Disclaimer: This is original fan work, intended solely for the entertainment of the readers, and in no way intends any infringement on any copyrights, trademarks, or licenses held by Dreamworks Animation SKG, Alan Schoolcroft, Brent Simons, or the holders of any other legal rights or licenses pertaining to Megamind.
Author's Note: Although this story is set at Christmas-time, isn't really about Christmas. The holiday provides the hook for the story, but isn't really the subject; this is more a tale in the life of young Megamind. Also of note: I have a friend who works in a prison, so the terms I use for certain things might not be what people are used to hearing ("segregation" as opposed to "solitary,"for instance). I'd hate to have her read this and then come back and tell me I need to correct my terminology. She was also responsible for some intriguing information about how holidays are observed by some prisoners. :)
Before I begin this particular anecdote, I want to set something straight, for the record: Contrary to some popular opinions, I am not completely ignorant of Earth customs and holidays. Really, just stop and think about it. Other than the eight days on my homeworld and the comparatively brief time I spent traveling here, I've lived on Earth, among humans, for my entire life! Why wouldn't I know about human practices and traditions? They're the only ones I've ever known!
Oh, I will admit that having grown up largely within a penal system gave me some seriously skewed notions of how those holidays were celebrated, and it certainly left me somewhat ignorant of many things regarding matters like telephone etiquette, interpersonal relationships and rituals and acceptable social behavior, especially between males and females — well, what else could be expected? I never had reason to even think of using a telephone until after my first deliberate escape, and the only Earth woman I saw face-to-face until I was allowed to go to school was the prison librarian. And while she was nice enough — so nearsighted, I doubt she really noticed that I had blue skin and wasn't an adult — she was also old enough to be my mother's grandmother. She was not about to enlighten me as to what are so quaintly called "the facts of life," and what I heard from the prisoners and guards was... I believe the word I want is salacious. Possibly pornographic. Life in an adult penitentiary presumes that the inmates came in as adults, with their basic sociological education already learned and habitual. The System may attempt reform, but it's not designed to teach. In my particular case—
What do you mean, how do I know how to spell sociological and interpersonal and salacious? My dear Roxanne, are you implying that someone of my unfathomably unlimited intellect can't master the simple skill of spelling? I know that I have trouble pronouncing some words, but that doesn't mean I'm incapable of spelling them correctly! Yes, yes, I suppose that a speech therapist might be able to help with the problem, but I have much more important things to do with my time, especially since you... persuaded me to give up a life of villainy. Besides, it isn't my fault if English is riddled with words that are incompatible with my natural speech processes and mechanisms — although, personally, I believe it's all the result of that insufferable Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes interfering with the flight path of my escape pod and subjecting me to weeks of space debris impact and cranial trauma during my most delicate formative stage of life...
Oh, all right, I won't get into that now. But if you're going to keep commenting on my spelling, don't read over my shoulder while I'm typing! And come to think of it, I'm writing this for you because you asked, and doesn't it make the whole thing rather pointless if you read it while I'm writing it? Now, where was I...? Ah, yes. Back to the prelude to the memoir.
As I was saying, I could hardly have lived so much of my life here on Earth and not been aware of such things as important customs and holidays. They may have been observed differently in prison, but they were hardly ignored. And as for the one called Christmas...! I assure you, it's as important a date for me as it is for many humans! After all, it was the day I arrived on Earth! I—
No, I am not being blasphemous (note to self: look up the precise meaning of "blasphemous" when a certain nosy reporter isn't around). And I am not acting full of myself! Well... maybe a teensy bit. But if you recall, Christmas is also the day that he arrived on Earth, deliberately knocking my pod off its plotted trajectory to steal the place my parents had planned for me, so that does tend to make it less special a day for me than it might otherwise have been. A bit tarnished, so to speak.
Christmas at the prison was, for lack of a better word, peculiar. Roxanne (yes, I know you're still reading over my shoulder, but at least let me pretend otherwise!) might call it predictable. Aside from the cardboard trees decorated with a truly bizarre array of magazine cutout ornaments and toilet paper snow, every year, it was traditional for a pre-holiday breakout to be attempted by pretty much the same group of inmates, and every year, it failed. To keep it from spoiling the whole holiday season too badly, they usually made the attempt on the day after Thanksgiving — Break Friday, as the guards and the warden called it. As soon as the dried-out turkey and burnt pumpkin pie were finished on Thursday night, the plans were set into motion. By daybreak on Friday, the plot was sprung and in about five minutes, the guards had things back in order. These inmates may have been criminally gifted in some ways, but masterminding effective escapes was obviously not their forte. I've known that from the moment they recruited me to help with a breakout when I was still a toddler.
Once that ritual was over with, there came the trying-to-make-the-best-of-things phase. When I was still quite young and irresistibly adorable, the inmates held a competition to see who could come up with the best Christmas present for me. At least twice each December, someone would try to make off with Minion, thinking he'd make the perfect "gift," until they discovered that he not only could talk, but had some novel ways of defending himself. They also entertained me with stories and songs they remembered — so they said — from their own childhood holidays.
When I was finally allowed to go to school, I heard... ah... more accurate versions of the same stories and songs from my classmates, along with tales of their own happy family traditions, which sounded much more appealing to me than my own experiences. I was particularly intrigued by their reminisces concerning a powerful and benevolent being they called Santa Claus, who supposedly brought gifts to all the children on the planet in one night. In prison, "Santa" was a rather seedy former drug dealer called Big Jake. He happened to have gray hair and a beard and he owned a set of faded red thermal underwear that he brought out every December. He somehow managed to operate a still in the tank of his cell's toilet every year, from which he provided the other prisoners with something that he called "Christmas cheer," until the guards caught him at it and shut him down. Not exactly the kind of image to appeal to a child's sense of wonder, let me tell you!
I wanted quite desperately to meet the real Santa person, to find out just how he was able to accomplish such a seemingly impossible task — just imagine the sophisticated technology he must have had at his disposal if he was indeed able to do it! But I was quickly told in no uncertain terms (by a certain fated to be ex-superhero) that my home would never be visited by Mr. Claus, as by definition, everyone who lived in a prison was immediately assigned to something called "The Naughty List."
Further research revealed that said List was what had to be a massive data base of infractions against any kind of law, rule, or regulation imaginable. Mr. Claus either employed a truly ingenious network of spies and covert observational equipment, or he possessed super powers that allowed him to discern a person's guilt or innocence, even at a considerable distance. Whatever the case, my classmates all agreed with Mr. Perfect Hair. If you lived in a prison, it was because you had done something very bad, and would be Naughty Listed for the rest of your life.
It goes without saying that I was appalled by this, and, being a sensitive child, was devastated. It didn't seem to matter how often I tried to explain to the other kids that I hadn't been sent to prison by a court of law, that I had simply wound up there by a cruel trick of fate (and a devious maneuver of Golden Boy's escape pod). Indeed, during the past year, I had been on my very best behavior just to have the chance to go to school, and outside of a few mistakes that had had unfortunate results, I hadn't done anything to justify being labeled as genuinely naughty (yet). It seemed exceptionally cruel to me that my hard work should be summarily ignored just because I lived in a place not of my choosing, but as the days went by and the holiday approached, I became convinced that this would indeed be my fate. I concluded that even the supposedly generous and benevolent Mr. Claus wouldn't bother visiting a prison just for the sake of one little alien child in a house of unrepentant miscreants.
In spite of what those mor— er, children said, I—
Okay, I know, I was going to call them morons, but c'mon, cut me a little slack, here! Was it my fault that my pod landed in a prison, and that no one ever tried to take me to a better home, even as an infant? I didn't ask for that any more than I'd asked to be sent to a planet where I was going to be the only person with blue skin. No, I don't blame my parents for that choice; they did the best they could with very little to go on and even less time to act. And they couldn't have known that someone else in the quadrant was going to have the same idea for saving their baby, who just happened to look exactly like the Caucasian humans he landed among, who would also wind up being the biggest thorn in my side. And isn't there a saying about how cruel kids can be? Well, these kids weren't any different, and with Mr. Perfect leading them, they were even worse. They knew he'd side with them whenever I was their target, and somehow make sure that I always came away as the one to take the blame.
It wasn't fair, and eventually, I realized that life wasn't fair most of the time, but back then, I hadn't quite lost the hope that once in a while it might be. So in spite of what the other kids, and the teacher, said, I didn't believe that I was doomed to be blacklisted during the holidays just because of where I lived. On the other hand, having also decided that Mr. Claus wouldn't go out of his way to visit one child in a prison full of pretty hardcore criminals, I knew that there was only one way I would have a chance to meet this intriguing individual and his even more intriguing technology...