More than a Touch of Deviance

There resides in me a monster, a deviant who revels in thoughts of the unthinkable and whose taste, in certain contexts, is desperately poor. That having been said, I should continue by making that subtle warning more overt. What I am about to write is apt to be offensive to anyone with the sensibilities of an honorable human being. The words your eyes will read, if you choose to continue, may scorch your corneas and fill your head with visions you’d rather not see. The syllables soon to spill from my fingers onto the keyboard and then burst upon the screen in front of you and me and who knows who else may forever change (or, perhaps, confirm) your impression of the writer. The amalgamation of letters and syllables and words and sentences may cause you to question the humanity of anyone choosing to read on, especially in light of the warnings freely given.

The scene beside the pond was a sight to behold. Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, Snow White, Tinker Bell, Jiminy Cricket, and a host of other fairy tale characters were all gathered in a circle. In the center, were the Seven Dfwarfs. These dwarfs’ names were Blick, Flick, Glick, Plick, Quee, Snick, and Whick.

Rather than the cheerful faces and smiles one might expect from such a group, every one of them looked sad. Beyond sad. Their downcast faces, painted with despondency, were the picture of dejection. For a long time, no one said a word. Finally, Quee spoke.

“Look, we’re running out of possibilities. Hollywood isn’t hiring, sales of fairy tales and their ilk are down to alarming levels, and there’s just a general disenchantment with fantasy and whimsy. From my vantage point, that leaves just one option for us to have any hope of generating sustainable income…crime.  The only question is what kind, isn’t it?” He scanned the eyes of the characters around him, searching for signs about their feelings on the matter.

Santa Clause was the first to respond. “You know I hate the idea of abandoning our principles, but goddamn it, the War on Christmas has damn near bankrupted me.  I’ve got to boost revenue or I’m going to be laying off another set of elves in a month or two. Quee, I’m all in. We just need to agree on the most lucrative crime with the least risk.”

Even before Plick spoke, his scowl betrayed his disgust with Santa’s comments.

“First, there is no War on Christmas. Santa’s just buying in to the bullshit he hears on Fox News. Second, he abandoned his principles when he refused to deliver toys to children in Havana.

“Santa’s failures notwithstanding,” he said as he studied the faces gathered around the table but conspicuously avoiding eye contact with Santa, “I’m in just because we all know we’re struggling and things can’t go on the way they are. We have to do something.”

“Well,” Goldilocks said, “I am not in such bad shape…”

His white fluffy eyebrows twitching wildly, Santa interrupted her. “Plick, you don’t know squat about why I didn’t deliver to Havana. I didn’t refuse.  The goddamn sleigh broke down and they don’t have parts in Cuba, thanks to the embargo. Get your goddamn facts straight before you start making accusations against me! And as for the War on Christmas—”

“—All right, all right, cut the crap,” Whick snarled. “We’re not here to fight, we’re here to talk strategy. Goldilocks, you were about to say something?”

Goldilocks smiled weakly at Whick. “Thanks. As I was saying, I’m not in such bad shape as the rest of you, thanks to my contract for the Sleep Number commercials.  So I don’t think I ought to be part of the decision process and I’ll certainly not be part of any scheme you all launch.”

“Well isn’t that just peachy,” Santa growled, “you stumble into a short-term gig and the problem doesn’t impact you,  huh? You just wash your hands of the problems confronting the rest of us. You’re what I call a bleached-blonde fair weather friend.”

Goldilocks responded to Santa’s rant by throwing a vodka tonic in his face. Santa wiped his beard on the sleeve of his white-trimmed jacket and grinned. “Goldy, with your temper, I’m surprised you haven’t been transformed into bear fecal matter by now!”

“Rudolph has more class in his big red nose than you have in the whole of your stunningly corpulent body,” Goldilocks shouted.

The Easter Bunny suddenly reared up on his hind legs and shouted, “Oh for the love of God, all of you just shut up!”

The silence in the wake of the rabbit’s outburst was deafening. Every eye turned toward the rabbit.

“You pathetic bastards! You’re up in arms about a drop in your income. You’re all upset because you’re not getting the gigs you once got.  Instead of working together toward a solution, you let your egos get in the way. None of you, not a one of you, knows how it feels to be really, truly desperate! I’ll show you what real desperation looks like.”

With that, the Easter Bunny slowly removed his clever disguise, a tailored faux-fur suit that would cause even the most cantankerous, moody, and troublesome child to giggle and reach for the soft, cuddly rabbit.

But when that suit came off, Santa sucked in his breath. Jiminy Cricket bowed his insectile head. Whee’s eyes popped open wide and his mouth opened wide. Snow White turned a whiter shade of pale. Whick and Snick exchanged horrified glances.

Beneath the rabbit’s costume were just a few scraps of flesh and the skeleton of a beast consumed by leporine wasting disease. “This is what desperation looks like, you vapid assholes. And I’ll tell you this. Even though my disease is unique to rabbits, it can jump species, morphing into a completely different, but deadly, incurable condition. Let that sink in for a while.”

Quee stood and fixed a glare on the Easter Bunny. “Are you saying you came to this meeting with the intent of infecting us with some sort of fatal disease? You son of a bitch, I ought to—”

“—Ought to what, Quee? Kill me? You think I’m afraid of a threat like that?” The rabbit’s two front teeth, like white sabres, were visible behind his sneer.

“What the hell, if he’s already infected us with something that’s going to kill us, let’s celebrate our impending demise by making a nice rabbit stew!” Before he finished his sentence, Santa grabbed the rabbit by its neck and slammed its head on the ground.

Plick jumped to his feet and shouted, “Now you’re talking, Santa, a little rabbit stew can do a lot to mend a friendship.”

The story ends. But we don’t know exactly how. Was the rabbit really as sick as he claimed? Was it truly possible that leporine wasting disease could, when exposed to other species, morph into other, equally hideous and deadly diseases? Would a group of greedy fairy tale characters, down on their luck, really speak openly about engaging in crime as a means to make ends meet? Those questions, and many more remain unanswered. For now.

+++

I’ve stolen a good chunk of this from another unfinished story I wrote a few years ago. Some days, the mood just strikes me to write swill saturated with anger and meanness, and awash in skepticism.  I warned you this could get ugly.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to More than a Touch of Deviance

  1. I’m glad to hear it, Liz. I’m not really scary, just a little odd. 😉

  2. lizardek says:

    I laughed out loud at the list of dwarf names. You don’t scare me.

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