So it was that the wrinkled old Santa substitute and his young, vaguely unwilling assistant sped from house to house, delivering tainted Christmas cheer to the good boys and girls. Fred became increasingly expedient, if slightly more tipsy, with each delivery. Jacob, however, became more nervous.
“I don’t know if we are going to have enough time to deliver all these presents, Fred. We’ve already been at this for a couple of hours, and we’re in the same state.”
“Ha! We have all the time in the world, chunky-nuts!”
“Chunky-nuts…” Jacob shook his head and looked at his watch. He shook it, holding it up to his ear. “That’s not right.”
He looked at the clock on the dashboard of Santa’s sleigh. “It is! According to this, we’ve only been delivering presents for about… Two minutes?”
“Well duh. Haven’t you seen ‘Rudolph’s Shiny New Year’? Father Time can do whatever the fuck he wants, and Father Time loves him some Christmas.”
“That… makes sense, somehow?”
“Shit. I hate it when that happens.”
The unusual pair of heroes continued their mission with renewed vigor. In time, Fred caught on that he should drink more milk than scotch, and Jacob grew enough sack to lift Santa’s sack for Fred. But of course, trouble has a knack for finding its way to Fred and Jacob before too long.
“I don’t like this.” Fred’s sizable mustache twitched. “Don’t like this at all.”
Jacob followed his gaze. “What? It’s just New Jersey…”
Fred shook his head. “No. That’s bad enough.” He pointed a crooked finger. “This is where the snow monster Frosty can be found.”
Jacob scoffed. “Fred, I told you, it’s Frosty the snow man. He’s supposed to be friendly and well, kind of dumb, frankly. Also fictional?”
“Fictional my ass! Keep your eyes peeled. Shit could get real. YAW!” Fred cracked the reins, spurring the reindeer on.
The first few deliveries in this new town went according to plan. Fred was noticeably more sober. Jacob rolled his eyes at first, but became increasingly concerned at the old farmhand’s unusual demeanor.
Things came to a head when they reached the more genteel part of town. Fred got out of the sleigh and slowly walked towards the edge of the roof. “You…”
Jacob nervously followed after him. “Fred? What is it?” He strained to see what it was the old man was staring at.
Fred jabbed a finger at something on the ground as he crept forward. “YOU!” He walked straight off of the edge of the roof, landing feet first two stories below with a sickening crunch. “…Ow.”
“Fred!” Jacob scrambled to the end of the roof. “Are you okay?”
“Um… I broke both of my ankles but… You know, great.”
Jacob looked beyond Fred and saw what the old farmhand had been glaring at: a snowman in the front yard. “Are you kidding me?”
“No. They’re pretty well broken.”
“I mean the snowman! Jesus, Fred!”
“That’s no snowman, son. That’s Frosty.”
The hat atop the snowman began to glow and vibrate. The glow extended to the rest of the snowman, which spun around. It blinked its coal eyes and flashed a garish grin. “Happy birthday!”
Fred shook his ankles furiously, which crunched and cracked beneath him. “No. Not today. Come on, damn it!”
Jacob grinned from the roof. “Holy shit, Fred! It really is him! HEY! HEY FROSTY!” The young man waved towards the magical snow creature.
“Happy birthday!” The snowman started moving towards the house, dark eyes locked on Jacob. “Let’s play!”
Fred started forward, ankles crunching all the while. “FUCK OFF, ball boy!” He slammed his hand into the snowman’s chest.
The snowman looked confused. “Ha… Happy birthday?”
“Not today, you frosty son of a bitch!” Fred landed a hay-maker across the snowman’s face, sending its head spinning.
The snowman was no longer smiling when its head finally came to a stop. “Angry birthday!” The words came out as a growl. The black coal eyes sparked, igniting into flame.
“Fred… What did you do?” Jacob stepped back from the edge of the roof.
“ANGRY BIRTHDAY!” The snowman howled, starting to grow. Its features morphed, changing into something more sinister. Its mouth stretched into a demonic rictus.
Fred turned towards Jacob and pointed at the rapidly-growing snowman. “TOLD YOU! Snow monster!”
Jacob looked up and up as Frosty the snow monster’s height surpassed that of the house. “Fred… I think we should be going now.”
TO BE CONTINUED…