“Yes Fred, I still like Santa Claus.” Jacob refused to look up from his computer screen.
“Then why don’t you want to come? Huh?” Fred crossed his arms and pouted.
Jacob turned to face Fred. “Because you’re wearing a Santa suit again. The last time you wore a Santa suit, it ended with Godzilla getting its ass kicked by an elder god.” He blinked. “In retrospect that sounds awesome but it certainly wasn’t at the time!”
“This is my own suit. I swear! Scout’s honor!” He held up two fingers on his right hand, fingers crossed. “Wait, I did that wrong.”
Jacob shook his head, frowning. “No, Fred.” He turned around.
“Yes it is, then!” Fred grabbed Jacob by the collar. Both men disappeared in a puff of glittery pixie dust.
They reappeared on a ridge just outside Santa’s village, laying on their stomachs. Fred had a pair of binoculars out. “There it is.”
“Fred! Damn it! I have paperwork to file… Is that Santa’s village?” Jacob began to grin.
Jacob sighed. “Okay. We’re here. What hell are you going to wreak this time?”
“Aw now I’m just going to pull an itty bitty prank is all.”
“You don’t do anything ‘itty bitty’.”
“True…” Fred sat up. “I’m gonna prank dear cousin Santa with this!” He produced a small, green baby alien. It looked at Jacob with glistening black eyes and a tiny little smile.
“Holy shit, Fred! Is that baby Yoda?”
Fred hushed him. “No, no, no! Do you want Disney to hear? This here is a what you call a grade A knock-off! It’s a baby Shoda!”
Jacob smirked. “Right… What are you going to do with it?” He nuzzled the baby’s cheek with a finger.
“Well you see, baby Shodas are super magical. That magic goes all crazy when they cry.”
“Fred, you are not making that baby cry!”
“Of course not! Cute widdle guy!” He noogied the baby’s head. “I don’t have to! What happens when you give a baby to Santa Claus?”
“It cries. Oh, Fred, that’s terrible.”
“Terribly awesome!” Jacob took a double-take. Fred was already up and running towards the village. Jacob sighed and followed.
The baby was starting to sniff and whine by the time Jacob caught up. “I thought you said you weren’t going to make him cry!”
“I’m not! The little bastard is hungry!”
“You’ll agree if he starts crying, son. There!” Fred pointed at Dingle’s Pizza Emporium. “Let’s get him a slice.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Sure it is! Didn’t ya read the sign?”
Jacob looked back at the storefront. A sign in the window did in fact read “Perfectly Fine to Feed to Infants!” Jacob rolled his eyes. “How foolish of me. Okay, fine.”
Fred frowned. “I uh, forgot my wallet and…”
“Fine!” The baby whimpered. “Hush, little one!” Jacob darted inside. He returned a minute later with a slice of pizza. “You owe me five dollars.”
Fred handed the baby the pizza. It tipped its head back and promptly swallowed the slice whole. “Holy shit!”
“Is that normal?” Jacob grimaced.
“Is any of this?”
The baby giggled and clapped its little hands. He released a might burp and hiccuped. There was a bright flash. Fred squinted at Jacob. “Say Jacob, have you always been a moose?”
“What are you…” Jacob looked down at his chest, which was now a moose chest, because now he was a moose. “AH! What did you do?”
“I didn’t do it!” The baby hiccuped again. Fred blinked his three eyes. “It must be the baby… I think I’m seeing double.”
“More like triple.” The baby hiccuped. “Oh, what the hell!” Jacob looked down at his ample breasts and buxom hips.
“What? You look all right to me.” Fred winked. Jacob dry heaved. The baby hiccuped.
Fred and Jacob returned to normal, but… “Fred! You look like you belong in a Rankin/Bass show!”
Fred shook his limited-animation finger. “Are you calling me a fish?”
“No! Think ‘Year Without a Santa Claus’!” The baby hiccuped. Half the village turned into cheddar cheese.
“It’s going to be a year without a Santa Claus if we don’t get this baby to stop hiccuping! It’s getting worse!”
“This was your idea! What can we do?”
“Well you can stop being a dildo, I can tell ya that!” The baby hiccuped. Fred burst out laughing.
“What?” Jacob looked down. “I’m a… I don’t even want to know how a baby would even know what a dildo is.” Jacob started jiggling towards Santa’s house. “There’s only one man that can fix this!”
The baby hiccuped again and again. Sparks flew. The village shimmered as it cycled through various textures and questionable references to pop culture.
Jacob came to the stop at the sound of a familiar base beat. He turned to see a wide-eyed, zombified Fred shuffling towards him to the beat. His Santa suit was replaced with a red and black leather one.
A bunch of elves ran up behind Fred. They joined him in shuffling to the beat. Fred started twitching his head.
“Uh, wrong holiday, you guys.” Fred tossed Jacob the baby Shoda. “EE HEE!” Fred and the elves started dancing in formation. Jacob spun around and stood on the tips of his toes.
“Sh’ mon, little Shoda!” Jacob Jackson broke into a run for Santa’s front door.
It opened as he approached. Hiccup. JACOB skidded to a stop, the baby landing on the glossy black hood of the mid-eighties sports car. The red light on the front of Jacob swooshed. “Well this is awkward.”
Santa glowered. “Jacob, is that you?” The baby hiccuped. Jacob caught it in his big, green ogre hands. “It is! And Fred!“
Fred trotted up. “Now just listen, Santa.”
Jacob turned. “Donkay!”
Santa smirked. “More like an ASS.”
Fred stomped his hooves. “Language! It’s the baby’s fault, anyway.”
“It was Fred’s idea!” Jacob added helpfully.
Santa harrumphed. “Of that I have no doubt. What to do, though?”
Jacob held up a finger. “Good question!” Another hiccup turned him back to normal… “Hey! Cool! Wait…” Except for his spider legs. “Hmm…”
“Could be worse.” Fred blinked all eight eyes at Jacob.
“GAH!” Jacob tossed the baby up into the air. Santa caught it handily. “No Santa, wait!”
The cute little Shoda looked up at Santa and stopped hiccuping. Then its face screwed up. Then it began to cry. “Aw, poor little guy!”
Fred and Jacob, along with the whole village began to rapidly change. Stupid cat memes gave way to vague references to Saturday morning cartoon shows that nobody remembers. That gave way to gritty reboots, closely followed by direct-to-TV movies with questionable plots.
Santa remained Santa through it all. First he laughed, then he rolled his eyes, then he produced a pacifier. He offered it to baby Shoda. The child took it eagerly and closed its widdle eyes. Everything grew quiet.
Jacob lowered his Buster sword and scratched at his spiky hair. “How come baby Shoda’s crying didn’t affect you?”
Santa laughed heartily. “Do you know how many centuries I’ve been putting up with crying babies?” He winked. “It doesn’t even phase me anymore.”
Jacob looked down at his strangely polygonic body. “Well, can you fix this mess, then?”
“Of course, not! Baby Shoda?” The baby looked at Santa, then at Jacob. It pulled out the binky and shouted “Woo!” Everything returned to normal except for…
“Hey, I’m pretty hot!” Fred leered at his own body. “Nice rack!” He looked up at Santa. “I uh… Where’s the closest bathroom? I have to go real bad. Heh…”
Jacob grimaced. “Dude, gross!”
“Agreed!” Santa looked at the baby, which wrinkled its nose. It pulled out the pacifier again and blew a raspberry at Fred.
The old farmhand was returned to normal, save for his second-hand Santa costume. “Aw, man!”
Jacob turned to Santa. “So, now what?”
“Now I finish getting ready for Christmas. You go with Fred and make sure he returns baby Shoda to his totally-not-a-knock-off-fictional-reality. And…” Santa turned to face you, the reader. “I’ll see you in a few short days. Merry Christmas!”
Jacob nodded. “Yes! Happy holidays!”
Fred shrugged. “Do these stilettos make me look pretty?”
Baby Shoda? Well folks, he just winked and smiled.