(*prompt located at bottom of fic)
Title: Merry Gentlemen
Rating: PG - Gen
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: DA & characters are owned by their various creators.
Notes: Part of the jam_pony_fic August 07' ficathon.
Summary: It's Christmas Eve down at the Jam Pony.
It wasn’t much besides a slight dip on the thermometer but it was Normal’s favorite time of the year.
This particular spot on the map didn’t have an over abundance of sleigh bells ringing and children singing but he’d grown up with the postcard images just the same. He liked to imagine the gentle fall of perfect snowflakes, the rosy glow of a hearth and some strangers in turtlenecks smiling like lobotomy patients over some hot cocoa. In fact, most sane men in his industry found the cold months of maniacal holiday shipping as the only true legitimate grounds for tossing yourself off a cliff. But being relentlessly busy had never bothered a guy like Normal. Busy kept the lights on and the goldfish fed.
“What the heck is all this?” Alec asked.
“This, my friend?” Normal said. “This is a celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior.”
“Jesus right?” Alec guessed with a grin. “Everybody likes him. He’s a good one.”
He briefly studied the boy’s eyes for any tell tale signs of chemical abuse.
“What’s that smell?” Max had wandered over from the payphone. “I-It smells like the front seat of a taxi.”
“Fresh pine!” He gestured to the enormous handmade adorned wreath hanging over the entry ramp. “Threw that bad boy together last night.”
Normal stood back to admire the hanging row of large three dimensional red, gold and green nebulous ornaments. Alec flicked at one, sending the flashing metallic paper around in a slow spin like a disco ball. The silver fake tree in the corner had a tasteful monotone collection of cool blue candy canes on its branches. In the spirit of being sociable, he had even interspersed a few plastic dreidels in the back for good measure. The blatant combination of using multicolored lights along side with plain white would have made Normal’s mother reach for the scotch, but necessity demanded concession. There had been barely enough to make the required dozen loops around the entire place as it was.
It wasn’t as if his employees had some kind of communal lunch break to spend hanging around, but the lengths of the lulls were almost predictable. Especially after a decent shooting spree downtown with reported confirmed causalities.
There had been just enough time to put Bing Crosby’s greatest winter wonderland hits on the speakers and dump the star shaped ice mold into the punch bowl. It wasn’t really an office party considering the only one around this place with an office was him. The office in question was less of an office as much as it was a room with a door he could almost close. The overflowing filing cabinets and broken computer equipment surrounded a desk he got to sit at on occasion when the Pony floor was finally deserted and still.
He watched puzzled messengers pause and consider the nativity scene made of chocolate spread out over the dispatch counter. It was the center piece to trays of festively shaped sugar cookies, mince pies and heaps of rum balls. In the interest of sticking to the basics, the buffet also included some obligatory blocks of cheese on toothpicks and enough fruitcake to sink an aircraft carrier.
“Go on now!” Normal told them when no one was moving to partake. “Those wise men aren’t going to eat themselves!”
The general stunned state of confusion was a little disconcerting considering he’d left a detailed notice in every single one of their lockers over six month’s ago. Although the announcement had also been carefully placed on the employee notice board for further warning, no one seemed to expect all this merriment. Normal had also included a small notation on the flyers that if anyone felt inclined, they could also contribute something besides their face. But knowing his kids as he did, he didn’t expect much to arrive besides bottomless appetites and some complaints about the nonexistent booze to egg ratio in the nog.
Therefore it was more than a surprise when he turned around and saw one of the bikers standing with a plate wrapped in cellophane.
“Cake?” Alec had already taken the parcel out of Sketchy’s hands.
“Brownies.” Max corrected him.
“What’s the difference?” Alec looked doubtfully at the cake like thing in his hand.
“Everything.” She rolled her eyes.
Alec had taken a bite and was chewing thoughtfully.
Smiling at Normal, Sketchy held his arms out wide to him in an overt gesture of startling affability. Unsure if the messenger was going to attempt any physical contact, Normal nervously backed up a few steps.
“Hope you don’t mind, boss man!” Sketchy said. “Thought I’d bring some joyfulness into the workplace in which you so graciously provide us slaves with a humble yet kinda noble living.”
Normal smiled weakly back.
Everyone was suddenly distracted by Alec noisily spitting out brownie back into his hand. The kid eventually noticed everyone staring at him as soon as the unpleasant task was completed.
“Something wrong?” Normal handed him a holly berry napkin.
“Yeah!” Alec said indignantly. “No one told me brownies are composed entirely of ganja—ow!”
“They’re delicious.” Max declared as she withdrew her fist. “Great job, Sketch.”
“Thanks!” Sketchy beamed.
A noise like a dull siren wail caught everyone’s attention.
The schedule board abruptly lit up with a flashing caution that the police barricades were finally being taken down. The room made a collective groan of weariness as the suspended clock of their unremitting pace started right back up again. A swarming chattering mass of couriers quickly emptied out into the gray day to do some double time to make up for the delay. It was always vaguely eerie how quiet the place could get in a matter of moments. Normal put the plate of brownies along with all the other food. Even though there had been less than ten minutes for anyone to party down, most of the chow was gone. A few of his workers remained, lingering on the ripped furniture and leisurely sipping punch from Santa themed plastic cups. Sketchy toasted him happily from the sparkling tree.
Normal picked one of the dense chocolate lumps up.
The thing did taste a tad queer.
They probably were chock full of one of those sugar substitutes on the market. There was always a new one popping up whenever the latest and greatest was proven to cause some new form of heinous cancer. Everyone threw their arms up in the air when it came to baking without the real stuff but Normal appreciated a cut in calories where you could make due. After he had eaten a couple of them without even any milk at hand he sat back in his chair with a sigh.
Bing was peacefully crooning overhead about how he’d be home in time for Christmas. The multihued alternating wink of bulbs became the most relaxing view Normal had seen in a long while.
It had been an eternity since he’d changed the channel on the plasma to anything other than the minute to minute traffic report. Out of pure luck, he clicked to a random network that was broadcasting some ultra old holiday classics from the last century. The real ancient stuff that they used to make for children before a computer became a household prerequisite. Staring in rapt attention, he found himself unable to take his eyes off the screen. The jerky stop motion animation of the sheepish reindeer’s glowing nose had never seemed so vibrant and fascinating. The use of clear crumpled plastic to simulate the frozen water of the north pole was for some reason the most genius thing he’d ever seen.
He blinked when he realized he hadn’t in a while.
“Jumpin’ Jehosaphat.” Normal murmured. “Y-You have to take a look at this.”
“I dunno dude.” Sketchy shook his head as he dumped what was left of the hors d’œuvres on a paper plate. “Bumble scares the shit outta me.”
Dropping several of his brownies on top the assembled heap, Sketchy joined him for a seat behind the counter despite the trepidation.
“Hey?” Sketchy hopefully ventured. “This thing get channel 4908? I heard Miracle on 34th Street is on tonight.”
The remote began to hectically auto-search the request in the network's stratosphere of obscure broadcasts. Normal had to admit, he didn’t really mind the notion of company on this night of nights. He’d always had a soft spot for the sentiments most people these days were content to leave behind.
“These are some fine brownies you’ve made here, Calvin Theodore.”
“Don’t mention it, man.”
“N-No really?” Sketchy replied nervously. “Don’t like ever.”
Normal’s gaze flickered back to the flowered chipped ceramic the home baked dessert had been stacked on. Its cheery faded pattern dreamily reminded him of the scatterbrained souls that came rushing in and out of the Jam Pony doors all day long. Just like the misfit toys in the classic that had gone and found an island of their own. Each and every one was a single piece apart and away from a set. A little rough around the edges but doing its job.
Normal smiled at the jumping colors on the monitor.
He just wasn’t quite sure why so many of them kept ending up on his doorstep.
spastic_visions prompt: Sketchy gets Normal stoned.
Also, for your referencing pleasure:
Cross posted to: jam_pony_fic