Author's Note: Commando bunnies are little pink or blue bunnies whose fur looks as if they are wearing plaid footy pajamas. They are mischievous creatures whose sole aim is to annoy anything and everything. Often called the universal annoyers, commando bunnies travel from dimension to dimension in large space ships, choosing places to go and things to annoy at random. Once a place has been decided upon, they enter and proceed to cause mayhem. This is done by "blutting" things with pies, spraying things with seltzer, painting things obnoxious colors, and being extremely loud.
Their pockets hold one of everything except a suit to keep water off of them (much to their distress, for once they get wet, their pockets absorb all the water and take a very long time to dry), and therefore are quite large. The pie pockets replenish themselves frequently (much to the distress of everyone except the commando bunnies).
They are called commando bunnies because, when they wish, they can be as nightmarish and precise as an army commando. However, they rarely use this skill; they claim that it gets in the way of being silly.
The one way to immobilize a commando bunny is to grab ahold of both their ears. (This sets off some odd reaction in their nervous system, leaving only their mouth working.) However, they are tricky and not easily captured, so this can be difficult. One way you might capture one is to set out a bowl of honey (which they love), and grab them when they're not expecting it. But they tend to defy all laws of physics, so they could just take the bowl of honey and go sit on the ceiling to eat it.
While commando bunnies are, without a shadow of a doubt, pranksters, they have their hearts in the right place. Once a year, at Christmas, they seek out a "Scrooge" and give them the Christmas Carol Treatment. They do this with the use of time crystals- Crystals that can take you to any point in time, if you ask nicely and if they don't think of sometime better to take you. An older version of teleport stones.-, teleport stones-Stones that can take you to any place that you wish, if you ask nicely and if they don't think of someplace better to take you. A younger version of time crystals.-, memory gems- Gems that can choose certain memories and allow you to witness them, without any fear of you changing them (with an exception for commando bunnies). -, and many other odd items found in their pockets.
It is essential that you know this so as to understand the story. Now, without further ado, I bring you:
A Commando Bunny Christmas Carol- With all respect, thanks, and apologies to Charles Dickens, whose story is being used by commando bunnies.-
It was the day before Christmas Eve on the commando bunny ship. The commando bunnies were, most unusually, gathered together as one gigantic group in the main part of the ship. It was time for them to decide which being they were to inflict the Christmas Carol Treatment, or CCT, upon this year. They were sitting in midair, on the walls, on the ceiling, and on the floor (the latter three of which being decorated in customarily annoying commando bunny Christmas colors), watching as the Head commando bunny (the one with the most pockets) stepped into the air in the center of the grouping.
"Order! Order in the ship!" exclaimed the Head, banging a judge's gavel in midair, causing a loud squeaking sound to emanate throughout the assembly. These words were met with a series of calls from the surrounding commando bunnies,
"Salami on rye!"
"Tomato Paste and chicken!"
and much laughter ensued, especially from the Head.
Once the laughter had died down, the Head began, "As we all know, it is Christmas time!" Here she paused, clapped her paws, and held an umbrella over her head. All the other commando bunnies looked up as holly berries started raining from the ceiling. They promptly pulled out their own umbrellas and collected the berries with them. Within moments, the gathering had descended into an all-out berry fight.
When they ran out of berries, they congratulated the Head on her excellent prank as they pulled her out of a pile of mush. She grinned and trotted back up to the center of the meeting point.
"Now," she continued as if nothing had happened, "as we know, the Christmas season brings the annual question: To whom are we to give the CCT?"
The commando bunnies exchanged conspiratorial grins as they pulled the lottery ballots out of their pockets. A "bwa-ha-ha" was heard. As usual, they tossed the ballots into the humongous bowl in the center of the floor. Then the Head dropped one drip of paint into the bowl, and withdrew the ballot it had landed on. The gathering waited with bated breath while the Head read the name.
"Mr. Nort Muckley."
Mr. Nort Muckley was a cold, calculating sort of man who felt no form of affection towards anything. He had strong opinions about the poor and suffering, and was not afraid to share them. Indeed, he had shared those opinions quite frankly with two collectors the very afternoon that we enter his story.
When the collectors, two kindly gentlemen, had come knocking at the door of Muckley and Snort's that afternoon, they had hoped to come out with a rather large donation. Needless to say, their hopes were dashed the moment the stepped through the door and opened their mouths to wish him a Merry Christmas.
"Christmas! Bah, humbug!" Muckley spat back at them with contempt. The collectors exchanged glances, but decided to continue despite this outburst.
"My dear man, although the thing Christmas in itself is not humbug, it is certain to be sad and cold for the many who have neither shelter nor food this year. All it takes is for the rest of us to give a little to them, to help them just a little."
"Bah!" spat Muckley again, "Are there no prisons?"
"Well, yes, but-" began one of the collectors, before he was interrupted by Muckley.
"Are there no workhouses?" he questioned, furious.
"Many would rather die than to go to one of those institutions!" exclaimed the other collector.
"Then all the better that they die, so as to decrease to surplus population! Good afternoon!" And the collectors, realizing defeat, departed.
On their way out, they wished the tidings of the season upon Mike Altmos, Muckley's assistant. He was a small, hardworking man who had the displeasure of working for Muckley. Despite this, he was a kind, goodly soul, and therefore wished the tidings of the season to them in turn.
Now, if you were paying attention, you would have noticed that the title of the building run by Muckley was Muckley and Snort's. Daniel Snort had been Muckley's partner in business before his demise. They were kindred spirits, Muckley and Snort, both of them being far from kind and temperature having no effect upon them. But Snort had been dead seven years, and Muckley gave him little to no thought.
This being impervious to temperature was one reason that Muckley's building was forever frigid. We must feel sorry for Altmos at this, for he nearly froze through each day. He had only one coal to warm him, with a few candles for light. But in no way did he dare to get another coal, for if he did, Muckley would be quick to get rid of him.
Now, Muckley had heard Altmos wish the tidings of the season upon the collectors, and was most unhappy. "Bah!" said he with scorn, "Humbug! I suppose you'd like the whole day off tomorrow, then? With full pay, too?"
"But sir," protested poor Altmos, "'tis only once a year."
"Bah! A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December!" After a while more, he spat, "Alright, then- but be here all the earlier the next morning!"
"Yes, sir!" exclaimed Altmos, "Thank you, sir!"
Once a rather lot more work had been done in a remarkably short time, the door banged open as Muckley's nephew, Bill, bounced in, shouting, "A very Merry Christmas to you, Uncle!"
"Bah! Humbug!" was all that Muckley said.
"Christmas a humbug, Uncle?" spake Bill, "Never! Come, dine with me tomorrow! You never do, yet it costs you nothing but a bit of time."
"How can you be so merry?" questioned Muckley, "You're poor enough."
"Then," retorted Bill, "how can you be so depressed? You're rich enough."
"Bah!" growled Muckley, "I say that any fool who goes around with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled in his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart! It never does a man any good."
Bill shook his head, saying, "I am sorry you feel that way, Uncle, but I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good, and I say, God bless it!"
With that, he departed.
And so it was closing time. It was with ill will and much grumbling that Muckley assented to this fact and closed up, reminding Altmos to be there upon his return. And so he started his walk back to his house alone.
The commando bunnies, who had been watching this, looked at one another and nodded their heads. "A right old Scrooge, alright." They rubbed their paws together. "Let's go, part one, doorknocker to old partner's head!"
Muckley live in a dreary old place (which the commando bunnies refrained from painting with difficulty), cold and dark. The house had originally belonged to Snort, but had entered into Muckley's possession upon the event of his demise. But even though he lived in this place, Muckley gave no thought to his old partner.
He gave little thought to the path he now trudged up towards his house; he usually gave even less thought to the doorknocker he had seen so many times. But today, something made him look twice.
"And… now!" signaled the commando bunnies below to the ones on the roof. A moment later, the switch-quick-do- A switch-quick-do makes one thing appear as another for a set amount of time, then has it return to its original state. - was flipped on and the door knocker appeared to change, while staying quite the same, into the head of Daniel Snort.
Muckley stopped dead with his hand on the doorknob. Terror was coursing through his veins, terror, the like of which he had not felt in a great many years. No… no, he was being ridiculous. Snort had been dead for seven years. He looked again at the doorknocker.
Above, the commando bunnies switched off the switch-quick-do and winked at the ones below. "Part one is a success," they mouthed, "proceed to part two: Ghost of Old Partner."
Muckley saw that the doorknocker was just a doorknocker, and was relieved. He was, however, shaken enough to check all the rented-out office rooms of the old house. Nothing was out of place, nothing was unusual… He entered his sleeping quarters (the commando bunnies had to refrain from putting two twenty-five cent pieces within) and prepared his bed, eating a little gruel for the cold in his head. Still slightly shaken, he got into bed with his dressing-gown and slippers still on. He lay awake for hours, listening to the church bells chime out the hours and the quarters… ten o'clock… quarter past… half past… quarter to… eleven o'clock…
The commando bunnies were busily locating their costume (for it took six of them to equal the human height), chain, ghost dust- Ghost dust is dust that makes anything appear to be a ghost, or at least phantom-like. -, and aura transmitters- Ghosts have their own auras; aura transmitters produce a ghost-like aura. -. This required quite a bit of rooting through their pockets, a daunting task. Alas, 'tis the price of being a universal annoyer.
…quarter past eleven…
The commando bunnies were yet assembling the costumes hurriedly and silently. Hushedly, they linked together the chain and covered it with ghost dust.
… half past eleven…
The costume was almost together, they only needed to finish the seams and get in, and so they stitched.
…quarter to twelve…
The costume was done and covered in ghost dust, they were in, and they switched on the aura transmitters and headed into the house.
Clank, clank, echoed from downstairs as the clock struck midnight. Muckley sat straight up in bed, terror in his veins once more. That was the sound of a chain being dragged across a cold, wooden floor. He'd heard it said that ghosts dragged chains. He jumped out of bed and double-locked his door, then dove back underneath the covers.
"Look out for that table!" one commando bunny hissed. The ones in the "Snort" costume veered to the left just in time to avoid a collision with the dining room table, but wound up making a whole lot of clanking noises with the chain. They paused for a moment to let it echo, and then made their way up the wide, dark staircase.
"Mu-u-u-uckley… Mu-u-u-uckley…" Snort's voice permeated the walls of Muckley's bedroom, causing him to quake from fear. No… there was no such thing as ghosts. This was a dream, yes, a dream. Nothing was going to happen, nothing at all.
The commando bunnies approached the door and stepped easily through; it was a good thing that they'd sprayed it with walker-througher spray- Walker-througher spray is a spray that you can put on anything (doors, walls, bananas, et cetera) so that you can walk through it. Widely used by magicians, commando bunnies, and other various pranksters. - earlier that day. They wouldn't have had time for it tonight.
Just as he convinced himself that nothing was going to happen, Muckley looked up and saw the ghost of Daniel Snort enter. No… it couldn't be- "Daniel? Is that you?" His voice was its usual self, cold and brisk, not at all betraying how scared the man truly was.
Refraining from laughter, the speaking commando bunny proclaimed, "It is I indeed, Nort! All these seven long years have passed in suffering. Oh, woe is me, who paid for the mistakes I made, oh, woe!"
"But- you were always a man of excellent business!" protested Nort.
"Business!" moaned Snort, "The poor were my business! The weak, the hungry, the sick were all my business! I failed at my business! And you- you do not believe that it is truly I who stands before you, what is more! I, who made this chain-" here the commando bunnies controlling the arms rattled the chain, to great effect, "-of my own free will, link by link, yard by yard, multi-millimeter by multi-millimeter!"
At this last one, the speaking commando bunny got a jab in the foot. "Not multi-millimeter, you goofball, the line is, 'link by link, yard by yard, I girded it of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it!'!"
"Shh!" hushed the rest.
Muckley, fortunately, had not heard this little exchange, and quavered, "Why do you come to me, spirit?"
"I come to warn you, Nort! Change your ways, or you shall be like me, a spirit, neither here nor there, trapped and forced to watch!"
"You will be visited by three spirits," continued Snort, "one at midnight tomorrow, one at midnight the next day, and one at midnight the last. You have been warned… change, or be fettered by the chain of your own making!" And with that, he clanked out the window and disappeared.
Once out of sight, the commando bunnies jumped out of the costume and gave each other hi-paws.
"Part two is a success!" they cheered.
"Now," grinned one, "on to part three: the Ghost of Christmas Past."
They all rubbed their paws together and went bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha.
The commando bunnies got the second costume ready as soon as they heard Muckley snoring. By that time, it was past 2 am.
"Alright!" whispered one as soon as they were in and ready to go, "Time crystal activating in 3...2½…1¾…1...90¾…14½…27¼… NOW!"
Muckley awoke to hear the clock chime midnight. No, he thought, that can't be right. For it had been past one o'clock when he had finally drifted off. Could he have slept through the day and into another night? But by then, the bells had finished chiming.
The wind blew the shutters on his window open as the first ghost floated in. Muckley soon found his voice.
"Are you one of the spirits whose coming was foretold to me?"
"Yes," answered the commando bunny who was to speak for this ghost, "I am the ghost of Christmas Past."
"Long past?" asked an uneasy Muckley.
The ghost shook her head, answering, "No, your past." This caused Muckley to look even more uneasy. The ghost, however, disregarded this, and gestured him towards the window, saying, "This way…"
"But," protested Muckley, "I'll fall!"
"Just the touch of my hand and you shall be upheld in more than this. Come!" Inside the costume, the commando bunnies grinned at one another. Ol'' Muckley obviously swallowed their disguise bait, hook, and line like the fish he was. Their costume was rather well-done; one of their best yet, in fact.
They then took Muckley by the shoulder and activated the memory gem. With a soft whooshing sound, they were off.
Muckley found himself in a place he remembered quite well, even after so many years. Before him was his old schoolhouse, its grounds, and the long road leading up to it. His eyes widened as a carriage rolled by and he saw some of his old classmates.
"Why, there's Jim! Oh, and Whit and Luke, Mark and Matt! And-" he cut himself off quite suddenly.
"Is there something the matter?" inquired the ghost.
"No- it's just that there were some carolers at my door the other day," he answered, listening to the singing of the boys, "and I would have liked to have given them something.
The ghost gave a small smile as the commando bunnies inside cheered silently. They were getting to him already! "You know," murmured one, "we must drop by one day to give our respects to Mr. Dickens. Without him, we wouldn't have the CCT."
""So true." nodded the others.
Muckley led the way up the path to the schoolhouse, where, sure enough, a young Muckley was inside, working away his lonely Christmas holiday. Muckley felt terribly sorry for his younger self, spending Christmas alone over the course of so many years. (The irony of this did not escape the commando bunnies, who had to fight very hard not to point it out.) For as they watched, the scene shifted slightly in various ways as Muckley grew older. Sadder and sadder the older Muckley grew, until they reached a certain age. Then the sound of hooves rang out as the door banged open ans a pretty, young girl rushed in.
"Dearest brother!" she exclaimed while the commando bunnies fought hard not to giggle, "I've come to take you home! Father is ever so much kinder now and when I asked him last night if you could come home he said yes, you should so I drove right out here to get you! Come, now, pack up your things and let us go home!" With a great flurry of movement, Muckley's trunk was packed and he left with his sister.
The ghost observed, "You loved her dearly. You wished for her never to leave you."
Muckley nodded, "True."
"But she did leave you," said the commando bunnies rolled their eyes at all the complications humans threw into things, adding, "She was wed."
"Yes." said Muckley sadly.
"She had children?" the ghost inquired.
"One," he answered, "my nephew, Bill."
"She died young, yet she lived a good life," murmured the ghost.
There was a silence that followed, in which Muckley claimed to get something in his eye and the commando bunnies refrained from painting the schoolhouse burnt orange. The commando bunnies then tapped the memory gem again, and the scene changed…
"Why, it's old Mhesh's place!" exclaimed Muckley with something that could only be described as glee, "He was the best of folk, he always made the work simply splendid for us! And at Christmas…" his voice trailed off.
"Is something the matter?" inquired the ghost for the second time that night.
"No," said Muckley, "I merely though of something I would have like to have said to my assistant."
The ghost smiled, and motioned for him to watch what was occurring inside the building. Inside the costume, the commando bunnies were beginning to get bored. Sometimes the stories were so similar that it was hard to tell the CCTs apart from year to year. Then they turned their attention back to the window.
Mhesh had entered, saying, "Put away your work, Nort, Mig!" (Here the commando bunnies had to refrain from laughter at how much it sounded like he had said nutmeg.) "It's Christmas! Hurry, now- the guests will be here any moment, so clear some space in the center of the room!"
"Yes, sir!" the younger Muckley and his colleague hurriedly put their things away and cleared the aforementioned space. This was done in less than a minute's time. Then the room was swiftly prepared for the party by way of being swept, decorated, and generally spruced up, all within one singing of "Deck the Halls",
"Deck the Halls
With balls of holly!
Fa la la la la la la la la!"
The commando bunnies had a hard time of not joining in with their version of the lyrics,
"Paint the halls
With bugging colors
And blut all the people with green pie!"
Even though they finished everything so quickly, they were done just a minute before the musicians arrived, and they were scarcely two minutes before the guests.
In they came, well they danced, and grandly they said goodnight.
During the midst of this, the commando bunnies had a terrible time of not going in and playing pranks. This, for them, was always one of the hardest parts of the CCT: not messing with the memories. Messing with time is dangerous, since even commando bunnies are not exempted from death. Needless to say, it was a relief to them when the party was over and all had left.
"It is time to go, Muckley," said the ghost, "We have one other place to visit tonight."
"Where are we-" began Muckley, but was cut off when the command bunnies tapped the memory gem again, causing the scene to change.
A young woman was sitting on a couch with a younger Muckley, saying, "…another idol has taken my place in your heart; a golden one. So I set you free, Muckley!"
"But," protested he, "have I ever asked for release?"
She shook her head sadly as she answered, "In words, no. But you are not the man you were when I first met you."
"I was young, senseless!" he exclaimed.
She shook her head again, and then repeated, "I set you free." Muckley watched for the second time as she got up and departed.
The commando bunnies rolled their eyes. Humans and their theatrics! But what must be done to carry out a prank must be done, and so they, year after year, dealt with scenes like this.
The ghost turned to Muckley, smiled, and clapped once. To Muckley' eyes, the ghost and the scene before him faded as he woke up with a start in his own bed, just in time to heard the clock chime midnight.
The smell of food filled the air…
The commando bunnies went into a flurry of motion the moment that Muckley's view changed. They gave the signal to the reinforcements in the other room, so as to alert them that part three was complete and it was time for part four: The Ghost of Christmas Present. This meant that they all had to get into that gargantuan costume while filling them in on what had happened and how far they'd gotten, as well as getting their congratulations.
As they put on the costume, one commando bunny made a face and moaned, "Oh, I hate this thing. If it's not trying to keep the rest of everyone under control or refraining from starting a food fight, it's getting hit on the head by the food being continually shoved in its mouth!"
"Yeah, but it's essential to the prank," another pointed out, "so we have to."
"True," murmured the rest, "quite true."
They then proceeded to pull the many mounds of food out of their various pockets. Then the Titanic appeared in their midst.
"Oops!" shouted one, "Wrong pocket!" All of them laughed as he put it away and put out the last of the pears.
"…three hundred thirty-two…three hundred thirty three!" exclaimed a different commando bunny.
"What?" chorused the rest.
"We have three hundred and thirty-three pairs of pears!" she explained, to much groaning both at the excellently terrible wordplay and the fact that they hadn't thought of it first. A couple of them even teared up.- Commando bunnies are very sensitive to anything annoying or funny the way some people are sensitive to beautiful music or poetry; they have been known to sob for days over some television commercials. -
With a quick hour-to-second time flip, the clock struck midnight for both the first and second time that night.
Muckley sniffed the air. He smelled food, but where was the second spirit? The smell seemed to be coming from the next room over… what if…?
He got out of bed, went over to the next room, and knocked. A great voice boomed out.
Inside the costume, the commando bunnies were fidgeting restlessly. There were about fifty-three and a half commando bunnies in that costume, which meant that there were about fifty-three and a half million chances for something to go haywire. Which sometimes resulted in more catastrophes than other times, but, for the purposes of keeping this story short, shall not be listed here- They shall be listed here: a pie explosion; several food fights; both within and outside of the costume, the mass painting of a city; paint squirting out the fingers; and, needless to say, many failed CCTs. -.
The commando bunnies watched as Muckley entered, shaking in his slippers. They, with difficulty, refrained from throwing one of the pie piles at him. Then, reminding themselves of the task at hand, they nudged the foot of the one whose job it was to speak.
"I-" began the commando bunny in a customarily annoying commando bunny voice, before he was poked in the foot.
"Use the voice switcher- A voice switcher causes your voice to be switched to its exact opposite tone and pitch. -!" hissed the others.
"Sorry!" he whispered, then said into the voice switcher, so it came out a boom, "I am the ghost of Christmas Present!" Struggling not to laugh, he added, "Look upon me!"
Muckley obeyed the ghost's order. The ghost was truly a great figure, twice as tall as any man and five times as broad, sitting among the piles of food, presented against a background of holly and ivy, and wearing a robe of deepest emerald.
"Here m'lad, have some pie!" ordered the ghost unexpectedly, picking up one of the pie piles before adding, "Catch!" A moment later, Muckley was covered from head to toe in pie.
"Idiots!" hissed the other commando bunnies to the ones controlling the arms, "You're not supposed to do that!"
"Ah," said the ghost, "sorry about that! I thought you'd catch." He pulled Muckley out and de-pied him. "Now," he continued, "I don't suppose you've seen the like of me before, have you?"
"No." said Muckley.
"Well, that's all jolly well and good, but we have places to be and little time to get there!" the ghost exclaimed, "So touch my robe!"
The moment that Muckley obeyed, one commando bunny whispered, "Now!", and the time crystal, teleport stone, and invisimental converter- Makes you see but not seen, smell but not smelled, hear but not heard, taste but not tasted, and feel but not felt. - were all activated.
Muckley opened his eyes to find himself standing in the town square on Christmas Day. Joyful people were everywhere, talking, laughing, singing, and rejoicing the birth of the Lord. Even the poor and bedraggled-looking were celebrating on this happy, happy day. A song rang out,
"On the first
Day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree."
The commando bunnies once again had trouble not joining in with their lyrics,
"When the first
Pie came flying
Into the Christmas tree
Someone blamed it on me."
Luckily they managed to refrain from singing their version of this ever-repeating refrain, but it was a very close call.
They watched the jovial crowds for some time before they were all called to church by the ringing of the bells. Now, from time to time, the ghost would sprinkle something from his torch onto a particularly poor or bedraggled person's meal.
"Why," asked Muckley, "do you do that, spirit?"
"I do that," said the commando bunny, refraining with difficulty from saying 'to make you ask', "to add both flavor and hope to the meals which have neither on this day."
"Ah." said Muckley, and was silent as they traveled on their way to a place he knew not. Eventually, the ghost stopped, and he followed the suit, asking where they were.
"We are at the home of your assistant, Mike Altmos. Watch carefully, now." the commando bunny said, motioning towards the window, and stopping himself just in time from saying, 'there will be a quiz later.'"
As they watched, the family bustled about, getting their dinner ready, rejoicing the return of their daughter, and running out to greet their father when he got home.
Upon Mike Altmos's shoulder sat Little Luke, his son with a cane and a metal brace supporting his body. Muckley felt something towards the small boy he had not felt in a great while towards anybody: compassion.
They continued to watch, the commando bunnies with increasing fidgetiness, as the family ate the small goose and the pudding. They listened with joy to the singing of the family (and, in the commando bunnies' case, abstained from joining in with weird lyrics). They listened to the various blessings, ending with a "God bless us, everyone!" from Little Luke. And they observed with no surprise (in the commando bunnies' case) and great surprise (in Muckley's case) when Mike Altmos raised his glass in a toast.
"To Mr. Muckley, the founder of this feast!"
"Founder of this feast indeed," Mrs. Altmos glowered, "I wish he was here-" (here the commando bunnies had a hard time of not turning off the invisimental converter, so for her wish to come true) "-so that I could give him a piece of my mind to feast upon, and I hope he'd have an appetite for it, too! But for your sake, not his, to Mr. Muckley, the founder of this feast." And she drank. Each of the children followed the suit, each with increasing distaste.
After this, they returned to their merriment.
"Come," said the ghost, "my time is running short." With that, Muckley found himself in his nephew's house.
They spent a very brief time there, just long enough to hear them make fun of Muckley for saying Christmas was a humbug. Oh, how those words stung, how he regretted them now! They watched a few games, one of which made Muckley synonymous with crab. All too soon for Muckley, the ghost said that they must go, saying "My time is near."
"Answer me one thing, spirit!" implored Muckley, "Will Little Luke live?"
The ghost answered gravely, "I see an empty chair in the future, with a tiny cane, carefully preserved. If these images go unaltered by the future, the boy will die."
"No! Spirit, tell me it isn't so!" spake an anguished Muckley.
"Better to die," quoted the other, "so as to decrease the surplus population."
The bell chimed midnight.
The commando bunnies turned on the invisibility bubble, did a quick costume change, activated the time crystal, and ran down the lane.
In Muckley's eyes, the ghost disappeared.
At the end of the lane, the commando bunnies took the invisibility bubble off of the ones in the costume. The latter of which swept forward, towards Muckley, and saw him tremble at the knees. This was another of the hardest parts for them: remaining silent. They came to a stop in front of Muckley.
"A-are you the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come?" he asked, a shiver in his voice. Upon seeing the ghost point downward, he surmised, "You are about to show me the shadow of things as they may be?"
The ghost nodded, while the commando bunnies inside the costume refrained from using any number of very obvious jokes.
"Then lead on, spirit!" spake Muckley, "And I shall follow you!"
The ghost, upon hearing this, swiftly glided into town. Once it had reached a small knot of business men, it stopped and indicated that he should listen.
While Muckley was listening to the men talking about the death of a rich man without a drop of sorrow in their voices, the commando bunnies were very bored indeed. So they practiced painting moustaches on the bottom of one another's feet.
When the businessmen were finished talking, the commando bunnies took Muckley over to another few people for a briefer, similar conversation, leaving a trail of moustaches as they went. While they waited, they removed the moustaches from their feet.
Muckley pondered the meaning of the conversations while the traveled to their next destination. How did they apply to him? But then they had arrived at a small building, and entered into a den-like room. Inside were a man sitting at a desk, two women with heavy bundles, and a man with a small bag. Muckley watched as they poured out their booty, which they had all taken from the same dead man. This man was unpopular; when one woman said that he wouldn't need his blankets or his bed curtains, which she had stolen, where he was going, they all laughed. This deeply troubled Muckley, for he could have been the man of whom they spoke.
The ghost motioned for him to follow, and suddenly (with the help of a teleport stone) they were standing at the foot of the dead man's bed. The ghost motioned for him to undo the sheet obscuring the man's face, but he could not, and instead asked to see any emotion connected with this man's death.
The commando bunnies, sighed slightly as they swished off, dragging Muckley behind them. They arrived at the spot and saw a young couple's happiness that they would now have a better chance of paying off their debt, since it was now to go to a new person. It was all the commando bunnies could do, at some points during the CCT, not to blut the "Scrooge" with a pie. The "Scrooges" were so aggravating at times and always had the same requests. Yet they did it every year, even though they sometimes wondered why. Muckley then asked to see some tenderness connected with death. Here the commando bunnies had to refrain from showing him a properly cooked goose.
They then took him to the Altmos house, where there was deep grieving over a death. It was so very quiet that their ears began to hurt from the sadness of the quiet- Commando bunnies are very sensitive to quiet and sadness, the way some people are sensitive to dust. Basically, they're allergic. -. Then in entered Mike Altmos, without Little Luke upon his shoulder. And it was from thus that Muckley realized that Little Luke had died. He watched the sad scene for a little while longer, the made a request.
"Spirit, will you show me what man was lying dead?"
Then the commando bunnies took him to all the houses of the different businessmen (by way of a teleport stone and a little glitter). Muckley, not yet realizing who the dead man was, asked where he himself would be in days to come.
The commando bunnies, preparing for the reaction soon to come, raised one arm and pointed into the churchyard. Once they had entered, the commando bunnies glided across and pointed to one grave in particular. They observed with some satisfaction and a little enjoyment as everything clunked into place in Muckley's head.
"Spirit!" he choked out, "Are these the things that Will Be, or are they only the things that May Be? Am I the man that lay upon that bed?"
The commando bunnies had the hand shake slightly by way of an answer. This CCT seemed to have been extremely effective…
"Spirit, please!" implored Muckley, falling to his knees, "I am not the man I was, nor am I the man that I may have been! I have changed; I will be a better man! Please, spirit! Tell me! Why show me this if I am past all hope? I will honor Christmas in my heart, and keep it all year; I shall live in the past, present, and future; I will live after the teachings you three spirits have taught me!"
The commando bunnies then activated the fade away machine, deactivated the time crystal, and teleported Muckley back to his bed, in his own time; so, in Muckley's eyes, the ghost faded away into a bedpost.
They took off the costume and hi-pawed. "Part five complete!"
"Now, we just need to wrap things up in part six."
The commando bunnies got the 'boy' costume finished and were in position underneath Muckley's window, ready for him to stick his head out the window and ask the day.
Muckley realized that the bedpost was his bedpost with great joy, that his bed curtains and blankets were still there, and that he was well and truly alive. As he bounced buoyantly out of bed, he shouted, "I am as light as a feather, as happy as an angel,-"
A commando bunny shouted, without him hearing in his joy, "As green as month-old pumpkin pie!"
"-as merry as a schoolboy, and as giddy as a drunken man! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to the world!" And he started to laugh as he stuck his head out the window and called down to a boy below, "What day is it, my good lad?"
"Today is Christmas Day, of course!" hollered back the boy.
Muckley was positively exuberant when he heard this, and exclaimed, "Why, they've done it all in one night! I haven't missed it! Oh, the spirits did it, but then, they can do whatsoever they choose! Oh, Glorious!" He then called down to the boy, "Go over to the poulterer's on the next block and buy the biggest goose there, and bring the man back to me so I can tell him where to send it! Be quick about it, and I'll give you half a crown!"
And so he was chuckling when the boy came back and was paid, chuckling when the man was paid, and he was chuckling when the taxi with the bird went over to the Altmos's (the fare for which he paid). And then he dressed and set out, so cheerfully that many, though they knew who he was, wished him the tidings of the season upon him, and he wished them grandly to them as well.
He came, in time, upon the collectors from the day previous and asked them to do him a favor. He then proceeded to whisper an amount in their ears that would they please, please take? He promised them a great many future donations, and set off again, arriving and attending church when the bells bade him to do so.
After the mass, he went to his nephew Bill's house and they had a grand old time of eating, talking, singing, and playing, such as none had ever seen the likes of before.
The next day, at the office, Altmos came in a full eighteen and a half minutes late. Muckley pretended to be his old self, and asked, "You do know what I'm going to have to do, don't you?" He waited for Altmos to almost protest, then added, "I'm going to have to raise your salary." And so he did.
He was better than any of his words, in all accounts, and became a second father to Little Luke, who did NOT die. People were glad, in all places, to see his change, himself perhaps most of all; he became a better man than any had ever seen.
And, as Little Luke observed:
"God bless us, everyone!"
(Gotcha, didn't I?)
While Muckley was celebrating with his nephew, the commando bunnies were looking on, happy at a mission accomplished and a CCT finished. Then one of them got bored and started throwing pickles at Muckley's nephew.
"Why are you doing that?" asked another commando bunny.
"His name is Dill, so I'm throwing pickles at him." he answered.
For this, one of the other commando bunnies pulled out a stuffed sheep and sheep-bopped- Sheep-bop: v. to bop one on the head with a sheep - him, saying, "His name is Bill, not Dill."
"Oh," said the first commando bunny, "let's throw pickles at him anyway." The rest agreed to this and started throwing pickles.
"Hoo!" was heard.
"Oi!" shouted one, "Not Pickles the owl, pickles the food!"
"Oh," said the other, "well, you ought to be more specific."
So, all in all, it was a very Merry, blessed, pickle-y Christmas.
Okay, now it's really
Or is it? With commando bunnies, you never know!
*With thanks and apologies to Charles Dickens.*
*With semi-reluctant thanks to my family, who taught me all the jokes and wordplays in here against my will.*
*With thanks to the commando bunny who told me this story, even if he did paint the inside of all my socks mismatching and disgusting colors afterwards.*
See you in the Region!- Don't ask. Seriously, don't ask. I'll explain, and then you'll be very afraid (if you weren't already, and even then it'd be worse). -
Author's Note: Please do not use the commando bunnies without my permission. If you wish to use them in a story, ask me first; I will tell you more about them. This is so that you may properly capture them if you so wish to do so. If you don't, then I'll just tell you more about them anyway if you review.