With sleep now totally out of the question, Gaknar threw aside his bed curtains defiantly and marched into the adjacent parlor, ready to beat the next apparition back to life with a fireplace poker. Indignant though he was, he was still taken aback when he saw the figure sitting by a roaring fire. A man of massive carriage, bedecked in Royals merchandise, stood there turning a pig on a spit. Even the poor swine seemed to be delighted at the smell of his own roasting. The rest of the room was covered in savory meats of all sorts, all cooked by Gaknar’s latest unwelcomed visitor.
Present: Come in! Come in, and know me better, Man! Have you ever seen a pig burn like this?
Gak: Not in this house! You must be the Ghost of Christmas Present?
Present: Yep! Bill Self’s Toupee, some call me. Have you met any of my crazy brothers before? Because we ALL know how to party!
Gak: Not, sure. Do you have many brothers, Spirit?
Present: More than 2,000!
Gak: Oh, well that explains it. See, we haven’t been able to get Arkansas onto our schedule as yet. We’ll see your banjo-picking kin next year.
Present: [Takes a step forward, clearly offended] Dude!
Gak: Spirit, take me where you wish! I’d like to have this over..
Present: Touch my jersey.
In an instant, both were whisked away to a crowded marketplace where the Ghost of Christmas Present went about sprinkling the shoppers with his own special blessing as they passed by unaware. This he kept in a large crockpot tied to his waist with bungee cords, and his Ladle of Plenty did splash about with vigor! The instant a spoonful hit the mark, one could see the countenance change upon every face lucky enough to receive a measure of his strange stew.
Gak: Why are we here, Spirit? I don’t know a soul in this bloody rabble of miscreants. I can scarcely imagine how I might have offended any in this litter by keeping to myself, eating my own gruel, and living a solitary life locked inside my own chambers! Tell me what business we have here, Spirit. And stop splashing that awful chowder upon everyone’s head. Egad, Sir! I wouldn’t care so much, except for the fact that they actually seem to enjoy it! Soon you’ll have this whole borough doused and crusty, yet loud and happy. But just as poor as ever. Bloody awful! What is this goop, anyway? [He put his hand to the crock, and it was momentarily transformed into a lobster’s claw. At which point his curiosity left him.]
Present: Hmph! You’ll not try that again soon, I’ll venture! You unworthy, festering scab! It’s my own special blessing, Mortal Man. An ancient chili it is, made of enchanted Holiday Joy and Universal Good Will, mostly. I’ve also thrown in a couple of cans of Beanies and Weenies for good measure. Takes the edge off that gamey taste, don't you know. [Takes his ladle and throws a scoopful at a passing minister; enchanted beans and franks clinging to his overcoat as he walks out of sight and into the fog] Even the intestinal gas it creates smells of holybush and pine, for these good souls cannot afford potpourri or even a seasonal Glade™ Plug in. A blessing, Sir! A true Christmas blessing. And I have no doubt that you know no one here. Save for one, of course. This wondrous village is Lamar, Missouri, and we are paying a visit to the home of Bob Threadkiller.
Gak: My clerk? What on earth for! If there is a soul on this cursed spinning rock that owes me more than he does, I can’t for the life of me guess who it might be! I have supported him and his family for untold years now! They live a life of plenty straight out of my pocket, Sir. And today of all days the entire clutch gets to do so while remaining idle!
Present: You don’t say. [They enter into his house]
Inside the Threadkiller home, we find one table with the Mr. and Mrs., and five Threakiller children. None of them have on anything that can be described above moth-eaten drapes, and there isn’t a spare once of body fat to be found anywhere under that roof! The table was want for one leg, and this had been remedied by a stack of Study Hall: College Football, its Stats and Its Stories, all the pages very much still pristine. The assorted Threadkillers were certainly jolly enough, and very healthy! All except little Roy. He sat there with a sling about his jaw, which kept it from hitting the table top. Since the dreadful events predating this story, his jaw has simply remained unhinged. A talented orthopedist could certainly put things right with Rancid Roy. A hex bolt and a drywall anchor would do the trick. But Dear Reader, does Gaknar strike you as the sort that would offer insurance to his $75 a week clerk? Of course not! And so the dreadful injury remains unrepaired to this day.
Sometimes he would remove it entirely as a parlor trick or to scam the neighborhood boys out of their Pokémon pogs. It was a ghastly sight, no doubt! However, the silliness with which he presented this oddity to the world undermines the seriousness of this aliment! You see, Rancid Roy got his name because he also suffers from an exceedingly rare form of internet Tourettes Syndrome. As soon as his kerchief is loosed, the vilest string of profanities escape from his piehole, enough to make any seafaring merchant blanch in horror. These two maladies happened simultaneously, of course. Before the gunshot, Roy was an absolute angel to behold. His hay colored locks and delightful grin made him the envy of every parent in Lamar! But now he is Rancid Roy. And no one knows what to do with him.
Mrs.: How did Roy behave today in church today, Dear?
TK: As rotten as an old peach. And worse. The Reverend asked him how it felt to be out and about on this crisp Christmas Morning, and our Roy responded by calling the legitimacy of his conception into question! Then he kicked him, a man of the cloth, directly in the shins! He then ran outside and hid in the playplace! I cut a switch and scampered after him as best I could, but there is nothing wrong with his legs! I finally realized that if I didn’t relent, temporarily at least, I’d spend my only paid day off waiting to swat the little bugger. So I called for an armistice, and here we are. How are the pizzas coming, my dear?
Mrs.: They are singing in the copper, my love! Truly a blessing.
The family was seated round the table, and Mrs. Threadkiller brought out a Casey’s pizza for each person. A gleeful sparkle was in each eye, as these were more carbs than they were likely to see between this day and the spring thaw.
TK: My! There’s bounty for you, my dear! Only you could have done it! I'd like to know how many families of our acquaintance can boast of pizza on this Christmas Day! Raise a glass one and all, if you please! [clears throat] I give you Ebenezer Gaknar, The Founder of the Feast!
All: No, Father! No, Father! Not him! He is poop!
TK: Dearies, Christmas Day?
Mrs.: I’ll drink his health for your sake, and for the Day’s, but not for his! LongLifeToHimMayGodBlessHimAndKeepHimAmen. There. [All drink]
Roy: Bollocks to all that!
TK: Boy, don’t start!
Roy: Bollocks, I say, Papa! You and I don’t see eye-to-eye, tis true! But I’ll not drink to a man that treats you as he does, Papa! I do love you, after all, you miserable old twit! And I’ve more respect for you than that, you gutter leech! So I’ll not drink his health if you lash me ten times! Ten times ten times! Now listen to me, you sniveling, servile, sycophantic Cockney rat: You are too good a man to kiss his raggedy old boots as you do every day. But do it you must, to provide for all of us. Well, so be it! Times being what they are, and all. But what I cannot abide is for us to celebrate HIM on this day, when we should be celebrating the birth of our Blessed Savior. Skunkface.
Bob was a swirling mess of pride and wrath! He couldn’t help but believe his dear, angelic Roy was still in there somewhere. He could not stand to hear his son speak in such a manner; and yet, the truth of his words stuck an important chord. The man sat there speechless.
Roy: God bless us, all but him!
Mrs.: [Whispering] That’s over the mark, Son.
Roy: Fine! God bless us, everyone!
ALL: God bless us, everyone!
Gak: I think I like this kid, Spirit! I wouldn’t walk in front of an oxcart if he held the reigns, mind you, but I’m quite taken by his strength of will! Reminds me of myself at his age. Tell me, Spirit, will Rancid Roy be ban hammered?
Present: I see a jaw sling in the corner, without an owner, carefully preserved. If Roy does not change his ways, and if he keeps pushing the envelope, the child will be ban hammered. I really thought The Beef was going to pull the trigger just yesterday! If the future remains unaltered, no more of my brothers shall find him on Rock M Nation.
Gak: Oh, No! No, Spirit!
Present: But why? If he would rather die, he had better do it and join the Mid American Conference. Those who are badly off must go there!
Gaknar, pained at hearing his own insensitive words repeated to him, ran screaming out into the street. He fell on his knees and sobbed, slobbered, and sobbed some more. When he stood to his feet, he saw him: Willie, the K-State mascot, clad in all black!
Gak: Are you the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come?!