A YULETIDE TALE
A "Dr. Strangelove" Fanfiction By The Mouse Avenger
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is a short fanfic written for the "Dr. Strangelove" fandom, featuring Buck Turgidson & Miss Scott (along with a few of our other favorite characters) in a heartwarming Christmas story that was partially inspired by O. Henry's "The Gift Of The Magi" (but given my own personal plot twists for originality). I sincerely hope you enjoy the story.
And, now, for a brief copyright-&-disclaimer...
Buck Turgidson, Miss Scott, President Muffley, Dr. Strangelove, & all other characters, elements, & properties of "Dr. Strangelove" © Stanley Kubrick & Columbia Pictures. I only claim ownership to the story itself, & all original characters contained therein (as well as my first name for Miss Scott).
When you're finished reading the story, feel free to leave a review. I'll take anything from simple comments to constructive criticism, as long as they're not flames or written a mean, rude, or overly-harsh manner.
And now that my copyright-&-disclaimer is finished, let the fanfiction begin! Happy reading (& happy holidays)!
The streets of Washington, D.C., were alive with activity. It was less than two weeks before Christmas, & hordes of men, women, & children were parading down the sidewalks, mostly to travel to various shops & stores that were located around the city. The kids were out of school, & many of their parents were also given time off for the holidays...but not everyone in Washington, D.C., was out of work just yet...
In her personal office at the suburb home of Air Force General Buckley "Buck" Turgidson, Miss Elaine Scott—the general's secretary—was typing up a few memos from various people (mainly politicians, government agents, & military officers). Once she was done with that, she would go back to answering phone calls, taking messages from Buck's relatives or friends, typing up more memos, & doing small favors for Buck (like bringing him coffee or anything else that he might need). Though her work could tend to be monotonous (& even a bit boring on some days), Miss Scott nonetheless enjoyed working for Buck, & would do anything for the man she had grown to love in the course of the last few years.
In 1947, when Miss Scott moved to Washington, D.C., from Alexandria, Virginia, she was assigned to work as a secretary for Buck Turgidson, who had recently been put in charge of the newly-formed Air Force branch of the United States military. As time passed, the bond between Buck & Miss Scott went from being professional to friendly, & finally ended up becoming a romantic relationship. For the last couple of years, Miss Scott had not only been working at Buck's house, but also living with him. Although her relatives back in Virginia (& Buck's relatives, as well) were concerned about the prospect of any "improper behavior" taking place between the couple, Buck & Miss Scott were always quick to assure that they wouldn't get any closer than they already were until they were married. And at the rate the relationship was progressing, Miss Scott had a feeling that wedding bells would, indeed, be ringing soon.
For now, though, the only bells that were ringing were silver bells & jingle bells...& as her mind temporarily switched to thoughts of Christmas, Miss Scott remembered that she needed to go shopping for a present for Buck. Although Buck said that he "didn't want anything special", Miss Scott believed that her boyfriend deserved something a little special for the holidays. But just what to give him? she thought. There are so many things that a guy could want for Christmas...& only a few things that would really make special gifts...Then, Miss Scott perked up when she got an idea for the perfect present for Buck. "I know!" she exclaimed. "I'll get him a Cozy blanket to keep him all nice & warm whenever he gets chilly! Buck would really love that for a Christmas present!"
With that, Miss Scott pulled open one of the drawers of her desk, reached inside, & took out a copy of the latest Sears catalog. She flipped through the pages, scrutinizing each item upon them, until she finally got to the page that advertised the Cozy blanket. Just as Miss Scott was about to call Sears & make the order, however, the door suddenly burst open, & Buck Turgidson came rushing into the office, suddenly surprising his secretary. "Buck!" she blurted out, dropping the phone to the surface of her desk. "What brings you here all of a sudden?"
"Well, I live here," Buck replied with a playful grin on his face. "And, besides, I'd like to get a chance to see my sweetheart! Haven't seen her all morning..." Miss Scott couldn't help but giggle as Buck picked her up in his arms, & gave her a big bear hug (along with a kiss on the cheek). When he parted from the embrace, Buck told his live-in lady-friend, "So, Elaine, it's almost Christmas, & I'm sure you could use some time off for the holidays...& unless we have some kind of military emergency, I don't think I'll be needing any secretarial work done, so...would a couple of weeks suffice?"
Miss Scott was surprised—though also delighted—to hear this. "Why, Buck," she said, "that's very nice of you to offer me that! Thank you!"
"Don't mention it, honey," Buck replied with a wink. "In these hectic times, I think everybody could use a break every now & then, especially on Christmas!"
"President Muffley appears to think so, too," Miss Scott commented. "He called earlier, & said that all military officials were on holiday leave."
"Guess that means I'll be seeing Stainsy & the guys outside of government buildings more often!" Buck said. "Aside from the big Christmas party at the White House, that is."
"Don't forget the New Year's party, too...but, oh, the Christmas party will be lovely!" Miss Scott remarked with a dreamy look on her face. "I hear that some of First Lady Rachel's famous Yuletide recipes will be on the menu...little Edgar will be playing the title role in a junior production of The Nutcracker...&—get this—the Muffleys hired the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra & the Vienna Boys' Choir to provide music for the partygoers!"
"Oh, Dr. Strangelove is gonna go ga-ga for that!" Buck said when he heard the last part of that sentence...&, then, a wave of nostalgia hit him. "Remember last year's Christmas party? The Muffleys hired the Berlin Philharmonic for that one, too."
"Yes, I remember," Miss Scott replied, nodding her head in agreement. "When the orchestra played 'Silent Night', Dr. Strangelove got so choked up with emotion...& he started bawling like a baby when they played 'O, Christmas Tree'. He couldn't stop crying for almost an hour after that!"
"Yeah, & when he ran out of tissues, he had to ask President Muffley for extra ones," Buck said with a chuckle, unable to stop himself from smiling a little at the memory. "I don't know what it is about holiday music that gets Strangelove all worked up, but I'll tell you one thing—he sure knows how to get into the Christmas spirit!"
"You may be right, Buck," Miss Scott said. "Although...I think it has more to do with the fact that some of those carols are originally from Germany, his native country."
"Oh, you're right!" Buck exclaimed when he realized this. "And now that I think about it, that also explains why he always gets so teary-eyed whenever he hears Beethoven, or Bach, or one of those other guys...
"Whenever I was around the doctor," Buck continued, "& I saw him reacting like that to German music, I always wondered why it affected him so much. But, now, I'm sure it has to do with the fact that he probably feels homesick when he hears the music. He misses the life he lived back in Berlin, & he misses his family & friends...He hasn't contacted them since he came to America, you know. He was so worried about what might happen if he did, what with all those Nazi-hunters & Third Reich fugitives out there..."
"Well, I visited Dr. Strangelove the other day," said Miss Scott, "& he tells me that he's no longer in hiding, so he can contact his loved ones at any time he wishes! You should have seen the look on his face when he told me how much he was looking forward to calling & writing to his old friends & acquaintances over the holidays...& he just sent a letter to his parents. The doctor says he should expect a reply from them in a day or two."
"And that's a good thing," Buck said, "especially when you think about the stuff that's been going on in Germany lately. Things are really starting to get tense over there..."
"Well, don't worry," Miss Scott said with an optimistic look on her face. "I'm sure that Strangelove's loved ones will be all right."
"I certainly hope so," Buck remarked...& for the next few moments, neither he nor Miss Scott said a word to one another. Then, Buck broke the silence when he asked his secretary, "So, what do you plan to do on your first day—er, afternoon—off, Elaine?"
"Oh, I'll probably take care of some extra Christmas shopping," replied Miss Scott. "I've already bought presents for my parents, sister, brother-in-law, nieces, & nephews, though I may want to get something for my grandparents, too. And I have a present for you...but it's a surprise, so you'll have to wait until Christmas Day to find out what it is."
"Awww, come on, Elaine," Buck complained, "don't keep me in suspense like that!"
"Sorry, Buck," Miss Scott said with a teasing smirk, "but Santa absolutely insists that I keep mum about it until December 25th."
When his lady-friend wouldn't satisfy his curiosity, Buck was about to argue with Miss Scott...but something about her comment piqued his interest. "Wait," he asked, "you still believe in Santa Claus?"
"Between you & me..."—Miss Scott leaned in closer to her boyfriend to whisper the answer in his ear—"...yes."
Well, if Elaine still believes in Santa Claus, Buck thought to himself later that evening, who does she think delivers the presents to the houses that don't have chimneys? Primarily mine!
Buck couldn't help but shiver a little—gosh, how he hated cold rooms!—as he sat at the table where he & his comrades were playing poker. Generals Sam Stains & Frank Faceman, along with Marine Admiral John Cooper & a man named Carl (one of Buck's closest neighbors & civilian friends), were with the Joint Chiefs chairman at Bailey's Tavern, where they had decided to gather for a "boys' night out" to celebrate the start of their holiday leave. As the men indulged in their game, they shared conversations over a few drinks; while they took care not to have an excess amount of alcohol, they weren't quite as frugal with the amount of money they used to make bets...especially Buck. He had just bet a total of $50...& he used the same dollar bills that Miss Scott had set aside for her last-minute Christmas shopping, for all the money that he once had in his pockets had been used to buy a present for his dear girlfriend—a lovely amethyst necklace to go with her favorite purple outfit. Hopefully, however, Buck wouldn't lose the money to one of his fellow players, & he could bring it all home with him before Miss Scott came back from her errands...
The men had started with a minimum bet of $5, & after Buck had dealt out 5 cards to each player, everyone looked at their hands; when all the players had traded out their cards to try & get a better hand, & everybody anted up, & General Faceman started the game. Upon looking at his hand, Faceman (who had hoped for a flush, but still had 3 hearts & 2 non-matching cards) decided to fold, but Carl (who had 2 pairs of matching cards) played his hand, raising the bet by $5. Admiral Cooper (who had 3 of a kind) also played his hand, matching the bet, & General Stains did the same (but raised the bet to $10). On & on the game went, with every man (except for Faceman) betting & raising, until it finally came down to Buck & General Stains. Buck, who had a hand containing 3 9's, traded his 2 non-matching cards to try for 4 of a kind, which he ended up getting...much to his delight. Though he did his best to keep his "poker face" on, Buck snickered mischievously to himself on the inside, as he took a quick peek at Stains. Ho-ho-ho, he thought arrogantly, Stainsy is in for it! He doesn't have a chance of winning! I'm gonna kick his keister for sure!
When no one else offered to raise, Buck formed a smug smirk on his face as he called the bet, & everyone showed their cards. Much to Buck's great dismay, his 4 of a kind was trumped by Stains' royal flush. All 10's!
"Well, that's it," Stains said triumphantly. "I win the game!"
Buck could barely hide the look of shock on his face, as he watched Stains take all the money in the pot. He couldn't even bring himself to congratulate his fellow military man on winning, for he was so consumed with dejection & disappointment at his own failure. Not only had he lost the game, buthe'd also lost Miss Scott's Christmas money!
Oh, man, Buck lamented to himself, Elaine is gonna give me one heck of a tongue-lashing when I tell her what happened...
Later that evening, after Buck had bid his friends "farewell", he took a taxi home, & proceeded to make his way inside his house, where Miss Scott was setting up decorations on the Christmas tree in the living room. Buck gulped nervously, as he quietly approached his secretary / lady-friend, hoping that she would take it well when he broke the news to her...
"Oh, Buck," Miss Scott cried joyfully as she turned around to face the Air Force general, "there you are! And just in time to help me decorate the Christmas tree!"
"Uh, sure," Buck replied, managing a weak smile as he bent over to pick up some ornaments out of a small box, & started hanging them on the tree. At one point, he asked Miss Scott, "Say, honey, did the mailman bring anything today?"
"No," replied Miss Scott. Now, Buck was starting to feel a little worried. What had become of the necklace he had bought for his girlfriend? Should he call the post office, & find out what happened? Before Buck could make a decision, Miss Scott popped the question he had been dreading all evening: "Buck, you know that money I had saved up for your Christmas present? I left it out on the coffee table, &, now, I can't find it anywhere! Do you know what happened to it?"
Buck hemmed & hawed for several seconds, wondering just how he was going to tell his story to Miss Scott. Finally, he confessed that he had lost the shopping money to General Stains in a poker game, &—as he expected—Miss Scott did not take it very well. In fact, the first thing she did was go up to him, & tug on his ear in reprimand, making him wince with pain. "Buckley George Harmon Turgidson," she exclaimed angrily, "I can't believe you would do something so...so stupid! Now, I won't have any money to buy your Christmas present!"
"Gosh, Elaine," Buck said remorsefully, "I'm so sorry...I had no idea that Stainsy was gonna win—I-I-I mean, I shouldn't have done something so reckless! If there's any way I can make this up to you..."
"There isn't!" Miss Scott interrupted, now looking very upset—& on the verge of tears. "Just go...go on upstairs, & don't talk to me for the rest of the night."
Buck sighed in resignation, then slowly began trudging up the stairs to his room. As he was preparing to shut the door closed, he could hear the sound of Miss Scott sobbing; said sound tugged at Buck's heartstrings, twinging his soul with a deep, gnawing feeling of guilt & shame. Well, maybe, Elaine will feel better when she gets her Christmas present, thought Buck. Oh, that reminds me! I gotta call the post office, & find out what happened to her gift!
With that, Buck picked up the telephone on his nightstand, & dialed the number of the local post office. After putting the phone to his ear, Buck waited for a response from the other line, & when a postal worker finally answered, Buck said, "Hello? Is this the Washington, D.C., post office?" Chatter from the other line. "Yes, this is General Buck Turgidson. I'm calling about an expensive package I ordered from London a week ago. By any chance, have you received it lately?" More chatter from the other line. "WHAT? What do you mean it got lost in the mail?...Aww, dad-gum it! Well, never mind...I'll just reorder it, or get a refund, or something...Thank you for your time. Goodbye."
After hanging up on the postal worker, Buck rooted around in his nightstand drawer, & pulled out a small piece of paper, on which he had written the telephone number of the London jewelry store that he'd ordered Miss Scott's necklace from. He dialed said number, & after putting the phone to his ear, he waited for a response; lo & behold, he got one! "Good day," spoke a deep-voiced British male on the other line. "This is Harrod's Department Store. How may I be of service to you?"
"Hello, this is General Buck Turgidson. I'm the one who ordered that amethyst necklace a week ago."
"Ah, yes, of course..." A soft clearing of the throat. "Have you received your package yet?"
"No, I'm afraid not. It got lost in the mail."
"Oh, I'm most dreadfully sorry about that, sir!"
"Thanks...Err, by any chance, could I have a refund?"
"I sincerely apologize, sir, but we don't give refunds..." The store employee's announcement was met with a harsh reply from Buck, who then proceeded to let off an angry stream of profane words unsuitable for printing. In his frustration, Buck threw down the phone, & after letting off as much steam as he could, he finally flopped down on his bed, casting his arms to either side of him, as he raised a martyred glance to the ceiling. As if things couldn't get any worse! he thought to himself bitterly. Man, this has just been my day, hasn't it? Let's just hope tomorrow yields better results, or Elaine & I are both gonna have a cruddy Christmas!
The next morning was no better, & neither Buck nor Miss Scott said a word to one another, aside from a curt "good morning" & a wistful reply. As they sat down to a hearty breakfast, they ate their meal in silence, only pausing occasionally to glance at each other—Miss Scott with her bitter glare, Buck with his apologetic frown. Then, later, after the couple had put away their empty dishes, Miss Scott told Buck that she was going to pay another visit to Dr. Strangelove, & Buck replied that he was going to pay a visit of his own...to the First Family up at the White House. With that, the general & his secretary both departed for their respective destinations.
Elsewhere, in the kitchen / dining room of his house, Dr. Strangelove was preparing himself a nice pot of herbal tea, when his ears perked up to the sound of knocking on his front door. He abruptly maneuvered his wheelchair into the living room, then moved to open the aforementioned front door...where he saw Miss Scott all dressed up in a nice winter outfit, clutching a matching leopard-print purse to match her faux-fur overcoat. "Ah, guten tag, Fraulein Scott!" Dr. Strangelove greeted cheerfully, going over to give the secretary a friendly hug & a pat on the back. "It's a pleasure to see you again! Come in, come in..."
Miss Scott followed Dr. Strangelove into the kitchen, & sat down at the dining table, where Strangelove served her a cup of tea; then, after taking a cup for himself, he moved his wheelchair to the table, & sat across from Miss Scott. "So," he asked her, "how has your holiday season been?"
"Oh," Miss Scott said wistfully, "pretty fine, for the most part..."—she let out a deep sigh—"...but, lately, I've been having a problem."
"Ohhh, poor dear," Dr. Strangelove moaned sympathetically, as he stirred his tea with a small spoon. "Care to tell me all about it?"
"Well, it's like this," Miss Scott replied. "Last night, Buck & some of his friends were playing a poker game, &...well, Buck made a dumb mistake, & used my cash for last-minute Christmas shopping as betting money. Unfortunately for both of us, he ended up losing the game—& my cash—& I don't know what I'm going to do to get extra money for shopping! I don't have any money left in my savings account, so I can't go to the bank...And I could ask my parents for extra money, but I don't think that would be a very polite thing to do..."
"Have you considered selling something to get extra cash?" asked Dr. Strangelove. "That may help."
"Hmmm..." Miss Scott muttered thoughtfully, scratching her chin in a pensive manner. "Well, I do have a very nice pair of amethyst earrings, along with a matching bracelet, that I like to wear with my favorite dress...They were store-bought, so I could always get myself another bracelet & set of earrings like those."
"That's the spirit!" said Dr. Strangelove. "Why don't you put them up for auction at Sotheby's, or something?"
"Oh, what a wonderful idea, Doctor!" Miss Scott said joyfully, as she got up & went over to give Strangelove a big hug. "I'll dash back to my house, get my jewelry, & go to Sotheby's right now, as a matter of fact!" After giving Strangelove a quick kiss on the cheek, Miss Scott scurried off to do just as she planned, gleefully thanking the gut doktor for his help all the while.
Meanwhile, as Miss Scott was visiting with Dr. Strangelove, Buck had gone to pay that visit to the Muffley family, who were usually the first people he turned to for help when he wasn't seeking it from Miss Scott, his neighbors, or his relatives. Much like his lady-friend, Buck was eager to tell his gracious hosts about his current dilemma, & when he was finished relating his tale, he asked President Muffley with a pleading expression, "Do you have any helpful suggestions that might provide a solution to my problem?"
"Well, have you considered selling one or two of your nicest possessions?" President Muffley asked Buck. "That might be a good idea."
"Yeah, you're right," Buck said, nodding his head in agreement. "You know, I have some collector's books about military history at my house. Maybe, I should put them up for auction at Sotheby's."
"That sounds like a splendid idea!" said First Lady Rachel with a pleasant expression on her face. "I say you should go for it, General Turgidson!"
"All right," said Buck, as he got up out of the chair he had been sitting in, & went off to make his exit. "It's settled, then! I'll run on home to pick up my books, & dash off to Sotheby's right afterward! Wish me luck...'cause Elaine & I are definitely gonna need it!"
"Lot 114, ladies & gentlemen: a jewelry box crafted of pure jade, with legs of authentic gold, diamond-studded lid rims, & satin padding. Showing here, with a starting price of $250 dollars..."
The Sotheby's auction house was jam-packed today, with Christmas shoppers congregating around every booth. At the booth for jewelry auctions, Miss Scott stood at the front of the large crowd that was gathered in front of the stage, where the auctioneer showed off the latest item for sale. Then, the bidding began, & the auctioneer called out, "Shall we start at $300? $300, thank you...Do I hear $350? $400? Very well, then, $400...And $450? No? All right, selling for $400...Going once, going twice, sold!" The jade jewelry box was given to the person who had won it, & the next item was put up for auction.
"Lot 115, folks: a pair of pure amethyst earrings, along with a matching bracelet crafted of the same material, all gently glazed with a layer of fine polish. Showing here, with a starting price of $50..."
Almost immediately, the bidding began, & the auctioneer barked, "Shall we start at $50? $60? $60, then...Do I hear $70? No? All right...Going once, going twice, sold!" Miss Scott could barely contain her excitement as she saw an elderly lady going up to take the jewelry she had just won, & after the aforementioned lady left, Miss Scott went up to receive the money she had earned from the auction. This is fantastic! the secretary thought to herself as she flipped through the wad of dollar bills in her hand. Now, I can buy Buck's Christmas present, after all! With that, she dashed out of Sotheby's, & ran for home as fast as she could, hoping that she could order that Cozy blanket & get it delivered to the post office in less than two weeks. Unbeknownst to Miss Scott, however, her dear boyfriend Buck was in another part of the auction house, where a few of his special collector's books related to military history were being bid on.
"Lot 843: a lot of 5 'collector's edition' books: A Complete Illustrated History Of World War II, The Military Exploits Of Ancient Leaders, Caesar's Army, Untold Stories Of The Civil War, & A Picture Biography Of Gen. George Patton. Starting at $140...Do I hear $145? Very well, then, $145...And $150? $160? All right, $160...Going once, going twice, sold!" Buck, overcome with elation at his personal victory, couldn't help but burst into a triumphant laugh as he saw the winner of the auction go up to receive his prize, & as Buck went up to take his newly-earned money, he thought to himself in jubilation, Jarrod Jewelers, here I come!
2 weeks later...
The White House was alive with activity, & a gay & festive atmosphere filled the East Room, where the First Family & their large assortment of guests—including Dr. Strangelove, Buck Turgidson, & Miss Scott—were gathered for the annual Christmas party. The partygoers helped themselves to First Lady Rachel Muffley's delicious culinary delights & desserts, along with glasses of sparkling grape juice, as they indulged in the entertainment provided by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Boys' Choir, & Miss Jason's Junior Theater Troupe (who performed a very stellar stage production of The Nutcracker). Later on, when it was time to open presents, President Muffley gave the signal for the ritual to begin; gifts were passed out to the children & teenagers, while the grownups exchanged gifts among themselves.
"Good news, Buck!" Miss Scott exclaimed happily as she gave her boyfriend his present. "I have a surprise for you..." Buck could hardly wait to see his present from his dear Elaine! Brimming with excitement, he took his gift, & tore the wrapping off of it, before finally seeing what it was...a Cozy blanket to keep him warm on chilly nights like this one! "Aww, you got me a Cozy blanket?" Buck asked with a delighted grin, before going over to hug Miss Scott as he added, "Thanks, 'Lanie! It's the best gift I've ever gotten today!"
"Oh, but I'm sure I'll like your present even more!" Miss Scott said when Buck handed her his gift. She, too, tore the wrapping off of it, & saw that her sweet Bucky-boo had gotten her a beautiful amethyst necklace in the shape of a heart! How wonderfully it would go with her favorite purple dress...& her amethyst earrings & bracelet...
"It's beautiful, Buck," Miss Scott said as she took a long look at her custom-built necklace. Then, she went over to give Buck a big hug, as she added, "Thank you so much!" But to herself, she remarked wistfully, "Oh, but how I wish I hadn't sold that jewelry—now, I don't have anything to go with this lovely necklace!"
"Well, if you hadn't sold that jewelry, I wouldn't have gotten this nice Cozy blanket!" Buck reminded Miss Scott. "Although I am gonna miss those nice books I gave away...I would have loved to read them while I curled up in my Cozy on a cold evening..."
"Well, you're in luck, Buck!" said General Stains, who approached the general & his secretary with a broad smile. "A couple of weeks ago, I was at Sotheby's, & I happened to find this neat lot of collector's books up for auction! I bid on them, ended up winning them, & thought they would make great reading material for my dear comrade!" Buck could barely contain his surprise when he saw Stains present the five books he had sold earlier! He could barely find the words to thank "Stainsy" for his great present, as he took the books off his hands...& that wasn't the only surprise Stains had for Buck & Miss Scott. Apparently, Stains' wife had been at Sotheby's, too, & she had stumbled across a set of amethyst jewelry that she thought had been stolen from Miss Scott, & put up for auction, so she decided to get them back for her...Oh, what a strange—but wonderful—Christmas this turned out to be!