A Yurble stole my cinnamon roll! Circulation: 110,063,541 Issue: 170 | 19th day of Celebrating, Y6
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A Pint-Sized Christmas


by tambourine_chimp

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It was winter, and a cold one at that. So cold was it that the sails of the Blue Mist were near frozen solid, and though this helped for what freezing wind there was to blow against it, it caused a loss of the all too common sound of them flapping in the breeze.

     This was a sound that a certain baby Mynci missed deeply as he stood the wheel of his ship, grunting as he applied all his strength just to try and turn it around and head back for port. It had been a foolish idea to set out in such dastardly weather, a fact that the ship's navigator was mainly to blame. Second-In-Command, the shy baby Gelert was eager to be a pirate, all right; he just didn't have the foggiest clue how to be one.

     But the Mynci couldn't complain, really. The Gelert had stuck by him through thick and thin, and although they were both babies, the Mynci was actually old enough to be his father - a fact the pirate captain often remembered and wished were true.

     The truth is, had the Bananarama of old not been shipwrecked and washed-up on the shores of Neopia Central, where he soon met the infamous Boochi, then he wouldn't be the kind-hearted baby he was now, but a ruthless, heartless pirate that would sooner have eaten the baby Gelert then given him the position that matched his name.

     Sighing, Bananarama turned dejectedly away from the wheel, which groaned and juddered against the ice in its workings, shuffled over to the hatch, opened it and bellowed down against the cold and frosty air.

     "All hands on deck, shipmates! We're gonna turn this ship around even if we all 'ave to get out of our cosy 'ammocks a row it around! On the double, now!"

     As the motley crew of pirates - all of which were, of course, babies - stumbled numbly up the ladder and onto the deck, Bananarama spotted a particular Gelert trying to sneak behind a barrel to hide.

     "Second-In-Command!" Captain Bananarama bellowed raucously, causing the baby Neopet to jump half a mile out of his fur and spin around with a sharp salute. "Over 'ere, ye scurvy sea mutt! What was the idea o' makin' us come out in all this? Think ye're clever, do ye?"

     "Oh…Oh, no, Si - Cap'n!" Second answered falteringly, quickly correcting the bad habit the Captain had picked him up on numerous times. "I's knew we's would have to turn 'round, Cap'n! Clever idea of mine, isn't it?"

     "Clever?" the Captain hissed almost as coldly as the breeze that enshrouded them. "Oh, aye…? An' jus' what bit o' this idea o' yours is so darn clever, me hearty?"

     "Well, you see, Cap'n, Christmas is coming soon, and we 'aven't done anything to prepare for it…so I's thought that if we's had to go back to port, we's could celebrate it there -"

     "Christmas, ye say now?" Bananarama repeated slowly, brow furrowed in concentration. "I've heard tell o' this 'ere Christmas, but I don't know what it be all about, so I don't…we pirates don't know about anything called Christmas, never 'ave, probably never will do neither. For us, winter is jus' winter."

     "What? But surely you must've heard of Christmas, Cap'n!" the Gelert exclaimed, eyes wide with shock. "It's the season of giving -"

     "I take things," Bananarama muttered darkly.

     "- Of goodwill and peace to all -"

     "An' if the people I take things from don't like it, then theys can walk the planks, so they can! Or I could slit their gizzards…"

     "- Of joy and merriment -"

     "It's winter, boy!" Bananarama snapped angrily as he clapped his hands together, trying to keep himself warm, "Nothing but coldness an' bitter hardships abound, ye mark my words."

     "You really don't know about Christmas, do you?" Second-In-Command asked with mild disbelief.

     "I thought the past conversation woulda told ye that much," the Mynci muttered grimly as he stalked back over to the wheel. "Tell ye what, though…ye help us get safely back to port, an' we'll celebrate this Christmas as best a pirate can, that be all right wit' you?"

     "Aye-Aye, Cap'n!" the baby Gelert smiled broadly, snapping another curt salute and hurrying away to tend to the ship.

     "Jus' don't 'ope for a miracle," Bananarama muttered sadly after the canine's retreating figure.

     ~**~

     "So this be the Christmas ye've been tellin' me all about?" Bananarama asked as Second-In-Command guided him and the rest of the crew though the busy shopping streets of Neopia Central (passers-by remarking at "how cute the costumes were"). In every window was a green pine tree, decked in abundance with shiny tinsel and red and green baubles, candy canes and faerie lights. "What's all these 'ere trees got to do wit' giving peaceful merriment?"

     "Giving, peace and merriment, Cap'n," Second-In-Command answered with a joyful sigh, "they're three separate things remember. And anyways, the tree is an evergreen, see? So I's suppose it's meant to symbolize that some things remain the same, even in the harshest of times."

     "Load of steamin' dung, in my opinion," Bananarama snorted darkly as he stomped on past another shop, eyes turned-down to avoid the festivities displayed. "An' believe me, right about now even that would be welcome 'ere - steamin' dung, that is…arr, never mind; where do we start for all this?"

     "Well, we's could start with the giving, Cap'n…and there's only one place for that!"

     "Arrr, no…"

     "Yep, off we's all go to the Money Tree!"

     ~**~

     "I don't care what ye say, Second, I'm not givin' me trusty pegleg to some personified piece o' wood!"

     "But, Cap'n!" the baby Gelert implored with a childish whine, "You know you don't needs it!"

     "I do too, ye scurvy jack dog!"

     "But you's have both of your legs!" Second exclaimed in disbelief, mind boggling at just how selfish his captain was.

     "And?" the baby Mynci announced dramatically. But one glance into Second's pleading eyes melted his heart and, sighing, he took one last look at his wooden leg before tossing it dejectedly onto the pile of the other pirate's donations.

     "And a merry Christmas to you, too," the Money Tree muttered as they walked off in search of more holiday spirit.

     "So what next?" the Captain asked with another sigh, "We've done the giving part, nothin' can be worse than that, aye?"

     "Now it's time for the goodwill an' the peace!" Second-In-Command announced brightly as he skipped up the road.

     "You mean you're goin' to shut up?" Bananarama asked hopefully.

     "Even better than that, Cap'n!" the Gelert answered with a wink. "Much better, believe me…we're going…"

     ~**~

     "Carol singing," Bananarama muttered grimly as he stood ankle-deep in the snow, icicles hanging from his ears. "I can't believe Second brought us all carol singing!"

     "Cheer up, Cap'n!" a pirate called from the back, "at least we only 'ave to listen an' not sing!"

     "Right, that's it!" Bananarama snapped angrily, jumping up from his slouched position. "That is it! No more Christmas for us, me hearties! Back to the ship, I say - I've had it up to the gills wit' Christmas!"

     So saying, he stomped off back towards the port, fuming and muttering all the way, his ragtag crew following uncertainly at his heels.

     What they saw when they arrived back at the Blue Mist froze them all in their footsteps, especially Captain Bananarama himself, who cut himself off in mid-rant, staring long and hard at the sight before him.

     The sails, usually a drab brown, had been replaced for a shining white color, green and red tinsel wrapped around them numerous times. Snow had been delicately placed on the surfaces of the wooden railing around the ship, icicles hanging from them, flickering majestically in the candlelight. Up in the Crows Nest, someone had placed a giant star that shined in the sunlight.

     But what caught the pirates' attention more than anything else was the gigantic pine tree that had been tied to the main flag post, almost reaching the Crows Nest fifty feet above them. It too was wrapped in tinsel, baubles, candy canes, glitter and snow, and placed carefully underneath it was a pile neatly stacked and wrapped packages, each with a little name tag to a different pirate attached to them.

     "What…what is all this?" Bananarama asked in slow astonishment.

     "This, Cap'n?" replied Second-In-Command with a warm smile, "Why, this is Christmas, so it is!"

     "I can see that!" the Captain snapped alarmingly, turning on the baby Gelert with seething anger. "But what is it doing on my ship?"

     "I…I's thought you'd like it, Cap'n," Second whined in confusion, "when we all went looking around the shops, I's sent some o' the others to go and get all this and put it up…I's thought it would make you happy!"

     "Happy? How can it make me happy?" Bananarama barked, "I said I didn't want to have anything else to do with Christmas, didn't I? So, what ye're goin' to do is this…ye're goin' to take down every last bit o' this mess right now and haul it away…understand?"

     "Don't…don't you's want to open your present first?" Second-In-Command asked with a sniff, causing Bananarama to stop dead in his tracks.

     "Ye…ye got me a present?" he asked hesitantly, not believing his ears. "Where be it?"

     As the baby Gelert led him over to the Christmas tree, Bananarama took a quick look at his crew. Never before had he seen them look so happy, so full of hope and joy. Was he really about to order that all this be taken away from them, just because he was fed up? Was he really that selfish?

     Heck, of course he was! He was a Pirate Captain, after all.

     But as Second-In-Command presented him with his present, he gasped, and his heart melted once again. And this time it became so warm that not even the coldest winter could freeze it again.

     Because the wrapped present was in the familiar shape of a wooden leg…

THE END

 
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