Second Chances: A Scrooge and Christmas

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December 2016 Spirit of Giving Story Contest Entry

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Second Chances:
A Scrooge and Christmas

One night can change your life, hopefully for the better.
Lyle Cane is in for one hell of a Christmas Eve surprise.


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December 2016 Spirit of Giving Story Contest Entry

 

“-and I want his resignation on my desk within the hour Janine!”

“..but sir it’s Christmas?.. and it’s JENNY!”
Her frustrated yell was interrupted by the heavy slam of his fine-cut imported Italian mahogany doors.

“Oh do I HATE this time of year! ‘but it’s Christmas’, ‘help the homeless it’s Christmas’, ‘send your cousin a gift it’s Christmas!’. I HATE Christmas.. it’s a bloody cash grab!”
His frustrated footsteps brought him around his desk and down into his seat of rich Corinthian leather.

He really is a Jackass.. they always are at this time of year..

I much prefer summer projects, it’s far easier to give someone a summer romance experience that changes their life then THIS garbage.
Speaking of work.. I’d better get back to mine.

“Hey Mac, got a light?”

He jumped delightfully!
Put them in a suit, feed them a few years of people bowing down to them and they think they’re the big strong man on campus, but deep down they’re all cowards in the end.

I guess I can cut him some slack.
It’s not every day your average fiftieth-floor open-plan Swedish designed office space is invaded by a visitor of MY caliber after all.

The fact that I’m floating probably isn’t helping either I guess?

“Don’t stand on ceremony for my account, it okay if I help myself to yer brandy Mac? Always have brandy this time of year, its tradition.”
He seems to be gathering himself back together slightly.
That’s promising, the fast ones are usually more open minded in general..
“Don’t bother calling security, or trying to leave. We’re in a different plane of existence, temporarily at least..”

“Who the hell are you?”

Despite what I said he reached for his desk phone.. minimalist inspired, hand crafted from the finest plastics for comfort, naturally.
When he didn’t even get a tone from the expensive waste of company resources his face paled and he turned to look at me properly at last.

THERE’S the look.
Fear, awe, confusion and the desperate hope that everything before him is some kind of horrible nightmare.. they always get this look on their faces eventually.

“hmm.. how to best introduce myself..”
Right on time.. heh, time pun..
Right on time, his high end diamond and gold encrusted wall clock let off a slight electronic tone to indicate the new hour.

I miss real clocks.. you can’t beat a nice ominous ‘bong’ sound for this sort of thing!

“Expect the first ghost when the bell tolls one?”
Apparently I need to work on my winning smile because he really didn’t seem to find me either amusing or reassuring for some reason.
“Welcome to your night of redemption Scroogey..”

“It’s the afternoon and my name’s not ‘Scrooge’?”

Nice try Mac but I’ve heard better before.
That’s not even imaginative!

“My name’s not really ‘the ghost of Christmas past’ either, hell I’m not even a ghost.. budget cuts, you know how it is?”
I shrugged for effect and poured out a tall glass of his hundred year old Brandy before snagging the bottle so I could take a nice big gulp from it instead.
“You know how that goes, right Scroogey?”

“..I’m not an evil man?..”
His eyes were practically begging me to understand his words.
They always do it, it’s kind of pathetic really..

“You’re a miserable man. You bring that misery upon everyone you see too, as I said, you know how it goes Scroogey.”
He flinched away from me.

He’s being rather boring and predictable sadly, gutless business executives are a dime-a-dozen these days, I miss the good old days when they at least had the strength of their convictions to argue back..

“What do you want from me?”

With a heavy sigh I put the now empty brandy bottle on his desk, without using a coaster, and stared at him thoughtfully.
Neat haircut, pressed suit, rough finger-nails though.. strange his type are normally up for manicures at the very least?

“I’m your ghost of Christmas past.. or as close as you’re going to get to one.. you’ve read the book, seen the movie and probably even acted in the play during your years in a high class boarding school Scoogey.”
I know he did, he played the pauper begging for a penny.
The irony would be rather funny if the whole thing didn’t leave him with such a huge chip on his shoulder in the process.
“I don’t want anything FROM you. I want to show you the error of your ways.”

He opened his mouth to argue but before he could quite decide what he was going to say I snatched up the remote control on his desk and hit the power button.
Behind me an innocent looking eighteenth century cupboard whirred away pushing a fifty inch flat-screen TV up from inside itself.

“Nice set up, must have cost a pretty penny.. although I’m sure YOU managed to get it all signed off as ‘expenses’ huh?”

That ruffled his feathers.
Again.. boring, his sort never do like being accused of misusing company funds.

“Now let’s sit back while I show you Christmas past in all its Glory.”
I reclined against his desk and hummed to myself lightly as the screen finally kicked in.

The image scrambled for a second but quickly it was back in full black and white ‘HD’.
As the theme tune started rolling around the room I stopped my humming and settled in for the long haul.

“You’ve got to be kidding me?”
I shot him an annoyed look and snagged one of his cigar’s in revenge for the interruption.

“Quiet, it’s a classic.. what kind of heartless bastard doesn’t like ‘It’s a wonderful life’ at Christmas?!”
The view ‘panned’ up to some ‘star’s and some voices started talking to each other in some kind of impersonation of a meeting of heavenly beings.

“HA! ‘IQ of a rabbit and the faith of a child’ they SO nailed Clarence!”

*******

“What was the point of that?.. and why did you stop it just before the bit where it started getting to the moral of the story?”

Do my ears deceive me or does it actually sound like SOMEONE was getting into it?
Maybe he’s not irredeemable after all!

“Don’t blame me, I didn’t make the rules.. sodding Charles Dickens..”
His mouth opened in confusion as he went to question me again but with a wave of my hand I distracted him with my answer.
His eyes followed the appendage to his pretty space-aged looking wall clock with the stupid chime.

Two minutes to two.
“My times almost up..”

“You can’t be serious? How the hell can you call showing me half of an old movie my ‘vision of Christmas past’?!”
When my eyes drifted back over to him he froze as if I was going to shout at him or something.

No idea why, as these things go he’s been rather pleasant so far really?

“Told’ya Mac, budget cuts. It’s not like the whole ‘past, present and future’ thing WORKS in real life after all, I’ve just got to go through the motions and hit my quotas.”
His mouth flapped uncertainly like a fish for a second.
It’s really not a flattering look..
“My time as your ‘ghost of Christmas past’ is over. It’s been fun Mac, thanks for the Cigar and Brandy an’ all.”

When I pushed off his desk he flinched back but practically surged to his feet indignantly a moment later.
This is always a fun bit!

“You can’t just LEAVE like that?!”

I turned and smirked at him, shoving the cigar in my mouth and popping my neck slightly.
The whole motion is built to put him on the wrong foot.
It’s too aggressive body language-wise for his sort to handle usually.

“Watch me.”

With little more fanfare than a slight tinkling of bells I faded out of his office leaving him behind to gape away in surprise.
Now I just need to find where I left th- AH! There it is!

******

The posh little overly expensive clock on his wall chimed out two o’clock and I faded into his office with a graceful twirl.

“I’m you’re ghost of Christmas Present, ready to have some fun?”
His mouth dropped open in awe.

I couldn’t help but giggle as his eyes scanned up the curve of my breasts, down my long legs starting at mid-thigh from my tight fire-engine red mini-dress and finally back up to my overly made-up face.
The urge to flick my hair and pout for him came to me so I did it easily, best part of the job is teasing the clients like this!

“What the hell do you mean YOU’RE my ‘ghost of Christmas Present?! You only left for like a MINUTE how the hell did you get so.. so..”

I believe the word he’s looking for is ‘cute’.. ‘adorable’.. ‘elegant’.. ‘enticing?’..
‘Perfectly beautiful in every way’?..

“When did you grow TITS?!”

MEN! Right charmer this one!
Five seconds in and he’s drooling over the twins like a horny teenager?!

“I’m sure I have NO idea what you’re talking about..”
He’s doing that flapping ‘fish’ mouth thing again, he really needs to stop doing that..

“Don’t give me that rubbish! I’ll admit the disguise is good but it’s not perfect AND you’ve still got the cigar you stole from me tucked behind your ear!”

Careful to not give away my chagrin at being caught so easily I moved a hand up to my perfect blonde curls and patted around until my hand touched something solid.
With a yank I came face to face with the cigar, just as he said.. so THAT’S where I put it!
I swear I’d lose my head if it wasn’t attached sometimes!

“um.. Hi again Mac.. I guess?..”
I brushed a hand through my hair and he winced, probably when he realised just who he’d just been staring at with lust.

I know I’m hot in this form.
It’s kind of part of the job description, the ‘Christmas present’ I’m representing just happens to be the time of the ‘hot but obviously drunk girl from the office Christmas party’..
A couple of years ago I got to turn up for this bit as everyone’s favorite overweight drunk uncle but then drink-driving became a ‘bad’ thing and people stopped going out every day on the build-up to Christmas!

“This is a lot more awkward when you know who I am.. can we just pretend you didn’t see through the special effects and get on with this? I’ve only got an hour after all..”

He shook his head a bit too viciously for my liking but I’m done pandering to him.
I’ve got a job to do!

Before he could stop me I snatched up his remote control again and started hitting buttons.
The lights dimmed, TV flipped over to the ‘Disco-Disco’ radio station and started flashing out one of those groovy psychedelic visualisation light shows.

You’ve got to love Cable, I don’t know how we survived before they introduced a one-stop shop for random junk no-one asked for!

“Come on Mr Boss-man, get off that slightly flabby old ass and dance with me!”
He didn’t move from his chair.

With a sigh I shimmied my hips to the beat of the seventy’s greatest hits and made a straight line move for his cabana bar in the corner.
If he’s going to be a grumpy asshole about this than I’m at least getting drunk on his dollar!

“Can we get the whole ‘showing me the Christmas present’ part of this thing over and done with?”
I glared at him over my shoulder.

With an effort to ignore him I flicked my hair with a huff and put the top on his cocktail shaker so I could mix business with pleasure.. making my drink while dancing to disco music, obviously.
I don’t think he likes this version of me?

He keeps squinting.. he should probably do something about that soon, it’s going to give him wrinkles..

“Bop Bop”
The tune ended and so did my shaking routine with a few little hops on the spot.
It took a while for all the accessory’s that come with the costume to stop moving but eventually the twins settled down and so did the rest of me.
“Cheer up Mac, your acting like I’m short changing you or something, need I remind you that you’re getting my services for free here..”

He snorted back a laugh.
Probably because I said ‘services’ while looking like this.
Guy’s like him always have their minds half stuck in the gutter!

“This IS your ‘Christmas Present’ Scroogey, people partying to excess while you sit on your ass being grumpy about it all.. couldn’t be more appropriate if I tried really huh?”

He sighed and leaned back into his chair to stare up at his office ceiling.
For a moment he seemed to be unsure of what to do next but eventually a sigh escaped his lips again.

“..why me?..”

“Oh that’s easy, because you’re a self-hating narcissist that doesn’t see all the harm he causes people. The fact that your practically a lost cause means I’m not going to even try and help you, how does that old line go?.. ‘doomed Scooge, your doomed for all time, your future is a horror story written by your crimes’.

He didn’t seem to find that line amusing for some reason.
First wonderful life, now the Muppets Christmas Carol.. this guy really has NO sense of culture does he?!

“..philistine..”

******

“-Yes sir, I can boogie! But I need a certain song, I can boogie, boogie boogie, all night loooonnnggg.”
My eyes caught on the pathetic little ‘clock’.
“Damn is that the time?”

Only a minute to go, I was just getting into this whole dancing with myself thing too!

“It’s been fun Mac but this is my stop. Hope your starting to see the error of your ways, blah blah blah, expect the next ghost when the.. crappy little digital clock chimes three?..”
He honestly looks kind of relieved to see the back of me?

My singing’s not THAT bad is it? I’m actually kind of hurt..

“You’re out of Martini.. and Rum.. and that Green stuff, can’t remember the name but boy did THAT have a kick!”
He sighed heavily.
No pleasing some people, I offered him a drink and he turned it down, not my problem.
“Ghost of Christmas Present, peace out!”

The bells tinkled and I was gone leaving him alone with his empty cabana bar to think about what he’s done.
I can’t believe he didn’t like my singing!.. also where did I put that scythe?..

******

The ‘clock’ chimed its little electronic warble.

I appeared behind him this time and just stood there.
This one’s always fun, I’ve not met a single person yet who doesn’t get caught with this one!

For a long minute he sat there obviously waiting for something to happen.
I kept my last body on under this one which was probably a mistake because I really want to giggle at how silly he looks right now and THIS form doesn’t ‘giggle’, it’s in the instruction manual somewhere I think?..

Finally after almost another minute he rolled his shoulders back and came face to face with a seven-foot tall Grim Reaper smiling down at him with its bone-y face.
Naturally like any other sane person he screamed and tried to scrabble away from me.

My far too long bone-y arms came up slightly as I instinctively tried to muffle my giggles with them but I managed to resist the urge before he really noticed.
Honestly his eyes seemed more focused on the Scythe in my hand then what I may or may not be doing?
I can’t really blame him, it’s a nice one.

I got it from an Amish fellow a few thousand Christmas’s back.
I think he was Amish at least?.. maybe I just made that bit up to entertain myself at the time who knows..

“W..w..what d..do you..you want?”

Credit to ya Mac I really didn’t think you’d have the balls to question the Grim Reaper!
This is usually the point where you’re lot fall to pieces.

My eyes scanned around the room, the skull mask above me mirroring my actions as it went.
Finally I settled back on him and I sighed heavily.

Luckily the Reaper costume doesn’t ‘sigh’ in general, lacking lungs and all.. that would just be creepy!

Eh?.. Sod it!
I’m under-budget for once. He deserves something real for being such a good sport over everything.
Besides, showing someone a grave on TV just doesn’t have that raw visceral effect that you get from a real spooky graveyard!

Without a word I moved towards his big important looking office doors.
He didn’t follow me at first but it was practically inevitable that he would eventually.

“You..you want me to come with you?”
I twisted my head to stare at him and the skull mask copied my actions.
The whole effects pretty creepy but it works which is the important thing.
“I.. uh.. o..okay?”

He slowly made his way towards me.
When he reached my side I stretched a little, careful to not let the movement show through on the costume of course.

It’s been a while since I’ve done any REAL miracles.
The power alones kind of expensive to start with and with today’s consumerist western society there’s pretty much no point in even trying to save some of these idiots from themselves.

Re-engaging the costumes arms I leaned the scythe down and tapped the doors.
I may have accidentally left a little mark on the wood but I’m sure he’ll remember me because of it when this is all over so it’s more of a gift then vandalism to my mind.

The other inhumanly long bone arm moved out and pulled the door open.

Instead of his secretary’s office as he’d no doubt expected to see the door now led out onto a snow covered graveyard.
All the dead trees you could ever want dotted around and even a few curious ravens to add to the melodrama of the whole thing.

Sitting right in front of us, slightly down the incline was one large gravestone set apart from the others.
It’s facing away from us as you would expect.
It helps ramp up the tension.

Doing this job is a lot like writing a story or directing a TV show, you have to keep your audience on edge or you lose them and everything becomes pointless.

“S..spirit? That’s not.. that can’t be my..”
I turned the skull mask towards him with its blank unseeing eyes and then turned back to the grave.
Slowly my hand moved up and the bone one followed to point him towards it ominously.

He shivered and shuddered but ever so reluctantly started pacing towards the stone.

As he reached its edge he turned back to me with hopeless eyes, begging for me to say he wouldn’t see what he expected.
Expectations are wonderful things sometimes.

He expects to see his own name and death date.
I expect to see the funniest thing I get to enjoy today!

I had to practically disengage the entire costume leaving the ‘Reaper’ frozen with its finger pointing towards the grave so I could give in to the urge and have a nice long silent cackle at the look on his face.

They make this job SO easy sometimes!

His head hung low like a dead-man walking, slowly he turned away from me and made his way around to face the front of the grave.
It was obviously covered in snow and frost to a point where it was unreadable, that’s just the way these things work.

With almost painful care and fearful eyes he reached out, dirtying up his nice suit by rubbing away the years of dirt and debris so he could see the inscription.
Here it comes..

“What?.. Hang on! This isn’t my grave?!”

I couldn’t take it anymore!
The lost look of confusion he sent at the Reaper body cracked me up.
With a shimmy and a roll I slid out of the Reapers flowing black robe and landed hard on the icy grass in a giggling mess of short dress and barely restrained boobs.

Copying my bone-y alter-ego I stuck a hand up and pointed at him while rolling around in mirth and kicking my legs to keep some form of balance.

“YOU!”
Oh my god!
Oh god I’m gonna pee myself!

The look on his FACE!
PRICELESS!

“What the hell are you laughing about?! This isn’t FUNNY! You just damn near scared me to death!!”
For a long moment I locked eyes with him and carelessly flicked my long hair out of my face before cracking up again with the giggles.

“Oh that was SO good! Had you going for a minute there Mac?!”
His face scrunched up angrily but I was on a roll at this point.
“You really think I have it in my budget to use TIME-TRAVEL on YOUR ungrateful ass?!”
His face scrunched up even more and flushed red with both anger and embarrassment.
“We’re in Morningside Cemetery, Edinburgh! That’s Scotland to you, ya ignorant pleb, I’m sure old Ms Betty McCarthy there is right glad you came to visit her grave. She don’t get much visitors no-more, not since the sixteen-hundreds at least!”

He started storming his way towards me.
Reluctantly I had to let the laughing fit go to focus back on him.
This is the point where the decision is made.

Will he accept his flaws and see the light or will he let his anger consume him and slap a ‘poor defenceless drunk girl’..

Come on Mac, you can do it!
His hands fisted a few times but slowly they came lose again as he got closer and closer to me.
His stomps became more measured as he went until he finally came to a stop hovering over me with an almost confused look on his face.

“You set this up didn’t you?”
Well DUH!
“This whole time you’ve been messing with me to set me off and see what makes me tick?”

Well I wouldn’t go THAT far Mac.
You had some damn fine booze in your office and it’d be a shame to waste it on someone like YOU after all..

“This isn’t some cheesy moral lesson about ‘the meaning of Christmas’ is it? You know I’d never fall for that load of crap.. this is to show me how bad I can be, isn’t it?”
Again, I was going more for the ‘hitting my quota for the night’ angle but whatever floats his boat I guess?
“You pushed me to breaking point and my reaction.. I.. I was like my father?.. I nearly hit a wo-”

WHOA! Watch it bub, this dress is dry clean only!
Luckily he leaned away from me as he collapsed in on himself and vomited into the grass but it was a pretty close call to my eyes.

Feeling just a hint of guilt over the whole thing I reached out and rubbed his back a little as he spat and heaved a bit more.
I don’t hate the guy or anything after all, it’s all just business..

It looks like he got A message loud and clear, even if I’m not completely sure what that message is?

From his reaction I’m guessing his father was somewhat abusive to his mother?
They should really put something like that on his file?!

This whole thing could have been so much easier if I’d known about THAT little detail!

“You gonna be okay Mac?”
He heaved one more time but sighed heavily and nodded his head anyways.

Despite the cold he struggled out of his expensive suit jacket as he straightened up.
With careful steps he went around to the other side of me and slowly let himself down until we were sitting next to each other.
From inside a garter strap hidden high up on my thigh I pulled out a little folded handkerchief for him to wipe his mouth with.

He’s not the first guy I’ve worked with who’s puked out of shock, relief or fear.. sometimes all three..

He stared at the offered handkerchief for a moment before cracking a smile and laughing under his breath slightly in disbelief.
He took the offer eventually and started clearing around his mouth almost delicately.

“What’s your name?”

He caught me completely off guard with that one.
I shuffled my slightly cold but still fabulous butt on the grass a little and wouldn’t meet his eyes.

“Christmas. Everyone calls me Christmas.”
I’m not one for the mushy stuff, especially with clients.

Christmas is more of a job title really but I’ve been doing this so long that my real name doesn’t necessarily apply anymore anyway.

It’s not like I get time off or anything!
Even when it’s not actually Christmas there are always assholes out there in need of a good ‘Scrooge’ treatment so it feels like Christmas to me most of the time anyway.

“That’s an odd name.. mine’s not ‘Mac’ or ‘Scoogey’ by the way, it’s Lyle.”
He stuck his hand out towards me, not the one holding handkerchief of course.

After a long moments indecision I reached out and gave it a limp shake.
This body doesn’t exactly do ‘strong macho’ handshakes sadly.

Off in the distance a set of bells started ringing.
Three O’Clock already.. quitting time I guess?..

“It’s been fun Mac. Hopefully I won’t see ya again but who knows, maybe you’ll stay an asshole by next year eh?”
He chuckled lightly and let his head sink down a little in recognition of my words.

Much better!
I like him better like this, humbled and self-aware looks good on anybody.

With a surge I pushed myself up to my feet and turned to smile down at him.

“Time I left Mac.. it’s been fun, sorry I drank all ya booze and stuff..”
His lips curled up into a smirk which I couldn’t help but mirror.
“You stay on the straight and narrow now boy-o or I’ll have to come torment you with my singing again ya hear?!”

He chuckled to himself but nodded along anyway.
As I turned back towards the ‘Reaper’ skin he suddenly jolted up to his feet in surprise.

“Wait, what about getting me home?!”
With a gleeful giggle I broke into a sprint, ignoring his call.
“HEY! You can’t just leave me here!”

I spun on the spot as my arm came into contact with the Reaper’s cloak.
“Do I look like I’m made of money? One CGI traversal of space per customer Mac, anything more and I’m not making a profit!”
He leaned forward as if he was going to actually chase me down but I caught his eye making him stall suddenly in surprise.
“You’re a big boy. I’m sure you can find your own way home from here, think of it as a mini-holiday? I hear the peaks are lovely this time of year..”

The bells in the distance rang out their final chime.
Obviously someone’s training an apprentice or something at the bell-ringers society because that lasted for way too long in my opinion.

“It’s been fun.. Lyle.. take care Mr Boss-man.”

With those parting words I used the last of my meagre budget to turn both the Reaper skin and myself invisible to his perception by shifting dimensions slightly, just enough so that I’m out of phase but not enough that I can’t see him still standing there staring at the point where I was in confusion and just a HINT of amusement.

I don’t want to say that I ‘liked’ him at all but he wasn’t too bad for a human.
I’d go so far as to say that I’m fond of him now, like a particularly dumb pet or something?

He was a lot better than most of the blow-hard clients I have to deal with usually at least!

It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise though I guess considering.. his soul being what it is?
If that stupid little trollop of May’s would do her job for once maybe-

“What the hell are you doing?”
Speak of the devil and she shall appear behind you with a burning aura of fury!

“Huh?.. ACK! What are you doing here fairy princess?!”

“DON’T CALL ME THAT!”
She stamped her white ballet slipper down on the frozen grass like the petulant child she is.

In my opinion she really DOES try too hard with the whole ‘angel’ thing.
Her Momma May, now SHE could pull the look off, but the Fairy Princess here just.. well..

She took a step closer to me and leaned in as if she was trying to be intimidating.
Oh PLEASE!
“Whatever you say Swan Lake, what are YOU doing here?”

“I asked first! What are you doing with one of MY clients?!”
Oh? So she DOES know she has a job to do after all huh?

Well that’s ten quid I owe Barty!
I was convinced she’d let her fascination with bestiality screw with her work ethic to a point of obliviousness or something?

“He’s one of yours is he?.. huh, you know I never noticed..”

“Don’t give me that crap old man, two days before his file finally goes dormant from my books YOU turn up and start doing that stupid ‘Scrooge’ routine of yours ‘just by dumb luck’, uh-uh I ain’t buying it!”
She stamped her little ballet flat again and squared up to me.
It’s kind of annoying that she’s taller than me by a head with this body but that doesn’t make her look any less of a prissy little girl having a temper tantrum.

“Funny I’m not selling anything so I guess we’re all sorted then? I’ll just be on my way, busy night you know I got ah-urk!”

STRONG HANDS!
FAR too strong hands!

Get her off! I can’t breathe!!
..oh wait.. I don’t need to breath? DUH!..

“Oh NO you don’t! Because YOU couldn’t leave things well enough alone, I’VE got to put up with this crap on Christmas Eve of all times!”
She sighed wistfully and fixed me with another angry glare.
“I’m supposed to be off sorting out a gender confused wombat in Australia right now, not hanging out in this dingy corner of the world with your alcoholic ass!”

Without much warning she dropped me on said ‘alcoholic’, but still rather nice if I do say so myself, ass.

I slowly pulled myself back to my heels and grumbled under my breath.
“Yeah, wombats, that’s TOTALLY the important area of your job you should be focusing on.. bet the little thing ‘happens’ to live on the beachfront of a nudist beach with an open bar too, huh?”

“DON’T you take that tone with me!”

She waved a glittery pink fingernail in my face.
I was tempted to take a bite at it but held off in favor of using words instead.
Words are always the more civilised way to fight after all..

“Oh yeah, what you going to do about it you lazy, half-assed work-shy wannabe FAIRY-PRINCESS?!”

She growled low in her ‘angelic’ throat and stepped right into my personal space.
Before I could do much more than stare up at her in surprise her hand came down heavily on my head and a wave of pressure hit me so hard I ended up falling back on my poor abused mini-dress covered butt!

“..owwie..”
As my head started to clear certain sensations and twitching muscles which REALLY shouldn’t be there registered in my head.

“Oh.. you bitch?!”
I flexed my nimble fingers and the latency delay from input to action, even if it is usually barely noticeable, wasn’t present at all.
“..did you just..”

Well what did you expect would happen Genius?
You picked a fight with the goddess of gender-confusion and let her land the first punch?!

My hands came up to cup the, suddenly very sensitive and much more jiggly then I remember, objects stuck firmly to my now smaller ribcage by flesh and muscle.
“Holy shit, these things are REAL!”

She smirked at me in amusement.
If anything I’ve SHRUNK too!
It feels like she’s staring down at me from WAY higher than before!

Although, maybe that’s just my perceptions playing tricks with my sense of perspective?.. I hope..

“Stop touching yourself in public, it’s rude, act like a lady.”
She smirked darkly at me.
Obviously she’s enjoying herself and she thinks she’s ‘won’ in some way.

“Hey fuck YOU Swan Lake, despite what you just did I AIN’T no lady!”

“Could have fooled me.. now, on to the important part, what to do about.. HIM..”
I glared up at her as she cut her amused eyes away from me and over to Lyle who was slowly making tracks away from us towards the exit on the far side of the cemetery.

“How about doing your god-damned job for once an-“
She turned back to me and that aura of rage showed it’s truly ugly head again silencing me instantly.

“Do you WANT me to turn you into a gender-confused wombat, because I am THIS close to doing it?!”

I couldn’t resist the urge to gulp heavily and shrink away from her.. just a little bit..
“..I’ll be good..”

“Right, good, now.. to business!”

******

With a puff of pixie dust and an unnecessarily ‘flashy’ flash of light we appeared on the path in front of Lyle.

His eyes widened in shock as he took in the ‘benevolent blonde angel’ before him.
I did my best to hide behind her slightly so he wouldn’t see me.

It’s one thing to flaunt a body when it’s not yours but coming back to someone I just got done working with in the same, but much more REAL body feels like bumping into that guy you slept with on the morning after the office Christmas party.. not that I know what that feels like or anything..

I’m always working during the Christmas party, ironic as that may be.

Swan Lake was having none of it though.
Her vice-like claws had my wrist held tightly and with little more than a tug she had me front and center for Lyle to focus on.

“Christmas?”
I cringed and tried to shrink away again.

My dress is both riding UP and DOWN at the same time which isn’t helping anything.
I bet my hair’s a mess too!

It’s amazing the things you miss when you’ve suddenly got a corporeal body to wear again.
So far I miss being naturally ‘perfect’ and the certain lack of the ability to feel temperatures.
In other words it’s bloody COLD here!

“Lyle Cane? I’m in charge of your case, come with me I’ve got an offer to make.”
Without a backwards glance she turned and started marching towards the cemetery gates.
I reluctantly followed along, more dragged than anything else and shot Lyle an apologetic look over my shoulder.

No wonder she doesn’t work with people much, some people have just got NO bedside manner!

He sped up his pace to follow us eventually but kept shooting me curious glances as he went making my cheeks flush even more than they already had from the cold.
My free hand fought valiantly to get my mini-dress to either stay up or down, I don’t care which as long as it does one of them, and focused on not flinching when Swan Lake pushed the gates open onto a swirling vortex of wasted CGI budget.

“Hold your breath, it makes it easier on the other side.”
Lyle nodded and did so as we all stepped forward through the portal.

******

Out the other side I took in a deep breath.
Swan Lake didn’t need to obviously because she’s not corporeal right now but a second later Lyle started sputtering and coughing which brought a grin to my face.

Never hold your breath when you go through a portal dumbass!
Rookie mistake!

“Was that really necessary?”
Reluctantly I turned my eyes to the Fairy Princess in charge and frowned slightly in response.

Necessary?.. No..
Funny?.. Hell yeah!

“You’ve been doing this job too long. It’s jaded you and made you unnecessarily cruel..”

HEY! Don’t go preaching unnecessary cruelty to ME Princess!
I’M not the one who wastes her time helping ‘poor wittle animals’ with their gender identity rather than the millions of desperate and suffering humans that you leave out in the cold like the complete narcissistic BITCH that you are!!

“When this is over I think I’ll put in a proposal to have your Apprentice Yule take over from you at last?”

YULE?!
That dopy little twit couldn’t scare his way out of a paper bag!

It’s oh so EASY for YOU Princess?!
Your clients actually WANT to change!
My job practically demands that I be the bad guy, day in, day out helping people that don’t deserve it have a second chance!

Yule wouldn’t last a DAY doing this job for real.
The kids got too soft a heart and a pretty soft brain to match!

“You have an Apprentice?”
I jumped slightly, having forgotten Lyle was there in my angry glaring session with Princess.

“Ah.. kinda? He’s useless honestly, it wasn’t my choice or anything. Apparently we don’t have enough budget to provide a full service anymore but we have enough to keep one of the higher up’s brain-dead son’s in work anyway..”
I don’t really hate the kid or anything it’s just annoying when it’s so obvious the only reason he’s there is because Daddy dearest commanded it and it makes my job so much harder in exchange.

“Oh.. so.. uh, where are we exactly?”

I shot a glance over at Swan Lake but she seemed busy staring through the window of the rather large house we’d appeared outside.
Yet again she’s ignoring her Job!

I stuck my finger in my mouth and held it up to the wind thoughtfully.
Mild chill, no sub-arctic winds, air pressure’s mild too..
“If I had to guess I’d say we’re about twenty miles from your office tower.”

Lyles eyes went wide in awe.
I couldn’t help but preen a little under his attention.
Look at me with the cool moves!

“Do you HAVE to lie constantly?”
My preening came to an instant stop at Swan Lakes sudden question.

She spun around and glared at me with her arms folded over her chest.
After a painfully long stare off she glanced over at Lyle and flicked her head, nodding in the direction behind him.

I couldn’t help but cringe when he turned and saw the same thing I did when we first landed.
Namely a lot of trees that didn’t quite cover the metropolitan sprawl and recognisable skyline, including his office tower, in the distance.

He turned sharply and gave me a mild glare.
With little other options left I shrugged to him guiltily.

What can I say?
After a while you get used to working on a budget and everything becomes a magic trick of some kind or another almost instinctively..

“More importantly, come to this window.”
When we both hesitated she turned on the angry aura which got us both moving almost instantly.
“Look inside and tell me what you see?”

We both peered in.
Lyle seemed to get lost and a little misty eyed so I took the reins and spoke first.

“Looks like someone’s trying to remake the Walton’s Christmas special from nineteen-seventy-six with a cast of worryingly young actors and a sponsorship from the GAP’S ‘modern Yuppy’ catalogue?”
Snow White glared at me hard.

Well she ASKED?!

“Thats..”
My eyes drifted over to Lyle.
He had tears in his eyes now.

He seemed to be transfixed on the woman playing the ‘Mother’ in this stupid little stage play of a Christmas meal for some reason?

I turned my attention back to her and squinted hard.
Nice pair of tit’s on her if nothing else?
Kind of got a cute face too, although it’s obviously showing her age a little?
Unsurprisingly with the amount of kids around the table she’s got big old ‘child-bearing’ hips too!

Her husband must be pretty happy?
I’ve seen married men that have had sex less times then he’s had kids apparently?!

“I think we’ve seen enough here.”
My head turned to shoot the Fairy Princess a confused look.
Why does she have to be all cryptic with this stuff suddenly?

Lyle seemed reluctant to leave at first but a wave from her and a not so gentle nudge from me set him walking slowly back across the snow covered yard.
Just as we were getting out of range from their annoyingly happy laughter a single sentence managed to escape from the house making Lyle freeze in shock for some reason?

“What time’s Candy getting here with her lot Lana?”
I watched, kind of fascinated, as Lyle took in a deep breath and wiped at his eyes again before following in Swan Lakes footprints.

With one last confused glance back towards the house as a large black SUV came rumbling up the path towards it I followed them both into the portal that had appeared pretty much where the last one dropped us in the first place.

******

“You okay there Scroogey?”
Lyle’s breath caught in his throat and he turned to me with wide confused eyes.

“That was ME!”

Uh.. No?..
I’m lookin’ at you and I don’t see no child-bearing hips OR them Tig-ol-bittys!

“Lana.. that’s what my Mother was going to call me if I’d been born a girl..”

My eyes quickly swung around to glare at Swan Lake accusingly.
THAT’S cheating!
She’s stacking the deck to show him what he needs to see!

“..I’m on to you Princess..”
The bitch had the arrogance to smirk at me!

“Whe..where are we now?”
I’m not even going to try and fake it this time.
It’s no fun when he’s seen through the trick after all..
“Wait.. I know this?.. this is my University campus?”

Oh Joy! Snow Whites stealing MY bit?!
She’s got it all wrong too, you’re meant to go from youth to old age not the other way around!

Amateur!

“Well we haven’t got all day. Lead on Snow White.”
That one got me an angry glare from her.
I’ll have to remember to call her it more often.

“This way..”

She lead us through some snow covered paths and finally back inside the warm halls until we reached some kind of Library.
Lyle flinched at the sight of it so I’m going to take a guess and say we’re at our destination?

Inside the place was practically empty.
The only exceptions being a beefy looking guy in the corner who didn’t seem particularly comfortable and a rather pretty girl with a familiar face surrounded by long brown hair tucked loosely behind her ear as she stared hard at a book that probably weighed more than she did.

Lyle gasped in shock and I sighed heavily.

“She did the same courses as me?”
Snow White’s face was practically glowing with pride as she watched him process this whole thing.

It’s all a big scam!
She’s showing him a possible future that’s all.
For all we know this girl could have turned out any number of ways that she isn’t showing but THOSE don’t fit the narrative she wants to show!

Without another word the Fairy Princess turned to leave the area.
Lyle stayed transfixed again for a long moment but this time he started moving before I did.
As we left the area there was some kind of commotion inside the Library?

Being the last one out I glanced over and caught a blonde bundle of energy come bouncing in from the stacks and excitedly slamming a book almost as big as the other girls one down on the table with obvious pride.

Off to the side the uncomfortable beef-cake seemed to almost shrink in on himself shyly.
Huh? Maybe he prefers blondes after all?..

With a light giggle I ruffled my own now blonde hair and took the last step out into the portal.
Who can blame him?
Blondes are awesome!

******

When I came out the other end of the portal this time I was alone.
Apparently they’ve both moved off without me?

With that in mind I glanced around the little slice of snow covered suburbia we’d landed in and started following the messy footprints that lead away from the portal in an obvious beeline for one house specifically.

Rather than play games I went to walk through the front door to see if I could spot the others and ended up walking face first into it instead.
..oh yeah.. corporeal body now..

With an angry huff and clutching my nose tightly, I made my way around to the back of the Christmas light covered house instead.

I turned the last corner into the back yard to find Swan Lake leading a teary Lyle away from the house.
They both perched themselves on a little bench in the garden as Lyle pulled himself back together.

More out of curiosity than anything else I wandered over to see what was going on.
The minute Lyle spotted me he was back on his feet and rushing over to wrap me in a tight awkward hug.
“..thank you..”

Why does it feel like I’ve missed something here?!

Swan Lake smirked at me slightly as she stepped over to us and put a hand on each of our shoulders.
Foregoing her usual CGI portal the world faded out around us, followed quickly by it fading back in with a completely different backdrop.

This time we’re in a bedroom of some kind?

Lyle sniffed and finally pulled away from me to look around the room in no small amount of awe.
If I had to guess I’d say we are currently in a little girl’s bedroom.. make that ‘girls’.. plural?
Two little beds that look unreasonably tiny even to my shrunken body, both draped in pink bedding.

Almost instantly I took a liking to the girl on the right bed over her presumed ‘sister’!

While the room in general and the bedding is out of some kind of girly-girl’s fantasy, at least the right-bed girl is showing signs of being a tomboy?
There’s nothing wrong with being pretty, look at me currently for example, but a girl has to be more than just fluff and giggles in my opinion.

The little shelf above her bed with a few baseball trophies and posters of skateboarders makes me think she’s going to be a little hellion when she’s older.
I love a girl with a sense of fun about her!

My eyes kept drifting along the wall and I couldn’t help but wince when a picture next to several more trophies on the back wall by the window registered in my head.

Okay.. so she also does Ballet apparently?..
I stared hard at the picture with two little girls on it.
Both were dressed up like ballerinas in their pink tutu’s and smiling for the camera while striking a pose.

I wonder which one of them is the baseball player, the blonde or the brunette?
There’s no doubt they’re related from their similar facial features obviously but they both look equally ‘girly’ in that picture.

“Have you considered my offer Lyle?”

Offer?
When the hell did she make him an ‘offer’?!

“You’re sure I won’t be harming anyone?”
Despite myself I couldn’t help but smile warmly at him for that.

Not so ‘Scoogey’ after all, huh?
What can I say? I do good work!

“Reality can change, if anything you will be helping many have a second chance at life..”
I shot her a silent glare as Lyle worked it over in his head.

That’s kind of unfair to say? Just because they have a chance to do things again doesn’t mean they are going to do things RIGHT this time?!
Most people tend to have a congenital case of ‘stupid’ in my experience, no fiddling with time is going to fix THAT problem..

“..and the girls?”
She gave him a truly dazzlingly bright, proud smile before answering.

“They don’t exist yet. They will but not yet, you won’t be stealing from anyone, think of it more like you’ve sleep walked through the first few years of your life and you’re only just starting to remember it all.. besides, they’re four?.. it’s not like they can remember much at this point anyway even if they were real.”

She’s really trying to sell him on this ‘deal’ huh?
I’m suspicious.. what’s in it for her?

Careful to not get her attention I slid behind her and glared at Lyle hard until he noticed me.
With a forceful gesture I made the universal ‘cutting’ motion at my neck telling him not to agree to anything.

After a long moment of staring at me his lips pulled up into a bright smile which wasn’t exactly the reaction I was going for.
He turned his head back to Swan Lake and nodded at her happily.

I tried to stop her but as I took a step forward she slapped a hand out that hit me in the tit’s hard and froze my body stiff.

She slid up to Lyle and gently rested her palm on his head.
Like a tidal wave his body started morphing and, above all else, SHRINKING!

Before my eyes he went from an older man, not quite past his prime but getting there, down to a skinny little thing of about eighteen years.. then again into a decidedly feminine looking fifteen.. and on and on..

Eventually her hand left ‘his’ forehead and thick brown curls took its place.
The little four year old beauty queen that had replaced him sagged slightly.
Swan Lake caught her easily enough and with seemingly no effort at all she slid the little girl onto the left bed gently.

My body became unfrozen and I surged forward, shoving Swan Lake out of the way so I could stare into the girl’s eyes intensely.

It took a few seconds to work, corporeal bodies aren’t built to use the sight, but I managed it eventually.
Sitting there happy as ever was Lyle’s consciousness?

I should have expected as much.. his soul was always female to begin with.
Who knew Swan Lake could actually DO her job right once in a while?
It only took a shove from me to do it I guess!

“It’s Christmas Eve Lana, you should be asleep or Santa might not come in the morning.”

Much to my dismay the little brunette bundle that was tucked into her pink bedding giggled and nodded along with Swan Lakes stupidity.
Feeling a little disappointed that it was all over I took a step back and sighed heavily.

It’s not like I ‘like’ him or anything but I’m fond of Lyle.. Lana now I guess?..
I guess.. I should be going to my next appointment?

I’ll have to report this whole ‘sealing me into a corporeal body’ thing to HR after my shift obviously but I doubt Swan Lake will get much more than a slap on the wrist for it.
She works with a minority group, that’s why she gets so much more funding to play with and why she’ll be able to skip out of any real punishment as well!

“Where do you think you’re going exactly?”
I turned and glared at her mildly, still hurting a little from the loss of someone I’d actually bonded with for the first time in years, not that I’d let HER know that..

Her hand came out and snatched my wrist before I could move on and my body froze up again.
She stared at me hard, seemingly considering something deeply although it was pretty obvious to me that it was some kind of ‘act’ she was trying to pull.

“Did you know that Yule was promoted to a full guardian last week?”

WHAT?! That little bastard didn’t tell ME?!!
She smirked at me and cocked her head to the side while dipping her voice down into a conspiratorial whisper.
“I think she needs a guardian angel to keep her on the straight and narrow, don’t you?”

Oh.. OH! That’s brilliant!
Get Yule off my back and doing some good at last!
Serve him right for his snooty attitude, he’s got the temperament to be a guardian angel too!

“Yeah, definitely!”
I shot a grin over at ‘Lana’ who giggled to herself and smiled back.

“..and I think we know just the person for the job.. don’t we?”
I nodded along in glee until the sharp edge to her grin registered in my head but by then it was too late.

“yeah, definitel-.. wait..”

“Lana, meet your new little sister Candice.”
Her hand came up to my forehead and with a wave of pressure it started getting bigger and bigger until it covered my vision completely.

“..oh you complete and utter bitch..”

Swan Lake moved with the grace of her namesake and dipped down to my side so her lips were close enough to my ears that only I could hear her.
“Don’t pretend you didn’t plan this all along Christmas. You already had a replacement in the wings and you tried to steal one of MY clients, I’m not stupid little lady..”

Despite myself I flushed bright red in embarrassment at being caught out.

So I may have.. taken a certain liking to my ‘Christmas Present’ body?..
So I may be due for a vacation back on earth like Swan Lakes Momma is currently enjoying?..
So I also may have chosen Lyle’s case specifically because I could see his potential and I had an inkling that she would give me an ‘appropriate’ punishment when it was all finished?..

I was kind of hoping for the old ‘stuck in the corporeal body’ thing though, not THIS!!

“Still a total bitch Swan Lake, I’m going to have to go through PUBERTY again.. with a.. with a THINGY!”
To the side of us ‘Lana’ started giggling her head off on her bed.

The Fairy Princess lifted me up despite my indignant squawk of protest and placed me gently into the right-hand bed where I turned to glare at my apparent ‘sister’ angrily and pushed a wave of blonde hair out of my face in frustration.

“..yeah, laugh it up.. guess who gets to go along for the ride with me, huh?”
Almost instantly Lana’s laugh cut off and she paled dramatically.
“Bet you didn’t think of THAT little joy when you let her sweet talk you into this deal, huh Mac?”
She turned her head slowly from me and up to Swan Lake with a gulp.

“Now, now girls play nice! Sisters look after each other and you’re going to be the best of friends forever I can just TELL.. after all, you were both ever so excited to be dancing together in two weeks.. what was the show you’re doing again?”
She twisted her angelic face towards me and a dark smirk crossed her lips for a moment.
“Oh that’s it! You’re dancing ‘Swan Lake’ in the community theatres junior production, aren’t you?”

“Oh fuck YOU Snow White!”

“CANDICE LOUISE CANE! You mind your language young lady!”
The roar of an angry Momma bear made even me flinch hard.
I could practically feel her angry steps as she marched towards ‘our’ room.

The vague sound of tinkling bells and just a hint of cackling laughter was all that remained of the Fairy Princess when my head turned back to glare at her.

“..bitch..”

“I HEARD THAT! You are in SO much trouble Candice!”
Lana cracked up laughing which probably isn’t going to calm down Momma-Bear when she gets here in the slightest.

That familiar tinkle of bells rang out lightly again and for just a moment I could make out the vague shape of a woman hovering over me.
“Enjoy your new life Candice, look after Lana.. Merry Christmas.. Oh! Also, when you get to University, keep an eye out for a muscle-bound guy who happens to hide in library’s watching a certain pretty blonde shyly.. not to give spoilers but my ‘Momma’ happens to be on Earth right now you know?.. quite the coincidence huh?”

“Ohhh.. you’re good Snow White..”
The shade of my tormentor giggled to herself and slowly started to fade away again.

“I can’t wait to call you step-mother the next time we meet Candy.”

“OH FU-”
Wait.. CANDY?!

She named me CANDICE!
Candice.. Candy.. Candy Cane!!

“..oh god, I’m named after a Christmas Stripper..”

Lana burst out in laughter again and a shadow fell across our open doorway showing a woman who was obviously related to the ‘older’ Lana we saw before just in the.. uh.. chest and hips?.. department..

“I don’t know where you heard those horrible words young lady but I can guess and if you keep this up there will be NO more baseball for YOU in the New Year!”
I sunk down in ‘my’ bed and tried to hide from the obviously annoyed and far too large to be real ‘Mother’ hovering over me.

“Do you hear me Candice? This goes for you too Lana, one more swear and I PROMISE you won’t enjoy the consequences.. YOU!”
She pointed at me dramatically.
“You’ll end up sharing a wardrobe with your sister. No pants and shirts, just dresses and skirts until College.. and YOU!”
She turned and pointed at Lana too who suddenly seemed to find things a whole lot less funny.
“You’ll get a buzz-cut and go off with your sister to sports camp in the summer.”

To my surprise Lana shrieked in fear and dived under the covers instead of protesting.
I kind of wanted to try my luck but the idea of a future in nothing but the apparently ultra-feminine shoes of ‘my sister’ was enough to stay my tongue.

Momma-bear shot a look between us forcefully before her face softened and she bent down to kiss us both on the head lightly.

“Go to sleep the pair of you, Santa can’t come until you’re asleep. Now that you’re father’s gone I.. uh.. Santa’s really busy this year so you both better hurry or he might get annoyed and skip over us this year!”

Some unreasonable urge pushed itself forward in my brain and I almost unwillingly followed through with it to dive under my covers and lay down feigning sleep.
That must be this new, fully corporeal, body bringing me into line with the universe we exist in.

I think Lyle is almost done adjusting judging by his.. uh, her I guess?.. reactions but it must be taking longer on me due to my inherent nature resisting it all to some degree..

“Love you girls, sweet dreams.”
Momma-bear was surprisingly gentle as she backed out of the room and shut the door leaving us in the partial glow of a nightlight by the door.

After a long stretch of silence between us Lana shuffled on her bed and stared at me through the glow with bright eyes.

“..thanks for everything Christmas..”
I grunted but she wouldn’t let it go.
Slowly her hand came out from under the covers and reach over to me.

With about as much reluctance as I could muster, not that she could see it in the low light, I reached out and slid my hand into hers.
She squeezed down lightly and seemed to settle in for the long haul with our new position.

I let out a sigh but didn’t argue about it.

Might as well get used to this sort of thing I guess?
“It’s Candy now Lana, not ‘Christmas’.. Candy.. Candy Cane..”

A name like that.. Je-SUS!
High school’s going to be a NIGHTMARE!!

Just seventeen more years and I can legally drink again at least?
Not that I’ll be able to enjoy it properly with the whole ‘corporeal liver’ and body package now.

I sighed heavily and tried to get comfortable with my hand apparently claimed for the night by Lana.
My eyes drifted over to my ‘sister’ one more time thoughtfully.

She looked adorable honestly?
The thumb on her free hand has moved up to her mouth which is something I’m GOING to tease her about later obviously but still.. it could be worse I guess?

As retirement packages go, getting to be part of one poor little lost girl’s ‘Christmas Present’ of a lifetime is better than nothing at least!

May’s down here on earth too.. hopefully our plan worked and this whole mess will finally give Snow White the kick in the ass she needed to stop protecting animal welfare and focus on the real victims here?

Who Knows, maybe Lana won’t be the only little girl getting a special gift this Christmas?
I hope so.. otherwise I’m going to have to find the Fairy Princess personally and REALLY beat some sense into her!

This time we used subtlety.
It was May’s idea and look where it got me?
NEXT time we go with MY plan!

“You’re good Swan Lake.. you’re good, but I’m still better..”
A little giggle bubbled up from my mouth and I smirked widely.

Luckily Lana’s asleep already so she didn’t hear me.
I’d hate to keep her up too long tonight, tomorrow’s Christmas after all!
..Candy and Lana Cane’s first Christmas..

wait.. Lana-Cane?..
HA! Isn’t that a medical power you mush on your butt when it’s itchy?!

I’m almost glad I got ‘Candy’ in all of this!
I’d rather have the fall back option of becoming a stripper over whatever kind of job you can get by being named after medicated butt-powder!

My slight snigger turned into a full on giggle fit that I struggled to contain as time went on.
In the end it was only a sleepy groan from Lana when I jiggled our connected hands too much which managed to calm me down.

With a happy little smirk on my face I settled in for the night.
Despite my new younger body my mind isn’t quite done ‘de-aging’ yet apparently.

I had the weirdest dream involving an older ‘me’ in a mini-dress dancing with that shy jock I saw watching the future ‘us’ in the University library?
“Took you long enough my little Christmas Present.”

“I had to take the long way around, what do you think of a May wedding?”
I rolled over slightly in my sleep and hugged a pillow to my chest while sighing with content.

Who knew Momma May would make such a cute guy?

End

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

*************************************
**Diary of Candy Cane – Age Five**
*************************************

This is a journal of events for my personal use only, revenge to be specific.
Anyone who has not only found its hiding place but also unlocked all three padlocks on it to get this far should stop now.. THAT MEANS YOU LANA!!

Now that that’s been covered I can move on.
I got this diary for Christmas and while I don’t particularly appreciate the pink color I need something private to keep my thoughts clear with.

Lana seems to have practically forgotten her past at this point.
I’m struggling to remember a few details but my nature may be sustaining my mind past its physical limitations a bit better at least.

Either way this is what happened today and why I felt the need to start using this stupid book to keep track of things a bit better.

******

It started at kindergarden.

We went out for play time.
I took a book with me which got a few weird looks as usual but people have learnt not to bother questioning me on it.
Lana has started hanging out with a few of the other girls in class and, while she’s managed to talk me into some silly games with them at times, I tend to leave her to her friends most of the time.

I’d only read a few pages before something odd drew me back out of the story.
A sense I’ve not felt in almost a year, a sense that I honestly thought I’d lost when I got this corporeal body flared to life with a vengeance.
In seconds I was on my feet and scanning around the playground with worry.

It didn’t take long for me to pick up where the feeling was coming from.
As I stared hard at the area around it the world started to shimmer and shift until the veil fell at last letting me see my prey.

I barely held back a gasp of surprise when the back of a woman with long blonde hair and a floaty white dress that looked far too much like she was trying hard to look like an ‘angel’ came into view.

With quick steps, careful to make sure no-one was paying too much attention to me as I went, I pulled up behind her and turned away to face back across the playground.

“What the hell are you doing here Snow White?”
There was a startled gasp from behind me.
A moment later a voice spoke but not the one I was expecting.

“You can see me?!”

Throwing caution to the wind I spun on a heel and stared up at the ‘angel’ in shock.
She’s not.. that’s not..

“What the hell are YOU doing here?!”
She.. He?.. flinched hard just from the tone of my voice.
“Yule, seriously what the hell?! Why are you doing the Fairy Princess’s job?.. did she talk you into this?!”

To be fair to him he actually looked quite good in her white dress.
His hair was no longer short nor brown but long and blonde like Snow White usually keeps hers.
He even had quite a nice figure going on and well done make-up to boot?

If he hadn’t been MY apprentice for nigh on six-hundred years I doubt I’d have been able to tell he wasn’t really female honestly.

“How can you see me? How do you know that name?”
His voice rose into a feminine squeak of fear by the time he’d finished.
I huffed to myself and glared at him lightly.

“It’s me dumbass, Christmas! Use you’re sight for once?! How many times do I have to tell you about that!”
He flinched harder this time and pulled away from me slightly in surprised awe.

“Boss?”

“In the.. flesh.. I guess?”
My dry chuckle at my own joke didn’t seem to help him at all.

“wow.. no wonder they demoted her..”
What was that? DEMOTED?!
“Last Christmas the office went into meltdown and all the higher ups were running around panicking because they couldn’t find you. Eventually they interviewed me about it all but I hadn’t seen you in weeks at the time so they quickly moved on and pulled in Giselle for questioning.”

Giselle... that feels familiar?..
AH! That’s Snow Whites real name!

“I don’t know what happened but by the time they got done she came out in tears and we had a full reshuffle scheduled for Boxing day. When all was said and done I ended up getting her job as the Goddess of Gender-Confusion and she was made the new Christmas?”

HA! Oh, the irony?!
At this point I don’t really hold a grudge for the way she did things considering what I’ve got out of it all but then I’m still a few years off from puberty so I’m sure I’ll start raging at her again eventually.

Surprisingly I can see Yule as making a pretty good ‘Fairy Princess’?
He.. she I guess?.. she’s always been soft hearted and far too gentle.
The very things that made her so terrible as my apprentice would be really useful when you’re dealing with people who are hurting and have been screwed over by life a bit too much, like most of those in the Tran’s community that I assume she’s been working with.

As much as I don’t want to give her any credit in the slightest, I can see Snow White being a pretty impressive Christmas or ‘Spirit of Humility’ as the official title goes?
While I did the job I never really enjoyed it in general, aside from any fun of my own I could make obviously.

It takes a certain type of person to work as the ‘bad guy’ and force people to confront their own mistakes day in day out without it getting to them.
If anyone is sociopathic enough to do well in that role it’s probably Snow White, if it’s not an animal then she really doesn’t seem to care in the slightest in my experience?

It’s all not exactly what we had planned when May and I came up with our little scam but maybe this is better if anything?

Originally the plan was for me to force Snow White to actually do her job and make her realise the suffering she was leaving people to go through at long last.
I figured she’d ‘punish’ me in some way, although turning me into a four year old caught me kind of flat footed to say the least.

I had my doubts whether our plan had actually worked or not from the smirk on her face when she dropped the whole ‘Swan Lake’ community show thing on us before she left but apparently I needn’t have worried.
After so many years of getting the short end of the funding and general respect stick I’d kind of forgotten that despite how it seemed my job WAS important and I had enough seniority that me just disappearing would set off alarm bells.

“She’s doing really well, a few problems where she’s gone too far and scared a CEO into a catatonic state but who hasn’t done that once in a while? She has a problem with playing ‘nice’ when the person she’s dealing with runs a company which abuses or treats animals poorly but that tends to just make her job easier by adding anger to the mix.”

I cocked an eyebrow at hi-her suspiciously.
She seems to know an awful lot about how Snow White’s getting on?

“How are you handling you’re new job? Looks like you’re enjoying the benefits package if nothing else?”
She looked at me in confusion for a moment until I moved my hands up subtly and mimed having a chest which a girl my age could only dream of having.
She blushed bright red in response which amused me to no end.

“It’s okay.. it’s nice to be helping people and some of the girls/guys I’ve met so far have been real nice in general which makes a change from all the assholes we used to deal with.”
She sighed and flipped her hair out of her face before continuing.
“The workload is CRAZY though. I’ve been working day and night since we started but I’ve barely made a dent, it looks like she hasn’t dealt with a human client since the early eighteen-hundreds?!”

Huh.. actually that sounds about right?..
That’s roughly when humans killed her ‘pet project’ the Dodo’s off and she suddenly got heavily into animal rights practically overnight..

“At least they have you on the job now? I’ll be honest Yule you sucked as a ‘Christmas’.. it feels like the Fairy Princess role suits you much better.”

Even I’m not sure if I intended that as a compliment or an insult but judging by the way her face lit up in an almost unreasonable amount of joy she took it to be a compliment if nothing else.
A moment later I was caught completely off guard when she swooped down and lifted me into an enthusiasticly tight hug.

“Put me down you simple minded pleb!”
She giggled and mussed my hair a little before letting me down at last.

“Love you too Boss.”
I couldn’t help but blush there.
Aside from Lana and our ‘mother’ not many people have ever said they love me, even jokingly, before..

“Yeah, well.. whatever..”
She giggled again, staring down at me with those worryingly happy eyes of hers.
“Why are you here anyway? I doubt you just dropped in for a visit considering you didn’t know I was here?”

Her smile didn’t dim at all.
If anything it got a bit brighter with pride as she turned and gestured over to a group of boys a few classes above us playing with a ball while obnoxiously taking up way more of the playground then they should be allowed to in my opinion.

“Really? Which one?”
She shot me an amused look and waved at three of the boys who were off to the side, obviously not enjoying how rough the others were playing but also not willing to stop ‘playing’ for fear of being mocked.

I didn’t recognise two of them but the last one on the right was definitely familiar.

“Lana’s going to be so disappointed, she’s got a major crush on one of them..”
Well.. no, actually she won’t remember in the slightest hopefully?

It’s kind of hard to tell really, it all depends on how much her change influenced her.
For all I know she could be immune to reality changes at this point like me or any other spirit.
Her changes WERE more drastic then most after all..

“I’m thinking of making the three of them related in some way, cousins maybe?”

What? Is she fishing for ideas from ME of all people?
I’m not an ‘ideas’ person!

“Sounds good.. looks like you’re handling things well enough. Don’t be a stranger huh?”
I stuck my hand out for a shake.
She ignored it and pulled me into another hug with a happy grin.

“You’re so sweet Boss! Of course I’ll drop in from time to time, I imagine you’re out of the loop a bit already and it’s only been a year so far?”
A fair point.
Probably true too.

I’d almost appreciate the offer if she didn’t use the word ‘sweet’ or hug me while giving it?

“Are you enjoying your new life at least?”
Huh?.. well.. I don’t know?.. maybe, just a little bit..
“Ah, say no more, in my new line of work you get good at reading ‘embarrassed to admit that you like something’ blushes pretty well.”

Wha?!-B..but I didn’t say anything?!!

“That blush is just adorable Boss. Give it a few years and the boys will be all over you.”
Like hell they will!
I’ll either shift them off to Lana or smack them a good one instead!

I’m a one-woman guy.. make that one-man woman?.. one boy-girl girl-boy?..
WHATEVER! I can wait until college for May to show her now handsome face again, so that’s that!

“I really should get back to work, you wouldn’t believe how many TG people are born every second. I can feel my book getting heavier as time goes on with new cases.”
She swooped down for one more hug that I reluctantly allowed before leaning back up with a grin.
“Don’t forget to get that ten quid you owe Barty sorted out soon too. He’s driving people crazy going on about it, you know what he’s like with the whole ‘greed’ thing.”

Oh yeah.. I do kind of owe him don’t I?
You’d think being reborn as a mortal would let me skip out for a while but apparently not when he’s involved.

“I’ll sort it eventually.. take care kid? The job really does suit you, you’re practically glowing from it if nothing else.”

A little giggle came from her mouth as she paced away from me slightly and off towards the ‘boy’s on the far side of the playground.
“Oh that’s not the Job?.. I’m pregnant! Giselle proposed and everything, it was very sweet of her even if she was female at the time.”

Right.. of course?..
Why didn’t I think of that..
It just makes so much sense that they wou- NO IT DOESN’T?!!

“What the hell?! How the fu-”

“CANDICE CANE! YOU WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE YOUNG LADY!”
Oh shit!

I spun around to find the world moving on as if nothing had happened again.
Apparently Yule has picked up a certain skill for bad timing in cancelling the ‘hiding’ effect from her girlfriend.. fiancée?.. fiancé?.. whatever!

“Sorry Mrs Benson!”
She didn’t particularly seem mollified by the apology but before she could say anything more a brown haired missile impacted with me sending us both to the floor.

“There you are Cand, come on Jenny’s brought her jump-rope with her and she won’t believe me that we can dance while jumping!”
I barely managed to send a pleading look over at Mrs Benson while Lana yanked me back to my feet and started pulling me off towards a huddle of girls near the back fence.

Any illusion that I may be saved was neatly removed by the smirk on the old teacher’s face as she watched us go.

******

So that’s that!
For future-me’s reference, remember that you owe Barty ten quid, the new Fairy Princess a smack around the head for intentionally bad timing and Mrs Benson some kind of situation where she gets paid back for letting Lana drag me off to play with the other girls again..

THERE!
See, this is a revenge journal.. not just a ‘Diary’ even if it IS pink!

This WAS kind of fun though?.. just a little bit?..

Maybe I should write in here more often?..
I’m sure someone will do something to deserve a revenge note with a full account of what happened soon, just so I don’t forget and either over-do or under-use my revenge chance when it comes around someday.

It’s NOT a Diary though!
Journal.. Revenge journal..
Yeah!

I should stop now, I think I hear Lana coming up th-

Really the End this time?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

**********

Not bad if I do say so myself.. at least it ends with a Happy ‘Christmas’?
...
....
.....
That pun was terrible even by my standards..

Either way, Merry Christ-Hanukkah-Solstice-Yule-Kwanza-mas everybody!!
**********



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