COAL FOR CHRISTMAS



By Gary Curtis



This is the tale of that fateful night
when the ground lay covered dusty white,
of two creatures, both with suits of red;
one bringing joy and the other, dread.

The first was dear old Santa Claus.
The other's name gives good men pause.
A name that shall be spoken never
(but you will know if you are clever).

An anagram of the good elf's name,
and fitting for the Lord of Shame.
No Claus, but claws, that soon would pinch
what was not his, the crimson Grinch!

HIM is what he was called, for short.
A thoroughly nasty, evil sort.
With knowledge of every dirty trick,
the opposite of our good St. Nick.

What brought these two together, you ask?
Each with their own established task.
Listen, now, while I remember...
it happened late one cold December...

Santa's job was delivering toys
to all the worthy girls and boys.
To all the near and far-flung places,
bringing joy to all those shining faces.

None more deserving than three sisters,
(who, to HIM, were annoying blisters
on his cloven feet, kept booted up)
named Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup.

The Powerpuff Girls, they were the reason
for HIM to intrude upon the season.
On this Christmas Eve it was his goal
to replace their gifts with cold, black coal!

So he waited in their neighborhood
for Santa to come and do his good,
then leave to continue, none the wiser
to the scheming of the heartless miser.

From the sky came the sound of reindeer bells.
HIM's time was nearing for casting spells.
He made sure he had hidden himself
out of view of the jolly old elf.

Santa began to pull from his sleigh
the treasures he'd be giving away.
While his team waited, you know their names
he passed out the dolls and video games.

The action figures, balls and jacks,
emptying like magic countless sacks.
Popping out from each home's chimney
faster than you can utter 'Jiminy!'

From street to street and house to house,
all the while, quieter than a mouse.
Until there remained just one more,
a big, square home with a red front door.

Santa's sleigh hit the roof like a feather.
The old elf smiled at the perfect weather.
The light of the moon made it seem like day.
He entered the house in his usual way.

Coming out from the hearth without a trace
of soot on his suit, his beard or his face,
Santa was met with a wonderful sight:
The welcome the Girls had prepared that night.

Around the room Santa's eyes did roam
at the joy and love that filled this home.
With decorations they'd bought and made,
joyful honor to the season they paid.

"Merry Christmas!" and "Happy New Year";
words that bring feelings of good cheer.
And, in tribute to a holy birth,
"Happy Birthday, Jesus!" and "Peace on earth".

'Neath the tree festooned with angels and elves
were the gifts they'd exchange amongst themselves.
The tree itself is what drew Santa's eyes.
He stared at it in wide-eyed surprise.

Blinking lights formed an arrow that seemed to say,
"Over here!"; Santa looked and headed that way.
On the festive table he walked toward
sat his homemade, well-earned night's reward.

On a tray sat a mini-feast
to fortify both man and beast.
Christmas cut-outs, both plain and iced,
and a mug of cider, warm and spiced.

Sandwiches for him to take on his way.
Ham and cheese, tuna, and PB and J.
Apples and veggies for eight reindeer.
It brought to the old man's eyes a tear

that would turn to a flood if he only knew
what the waiting demon was about to do.
Santa drank his cider and picked up the note
that contained these words the Powerpuffs wrote:

"Dear Santa, this is for you and the Boys.
Thank you for bringing us all of our toys.
As we play with them we'll try to remember
to be good all year, not just in December.

Thanks most of all, though, we want to say,
for peace in the world, if for just one day.
We hope these goodies will warm you up!
Love, Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup."

Santa smiled and stashed that heartfelt note
with the ones all the other children wrote.
Then commenced to laying out their treasures
while HIM prepared his evil measures.

"What's taking him so long in there?"
cried HIM, out in the freezing air.
He shivered and cursed his rotten luck
and wished he'd come in a nice, warm truck.

What he saw when he peered through the wall
with his laser eyes made his red skin crawl.
All that joy and love just made him sick.
Oh, how he hated that good St. Nick!

Santa Claus went about his work,
unaware of the crimson jerk.
What he gave the Girls I shall not say.
Secret surprises should stay that way.

With the Girls' gift to him safe in his sack
that was slung across his sturdy back,
Santa placed a finger aside his nose.
You know the rest - up the chimney he rose!

Santa's work this night was far from through,
but he took the time, one thing to do.
He fed his team their tasty treat,
then stamped the snow off of his feet.

With a flick of the wrist he jerked the reins,
and while the Girls dreamed of giant candy canes,
he called out by name to his waiting team,
and they sailed off into the moonlight's gleam.

"It's my turn now!" HIM crowed with glee
as he stepped out from behind a tree.
Waving his claw, with a silent 'Poof!'
he was gone, and then, he was on the roof!

He could just as easily have gone inside,
but not until there was something he tried.
Before he'd begin to destroy their day,
he wanted to do it once, Santa's way.

Down the chimney he went; what a trick!
But he landed harder than a brick.
He came out choking on ashes and soot
that covered him up from head to foot.

"Curses!" he muttered and dusted off,
and allowed himself a quiet cough.
"I mustn't wake those three brats up.
Especially that feisty Buttercup!"

HIM gazed around at the disgusting sight
of a room full of color, warmth and light.
And love, the thing he above all hated.
His thirst for vengeance would soon be sated!

"How sickeningly sweet!" the demon sneered.
"Where shall it go when it's disappeared?
I know!" he said, and uttered a spell.
With one more wave, it all went to...well...

I think you know. I'll say nothing more.
HIM stood and smiled at the barren floor,
and the barren tree, and the barren room.
He pictured their little hearts full of gloom.

It was what he had come for most of all:
To see Blossom cry and hear Bubbles bawl.
To see Buttercup scream and throw a fit.
To see them blame each other for the cause of it.

"Now, I've just two more things to do!"
A pile of coal came into view.
HIM clapped and smiled and turned with glee
to the mantel and the stockings three.

"What'll you have? One lump or two?
Oh, one apiece I think will do!"
In went the coal with an evil leer.
"Time to get the Heck out of here!"

While the Girls were upstairs, fast asleep,
that dirty, no-good red-skinned creep
went back to his infernal hole
and grinned at all the stuff he stole.

He'd watch them from his den of sin,
for soon the real fun would begin.
They'd head downstairs with glowing eyes
and walk into their cruel surprise.

Now came the dawn, and the first trace
of sunlight played on Bubbles' face.
She yawned. She blinked. Her eyes went wide.
"It's Christmas Day!" the blonde 'Puff cried.

"It's here! It's here! You guys, wake up!"
"Leave me alone," groused Buttercup.
Then she woke, too. "It's Christmas! Yay!"
Blossom jumped. "Hip, hip, hooray!"

Said the green-eyed Girl, "Let's get our stuff!"
"Hey, not so fast, you greedy 'Puff!"
cried 'Red', though she was 'bout to burst.
"We should go get Professor first."

"Ah, he's still asleep," said Buttercup.
"It'll take all day to wake him up!"
But to her surprise, leaving them delighted,
he was at their door, looking quite excited.

"Merry Christmas, Girls!" He sipped from his mug.
It nearly got spilled in the day's first hug.
Caring not, his joy came from seeing theirs,
and together, they all went down the stairs.

Bubbles went first, sensing all wasn't right.
Right away she saw the absence of light.
"It's too dark! Professor, there's something wrong!"
"Oh, they must've burned out. They were on too long."

But the wall switch soon shed light on the scene,
and they saw the deed done by someone mean.
The wonderful room they'd created lay bare.
All they could do for a second was stare.

Buttercup, in shock, yelled, "We were robbed!"
Heartbroken, Bubbles just stood and sobbed.
Blossom was first to notice the coal.
Pain shot straight to the heart of her soul.

She picked up a chunk. "Santa left this stuff.
I guess I just wasn't good enough.
It must have been that time when I lied."
She buried her face in her hands and cried.

Buttercup could only say, "Oh, brother.
He even took what we got each other!
Thanks for nothing, Blossom!" she shouted.
She threw herself to the floor and pouted.

HIM laughed; he was getting his heart's desire
as he watched from his evil throne of fire.
As his coals continued to crackle and burn,
he cackled, "Now, it's sweet Bubbles' turn!"

Bubbles went and took her stocking down,
and pulled out her lump of coal with a frown.
The frown turned to tears from those eyes of blue.
"We're bad! Santa hates us! Oh, boo, hoo, hoo!"

Professor didn't know just what to do.
He began to search the room for a clue.
He knew Santa would never be so cruel
as to take their things and leave a mound of fuel.

Then he saw it, and he smiled to himself.
His clue sat upon the mantel shelf.
"Now, Girls!" he said. "Don't be so dimwitted!
Can't you see that a crime's been committed?"

"A crime?" was the cry that filled the room.
And just like that, went away their gloom.
Up they jumped, and they darted about.
"Let's start figuring this whole thing out!"

Bubbles was puzzled. "Who could it be?"
Blossom needed to think. "Let's see...
Who'd want to steal our clothes and toys?
I think we can skip the Amoeba Boys."

"It sure wasn't Mojo," said Buttercup.
"He'd just waltz in here and blow it all up."
"Princess wouldn't even want our stuff,"
said the little blonde-haired Powerpuff.

"Right, Bubbles," agreed both of her sisters.
"And shoveling coal would give her blisters."
Said Leader Girl, "But there's lots of slime
who'd be sick enough to pull off this crime."

"So I just don't know," Blossom finally said.
She looked at Professor and scratched her head.
He said, "It's easy if you use your mind.
Don't look at what's gone but what's left behind!"

Buttercup kicked the coal. "Professor, I'm looking!"
Bubbles asked, "It's got to do with cooking?"
"No, honey, it's more than just the coal."
"I've got it!" yelled Blossom. She'd found her goal.

"Our villain, Girls, made a big mistake.
It's not what he took but what he didn't take!"
She showed them the mantel's store-bought creche.
"I know who it is and it starts with H!"

"HIM!" shouted Bubbles. "He'd never touch that!"
Buttercup agreed. "Let's get that rat!"
But Professor made them stop. "No, Girls, no.
That's just what he wants, and you know it's so."

"Bah!" spat the demon. "Well, that's just super!
Thanks a lot, Professor, you party pooper!
Oh, fill their heads with your do-gooder rot!
But I have their treasures and they do not!"

He cuddled a doll; told its vacant stare,
"I'm a better Mommy than Bubbles, there!"
He knew that the Girls were not quite through.
They still had some protesting to do.

"But he's got our toys!" the three kids whined.
"I say he should keep them," their Dad opined.
"Those things he took can all be replaced."
He reached out for them and they embraced.

"The one gift HIM can never steal is love.
The one gift that comes from up above.
That's the true meaning of Christmas Day,
and what HIM is trying to drive away.

To blacken your heart and blacken your soul,
as black as his, blacker than this coal."
"Bah, humbug!" HIM cried, letting out a hiss.
"I don't have to take any more of this!"

Depressed and defeated, he crawled off to bed
with his claws squeezed tight to his aching head.
He would try in vain for the rest of the day
to keep the sights and sounds of Christmas away.

With coal in hand, Professor said with a grin,
"HIM did some good today, in spite of his sin.
Let's make a fire, and I'll tell you the reason
All of us are celebrating this season."

With the coal fire blazing, he said to them,
"It started in a place called Bethlehem."
So, with their cocoa hot and his cider spiced,
he told them the truth behind the birth of Christ.

Then, they knew the things they had lost that day
were nothing against what Christ gave away.
Or what really mattered, and what they still had:
Their home and each other, and a loving Dad.

They redecorated the scene of the crime
in a more spiritual theme this time.
A spirit they'd carry the whole year through,
and try to show in everything they'd do.

Yet do it in their carefree, childlike way
as they went 'round Townsville saving the day.
They'd won this day's battle without a fight,
by ignoring a wrong and doing what's right.

They'll end this story in their own way
By choosing their own words to say.
Ready, now, Girls? Say it loud and clear.
"Merry Christmas to all, and a happy New Year!"





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