by Gnarls Dikkenz
PART THE FIRST
A Most Unusual Visitation
First I must tell you that Zakub Marlay was dead. Dead as a nail, in fact, deader than a nail, I'm talking really dead. Really, really dead, John Kerry's political career kinda dead. I really gotta stress that, or what you're about to read will make as much sense as the plot on LOST.
Remulak MoxArgon sat in the cold grim atmosphere of the office, checking off the day's receipts. When there was a knock on the door.
"Ratchet!" bellowed MoxArgon to the front room. "See who the hell is bothering me while I'm counting my money!"
"Yes Mister MoxArgon," said Android CAI-7 Ratchet as he rolled off his desk in the front room and onto the little wheeled box he kept for just such occassions. You see rolling into the little wheeled box was all poor Android CAI-7 could do to get around, since his employer introduced his body to the barrel of a plasma rifle.
The box's little wheels whirred as it scurried, mouse-like and meek, to the door's open switch.
"Merry Christmas!" bellowed two jovial figures, known around the town as Varos Quasar and Snotglob T. Mutant.
"Bah humbug!" snapped back MoxArgon. "What do you two want?"
"We've come along to ask if you would like to donate to our charity," said Varos.
"It's a very worthy cause," added Snotglob, "we're going to give it to the poor."
"What a load of Nogrillian turd-pellets," snarled MoxArgon. "Are there no workhouses, no slave pits, what the hell happened to the mucus mines?"
"We don't have those anymore Mr. MoxArgon," said Varos.
"Then what's the point of having Republicans in office," grumbled MoxArgon, "if all they do is give the poor jobs in a booming economy, when they should be slaving away in misery!"
"All we ask is for a small donation," said Snotglob.
"Please," said MoxArgon, "the last time I gave money to one of your 'causes' most of the money ended up stolen by Kofi Annan and Air America. GET THE HELL OUT!"
The two visitors were willing to press their case for a donation, but were soon dissuaded by the appearance of the same plasma rifle that turned poor Ratchet's torso into scrap metal.
"My Uncle Remulak," said Xran the Fleshrender as he passed the two fleeing gentlemen in the entranceway, "you're certainly charming in the morning."
"Get out nephew!" grumbled MoxArgon. "I don't even know why I'm calling you nephew anyway! We're not related, we're not even the same species, and we're the same age!"
"It's called casting with the players you've got Uncle," said Xran with a smile. "so play along. Changing the subject back to the story, I've come here to offer you an invitation to Christmas dinner at my house."
The plasma blast flying over Xran's right shoulder was all the answer he needed.
"Fine," said Xran, "more turkey for me."
"HUMBUG!" declared Moxargon, slamming the door to his office.
"How are things going for you Android Ratchet?" asked Xran.
"As well as can be expected since I'm only a head," answered the bodiless android.
"How are the little Ratchets," asked Xran, "especially the little little disabled boy."
"Don't say that," said the Android. "That word's forbidden. Tiny TekTak must now be called Differently Abled or 'Difabled' for short."
"My things are getting complicated," said Xran. "Why don't I just wish you all a Merry Christmas."
"I suppose you'll be wanting the whole day off tomorrow," snarled MoxArgon as he slipped on his heavy black coat.
"If it pleases you sir."
"It does not please me," growled MoxArgon, "I'm getting pretty sick and tired of all this cheerful holiday talk. We're in the business of intergalactic conquest not making merry under the mistletoe! Take the day off, but mark my words, when I completely rule this universe, everyone caught saying 'Merry Christmas' will be promptly strangled with tinsel and buried with a stake of holly in their heart! Or I'll disintegrate them, depending on whimsy."
MoxArgon retired to his mean little room, in a mean little palace at the end of a mean little cul-de-sac and he was in a mean little mood.
Everyone was happy, everyone was enjoying themself, everyone was just full of disgusting Christmas cheer.
It sickened him to see those people happy.
In fact, it offended him.
That was it.
Remulak MoxArgon decided at that moment to end the scourge of Christmas cheer forever, not through expensive wars and conquests, but through a simple claim that he was offended. That will banish the flamboyant trees, the twinkling lights, and the obscene mangers, reeking of Christian goodwill and fraternal love into the darkest pit available.
And the beauty of his plan was that it wouldn't cost him a cent.
The ACLU would help him do it for free.
Suddenly there was a banging and the rattling of metal. And a ghostly apparition appeared before him.
"Who are you?" Remulak asked the phantasm.
"Ask me who I was," requested the spirit.
"Quit with the spiritually symbolic wordplay," snapped Remulak, "I can see that you're my old partner Zakub Marlay."
"Ask me why I'm in chains."
"I know why you're in chains," said Remulak, "that's the same batch I wrapped you in when I through you into the Devollian Ocean. You sank like a stone."
"That's right," answered the ghost of Zakub Marlay, "and you then stole my half of the business."
"Need I remind you that you were planning the exact same thing."
"It wasn't exact," said Zakub. "My plan used lasers. But that's not why I'm here. Forces beyond your grasp know what you're planning to do, and they sent me to warn you, to save you from your own damnation."
"Humbug!" declared MoxArgon, "this is all a hallucination. My nephew probably slipped LSD into my food again. I think there is more of Wavy Gravy than the grave when it comes to you. Hell I could probably eat some more of those brownies he sent me and spend the rest of the night being annoyed by a legion of Tellurian hobgolblins."
"Listen up," said Marlay's Ghost, "you're going to be visited by three spirits to show you the error of your ways. This isn't an acid trip, Xran only dosed the brownies with laxatives..."
"Oh," said Remulak, "you're right. Gotta run."
"Just remember the spirits," said Marlay as he faded away. "And remember to light a bloody match when you're done."
TO BE CONTINUED: