

"Oooh, I found the lights!" Socrates grinned, pushing a box forward.

"Socrates, three of these boxes are lights," Andy said, rolling his eyes.

"Yep!" The tiger grinned. "Now, who's going to go through the strands and check the bulbs?"

There was a pause.

"Say, Sherman did I just hear you volunteer?" Calvin asked, looking over at the hamster on Andy's shoulder.

"Don't you even...." Sherman growled.

"Wow! How brave of you Sherman!" Socrates grinned, kicking the first box over to Andy. "Remember to check every one! If one's a dud the whole strand doesn't work!"

Andy and Sherman exchanged glances.

Socrates opened the box, and started pulling it out.

Suddenly, he pulled out a large mass of lights, which had been smashed together into a ball as large as a basketball.

"Whoops, there's a little knot here," He said, staring at it. "I'll just let you work on this," He handed it to Andy.

Andy stared at it.

"Have fun, Sherman," Andy said, putting the hamster on the box, and running off.

Sherman glared after him.

Suddenly, Hobbes came in the front door.

"Socrates, I found your Frosty the Snowman in the garage. What do you want me to do with it?"

"Just throw it out into the yard until we can get to it!" Socrates called back. "Did you find my miniature Santa sleigh with the reindeer?"

"Not yet," Hobbes said. "I'm still only three feet into the garage. You really need to clean that place out, Socrates. I found a 5-year old bag of Cheetos that's evolving into an intelligent life form in there."

"That's nice," Socrates said, waving him off, and turning to Calvin.

Hobbes shivered, and went back outside.

"Hey, Cally! How goes progress?" Socrates asked, cheerfully.

Calvin was currently going through a box of New Year's decorations.

"Remind me again why I'm going through all this, now of all times?" He demanded.

"Well, what do you expect?" Socrates demanded. "I throw all my Christmas stuff out on the 26th, and start preparing for New Years! We have to get all the decorations out, early!"

"Well, it's better then leaving your Christmas decorations up until March, like most people do," Andy said, who was currently sitting on Socrates' couch listening to his Ipod.

"You bethchya!" Socrates grinned. "I leave my New Year's decorations up until March!"

Calvin, Andy and Sherman rolled their eyes.

"By the way, where's MTM?" Socrates asked, looking around. "Haven't seen him for a few minutes,"

"I think he's helping Hobbes out in the garage," Sherman grumbled, who had, by some miracle, gotten the knot out of the lights, and was currently checking the strands.


"Gordon Bennet, I've never seen so much junk crammed into one tiny garage before in my life," MTM groaned, and he and Hobbes stood outside the garage.

"I know, I just found the Frosty by mistake, when it fell out the door when I opened it." Hobbes said.

"Well, the sooner we get that decoration with Father Christmas, the sooner we can get out of here, so what do you suggest we do?" MTM asked.

"Well, how about you scan the garage, and after we find it, we can plot out some kind of course to it, and get it," Hobbes said, staring at the wall of junk that stood before him.

"Processing," MTM said.

Hobbes held the red and chrome CD player up to the garage.

A green light shot out of the tip of it, and scanned the garage up and down.

Suddenly, the light vanished, and the MTM began humming.

"Processing." He said.

There was a pause.

"Processing. Done. Alright I found it. Now shifting through every possible course of getting it."

The MTM began humming faster.

"Done." He said, finally. "There are several possible ways of getting to it."

"Really?" Hobbes asked, enthusiastically. "Let's hear them."

"One - use my lasers to blow the garage up, and pick up whatever might be left of it," MTM said.

Hobbes blinked.

"Two - fight your way through the several potentially life threatening items, to which you would never expect to find inside a garage in the first place, and try to pull it out without getting lost."

Hobbes rolled his eyes.

"Three - Give up. Go back into the house, and try to get someone else to come get it." MTM said, finally.

Hobbes sighed.

"Come on, that's all you could come up with?"

Before MTM could answer, Hobbes said, "Fine let's just try and dig our way to it. Can you point me in the direction of it?"

"Sure, but I would have to have a complete fix on its location every second of the time we're in there, as well as our way out." MTM said.

"You can do that, right?" Hobbes asked.

"Sure, but I'll have to turn off the heat shield around you. You're gonna get a little cold." MTM said.

Hobbes shrugged.

"Whatever will get us out of here, quicker," He said.

"Very well," The MTM beeped, and suddenly, a red dome flashed around Hobbes, and disappeared. Hobbes immediately felt the difference as the cold hit him.

Teeth chattering, the tiger made his way up to the garage.

"Okay, begin heading left, first off, otherwise, you'll run into a chainsaw that's been there for seven years."

Hobbes nodded, and began moving stuff out of his way, as he climbed inside the garage.


Meanwhile, Andy was walking down the hallways of the mansion. He had several Christmas reefs on his arms, and he was hanging them up on all the doors he past, at Socrates' request.

He walked over to the balcony of the stairs and looked down.

Socrates was dragging another box into the living room, still grinning like a lunatic, while Calvin and Sherman continued to check the bulbs on the light strand.

"How's it going down there?" Andy called.

"Never better! You?" Socrates grinned.

Andy rolled his eyes.

"I'm talking about getting this place decorated. Did you find everything, yet?" He asked.

"Yes!" Socrates paused. "Wait.... no... But I think I've almost got it!"

Calvin, Andy and Sherman rolled their eyes.

"Alright, we're done," Sherman said, pitching the light strand away.

Socrates looked up.

"Really? You got them all checked?! HOT DOG!!" The tiger leaped over to the box.

"Socrates, you're starting to get a little creepy, now," Sherman said.

"Yeah, that's what I'm aiming for," Socrates nodded. "Now, if we got all the lights checked, all that's left to do is put them up!"

"Where do we put these?" Calvin asked.

"The roof." Socrates replied. "I'll go get the staple gun!"

And with that, Socrates rushed off, as Calvin, Andy and Sherman rolled their eyes.


"Okay, now move that box of CDs out of your way, and you'll come to what I guess would be an empty bookcase," MTM said.

Hobbes sat shivering in the middle of the giant pile of junk, still trying to locate the Santa sleigh.

"This is insane," He moaned.

"No, what Socrates expects us to do next is insane. This is actually quite reasonable," MTM replied.

Hobbes stared at him.

"Why? What does he want us to do next?"

"I can't tell you," MTM said, casually.

"Why?" Hobbes asked, starting to get scared. "Does he want us to bring his pet piranhas downstairs to the livingroom?"

"No. I can't tell you because it would screw up the time stream, and cause the universe to implode. I'm a time machine, remember?" MTM replied.

Hobbes paused.

"Oh... you looked ahead into the future..." He said, unsurely.

"Right."

There was a moment of silence.

"Well, back at it," MTM said, casually. "Go ahead and move that box."

Hobbes groaned.

"There has got to be an easier way to do this...." He sighed.

"Sure there is," MTM said. "I could teleport it out into the driveway for you,"

Silence filled the land. The only sound that could be heard was the howling of the wind, outside.

Finally, after several long moments, Hobbes spoke.

"And you didn't tell me this.... why?!?"

"Well, if you remember, correctly, I said there were several ways of getting to that decoration." MTM said. "You only let me list three, before deciding on option two: to climb through all the junk to get to it."

Hobbes groaned.

"You mean all this was for nothing?!" He shouted.

"Not really," MTM said. "You've gotten about another three or four feet closer to it. Make it a bit easier for me to teleport it."

Hobbes developed a strong urge to just leave the MTM there in the pile of junk, and return to the house without the decoration. Not wanting to deal with Calvin yelling at him to come back out and get it, he stayed.

"Alright then, can you teleport it out for me, please??" Hobbes growled through gritted teeth.

"Gladly. Let's just get out of here, first, and I can get it over here," MTM said.

BRZAP!

There was a flash of blue light, and Hobbes and MTM converted to particles, where they instantly reappeared outside of the garage.

There was another pause where Hobbes and the MTM stood outside, waiting.

Then, the MTM started humming, again.

BRZAP!!!

There was an explosion of blue light, and suddenly, the Santa Claus decoration appeared in front of them. It was your basic Santa decoration with the jolly old fellow sitting in his sleigh with all the reindeer connected to the sleigh by strings. But something was a bit off....

There was another pause as Hobbes and the MTM stared at it.

It was perhaps the ugliest plastic Christmas decoration either one of them had ever seen. Three of the reindeer were missing, and the other five were missing legs and eyes. Whatever paint that wasn't chipping off was faded and white, and Santa was missing his hat, his nose and several teeth. Oh, yes, there was also some kind of life growing on the sleigh. How it managed to survive the winter, so far, I have no clue.

Finally, MTM spoke.

"Okay, I'm going to go on a limb here, and guess this thing is seventy or eighty years old." He said.

Hobbes sighed.

"Well, Socrates wants it in the front yard, so we might as well do that."

"Don't expect me to touch it." MTM said.

"Well, I'm not going to pick it up," Hobbes said. "The sleigh looks like its growing some kind of arm."

Hobbes and MTM continued staring at the decoration, trying to figure out what to do with it.


Andy walked through the snow with Sherman on his shoulder. On one arm he carried a ladder, on the other, he carried the Christmas lights.

The boy leaned the ladder against the mansion's wall.

"Alright Shermie, do you have that invention ready?" He asked, looking at the hamster.

"Yep," Sherman said, pulling a small remote out of his pocket. "Throw the lights up."

Andy bent down, and tossed the light strand straight upwards, where it landed on the roof.

Sherman pushed a button on the remote.

"OK, if I got all the nanotechnology installed, right, the lights should put themselves up," The hamster said, looking up.

Andy squinted in the sunlight.

FWOOM!!!!

Suddenly, the light strand flung out like a whip, and locked down onto the roof.

Andy grinned. "Good job, Shermie!" He said, cheerfully. "Let's go get another strand."

The boy and hamster then turned and left to get another strand of lights out of the house.

As they entered, they found Calvin and Socrates trying to put up garlands up around the house.

Unsuccessfully in case your wondering.

"Hey, Socrates we came for another thing of lights," Andy said, casually. "Where are the rest?"

Socrates, who had garlands wrapped all the way around himself, turned and faced Andy.

Surprising, he was still grinning.

"You got that first one, done fast!" He said.

"Yeah, Sherman helped me out," Andy shrugged.

"Oh. Well the others in the corner." He grinned, turning back around.

Andy nodded.

"Thanks," He said, turning around, and walking out.

On his way, he passed Calvin. He was not grinning... He was carrying garlands over to Socrates, and he had a dark glare on his face.

"Get me out of here...." He hissed to Andy as he past.

Andy and Sherman rolled their eyes, and went over to get the other lights.


Meanwhile, Hobbes and the MTM had worked out the deal that in order to keep from touching the decoration, they would just teleport it over to wherever Socrates wanted it.

They had just finished up with that, and they were going in to check in on Socrates.

"Yes, I'm aware of what the decoration looks like. What's wrong with it?" Socrates asked, his brow furrowing.

"Well, for one," MTM started. "You wouldn't be able to sell it if you paid the customer to take it."

"Well, that's preposterous! That decoration's been in the family for years!" Socrates announced.

"I can tell." Hobbes sighed. "It looks like it was the first thing your ancestor bought when he crawled out of the ocean."

Socrates waved him off, and turned back around to hanging the garlands.

Just then, Andy and Sherman came back into the house.

"Okay, we got all the lights up," Andy said. "Didn't you say you wanted to put a Frosty the Snowman up there, too?"

"Yep!" Socrates grinned, spinning around. "Nothing says Christmas with the Kranks like a big, white, grinning plastic thing on the roof!"

Everyone rolled their eyes.

By this time, darkness had fallen. The only source of light, now, was Socrates' porch light, and the moon shining down at them from the starry sky. The moon, luckily, was bright enough that night for them to see what they were doing.

Calvin, Hobbes, Socrates, Andy, Sherman and the MTM stood out in the snow, staring at the Frosty decoration sitting in the middle of the yard.

Snow was lightly falling on top of them, as the silently contemplated how they were going to get it onto the roof.

"Say, MTM," Calvin said, suddenly, snapping his fingers. "Is there any chances of you teleporting us and the decoration to the roof?"

"Nope," MTM replied.

"Why?" Socrates asked.

"I've used my teleportation feature too much since my last recharge." MTM explained. "I'm currently running on solar power, which only runs the minimum amount of my features."

There was a pause.

"Well, what's that?" Hobbes asked.

"My voice chip, my personality chip, my artificial intelligence software, and my Wi-fi satellite internet." MTM replied.

Everyone rolled their eyes.

"OK, let's see if we can drag this thing onto the roof," Andy sighed, handing Sherman to Calvin and walking over to the snowman.

With Socrates' help, the boy heaved the decoration up, and the two started towards the mansion.

Calvin and Hobbes rushed ahead, and held the ladder, as Socrates and Andy approached.

Very slowly, Socrates and Andy started up the ladder, the snowman first.

"What are you going to do once you get up there?" Calvin called.

"I have some rope. I'll tie it to the chimney!" Socrates grinned.

Everyone rolled their eyes.

Several minutes past as Socrates and Andy crawled upwards towards roof.

A man with a moustache next door looked out his window towards the mansion.

He saw a boy carrying a stuffed tiger, a hamster, and a portable CD player holding a ladder while another boy holding a stuffed tiger climbed up it pushing a Frosty the Snowman up with him.

He stared at them for a second.

"Mmm-hmmmm," He said, closing the curtains.


Finally, Andy and Socrates managed to get all the way up without falling off, and while Andy tried to rest, Socrates went right to work.

He grabbed the Frosty decoration, and heaved it forward, stepping over lights as he went.

Finally, he made it to the chimney.

He reached into his pocket, and pulled out a long rope.

Calvin, Hobbes, Andy and Sherman watched in disbelief, as Socrates pushed the Frosty against the side of the brick chimney, and threw the nylon rope over it.

"Socrates, are you sure that's how your supposed to do it?" Andy asked.

"Of course, I'm sure," Socrates tying a knot at the end of the rope, once it was all wrapped around it. "I've been doing it this way for years!"

Everyone rolled their eyes.

Socrates stood up, and admired his work.

"Well, that's done then!" He grinned. "Now let's get down and plug it all in!"

Socrates turned around, and started to climb back down.

Suddenly, he tripped over one of the light strands.

"WHOA!!" He yelled, stumbling forward.

Calvin, Hobbes, Andy, Sherman and the MTM stared as Socrates collapsed forward, and started falling down the roof.

Desperate, Socrates grabbed onto another strand of lights, which flew upward with him as he came to the gutter.

TWANG!!!

There was a moment of silence.

Socrates hung five feet from the ground, wrapped up in Christmas lights.

Calvin grinned.

"Shall I go plug it in?" He asked, turning to Hobbes.

Hobbes glared at him.


After everything was sorted back out, Calvin, Hobbes and the gang all stood in front of the mansion.

Socrates was holding a two extension cords.

"Well, guys, it's been a long day!" He grinned.

Hobbes stared at him.

"Socrates, we've been doing this for two and half hours." He said.

"Yep! And what a two and a half hours it's been!" Socrates grinned.

Everyone sighed, heavily.

"And now, if I can get a drum roll, please, we shall see what ol' Saint Nick will get to see when he passes by this place!"

"Right. MTM?" Calvin requested.

"Sure," MTM said.

There was a pause, and then, suddenly, a sound started coming out.

Thump, thump, thump, thump.... Thump, thump, thump, thump.... Thump, thump, thump, thump.... Thump, thump, thump, thump....

Socrates stared at the MTM.

"A drumroll, MTM, not a drumbeat." He said, his brow furrowing.

"Sorry. Wrong file," MTM said.

There was another pause.

Then, another sound came out of the MTM. This time, it was the correct sound.

Socrates turned, and held the two extension cords up. Then, melodramatically, he slammed them both together.

BZZZT!!

A spark of electricity flew from one lightbulb on the house, but other than that.... nothing.

Socrates paused.

He stared down at the electrical cords in his hands.

He held up a finger, and flicked it against it.

Whack!

FWOOOM!!!

Calvin and Hobbes rolled their eyes.

Suddenly, the house came alive, lighting up the night with an array of different colors.

"HA HA!!" Socrates screamed, excitedly, jumping up and down in the snow.

"It looks really good, Socrates," Andy said, patting Socrates on the back.

"Really good?" Socrates exclaimed. "It looks fantastic! It looks phenomenal! It looks..."

"Good enough for us to leave," Calvin said.

"My words exactly!" Socrates grinned, madly.

"Well, alright, then, Socrates, I guess we can leave you to your own devices," Sherman said, crossing his arms.

"What?" Socrates asked, stunned, spinning around. "You think I'd let you go home without doing something to thank you for all your hard work?"

Calvin, Hobbes, Andy and Sherman exchanged glances.

Usually, when Socrates wanted to thank you for something, he gave you a certificate entitling you to three or four hours totally free of pranks.

"Uh.... No thanks, Socrates....." Calvin began. "We have to..."

"Nonsense!" Socrates declared, holding a hand up to stop Calvin. "I won't let you leave until I do something kind and loving for you! Who's up for some Hot Chocolate and marshmallows in front of some random Christmas special on my High-def TV?!"

Calvin's eyes popped open.

"Oooh! I am!" He grinned, his hand going to sky.

"Wow, thanks, Socrates," Hobbes said, smiling.

"Sure," MTM yawned.

"Be glad to," Andy smiled.

"Whatever," Sherman grumbled.

"Great! Come on!" And with that, Socrates hopped into the mansion.

Calvin grinned, and followed.

"You know something, guys," He said, walking up to the front porch.

"What?" Hobbes asked.

"For a medically insane lunatic, Socrates' isn't a bad guy," Calvin grinned.

Hobbes, Andy and Sherman nodded in agreement.

Calvin walked up to the door, and prepared to enter.

TWANG!!!

"AAAAAAUGH!!!"

Hobbes, Andy and Sherman stared as a rope suddenly tightened around Calvin's ankle, and pulled him straight upward.

Socrates stuck his head out the door. Calvin was now hanging upside down, glaring at the tiger.

"Hey guys, just wanted to let you know you should watch your step!" He shouted, cheerfully. "I might have forgotten to unhook some booby traps!"

And with that, he ran back inside.

There was a pause.

"Shall I cut you down, Calvin?" Hobbes asked, looking up at the boy.

Calvin glared, icily, at him.

"Oh. Well tidings of comfort and joy to you, too." The tiger said.

He extended a claw, and cut Calvin down.

THUMP!!

"OUCH!!"

Andy grinned.

"Good old Socrates," He sighed. "With him, there's never a dull moment,"

The End