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Wuemsel's Fanfic Corner

Muffleby&Keek help an old friend


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It was three days before Christmas Eve, because every good Christmas Story has to be set three days before Christmas.

It´s the time of the month December, when the snow starts practising for the great Christmas Concerts, and the air smells of gingerbread and pine-needles and Chocolate Elves, and all the Christmas Creatures start to get excited, though none of them would ever admit it (They´re known to be quite grumpy, as the reader probably already knows.) and they search their wardrobes for the official suits, brush their wings a little more often, get their lists in shape. The last meaning they start panicking (in a very christmassy way, of course) at seeing all the still to be done chores on their various lists.

Or, well, most do.

This Christmas Story (That is bound to be a good one, since it´s set three days before Christmas Eve. Keep that in mind, reader!) though is about the only two Snow Particles Elves living in Southern California. Now, their lists had been covered in 'check'-signs by the end of October.

Those two Elves were called Muffleby and Keek, and they were the inventors of Warm Snow, that I´m sure everybody knows about, since it´s been a sensation in all world´s media.

Yet, ever since the Nickelbuh had retired, those happy days of playing in snow with the sun blazing down on your head, were over. For it had always been the Nickelbuh, who had turned the artificial snow (Yep, the one out of the can.) Muffleby and a bunch of helpful Chocolate Elves had spread over the whole city into real, if warm snow. It had sung, it had clung, all in all, it had been as happily annoying as conventional, cold snow.

Muffleby and Keek had loved it dearly, though, of course, they had always pretended to hate it. Just like with real snow.

But this year, as said before, the Nickelbuh wasn´t their superior anymore, he had retired, and the new Highest Christmas Creature, Walter (From day one on he had made it clear he didn´t want to be called the Walter, and a lot of the Christmas Creatures had thought it was a bad sign that his first act in office was to break with a tradition.) had not seemed very fond of the idea of Warm Snow.

He had Muffleby and Keek show him the cans, the artificial snow, and he had even made it sing for a split second, just to then decide he didn´t like it and abondon the whole scheme from the Christmas Plan. The days of Warm Snow were over.

As a result, there was nothing else to do for the two bored Particles Elves than just their observation duties, which ended on the forth days before Christmas Eve and only took half days, anyway, since they had been assigned to School Watching.

So most of their time, they rambled about revolution plans - one or two kidnapping ideas might have been among those too - or just generally talked mean about Walter, while they walked listlessly through the hot, snow-less streets, spread some particles here and there (preferably in city halls and college auditoriums) and watched tv.

Since they had ordered cable some weeks ago, this last occupation had climbed up in their ranking order of enjoyable things to do. There was always at least one Christmas movie on that they could watch, while drinking particles-spiked chocolate and eating gingerbread and peanut butter cookies, sighing through every scene of snow covered landscapes. Watching the snow-covered London was especially hard for them, and if the movie was set in the 19th century or earlier, at least one of them would start sniffing shamelessly half-way through it.

They were a miserable sight this Christmas.

And it showed.

Though Walter had strictly forbidden any spreading of particles in the hot Californian air, they still did it sometimes, when they saw a particularly sad passer-by, or when they walked past someone having a fight on their cell-phone. But it wasn´t like the years before, when the Warm Snow had sung and clung, and when they had walked through the streets, spreading christmassy feelings and dreams wherever they´d been.

Now, it sometimes seemed to them, as if the tv made people feel more christmassy than walking through their city.

On that evening, they had once more snuggled up on the couch, each in his corner, with their wings hanging lazily over the headrest, and covered by bunch of blankets spread over the red-checkered pyjamas they wore. Steaming cups of hot chocolate stood on the couch table, underneath the small artificial pine tree they had bought and decorated.

The whole house was heavily decorated, unlike the years before, when they had been out more.

"It´s at least 90 degrees outside," Keek just grumbled, dragging an edge of one blanket over his sock-covered feet.

Muffleby didn´t tear his gaze away from the cartoon they were watching. "Don´t be ridiculous. It´s December. I´m sure it´s not that hot."

Keek mumbled something unintelligable about his friend´s senses and listlessly gropen around for a cookie that had fallen down. A few moments later, he was munching with a half-disgusted cringe and discreetly looked around.

"You spit that cookie somewhere, you´ll clean it up," Muffleby said calmly. He still wasn´t looking, his chocolate colored eyes seemingly glued to the screen. "You needn´t have eat it, after dropping it."

Making a face, Keek swallowed and reached out for his cup. "Nag, nag, nag." He paused, but when no reply to that came, leant back with his cup in hand. "Muff, I´m bored."

"Go wash the dishes," Muffleby suggested.

"I did that already."

At that, finally, Muffleby turned his head. "Wow," he stated, sounding a lot less impressed than he was, "you are bored."

"Think I´d lie to you?" Keek replied dryly.

"Okay, so what do you want to do? There´s... the Sci Fi Channel..." Having turned back to the screen again, Muffleby started switching channels randomly, "the Soap Channel, MTV... oh! That´s this cool channel I told you about, where you call, and they give you stuff for free! Isn´t that great? Look, look - a pan! You call them, and they give you a pan. Aw," he sighed dreamily, "giving things to others. Doesn´t it make you feel all homey too?"

"Muff," Keek´s dry voice broke through the delighted rambling, "read the subtitles. They give you the pan, if you buy those knifes."

"So?" Muffleby said indignantly, dragging his wings up a tad in his suppressed starting anger. "They still give it to you."

Keek rolled his eyes, but submitted, lifting his hands. "Okay. You win, go collect your pan. But," he added in a less annoyed tone, "I don´t want to watch something else, I want to do something else. How about," he snapped his fingers, "we go for a walk? Somewhere we haven´t been yet. Someplace new."

Muffleby was not impressed. "We´d wandered through this city a trillion times. Where d´you suggest we go?"

"Another city," Keek replied excitedly. "We could take the car we never use and go see some other cities `long the coast."

Studying his friend for a long moment, Muffleby shook his head sadly. "Keeks - there won´t be any snow in the other cities. You know that, don´t you?"

"Yes, I know that," Keek snapped. "But... but maybe..." He sighed dramatically. "We need to do something, pal, don´t you see? We can´t go on staring at the screen-snow all the time, while Christmas is fading behind our backs. We need to go see people. Decorated houses. Anything."

Muffleby opened his mouth to cut in, but was interrupted by Keek, who had talked himself into a passionate rambling.

"Remember this Dr. Whatshisname we saw on the documentary channel the other day? The one, who talked about depressions? I have all the symptoms!"

Muffleby drew his head back a tad, scowling. "Christmas Creatures don´t get depression."

"Not when they´re in snowy christmassy places, borrowing cookies from friendly neighbors, they don´t."

"Okay," Muffleby exclaimed and switched off the tv to fully turn in his corner of the couch, facing his friend. "Where do you want to go?"

"Doesn´t matter," Keek replied around a happy grin, as he struggled to free his feet from the blankets they´d been tangled in. "We´ll just jump into the car and drive off into the sunset, until we´ll see a star to guide us." With a fierce nod, he jumped off the couch and hurried away to get his shoes, scarf and coat.

Muffleby didn´t move an inch, except for his eyes following his partner. "Uhm... Keek? You can drive, can´t you?"


*****


A few hours, a beautiful sunset, lots of wrong turns and at least two dozen rather unchristmassy curses later, the dirty red, wracked little car the two Particle Elves had been given upon their transfer to California (with the Nickelbuh laconically informing them that in order to not draw attention to them and rise suspicion, they´d have go have a car) came to an abrupt, jerking halt in front of a small bed and breakfast in the middle of Southern California nowhere.

They had almost missed the tiny 'vacant' sign in the settling darkness, but were both glad they´d finally get some hot chocolate and a cool bed, maybe even tv as well.
Though they had crossed a lot of smaller towns, and some had even been festively decorated, big strung up ornaments swaying above the hot streets in the warm evening breeze, the elves hadn´t been able to pay attention to anything but to their various difficulties driving.

The car, that they were sure of, was, after all, a living being, with a mind of its own. Only half joking, they had named it Rudolph.

Rudolph´s tires were smoking slightly, when Muffleby and Keek emerged, both banging their doors shut with more force than necessary. Walking around the exhausted vehicle, Keek cast it a half respectful, half despiseful glare. The moment he reached his partner on the other side, though, his face lit up, and he grinned at a tired, pissed off, unnerved Muffleby.

"Told ya I could drive, didn´t I?"

Muffleby didn´t bother to answer that one. He just growled and turned away to head towards the small house.

They were warmly welcomed by an elderly man and his mother, a shrunken woman beyond old, who looked like a raisin on legs. The room they were given was small and comfy, and after a bit of particles spreading it smelled like a December forest that bore a secret Christmas backery.
To the elves´ content, the b&b was decorated christmassyly, a bit too much maybe, but with obvious love and care. This short of Christmas Eve, they were the only guests, though.
After the long drive, Muffleby and Keek needed either a cartoon marathon or a refreshing walk, and since though their friendly hosts may have heard of this new phaenomenon called television, it didn´t mean they had one, the decision was easy to make. They got some useful information regarding good restaurants and touristy sights from the son, and off they strolled into the nearby town.

What they found there killed their appetite in a second.

Not a single candle could they smell burning in any of the houses. Tv noises filled the streets, but no Christmas Carols, not even in the people´s hearts. There were no decorations to be seen anywhere, no festive trees, and no matter how much they strained their ears and eyes, there wasn´t one chocolate elf to be seen or heard anywhere. It was a Christmas-less place.

"Keeks," Muffleby whispered, as they wandered down main street. He was discreetly huddling closer, until the edges of his coat-covered wings touched Keek´s. "Let´s head back, `kay?"

"What, you scared?" Keek asked. It didn´t sound mocking at all.

"Terrified," Muffleby answered.

"Me too," Keek whispered back. He too had slowed his steps and was careful not to step to far away from his companion.

"D´you think Walter knows about this?" Muffleby asked.

"I don´t know. D´you think he´d care?"

"M-maybe we should call him."

"Yeah," Keek muttered absently. He had discovered something to capture his attention and was heading towards a shop-window.

"Keek!" Muffleby hissed after him, stumbling over his own feet, when he hastily followed him. "Don´t leave-"

"Look at that," Keek interrupted him, pointing at something behind the window. "Look."

Muffleby looked. It was a book shop, a tiny one, and like all the other shops they´d passed, it wasn´t decorated at all. Boring looking medicine and mathematic books lay out behind the glass, some stuffed numbers being the only decoration. But now that he looked closer, Muffleby too saw the old yellowed edition of Charles Dickens´ Christmas Carol that lay, seemingly forgotten, in the far end of the window, among some child psychology sef-help books.

The elves exchanged a puzzled glance.

"What´s this doing here?" Muffleby asked at last.

Keek shrugged. Craning his neck to look up at the illuminated window above the shop, he stepped back, studying the window. Suddenly, he grinned and looked at Muffleby, just when he had heard it too.

A child´s laughter. A Christmas Creature´s heart.

A second later, as the owner of the shop and house had probably heard theirs as well, the window was opened, and an impressively big, dark figure bend its hooded head outside to look at them through unseen eyes. His whole face was covered by the black shadows of the hood. It didn´t make any sound, but lifted a bony hand to wave at them.

"Futy!" Muffleby and Keek exclaimed happily.

They heard the equally happy reply in their heads.

"I don´t believe it," Muffleby stated, shaking his head. "The Ghost of the Christmasses to Come. Man, Future. what in all the trees´ names are you doing in this forlorn dump of a town?"

The Ghost of the Christmasses to Come - Future, or Futy - tilted his head aside slightly, his skeleton hands lifting slightly.

The elves nodded in unison. "Walter."

Futy nodded heavily, then waved at them to come upstairs and join him for a hot chocolate. Muffleby and Keek didn´t need to be told twice.


*****


Futy´s home was humble, but nice, just like he himself.

There was a spartan little kitchen with a tiny stove, where he boiled chocolate for them, and an equally small living room with shelves full of files and framed pictures that showed him with his best friends, the other ghosts (Past and Present, who were too 'grown-up' for nick-names) and some that showed him with prominent figures if history:

Charles Dickens, of course, but also some politicans and actors and Jim Henson.

From all the Christmas Creatures, Futy had always been the most nostalgic one, a characteristic that could have its origins in his constant link to every human´s future.

He also was the Christmas Creature less to envy, as Muffleby always said. Even the other two ghosts had it easier, since they appeared nice and beautiful, bringing joy to their clients, not fear and despair, like Futy, who sometimes suffered at having to be the party pooper, when in reality he was the most gentle, most sensitive creature.

Muffleby, Keek and Futy spent some time talking about the gold old days back in good ol´ London, the snow and the Warm Snow, that Futy, of course, had heard of. The elves learnt about Futy´s transfer to California and felt for him, when he shyly admitted he had troubles traveling and by now almost feared his yearly bunch of assignments, since half of them were elsewhere, usually in England, of course. He also missed his friends, Past and Present, who still lived in London. Past and he had a good going mail-contact, but Present with his non-existent memory was of course a different topic.

Muffleby and Keek told him about their situation as well, whining until he laughed good-humoredly, and the three of them took great pleasure in complaining with colorful words about Walter, the origin of all their problems. There was the slightest ray of hope, though, when Muffleby and Keek heard that in one of her recent mails, Past had written that back in London there was a revolution going on, a rebellion against Walter. Crys for the return of the Nickelbuh had been heard all over the country, and some Tree Elves and other Particle Elves had even threatened to go on strike.

"D´you really think that´ll impress the Nickelbuh?" Muffleby asked after a moment´s thought. "To me he seemed pretty determined, when he left."

Keek shrugged. "Hey, don´t ask us. A year ago, I wouldn´t have dreamt of wanting the Nickelbuh to stay in charge. You?"

Futy laughed silently, and Muffleby nodded with a wry grin.

"True."

"So," Keek changed the topic after a while, turning to Futy, who was just entering the room again with three cups of fresh hot chocolate, "what is it with this town? Does Walter know about it?"

Not even that, the elves learnt, but it had been Walter, who had sent Futy - of all Christmas Creatures - after he had found out about the horrible situation the town was in. Muffleby shook his head with his mouth hanging open, when he heard that it was Futy´s task to christmasize the town - something the Ghost of the Christmasses to Come was in no position to accomplish, since he couldn´t spread joy or particles or happiness or anything Christmas, really. Futy was only functioning in combination with Past and Present, and he wasn´t a true messenger of Christmas even then, but supposed to scare his clients, make them plea and beg and - ultimately - change themselves.

The elves exchanged a knowing glance, listening to their old pal´s thoughts. To them it was obvious Futy felt guilty at not having managed to accomplish anything since he had arrived there. Being as dutyful as he was, his failing was hard to deal with for him.

"Walter must have lost whatever brains he had," Keek whispered angrily, when Futy had once more left the room to get some cookies for his guests. "It´d take an army of Chocolate Elves and at least a forest of Trees to help this town, and he sends Futy?"

"I know," Muffleby agreed, as infuriated as his friend. "If we thought Walter was the wrong man for the job before, now he proved it himself! Poor Futy. He seems to take this really hard, huh?"

"Yeah." Keek nodded sadly and suddenly smiled. "Know what he needs, Muff? A Pimp My Town-show."

"Right," Muffleby laughed slightly, brows lifted, as he nodded. "The whole town could send a tape to Pimp My Christmas. That´s something to keep in mind for our next mail to MTV."

"Yep." Keek nodded, lost in thoughts. When his gaze snapped to his friend again, though, eyes lit with sudden determination, it was met by an equally excited one. "Are you thinking what I´m thinking?"

"Totally," Muffleby said, a grin starting on his face, that seemed to jump over to Keek´s features.

"We´re gonna pimp this town´s Christmas."

"And Futy´s town," Muffleby added.

"Futy´s life," Keek corrected. He cleared his throat importantly and lifted one flat hand. "Muffin, old pal - gimme five."


*****


Pimping Futy´s town proved to be harder than they had thought, though.

It began with the disappointing fact that spreading a load of particles in the streets wasn´t helping a thing, except for the alley cats starting to mew Christmas Carols.

"Animals humming Jingle Bells..." Keek said dryly, when he and Muffleby took a break in a high palm tree overseeing main street. They had worked all night, the sun was already beginning to show, but no dancing crowd of happy celebrators of Christmas could be seen flooding the town´s streets, yet. "The Nickelbuh would have our hide."

Muffleby nodded in nostalgic melancholy. "He´d make us scratch all the particles out of each cat´s fur," he agreed.

"I wonder if Walter doesn´t even hear it," Keek grumbled, looking around as if searching for his superior. "You think he actually doesn´t care?"

A sly grin snaked across Muffleby´s features. "Maybe he´s too busy fighting off rioters. Y´know - Trees blocking his path, our colleagues od-ing the humans with particles..." He waggled his brows.

Keek laughed. "I hope they take pictures."

They shared a few giggles, until Muffleby cut the amusement short. "Speaking of pictures..." He sent a meaningful glance downwards.

"I know." Keek sighed. "None to be taken here." He dragged a tired hand over his eyes. "People here must be particel-resistent. I heard of cases like that."

"Oh my," Muffleby exclaimed in only partly played fear.

"D´you think this is Grinch City?"

Grinch City was a myth among the Christmas Creatures: the one place on Earth, where no thought of Christmas could survive, where everything comfy was met by a stony wall of unbreakable grinchiness. No one truly believed that it existed, but Keek had to give it to his friend, that if it had, it most probably would have looked like this.

Yet - this was no time for childish fears, and so he nodded sarcastically. "Yeah, right. I bet it is. Scardywing."

"Okay," Muffleby shot back, his tone a tad more indignant than it should have been to appear fake, "you explain all those people to me. Hm? Why´re they not effected by the particles?"

Keek thought about it, then snapped his fingers. "`Cause their windows are closed!" Pointing at a row of nearby houses, he turned to his friend triumphantly. "See?"

Before Muffleby had any chance to respond, Keek had already jumped off the tree, heading towards the houses.

"Keek!" Muffleby yelled after him. "Keek, what... Aw, poop!" he cursed under his breath and followed his partner, who was knocking loudly at the first door he´d come to pass by. "Keek, what in-"

The hesitant opening of the door interrupted Muffleby´s hissed ranting. "Yes?" a woman asked. She was in her late thirties and in desperate need of some make-up to cover the dark smudges under her eyes that were slowly but steadily marked by angry suspicion sneaking into them, replacing the obvious sleepyness.

"Good morning!" Keek greeted her in a volume that made her cringe slightly.

"Y-yes..." she stammered and suppressed a yawn. "Yes, I guess it is. Morning," she added and stared at her naked wrist for the few moments it took her to realize she wasn´t wearing a watch. She looked up at Keek again. "May I... may I help you, Mr... ?"

"No, actually," Keek grinned, "we´re here to help you."

"Me?"

"Yes. Would you please open your door further? Or, better, could you step outside, please? Just for a second?"

A frown deepened on her forehead. She glanced at Muffleby, having only now noticed him, since he stood a step behind Keek. He lifted one hand for a small wave.

"You better try again, when my husband´s home," she said, determined. "He´s on a-"

"Never mind your husband," Keek cut her off, "we only want-"

"Good day." The door fell shut.

Taken aback, Keek blinked at it for a second, until

Muffleby´s voice kicked him back into action. "Smooth move. Keekdiot."

Keek shot him the briefest of scowls, but wasn´t going to give up that easily. "Watch and learn," he advised his friend, as he marched off into the very center of the street. Instantly, all the alley cats, that had been quietly mewing a choire of various versions of Silent Night up until then, swarmed around him.

"Keek..." But any warning Muffleby could have thought of came too late, as Keek lifted his arms widely (his wings struggling against the coat covering them).

"Ready?" he asked Muffleby, who shook his head fiercely, but was ignored, anyway.

If the cats had been humming before (or, as educated ears would say - whined) now they were screaming what to Muffleby sounded like a barely recognizable version of Happy Holidays. And Keek set the tune, singing loudly along, as the cats danced around his feet, jumped up onto his shoulders and head. If they hadn´t been singing a Christmas song, it could have been a scene straight out of a horror movie, Muffleby figured.

Yet, however hurtful the concert was to his ears, he was ready, when the first windows burst open, along with a few doors, revealing angry house owners, half crazed from being torn into awakeness that rudely.

Now it was Muffleby´s turn to spread his arms...


*****


"Okay. Names." The grumpy looking officer glanced up from his typing machine, his strict expression impatient.

Keek smiled friendly. "Keekegard Timothy Smith."

The officer blinked, but typed the name without a comment, before he turned to Muffleby, who didn´t look as happy as his friend.

"Muffleby Archibald Jones," he muttered.

The officer typed, then leant back in his chair, casting the elves a tired look.

"Smith and Jones," he said dryly. "Who´d have thought." He glanced at the only other person in the tiny precinct, an equally grumpy looking older man. They had been together during the arrest as well, and Muffleby and Keek assumed they were colleagues. Probably the only cops in the area too.

Two days and one night the formerly grinchy town the elves had found had been busy decorating the houses and streets and palmtrees, partying, drinking, baking cookies, singing Christmas carols and taking turns on the phone of someone called Harry to donate money to various charities. The collective overdose of Christmas particles had completely ungrinched the people, and Muffleby and Keek had been prouder than ever before, when they´d rang Futy´s bell, practically dragging the dumbfounded ghost down main street, through the crowd of happy, singing folks.

Oh what a party it´d been!

When it had ended, on the night before Christmas Eve, everyone had went to bed, knowing that the next day they´d get up on the most important day of the year.

Muffleby and Keek had patted Futy´s shoulder and each other´s, had left their old friend with a few small bags of particles he was supposed to spread in emergencies and had left town, heading back to their little B&B and Rudolph.

Never would they have thought that two cops would await them there, and to arrest them too. It appeared that the eldery man and his way old mother had pressed charges against the elves for cheating out of their bill.

All their attempts at explaining the misunderstanding had finally landed the elves in the small room they now sat in, that smelled of old coffee and even older sandwiches, and where the only decoration was a single star made out of shiny blue paper, that hang in one of the dirty windows.

Well... if you wanted to count the cracked coffee mug with the reindeir on it as an ornament, that´d have made it two, of course...

The standing man, the older one, was now approaching the other, sighed and rubbed exhausted features. He had gray hair and matching eyes and the air surrounding him didn´t feel like that of a townie cop. Contrary to the younger one, he didn´t wear a uniform, either, but jeans and a gray t-shirt. He was the grayest person, Muffleby and Keek had ever seen.

Now that he was closer, they could also see an odd resemblence he bore to the younger one.

"Are you two partners?" Muffleby asked with a frown.

"Hell, no," the uniformed officer said and looked like he was about to cringe. "He´s my old man. We were just leaving for our yearly dinner, when I got the call."

Muffleby exchanged a dismayed glance with Keek. "Aw, we´re ruining your... Wait. A yearly dinner before Christmas?"

"We´re not... 'Christmas close'," the father said with a hint of hurt shining through the sarcastic tone. His voice was smoky and sad, the sort of voice that hadn´t been used with a smile for a long time. "But his Ma would rotate in her grave, if I didn´t at least go see him sometime in Christmas time. She loved it, Christmas. More than any other time of the year."

The son snorted. "Not that you´d´ve given a damn about that, when she was still alive."

It was probably the magical aura of their company, but the men didn´t seem to notice they were heading for a very private argument in front of two arrested 'swindlers'.

"Don´t start again, Rob. You were a kid. You´ve no idea what I went through just to get a Christmas tree every year."

"You mean what you went through to steal it," Rob corrected dispisefully. "C´mon, Dad, how hard could it´ve been to ax down some-"

"Just back off," his father said sternly, but not without despair in his voice. Turning away from his son, he stepped over to the smeared window with the lonely star hanging there like forgotten garbage and pretended to look outside.
Rob didn´t even bother to look after him.

"Okay," he spoke to the elves again, "if you pay your bill now and give me your adress, I can let you go on condition you promise to not leave the state. You´ll hear from the court some time in January. Well?" he lifted his brows at them questioningly, yet his gaze wandered off to his father.

Muffleby and Keek looked at each other. This was an out-of-the-book-case for a Reunion Elf, and they had no doubts the Nickelbuh had probably planned to send one to the small family soon, yet Walter, of course, must have lost or ignored the file.

They shared an unnerved sigh: a father and his son avoiding to spend Christmas together, now that was how Walter´s World would look like from now on? They only hoped the Reunion Elves weren´t all busy reuniting Walter and the London Christmas Creatures on strike...

"And if we don´t?" Muffleby asked, suddenly hit by a thought.

Rob blinked. "What?"

"If we don´t," Keek explained, "pay our bill and give you our adress, what then?"

"I´ll have to keep you in custody," Rob replied.

"And you´ll have to stay here too, right?" Muffleby asked.

"Well..."

"Even though it´s Christmas Eve," Keek added and pursed his lower lip. "Man, poor you."

Starting to look decidedly irritated by the elves, Rob shot one after the other a dark scowl. "What the hell-"

"Can we make our phone call now, please?" Muffleby interrupted him innocently, and for once he was glad they had watched so much tv lately.


*****


"Futy? Hey, it´s me, Muffleby. Yes. Listen... we need a favor."


*****


It was late in the evening on Christmas Day, when Keek and Muffleby were taking Rudolph back into the city. They had spent a cheerful Christmas morning brunch with Rob and Melvin, his Dad, who both had showed convincing signs of doing much better - Christmas wise - after their healing encounter with the Ghost of the Christmasses to Come. And Futy had seemed very pleased to do something in return for his friends.

"Y´know something?" Keek asked, "we´d make good Reunion Elves."

"Dunno `bout that," Muffleby replied. "Futy did all the
work."

"Yeah, but it´s a Reunion Elf´s job to find the right treatment for the client."

"Oh? Well, if that´s so, then, yes, we´d make good Reunion Elves." Muffleby grinned.

"Actually," Keek continued after a moment´s thought, "we could be allround-elves. We can christmasize snow, towns, fathers and sons."

Muffleby cast him a dry glance, but didn´t have the heart to salt his friend´s pudding with sarcasm at a moment of deserved pride like this. So he just said, "And ourselves. Don´t forget that."

Keek flashed him a grin. "Glad I convinced you to go outside now, aren´t you?"

"Totally," Muffleby admitted.

"Yes." Keek nodded contendly and lifted his wings that hang over the driver´s seat just a tad to heave the breeze tickle his feathers. "Maybe I should run for Highest Creature, when they´ll have banned Walter from this Earth," he mused.

"Keek," Muffleby said, not to adress him, but seemingly to taste the name. He listened to the echo of it with ironic seriousness. "Does have a nice ring to it."

"The Keek," Keek corredted him, lifting his index finger.

"Oh, now that of course will have humbling effects."

"Thought so. And you could be may assistent," Keek added generously.

"Oh, please," Muffleby bowed his head. "Don´t make me think I´m worthy of such honor. I´ll be content with knowing I´m serving the Keek to his satisfaction."

Keek grinned. "Maybe I´ll have everyone speak to me like that by law. C´mon, say something else."

"Watch the street," Muffleby said dryly.

Closing his eyes briefly in faked delight, Keek turned his head forward again. "Oh, the sound of power..."

Muffleby couldn´t help laughing, but started singing Oh Come All Thee Faithful, when he saw his partner was about to ramble on.

With a shrug Keek - oh, sorry, the Keek - happily joined in.

THE END

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