DISCLAIMER: This tale is my entry in the "2nd Annual Snow Daze Holiday Story Contest." Nothing belongs to me if you've seen it on TV. There's a lot of Christmas stuff I don't own, either. Who knows how much of that will get dragged outta the attic. Soundtrack for this chapter: Symphony #2 ("Christmas") by Krzysztof Penderecki; Sounds Like Christmas by The December People; Three Voices by Morton Feldman.
"Remember The Six Tasks of Snowman Hank?" It was almost Christmas, and Ron was reminiscing again, as he often did this time of year.
Kim laughed. "The reason for the weirdest Christmas we ever celebrated." That year, the whole Possible family had ended up at the North Pole with Drakken and Shego, celebrating the Yuletide inside a decorated escape pod from Drakken's failed orbital weapons platform, Drak Force One. "I didn't know anacondas had fangs until that Christmas." She still wasn't sure of that. Maybe it had been a mutant fer-de-lance or something. She'd seen stranger things.
"Well, yeah, there's that, but I mean the show itself. Wasn't it the best?"
"Sure, " she lied. Her memory of the show was no more than a colourful, sing-song blur. It had been a part of the yearly Possible Christmas agenda, but not because any of the Possibles particularly cared for it. They watched it because Ron enjoyed it so much. "Every Christmas, that couch, that TV and your favorite cartoon snowman," she added. "An hour of joy, wonder, and turning bad guys good." Followed by the multi-megawatt Kim Possible-now-Stoppable smile.
You're getting very good at deceiving your husband, sneered her conscience. Think that was generic enough? For just an instant her expression darkened. Sometimes she suspected her conscience wore green and black.
Suspiciously, Ron asked "What about Fred Copperhead?"
"What about Fred Copperhead? It was a long time ago. Maybe you remember it better than I do." She returned to taking the clothes out of the dryer, suddenly realized he was still waiting for an answer. "Uh, he, um, he was the crook that stole the Christmas tree –"
"Christmas Star, Kim, he stole the Christmas Star. Remember the song? "What's a tree without a star/to guide us when we wander far/away from all the joyful things –"
Time to cut that short. "Right. I remember. Help me fold these clothes."
"It was titled What's A Tree Without A Star," he unnecessarily added, trying vainly to find the crease in a pair of dress pants. "It was a very sad song. A very sad moment in TV history."
"It was that." The pants were upside down and flapping now; Kim took them from him, folded them, and handed them back to him, all in one fluid motion. "See, it's simple. We go through this every time you help me with the clothes. Put 'em on a hanger and get something else."
He decided to stick to shirts. They were easier. "Snowman Hank's never even been on DVD. You can't walk in Smarty Mart or Bulls-Eye this time of year without fallin' over stinkin' Rudolph and Frosty, but just try to find Snowman Hank." His eyes narrowed. "I think The Man's got a problem with it."
"Oh, for the luvva – I'm sure 'The Man' has nothing to do with it. A lot of cartoons we watched as kids aren't out on DVD. I always liked My Little Wildebeest, and it's not out there. It's not like Snowman Hank was something special," she thoughtlessly blurted, and immediately regretted it.
In the sudden silence that followed, a shirt fell to the floor.
She reached out to him, horrified by her own insensitivity. "Oh, Ron, honey. I didn't mean it like that. I'm sorry."
He backed away from her. "It's OK, Kim. I can take it. So you never liked Snowman Hank. That's not a big deal, we're grown up now, husband and wife. If you think it's necessary to crush my cherished childhood memories under the iron jackboot of criticism, I guess I can live with that." He picked up the shirt, handed it to her, and marched to the door. "I'll be back in a little while. I need some fresh air."
"It's 28 below out there!" Middleton was in the middle of one of the worst blizzards in the history of Colorado. "You can't go out without protection –"
He was gone.
A second later he was back, teeth chattering, eyes wild, ice in his hair, bluish and covered in snow. "A-a-air's fresher in h-here."
That night, lying in bed, staring up at the ceiling, Kim considered the sitch. They'd worked through the Snowman Hank trouble, of course. Ron didn't hold grudges, much, and she'd sincerely apologized for the slight. Eventually it had concluded in hot coco-moo and a movie, cuddling on the couch while their little Christmas tree warmly shimmered and sparkled in the living room corner.
Now he was snoring, and she was the one who couldn't sleep. For some reason, she couldn't let it go. Why wasn't The Six Tasks of Snowman Hank available on DVD, anyway? Why didn't they ever revive it on one of the countless cable stations? It was certainly no worse than the movie about the kid who wanted a BB gun for Christmas, and that thing got a whole day of air-time to itself every year.
She crawled quietly from the bed, went downstairs, paced a while, sat down at the computer, went online, got up and paced some more. Stared out the window, watching the snow fall. Beeped Wade on the Kimmunicator. It was several minutes before she got an answer.
"Kim," he yawned, "do you know what time it is?" The handsome young giant on the screen bore little resemblance to the pudgy pre-teen who had helped them through so many adventures in high-school. "I do. It's 1:45. In the ay-em."
"Wade, I'm sorry. I don't know what I was thinking. I'll let you go."
"I'm up now. You might as well sitch me." He smiled. "Must be something on your mind." He hesitated, cleared his throat, decided to plow ahead. "Ah – everything all right with you and Ron?"
"It's not like that, Wade."
"What is it like, then?"
"Do you remember The Six Tasks of Snowman Hank?"
"I remember cheering when they replaced it with Xtreme Xmas."
"The Tweebs did the same. In fact, the only person who missed it was Ron. And that's sorta why I called. I had a little – tiff – with him this afternoon. Over Snowman Hank."
"I thought it wasn't like that, Kim."
"It wasn't. Not in the end. But I want him to know I meant it when I told him I was sorry."
"Sorry about what?"
"Dissin' his favorite Christmas special."
"That's his favorite? What about The Grinch? Charlie Brown? Miracle on 34th St? It's A Wonderful Life?"
"Snowman Hank tops 'em all."
The young man sighed. "Well, there's no accounting for tastes."
Kim began unfolding her plan. "Somebody, somewhere, has got to have a copy of that thing for sale. On laserdisc, on Betamax, in cuneiform, I don't care. Bootleg or not, it doesn't matter. I'm going to get Ron The Six Tasks of Snowman Hank for Christmas, and we're gonna watch it together, just like we did when we were kids."
"Did you try Amazon, Kim? Or e-Bay?"
"They've got nuthin'. That's why I beeped you. I need your help. If anyone in the world can find it, you can, Wade. I'm not asking you to do it for nothing. I'll pay for your time."
"No you won't. What are friends for?"
There was a groggy shout from upstairs. "KP? Whuzzup?"
"I'll be back in a minute," she shouted. "I'm, uh, I'm getting…cold. Yeah."
Wade looked surprised. "He forget that you guys share a last name now?"
"No. I'll always be KP to him, I guess." And I wouldn't have it any other way. "I gotta go."
"I'll keep you updated, Kim. We'll get him his Christmas present."
"Thanks, Wade. You're the best."
"I know," he said with a grin, and was gone. Kim put the Kimmunicator away, walked back upstairs, climbed into bed beside her husband.
"Did you say you were getting a cold?" he murmured sleepily.
"I love you," she whispered, caressing him, kissing his cheek. And this year you'll have the best Christmas ever.
Neither of them could have possibly realized that the gateway to catastrophe was slowly, inexorably creaking open, but they'd find out soon enough.