Murder Over Manhattan (A Jack Frost Tale)

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reiver33

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Another of my off-the-cuff seasonal tales from Wonderland...


I elbowed the nearest elf in the face and he fell screaming from the sleigh. I struggled, but his pals were all over me like a rash and I couldn’t reach my gun. Santa lashed the reins to the rail and stood up, his back to the reindeer, glaring at me

Man, I was in the **** and no mistake. Gabriel had brokered a deal for me to ride shotgun with Father Christmas, as some of the other inhabitants of Wonderland wanted him dead. In return Santa would take my name off the naughty list – again.

Bad things happened to those on the naughty list, and the Bad Thing hunting me had already torn two people limb-from-limb. Not much scares Jack Frost but I jumped at the chance to smooth things over.

Now we’d been airborne for a while the fat ******* obviously thought he was safe and it was time to settle some old scores. OK, so I’d previously killed Santa and blown his entire North Pole operation to tinderwood, but The Man had set things back the way they were. Some people don’t know when they’re lucky.

He raised a fist the side of a ham hock. “Did you really think I was gonna’ forgive and forget, Jackie boy?” Flecks of spit mixed with shortbread crumbs hit my face. His breath reeked of sherry. “Merry Christmas!” The elves giggled like a gaggle of schoolgirls.

"Ho!” Santa punched me in the face.

“Ho!” And again.

“Ho!” And again.

I spat blood. “You're a big man, but you're in bad shape. With me it's a full time job. Now, **** off!” I jerked both legs up, knees to my chest, and kicked him in his fat stomach. Santa doubled up and went flying, landing on Donner and Blitzen.

The sleigh dropped like a stone. Elves scattered like leaves in the wind. I grabbed the rail and hung on. Santa squirmed, impaled on reindeer antlers. We burst through the clouds over New York City. I was on my knees, feet braced against the seat behind me, one arm wrapped around the guard rail. With the other I grabbed the reins and pulled – hard.

The sleigh executed a 360-degree barrel-rolled, shedding the remaining elves, presents – and Santa Claus. He fell, howling, into the darkness.

We came right way up, veering all over the sky. Blitzen had blood in his eyes and was freaking out. My hat blew off and was gone. I took a deep breath. “Rudolph! Set us down, anywhere!”

“Do my best, boss.” Telepathic reindeer? – don’t ask.

I clung on as we whiplashed around and came down on the flat roof of a large department store. From the ground it probably looked like one of those big animatronic displays – if Santa wore a trenchcoat and sucked sown bourbon from a hip flask. I got down and sat on the edge of the sleigh. My legs shook.

The snow beside me swirled up like it was caught in a mini-twister, and became Gabriel. He did not look happy.

“Christmas Eve? You and Claus decide to get into it on tonight of all nights? Well, you’ve really screwed things up this time Jack. Screwed them up royally.”

I stood up, pointing to my chest. “Me? It was the fat man who came looking for payback! It was him who welched on the deal.”

Gabriel came over all prissy. “Regardless of how we came to be in this situation, what are you going to do about it?”

“Run that one past me again, G? How is this anything to do with me?”

He shouted at me. “You just killed Santa!”

“He had it coming!” We glared at each other. The reindeer skittered sideways, disturbed by the bad vibes. I snapped my fingers and grabbed the fedora as it sailed out of the darkness (a little trick of mine). “Anyway, it’s no big deal. Your boss can bring him back, just like before.”

“Not tonight he can’t. It’s, it’s an event – you wouldn’t understand.”

I set my hat in place. “No? Well, I can sure spot an excuse for passing the buck when I hear one. Now, if you’ll excuse me…”

“Not so fast! This is your mess and you’ll have to clean it up. That’s the word from on high, Jack. Understand?”

Oh, I understood all right, even though what was being asked of me was clearly impossible. I gestured towards the sleigh. “So, what, I’m supposed to step in, is that it? Pick up the slack as an ersatz Father Christmas? And how the **** am I supposed to do that without-” The sleigh was full of gift-wrapped presents. I took a deep breath and released it. “OK, neat trick, give you that, but I’m still a bit light on manpower. I don’t see any zombie elves about to do the heavy lifting.”

Gabriel smiled. “I’ll be right back. Don’t you dare pull a disappearing act, Jack, I’m warning you.” He dissolved into a swirl of snowflakes and vanished into the night sky.

Don’t think I wasn’t tempted to get the hell outta’ Dodge, but the consequences would have been too severe. I paced up and down, smoking a cigarette, wondering if I could possibly pull this off. OK, I was one of those who could get into most places – in my case all I needed was a pane of glass – but it was still a tall order. At least I had my revolver if I came across an irate parent, getting antsy at the substitute service.

A the roof snow exploded into a mini-blizzard, making me shield my face. When I looked up it was to find Gabriel had returned, and he’d brought along a few ‘friends’.

The Tooth Fairy; a creepy Peter Lorre clone who liked watching kids while they slept.

The Easter Bunny; almost unrecognisable beneath a bulky Parka. The ears gave him away.

The Stork; the Stork? At least he didn’t have an infant dangling from his beak.

Mrs Anna Claus; pretty as a picture. If it were entitled ‘Sullen Fury’. I guess this was the one night a year she’d have the place to herself – kick off the shoes and sit back with a box of bonbons.

Gabriel sounded almost apologetic. “These are all that I could round up at short notice. I’m sure you’ll all do just fine.” The fink pulled a Houdini before I could open my mouth. The only sound was the reindeer snorting and pawing the snow, eager to be off.

I drew my gun; a vintage Webley revolver. The Tooth Fairy shied away, hiding behind the Easter Bunny. I’d shot the little rat once before, but you can’t kill anyone from Wonderland, not really. So he was back – or at least a new version of an old, old idea.

I held up my piece. “This? This is just by way of a visual aid, a means to get your attention. Now, listen up! Santa just tried skydiving without a parachute so we have to pick up where he’s left off, capiche?”

“You’re sure he’s dead?” This from the not-so-grieving widow. It was Anna who’d paid me to kill Claus the first time around. Sure, I’d double-crossed her, but anyone who planned to torch Toy Town for the insurance and boost her husband’s ride wasn’t to be trusted.

“Trust me, somewhere out there is a big crimson splat. So Toothy here, and everyone else who wanted a new, less grumpy, version of Big Red have gotten the perfect Christmas gift.” I waited until the murmurs of relief died down. “Right then, two teams. T-F, you can go anywhere, so take Ears with you as ammunition carrier. Me and the Stork are both limited access, but I guess that between us we can reach most places.”

“And what about me?” Mrs Claus struck a pose, hand on hip. “I hope you don’t expect me to do any of the fetching and carrying. Not with these nails.”

I grinned at her. “You’re on sleigh-driving duty Mrs C. Just try not to run any red lights.” I holstered my gun. “OK, people, we can do this! Plus, we don’t have the option. So let’s hear it for Team SLH!”

They stared at me blankly, except the Stork who winced and hung his head. I sighed. “Santa’s Little Helpers?”

Man, it was gonna’ be one long night.
 

Bowler1

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I'm sneaking on here for my Christmas fix and have to be off again before Mrs Bowler catches me, so, this was perfect for me. It couldn't have been any better unless you'd dropped off Jack Frost, gift wrapped and coved in chimney soot, all moody and shooting up the Christmas tree.

Right, I'm off before I get caught!
 

Jo Zebedee

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blah - flags. So many flags.
It's great as ever, but I assume you want a nit-crit...? :D


I elbowed the nearest elf in the face and he fell screaming from the sleigh. I struggled, but his pals were all over me like a rashJust a little too cliched for my tast and I couldn’t reach my gun. Santa lashed the reins to the rail and stood up, his back to the reindeer, glaring at mefull stop

Man, I was in the **** and no mistake. Gabriel had brokered a deal for me to ride shotgun with Father Christmas, as some of the other inhabitants of Wonderland wanted him dead. In return Santa would take my name off the naughty list – again.

Bad things happened to those on the naughty list, and the Bad Thing hunting me had already torn two people limb-from-limb. Not much scares Jack Frost but I jumped at the chance to smooth things over.

Now we’d been airborne for a while the fat ******* obviously thought he was safe and it was time to settle some old scores. OK, so I’d previously killed Santa and blown his entire North Pole operation to tinderwood, but The Man had set things back the way they were. Some people don’t know when they’re lucky.

He raised a fist the side of a ham hock.nice “Did you really think I was gonna’ forgive and forget, Jackie boy?” Flecks of spit mixed with shortbread crumbs hit my face. His breath reeked of sherry. “Merry Christmas!”I'm not entirely sure who said this -- I think Santa ass it's in the same paragraph, but then I'm confused why the next paragraph isn't a run on, too. The elves giggled like a gaggle of schoolgirls.

"Ho!” Santa punched me in the face.

“Ho!” And again.

“Ho!” And again.

I spat blood. “You're a big man, but you're in bad shape. With me it's a full time job. Now, **** off!” I jerked both legs up, knees to my chest, and kicked him in his fat stomach. Santa doubled up and went flying, landing on Donner and Blitzen.

The sleigh dropped like a stone. Elves scattered like leaves in the wind. I grabbed the rail and hung on. Santa squirmed, impaled on reindeer antlersI'd have liked to see him reacting to this when he landed on the antlers. We burst through the clouds over New York City. I was on my knees, feet braced against the seat behind me, one arm wrapped around the guard rail. With the other I grabbed the reins and pulled – hard.

The sleigh executed a 360-degree barrel-rolled, shedding the remaining elves, presents – and Santa Clausbut he wasn't in the sleigh, so how could he be shed from it?. He fell, howling, into the darkness.

Wewho else is with Jack? came right way up, veering all over the sky. Blitzen had blood in his eyes and was freaking out. My hat blew off and was gone. I took a deep breath. “Rudolph! Set us down, anywhere!”

“Do my best, boss.” Telepathic reindeer? – don’t asknice.

I clung on as we whiplashed around and came down on the flat roof of a large department store. From the ground it? the sleigh? probably looked like one of those big animatronic displays – if Santa wore a trenchcoat and sucked sown bourbon from a hip flask. I got down and sat on the edge of the sleigh. My legs shook.

The snow beside me swirled up like it was caught in a mini-twister, and became Gabriel. He did not look happy.

“Christmas Eve? You and Claus decide to get into it on tonight of all nights? Well, you’ve really screwed things up this time Jack. Screwed them up royally.”

I stood up, pointing to my chest. “Me? It was the fat man who came looking for payback! It was him who welched on the deal.”

Gabriel came over all prissy. “Regardless of how we came to be in this situation, what are you going to do about it?”

“Run that one past me again, G? How is this anything to do with me?”

He shouted at me. “You just killed Santa!”

“He had it coming!” We glared at each other. The reindeer skittered sideways, disturbed by the bad vibes. I snapped my fingers and grabbed the fedora as it sailed out of the darkness (a little trick of mine). “Anyway, it’s no big deal. Your boss can bring him back, just like before.”

“Not tonight he can’t. It’s, it’s an event – you wouldn’t understand.”

I set my hat in place. “No? Well, I can sure spot an excuse for passing the buck when I hear one. Now, if you’ll excuse me…”

“Not so fast! This is your mess and you’ll have to clean it up. That’s the word from on high, Jack. Understand?”

Oh, I understood all right, even though what was being asked of me was clearly impossible. I gestured towards the sleigh. “So, what, I’m supposed to step in, is that it? Pick up the slack as an ersatz Father Christmas? And how the **** am I supposed to do that without-” The sleigh was full of gift-wrapped presents. I took a deep breath and released it. “OK, neat trick, give you that, but I’m still a bit light on manpower. I don’t see any zombie elves about to do the heavy lifting.”

Gabriel smiled. “I’ll be right back. Don’t you dare pull a disappearing act, Jack, I’m warning you.” He dissolved into a swirl of snowflakes and vanished into the night sky.

Don’t think I wasn’t tempted to get the hell outta’ Dodge, but the consequences would have been too severe. I paced up and down, smoking a cigarette, wondering if I could possibly pull this off. OK, I was one of those who could get into most places – in my case all I needed was a pane of glass – but it was still a tall order. At least I had my revolver if I came across an irate parent, getting antsy at the substitute service.

Delete A the roof snow exploded into a mini-blizzard, making me shield my face. When I looked up it was to find Gabriel had returned, and he’d brought along a few ‘friends’.

The Tooth Fairy; a creepy Peter Lorre clone who liked watching kids while they slept.

The Easter Bunny; almost unrecognisable beneath a bulky Parka. The ears gave him away.

The Stork; the Stork? At least he didn’t have an infant dangling from his beak.

Mrs Anna Claus; pretty as a picture. If it were entitled ‘Sullen Fury’. I guess this was the one night a year she’d have the place to herself – kick off the shoes and sit back with a box of bonbons.

Gabriel sounded almost apologetic. “These are all that I could round up at short notice. I’m sure you’ll all do just fine.” The fink pulled a Houdini before I could open my mouth. The only sound was the reindeer snorting and pawing the snow, eager to be off.

I drew my gun; a vintage Webley revolver. The Tooth Fairy shied away, hiding behind the Easter Bunny. I’d shot the little rat once before, but you can’t kill anyone from Wonderland, not really. So he was back – or at least a new version of an old, old idea.

I held up my piece. “This? This is just by way of a visual aid, a means to get your attention. Now, listen up! Santa just tried skydiving without a parachute so we have to pick up where he’s left off, capiche?”

“You’re sure he’s dead?” This from the not-so-grieving widow. It was Anna who’d paid me to kill Claus the first time around. Sure, I’d double-crossed her, but anyone who planned to torch Toy Town for the insurance and boost her husband’s ride wasn’t to be trusted.

“Trust me, somewhere out there is a big crimson splat. So Toothy here, and everyone else who wanted a new, less grumpy, version of Big Red have gotten the perfect Christmas gift.” I waited until the murmurs of relief died down. “Right then, two teams. T-F, you can go anywhere, so take Ears with you as ammunition carrier. Me and the Stork are both limited access, but I guess that between us we can reach most places.”

“And what about me?” Mrs Claus struck a pose, hand on hip. “I hope you don’t expect me to do any of the fetching and carrying. Not with these nails.”

I grinned at her. “You’re on sleigh-driving duty Mrs C. Just try not to run any red lights.” I holstered my gun. “OK, people, we can do this! Plus, we don’t have the option. So let’s hear it for Team SLH!”

They stared at me blankly, except the Stork who winced and hung his head. I sighed. “Santa’s Little Helpers?”

Man, it was gonna’ be one long night.[/QUOTE]

I enjoyed it, but had a couple of nits. (They really were nits, though.)
 

hopewrites

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Voice is solid. Where he drops in info the reader would need it feels more or less like something he would have said to himself anyway.
Early on it took on a Cowboy Beebop anime feel that had solid lines and full color by the time Santa is rolling off the reindeer. With gritty snow in the cold wind making snake tracks through the scenes and everything.
When Jack mentions those who just got the perfect christmas present, I expected to see some hung heads or at least a few pairs of shifty eyes. But maybe they were hidden by the weather. ;)
 

Sally Ann Melia

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Not sure who your audience is.

Most people stop believing in Santa Clause when they are eight years old. most eight years old would cry buckets if Santa elbowed an elf in the face.

Most people with kids will hate you for making eight years old cry.

Strikes me this is a cocky, unsympathetic piece which has niether the spirit of Christmas nor is truly witty ( santa elbowing elf in the face? ).

Who are you writing for?
 

hopewrites

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Sally I disagree with you about people not believing in Santa.

I'll admit I wrap the presents, and fill the stockings, but that doesnt mean I don't "believe" in Santa. That's like saying people who do good in God's name dont believe in God.

I like the snarkyness of this piece because it admits fault with the faultless and shows that the fallen can rise when called upon.

My guess is that his target is himself. But I feel it would appeal to any who have seen the harshness of the world and seen the folly of mankind, and still wished for something to beleive in. Something that made sence with the world they know and understand. A world of pettiness and callous human beings. Such a world needs a Santa.

But as I'm not the author I'm willing to be wrong.
 

JoanDrake

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It's very good. It's nearly as funny as the Christmas episode they did in Futurama where Santa had evolved into this truly horrible robot who went about killing people with a machine gun. The characters are voiced very well and the action was both vivid and as realistic as something like this could be.

I really liked the business of Jack calling his fedora back. Little details like that give him a distinct personality
 

reiver33

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My thanks to all for the comments and feedback. Just to try and place this in context; if I'm working at Christmas then I try to write a Jack Frost tale. These are semi-planned at best, based on an idea jumping around in my head at the time.

The general background is 'Wonderland' - the place where stories live on once their original narrative has run its course, but only if people believe it could be true. The only people with real belief are children, the devout and the insane. Wonderland is thus a heady, and unstable, mix of innocence, passion and depravity.

'Jack' is an amalgam of literary characters; Jack Frost, Jack-o-Lantern, Springheel Jack - even Jack the Ripper. By 'literary character' I mean all those who have been immortalised in fiction, but only using pen and paper - there is something in the ink which captures the imagination.

So far Jack has blown up Toy Town for the insurance, murdered Jacob Marley for E. Scrooge Esq., and shot the Tooth Fairy who wanted grumpy Santa taken out. These tales are probably lurking on the Chrons somewhere.

All these stories are 'sit down and write' affairs - a bit rough around the edges and intended as a (at best) irreverent, light pieces. My apologies to anyone who took exception.

Cheers!

Martin

P.S. And nobody mentioned the 'Get Carter' reference!
 
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