Captain N: The Game Master
Thursday, December 24, 1992, 4:30 PM
Mike, Romeo, and Julius were making their way to the Kmart in the mall.
Being Christmas Eve, the entire mall was filled with shoppers. The three guys had a tough time walking. Getting halfway through the mall took them twenty minutes.
"Okay, guys, you need to help me pick out some gifts for my parents." Mike said.
They stopped in front of a man dressed as Santa Claus, who was hearing little kids' Christmas wishes.
As they were watching, a short fat boy with curly black hair came and stood to Mike's left. He looked to be about twelve.
"So, what are you asking Santa for, kid?" Mike asked the boy out of curiosity.
The boy looked at him. "Don't tell me you believe that guy is Santa. There's no such thing."
"Who says?" Mike asked.
"My dad. He knows everything."
"Does he now?" Mike asked. "Well, he's wrong. Santa's real." He smiled. "In fact, I know him personally!"
"Yeah, right!" the kid said. "Wadaya take me for, a moron?" He walked away.
Mike shook his head. "That's a lost child right there." He looked at Romeo and Julius. "C'mon, guys, let's get to Kmart."
"Duh, how 'bout this, Mike?!" Julius asked, holding up an item.
Mike looked at it and frowned. "Julius, my mom doesn't need a backscratcher." Then he thought for a moment. "My dad does, though." He took it from Julius and tossed it in the shopping cart.
They started walking again.
Just then, a woman ran right in front of them.
Mike brought the cart to a quick halt. "Geez, lady, watch where you're goin'! I almost made mallkill outta ya!"
The woman was tall, with curly red hair and glasses, and looked to be in her forties. She laughed. "I'm sorry! It's just that...I need to talk with you!"
"About what?" Mike asked.
"Well, one of the kids Santa was talking to asked for some nuclear weapons for Christmas, and when Santa started lecturing him on how things like that are dangerous, the kid,...well,...stomped on his foot and kicked him in the crotch!" She laughed. "You know how kids are!"
Mike nodded. "Yeah, but...what does that have to do with me?"
"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't introduce myself!" She shook Mike's right hand with both of hers. "I'm Wanda Richfield. I and other parents in town are putting together a party on Christmas Eve for underpriviledged kids."
Mike nodded with a smile. "That's cool."
"Yeah, but Santa's got a broken foot and sore nads now, and I have to find a replacement in a hurry. I was wondering,...would you do it?"
"Me?" Mike asked. "You want me to play Santa Claus at the party?" He shook his head. "Oh, look, I dunno - "
Mrs. Richfield put her hands together. "Oh, please! Pretty please! The kids would be really disappointed if Santa wasn't there!"
"Can't you find someone else?"
"I'm pressed for time! The party's in two hours!"
"Well, - " Mike began, thinking about it.
Suddenly, Mrs. Richfield pointed behind Mike and gasped. "That's him! That's the kid that hurt Santa!"
Mike looked behind him. It was the same obnoxious little kid Mike had met earlier.
"He's the one?" Mike asked, mostly to himself.
Wanda nodded. "Yeah. He's also one of the underpriviledged kids coming to the party."
"He's coming to the party." Mike said to himself. Then he turned around and smiled. "You know, Ms. Richfield, I will take you up on that offer!"
Mrs. Richfield jumped up and down, excited. "Yes!" She hugged Mike tightly. "Thank you!"
Mike patted her on the back. "Uh,...my pleasure."
Mrs. Richfield let go. "What's your name?"
"Mike, I'm gonna give you the Santa suit and instructions on how to get there. The party begins at seven."
Mike nodded, then grinned. "And I'll make sure that kid remembers who Santa is!"
The doorbell rang.
"That's them!" Mike said. He walked over to the front door. "Lana, you'll finally get to meet my parents!"
"Well, I've already met your mom." Lana pointed out.
Mike opened the door. His mom looked the same as Kevin and Lana remembered her, except she was dressed nicely for Christmas Eve. Standing to her left was her tall, tough-looking husband, Mike's dad. He was dressed nicely as well. They were both holding presents.
"These are my mom and dad - Sharon and Biff Vincent." Mike introduced them.
They walked into the living room.
"Here, let me help you with those." Cheryl offered.
"Thank you." Sharon said with a smile.
"Thanks." Biff said.
"Now I see where Mike gets his build from." Lana remarked with a smile.
"Thanks, kid!" Biff said, and he flexed his muscles.
Mike started to close the door, but a hand stopped it.
"Boy, I don't want a broken nose!" a female voice said. She opened the door.
Standing there was a black woman, and standing to her right was a tall, well-built black man. They were both holding presents.
"Sorry." Mike said with a sheepish smile.
Rick laughed. "Mike didn't mean it, mom."
They walked into the living room. Mike left the door open for the other parents to come in when they arrived.
"So, you're Rick's parents." Lana said with a smile.
"And you must be Lana." Rick's dad said with a smile. "Rick's told us a lot about you!"
Lana looked at Rick. "Videoland?" she mouthed.
"Of course not." Rick mouthed back at her.
"Duh." Lana said to herself.
"Guys, these are my parents, Denise and Miles Walker."
Miles laughed. "Please excuse the pun!"
"Well, guys, I gotta get going." Mike announced. "I'm playing Santa at a Christmas party for underprivileged kids."
"Aw, how totally sweet!" Stacey said with an adorable smile.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever." Mike said, walking out the front door.
Everyone was happy on Christmas Eve.
Ned had gotten out his records and put them on. Currently, 'Frosty the Snowman', sung by Willie Nelson, was playing.
Mostly everyone was talking with someone else. The Keene house was filled with laughter.
Lana was standing in the kitchen, right near the living room. She was holding a mug of hot chocolate in her left hand.
Lana turned to face Kristen. She smiled and nodded. "Yeah,...I am."
Kristen walked over to her and set her own mug of hot chocolate down on the kitchen table.
"You?" Lana asked.
Kristen smiled. "Yeah."
Lana nodded. "That's good."
"I'm glad you're having fun." Kristen said. "I wasn't sure if you would, seeing as you're from another universe, and Christmas isn't a part of your culture."
"Well," Lana began, setting her mug down on the table as well, "Hyrule has a holiday known as Christmas. It's pretty similar to yours. People exchange presents, laugh, have a great time. My father took me to the Harkinians' Christmas parties at North Castle since the year I was born,...until the war started. So, I pretty much grew up with the tradition. It's even celebrated on December 24th and 25th, just like it is here on Earth. The parties would last from 6 PM on the 24th to 11 PM on the 25th." Lana laughed. "We love to party!"
Kristen laughed also. "Wow! Talk about coincidence!"
"Yeah! The only apparent difference is that the Hylian Christmas celebrates the creation of Hyrule, the Golden Land, and the Triforces by the Gods of Power, Wisdom, and Courage, which obviously isn't the case here."
"Then why's it called Christmas?" Kristen asked.
"'Christ' is an ancient Hylian word meaning 'creation'." Lana explained. "And 'mas' means 'all'. Thus 'Christmas' means 'the creation of all'."
Kristen nodded. "I see! You...don't believe in that either, do you?"
Lana shook her head. "No. But I choose to spend holidays with my friends, even if I don't share their religious beliefs. It's about being with them and cherishing our friendship."
Kristen smiled warmly. "That's really wonderful."
Lana smiled back at her.
"So, you share in holiday traditions with your friends, right?" Kristen asked.
Lana nodded. "Yeah."
Kristen walked closer to Lana. "Well, then, I'd like to introduce you to a Christmas tradition in America."
"The tradition says that if two people are standing under a piece of mistletoe, they have to kiss."
"Aw, that sounds sweet!" Lana said.
"Yeah, and...you're standing under a piece right now." Kristen said.
"I am?" Lana looked up. Sure enough, there was a piece of mistletoe hanging above her head.
Kristen moved closer still to Lana, until their breasts were touching. "And, wouldn't ya know it, so am I!"
"Uh, Kristen,..." Lana began nervously, "you're not gonna hold me to this tradition, are you?"
"What about sharing in holiday traditions?" Kristen asked.
"Well,...okay." Lana agreed. "But just a little kiss." She leaned forward.
Kristen stopped her with a finger on her lips. "You kissed me before; now I kiss you."
Lana nodded in agreement.
Kristen removed her finger from Lana's lips. She smiled. "Hold still. Enjoy the moment."
Lana held still.
Kristen leaned forward and kissed Lana, pressing her lips gently against the Princess'. Lana didn't move. She didn't want to. Kristen's touch felt wonderful, almost...magical. To Kristen, the feel of Lana's soft lips against her own warmed her body. It was her first time kissing anyone. She was going to make it memorable. Slowly, Kristen took hold of Lana's wrists. She had the Princess place her hands on Kristen's shoulders. Lana didn't protest. Kristen put her arms around Lana and hugged her. The two girls continued kissing, focusing only on each other, aware of nothing else around them, lost in the moment.
So they didn't see Kevin standing in the doorway to the kitchen, watching them.
He was staring at them, not knowing what to think of his girlfriend kissing someone else romantically. He walked away, allowing Kristen and Lana privacy.
Finally, Kristen and Lana's lips parted, and they let go of each other. They were both grinning.
"Wow!" Lana said in amazement
"That was great!" Kristen agreed.
All the little kids ran up to Mike.
"Santa!" they yelled in delight.
"Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas!" Mike greeted.
"Merry Christmas, Santa!" the kids returned.
Santa looked at his two elves. "Wave, you guys!" he whispered.
"I can't believe you talked us into this!" Romeo whispered back at him.
"Duh, Merry Christmas, boys and girls!" Julius said with a big smile on his face, waving both of his arms in the air.
"Well, at least he's having fun!" Mike whispered back at Romeo.
Romeo's attitude changed. He put on a big smile and waved both of his arms in the air. "Merry Christmas, dudes!"
"Merry Christmas, Santa's elves!" the kids replied.
Romeo and Julius felt all warm inside.
"Everybody want their presents?!" Mike asked.
"Yeah!!! the kids screamed.
"Ho, ho, ho! Well, then!" Mike reached into the big red bag he was carrying and began taking out presents.
Each child came up, and Mike asked their name and handed them their presents.
Finally, the obnoxious, fat, little boy walked up to Mike. "Yo, Santa! Gimme my present!"
"Ho, ho, ho, and what's your name?" Mike asked him.
"Barry! Now gimme my damn present!"
Mike was pissed. He took Barry's present out of the bag and handed it to him. "Merry Christmas; Merry Christmas; kiss my ass; kiss your ass; kiss His ass; here's your present; go to Hell; Happy Hanukkah."
Barry turned and started to walk away.
Mike turned him around.
Barry just stared at him.
"If you don't show some appreciation, Santa's gonna kick your ass." Mike said.
Romeo and Julius folded their arms, looking tough.
Barry suddenly grew scared. He turned and ran away.
Mike laughed, then looked at everyone. "Well, I'd love to stay, but Santa's got another party to get to."
"Well, thank you for coming, Santa!" Mrs. Richfield said.
"Thanks, Santa!" all the kids except Barry said.
"Ho, ho, ho! Have a Kick-Ass Christmas!" Mike said, then he, Romeo, and Julius turned and walked out the door.
Everyone sat at the dining room table.
"Everybody join hands." Cheryl said.
Everyone at the table joined hands.
Cheryl faced Lana with a smile. "Lana, will you say grace for us, please?"
Lana looked at Cheryl with a bitter expression on her face. "Sure." she agreed. Then she looked at everyone and grinned. "Good food, good meat, good God, let's eat!"
Everyone released hands. Cheryl stared at Lana in disbelief.
Lana didn't notice and didn't care. She, like everyone else, was chowing down.
Cheryl handed Kevin and Lana each a small wrapped box. "I went to the jewelry department at Wal-Mart and got these for you. I thought they might help to instill the Christmas Spirit in both of you."
"Uh, thanks, Mrs. K." Lana said.
"Thanks, mom." Kevin said.
The two teenagers unwrapped their gifts. They each had a small white box, which they opened.
Inside each of their boxes was a gold necklace.
"Wow, a new necklace!" Lana said. She took it out of the box excitedly.
Kevin, however, just looked at his mom, upset.
"Go ahead, dear, try it on." Cheryl encouraged.
Lana looked at the necklace and smiled. "Cool, a 't'." She looked at Cheryl. "But wouldn't an 'L' be more appropriate? Oh, well, it's the thought that counts." She looked at the necklace again, and her smile faded. "Wait a minute, there's a guy on the 't'. It looks like he's in pain! What kind of sick gift is this?!"
"Lana, that's that Jesus guy I told you about in June. It's a religious symbol." Kevin said, and closed the box, not even taking the necklace out.
Upon hearing this, Lana put the necklace back in the box and closed it.
The two of them handed the boxes back to Cheryl.
"No, thanks." Lana said.
Cheryl looked from the Princess to her son. "Kevin?"
Kevin shook his head. "No, mom. Thanks anyway."
"You haven't lost your faith, have you?"
Kevin shook his head again. "I don't think I ever had it." He turned and walked away.
Lana followed him.
They walked into the living room.
"Kevin?" Lana asked.
Kevin turned around.
"What did you mean when you said you don't think you ever had it?"
Kevin sighed. "Well, My dad is a Catholic." He smiled. "Or, if you ask someone from New Orleans, a Catlick."
"And my mom, even though she's from an Irish family, is a hard-core Protestant." Kevin continued.
"A term meaning any Christian religion other than Catholic."
Lana nodded. "Ah."
"Anyway, when I was born, my parents argued over what religion I would be. Finally, they agreed that I would experience both sides of my religious background, and then decide for myself when I was older. So, of course, I was baptized into both faiths. And, when I was little, my dad took me to a Catholic church one week, and my mom took me to a Protestant church the next week, and it kept rotating. The two religions had strikingly different teachings and rituals, and I was so confused. Finally, when I was twelve, I said 'Screw it', and I haven't set foot inside a church ever since."
Lana grinned. "Good for you!"
Lana walked in through the front door.
Cheryl was standing in the living room. "Where were you?! I've been worried!"
"Oh. Well, Mr. K. dropped me off and went shopping." Lana said.
"Yeah, but where were you?" Cheryl asked.
"Well, we went to this thing called a mass, though I'm not sure what it had to do with the protons and neutrons in an atomic nucleus." Lana said in a confused tone.
"Mass." Cheryl said. "Ned took you to church?"
Lana smiled and nodded. "Yeah, that's it! It was weird, man! We sat, stood, sat, kneeled. And we listened to this really boring music. And some dudes in long gowns read from this book that put me to sleep. And then we got up and walked single-file up to this table, and one of the dudes gave me a cracker." Lana smiled. "Tasted pretty good, actually, so I helped myself to about ten more. Then the other dude offered me a cup filled with what smelled like alcohol, so I passed. I've never drunk any alcohol, and I never will. Of course, then I got thrown out. They accused me of stealing and something called 'sin'. So, Mr. K. brought me home."
Cheryl couldn't believe what she had just heard. "Did you go through Reconciliation first? Did you receive forgiveness for your sins?"
"What?" Lana asked, more confused now than ever.
"You have partaken of the Eucharist and consumed the Sacred Wafer while carrying many sins on your heart."
Lana gave Cheryl an odd look. "The Sacred Wafer."
Cheryl nodded. "Yes. The bread has been blessed."
"Bread? I thought it was a circular Saltine."
Cheryl sighed. "The bread and wine are physically transformed into the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ, through a process known as Transubstantiation when they're blessed by the priest."
"You're saying the number of protons in the atoms are changed, thus altering the chemical composition of the matter and changing it into different elements?" Lana asked.
"Lana, it's a miracle! It's not science!" Cheryl said, shaking her head.
Lana laughed. "Why do I have the feeling that if we did a chemical analysis on the 'Body' and 'Blood', the results would show that they're really just plain old chip and dip?"
Cheryl didn't answer.
Lana dug into her front left pocket and pulled out one of the crackers she had taken from church. "Want a Sacred Saltine?"
Cheryl shook her head.
Lana shrugged and ate it, walking up the stairs.
Cheryl watched her go, wondering what to do.
Romeo was sitting in a chair in the living room, reading a book, when Lana, Stacey, Rick, and Julius walked into the room.
"Duh, what are you reading, Romeo?" Julius asked.
"I dunno." Romeo said, turning a page. "I found it in Mrs. Keene's room. I was bored."
"Like, is it good so far?" Stacey asked.
"How would he know?" Lana asked with a laugh.
"Well, I've only read the first three chapters, but this dude can write!"
"That good, huh?" Rick asked with a smile.
Romeo nodded. "Yeah! There's this guy and a girl, and they're naked. And there's this snake."
Rick looked at the front cover. It read "THE HOLY BIBLE - KING JAMES VERSION".
"Oh, it's that book." Lana muttered. "How can you stand it, Romeo?!"
"It rocks! There's a bunch of fighting!"
Rick laughed. "Sounds like it would be Mike's favorite."
Kevin groaned. "That book is so vague, contradictory, and full of questionable meanings and idiotic rules, I don't even go near it."
Romeo turned to the second page and began reading.
"Like, what are you doing?" Stacey asked.
"I'm looking for the Marvel Comics copyright. They've got tons of plotholes!"
Lana walked downstairs and went over to the couch, wanting to watch some TV.
Cheryl walked over to her. "Lana, can we talk for a moment?"
"Sure." Lana said. "What about?"
"I'm...upset about what you did today in church."
Lana nodded. "I guess that's understandable. Your religion obviously means a lot to you."
"More than you know." Cheryl said.
"Well, you gotta understand that it means nothing to me." Lana said.
"So, that's it? You just...don't believe in God?"
Mrs. K., - "
"Mrs. K.," Lana started again, "I've never even heard of your god until six months ago."
"Just because you haven't heard of something doesn't mean it doesn't exist." Cheryl told her. "Also, just because you don't believe in something doesn't mean it isn't true."
"All right," Lana said, "I can't dispute that. However, I can say the same thing for you."
"What do you mean?" Cheryl asked.
"Well, you believe your god created your universe. Do you believe in science?"
Cheryl nodded. "I believe reality is a mixture between spirit and science."
"I don't." Lana stated firmly. "Your universe, and Videoland, were formed approximately twenty-billion years ago, and this planet was formed approximately 4.55 billion years ago. I've been reading."
"Yes. Most Christians believe that, Lana. However, they believe that God created it all."
"But that's not science, because it relies on faith rather than fact."
Cheryl frowned at her.
"I'm sorry. That came out wrong." Lana apologized.
"We can't be sure what really happened on this planet two-thousand years ago. It could've all been made up by two guys that got stoned one night." Lana said. "I've never seen your god, so I have no obligation to believe in it. I can't believe in such a concept as your religion is stating without hard proof. Your god will have to appear before me for me to believe in it."
Cheryl smiled. "So the other disciples told him, 'We have seen the Lord!' But he said to them, 'Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.'"
Lana laughed. "You're persistent. I'll give you that."
Cheryl grinned. "Am I winning?"
Lana shook her head. "Not at all. You believe your god created the entire universe. Your universe, not mine. Even if your god does exist, I have no obligation to worship it, since it didn't create me."
"God is the Creator of all universes, Videoland included." Cheryl said, still grinning.
"Whatever." Lana said. "The fact remains that there's one absolute right that I have. I have the right to believe whatever I want."
Lana picked up her copy of a textbook off of the coffee table with her right hand. It read "'THE ORIGIN OF VIDEOLAND AND ITS LIFEFORMS' by Dr. Thomas Xavier Right".
"My beliefs, my faith, is here." Lana said. She picked up the Bible with her left hand. "Not here."
"May I see that?" Cheryl asked, extending her right hand.
"Sure." Lana handed her textbook to Cheryl.
Cheryl flipped through it.
Friday, December 25, 1992, 1:00 PM