The Nightmare Before Festivus

Kirk Cane had finally escaped from the corrupt grasp of San Francisco.  He had returned to Fillville, his hometown in Ventura County.  This was a good place for a person with a background like Kirk’s.

Kirk was incredibly excited when he was chosen to lead Fillville’s Halloween parade, the town’s most notable event.  He had been hand-picked by Mayor Indigo!  The parade ended up being a great attraction.  Everyone enjoyed the spooky floats and the spookier costumes.  Kirk was chosen to lead these festive parades for five years.  At the end of the fifth year, however, he grew tired of all the grim, dark pleasure.

“We all had a damn awesome time,” Kirk told Fillville’s easily-amused citizens for the fifth time.  But the boredom in his raspy, drug-afflicted voice was definitely more noticeable than ever.  Kirk approached Monica, Mayor Indigo’s lovely nineteen-year old daughter.

“Baby, don’t you think Halloween’s a little overrated?”

“No!  And don’t call me ‘baby!’” Monica snapped, and called a friend on her mobile telephone.

*                             *                             *

A couple months later, Kirk decided to take a long walk out of Fillville to think about what could be done to make the village even better.  He passed several tiny towns, until he arrived at Slotown in Central California.  When he came there, he saw a wonderful little city.  Everyone was observing a December holiday that wasn’t Christmas.  It was a stunning display.  There were very high metal poles everywhere, which small children were mindlessly dancing around.  Kirk peeked into a large house’s window.  A family was discussing areas that each of them could improve on.  He also saw a feast of spaghetti on the long table.

A little crippled boy was rereading a letter he had written to the mysterious St. Hoffa, the Patron Saint of Hope, who apparently disappeared in the 1970’s, and returned every December 23rd, to give gifts to Slotown’s youth.  What was the name of this holiday?  Kirk noticed a banner reading, “Happy Festivus!”  That had to be this astounding holiday’s name.

*                             *                             *

Mayor Indigo was extraordinarily worried about Kirk Cane’s strange disappearance.

“Did you check the delicatessen?  The airport?  The slums?  The country club?  The cemetery?  The synagogue?” Indigo questioned each and every one of the citizens for four whole days.

“Here he comes!” remarked the middle-aged psychiatrist Dr. Renston, as a shady figure embarked upon Fillville.

“Hurrah!” cheered Indigo, his pale frown morphing into an outrageously wide smile.

“Yessir, I’m back,” Kirk snickered.  “I, however, have news to share with all of you.  You see, I discovered a much nicer holiday than Halloween.  You see, this is Festivus.  And this is a Festivus pole.”  Kirk took a stubby metal pole from Slotown out of his bag.

“A pole?  A pole?” asked one.

“Doesn’t look very cool,” added another.

“Yes, looks rather dull.”

“Do you hang stuff from it?  Like a troll?”
“Or an expensive mink stole!”

“It’s a pole, alright?  And you have to tell each other how they’ve disappointed you over the year.”

“Doesn’t sound very nice,” Mayor Indigo said, scowling again.

“But, there’s this saint, Hoffa, that gives children awesome gifts!  C’mon!”

“That sounds acceptable.  But where’s the creepiness?” wondered Indigo.

Monica’s brown eyes were rolling at each of Kirk’s words.

“There is no creepiness!  That’s what’s great about it!” Kirk remarked.  “It’s a holiday of giving!”

“Oh, like Christmas,” Dr. Renston realized.

“No, better than Christmas.  Plus, it’s not a religious holiday, so all you Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and Hinduists are not left out!”

“Well, will you all applaud for Master Cane’s discovery?” Indigo questioned the town.

Everyone clapped loudly for Kirk.

“Wait, you still don’t understand Festivus!” Kirk cried in dismay.  “That’s not the whole holid…forget it.  Fuck.”  He left the scene, humming a tune he wrote as a teenager.

*                             *                             *


The next day, Kirk turned to Dr. Renston’s three misbehaving children, who were  named Craig, Clyde, and Chad.

“Kids, can you fetch St. Hoffa, the Patron Saint of Hope, from Slotown?”

“Why should we?” snapped Clyde.

“Because if you do, your father will spoil you three to no end.”

The three children cackled with selfish greed, and skipped out of town.

“Kirk, this Festivus shindig will turn out horrible,” Monica told Kirk.

“Nosiree!  Sweetie, you never know.  This may be the best thing that ever happened to Fillville.”

“I swear, Kirk, Festivus will be a disaster.”

*                             *                             *

“We got ‘im good!” Craig told Kirk two days later when the brothers returned.  Inside the huge bag was a dark man who was muttering terrifying poetry to himself.

“This isn’t St. Hoffa.  This is St. Kafka, the Patron Saint of Doom!  You musta not gone north enough.  It’s Slotown, not Agview.”

“Sure,” Chad chuckled.  As they left Fillville again, the wicked children had a new plan.  In an underground mansion located below Fillville lived a British aristocrat named Mr. Brownstone.  This Mr. Brownstone was banished from Fillville for cannibalism.  Since Mr. Brownstone was an urban legend, feeding someone to him seemed rather funny.  So, when the evil kids returned from Slotown, they slid St. Hoffa’s plump, juicy body into the large hole on the outskirts of town which led to the Brownstone Manor underground.

“Where’s St. Hoffa?” Kirk asked the Renston children.

“We couldn’t find Hoffa.  You’ll have to be him for Slotown.”

“Damn kids.  What do you mean, be St. Hoffa?”

“You know, like the Grinch,” laughed Clyde.

“Fine, I will.”  Kirk wandered away to help Mayor Indigo and Dr. Renston with Festivus decorations.

“I already told you, Festivus is going to be a major flop!” scoffed Monica as her father stuffed shoeboxes with such lame and hideous gifts as human eyeballs, frankenfurters, Prozac capsules, and woolen socks.

“I got the pole ready,” said Dr. Renston, pointing it out to Kirk with a yellow finger.

“It’s Festivus tomorrow!  Odd how time flies,” realized Kirk.

Meanwhile, beneath Fillville, Mr. Brownstone finally woke up from a nap of twenty days.  The six-foot-six rich Brit made his way towards St. Hoffa.

“Why, hello, old chap!  Want to go for a stroll!”  Hoffa reluctantly went over to Mr. Brownstone’s spacious ballroom.

“Righto!  Let’s dance shall we?  Of course, sir, of course we shall.”

*                             *                             *

“Well, I’m off,” snickered Kirk, and he left Fillville dressed in a red shirt and hat, just like Hoffa!  He had no idea what exactly was happening right below his feet.

“It’s gonna fail!” hollered Monica for the last time.

“Quiet!  I’m sick of your pessimism,” said Dr. Renston, and the psychiatrist pushed her into the hole he sadly forgot led to Mr. Brownstone’s lair.

Kirk slipped into one two-story abode in Slotown.  He tiptoed up the stairs, and opened a bedroom’s door.  A redheaded girl slept in the bed.  Posters of Johnny Depp filled the room.

Kirk noticed a pole in her room.  He started to place a shoebox underneath the pole, when the girl woke up.

“St. Hoffa?” asked the teenage girl sleepily.

“You’re kinda hot,” Kirk snickered, as the girl got a good look at his ugly face.

“What the hell?  You’re not Hoffa!” the girl gasped.

“Here’s your present,” Kirk told her,” showing her a dirty pair of plaid boxer briefs.  The girl ran to her parents, who called 911.

Kirk visited each and every Slotown residence, from the dumpy apartment buildings, to the house of one Ben Simon, which did not have any Festivus poles for some odd reason.  As he left this house, he was chased out of Slotown by a dozen policemen and two dozen angry parents.

*                             *                             *


“Mayor, it was disastrous!  Monica was right!” Kirk told Indigo.

“Um…Monica’s probably dead.  Dr. Renston placed her down to Mr. Brownstone’s underground mansion!” wept the bumbling mayor.

“Horrible!” sighed Kirk.  He jumped into the pit on the outskirts of town.

“Another guest?  Lady, come bring this marvelous bloke to tea,” Mr. Brownstone said, licking his lips.

“Not so fast!” Kirk screamed.

“Oh!  You’re here for the next big ball, are you?  I know you must be, or my name’s not Brownstone!”

“Let them go!  They don’t need to be your lunch.”

“Supper, actually,” corrected Mr. Brownstone.  Kirk was not amused.

“I’m here to save Festivus from your evil wrath.  That man you’re about to devour is a saint.  Get it?”

Mr. Brownstone gasped.  “You’re joking!  You’re joking!  I can’t believe my eyes!  You’re joking me!  You gotta be!  This can’t be the right guy!”

Kirk then challenged Mr. Brownstone to a game of poker.  Whoever won would get to keep St. Hoffa and Monica.

“We Brits are great shakes at bridge,” Mr. Brownstone lied, and took a swig of ale.  He then easily lost to Kirk.  “You numskull!  Why I oughta eat you whole!”  Kirk finally escaped with Monica and Hoffa.  The three of them carefully concealed the underground den, so that giant clumps of rock crushed Mr. Brownstone’s mansion and killed the carnivorous Englishman dwelling there.

*                             *                             *

“You did it!  Festivus may have failed, but my daughter and the spirit of Festivus are saved!” exclaimed Mayor Indigo.

St. Hoffa pointed out a book he wrote to Kirk.

A Festivus Carol?  That’s great!  Now we can finally figure out what Festivus is all about.  Thanks!”  But Hoffa was already running silently out of Fillville to save Slotown’s own Festivus.

“Well, next year’s Festivus will be much better than Halloween,” Mayor Indigo boasted.

“No, no, no.  Why the hell can’t we have Halloween and those excellent parades anymore?  How about a scary holiday with all the Festivus cheer?  One with pumpkins around a pole?  In other words, a cross between Halloween and Festivus!  It’s genius!”

“A Festivus for the rest of us,” agreed Indigo, grinning from ear to ear.  Kirk pinned him to the ground.


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