Mary Christmas

 In User Story - AR & AP

Mary Christmas

By: lostandwhatever



Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

not a creature was stirring, not even a… a… Uh, crap…

What’s something nasty that rhymes with “house?” “Louse?” That could work.

Let’s try this:

Twas the night before Christmas, when through each city

a strange creature was stirring, to make life shitty.

Better?

Well, at least it’s true. There is a strange creature stirring: me. I’m an Elf. I’ve been fired… on Christmas Eve no less! And, I plan on fucking up Christmas royally.

Why?

Well, besides being fired, Christmas just pisses me off. Let me explain. (Settle in. My villainous backstory is going to take a minute, but hang around. It’s a good one.)

My name is Mary.

That’s right.

Mary.

Let that sink in a minute. I’m an Elf. I was born in The North Pole, and my parents thought to name me Mary. Like, couldn’t they have maybe considered that Mary was not the best name for a girl in a Christmas-centered society?

“Mary? Like, ‘Mary Christmas?’ Ha ha, that’d be a great nickname for you,” said every idot I ever met. Ugh!

Everywhere I went I heard “Mary Christmas!” here and “Mary Christmas” there. This went on all year round, and it only got worse when Christmas approached.

So, naturally, I grew up with a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I would get into fights all the time. I had very few friends, and they were all losers like me. My one saving grace was that I was smart, brilliant even. “Yeah,” I thought. “Mock my name, you little shits. I’m graduating at the top of the class. You can all kiss my merry ass!”

The one subject that I happened to excel at most was magic. I’m a badass magician. Spells just come naturally to me. I can whip up an incantation or a curse at a moment’s notice. This was clear to everyone after I turned one of the brats in my class into a polar bear. Everyone made a big deal about it, but she had it coming. And, anyway, they figured out how to turn her back to normal after a few weeks. (Though, she did have a lingering craving for rare meat from that point on.)

Following “The Bear Incident,” as it came to be known, the teasing lightened up a bit. People were scared of me. Either they did their best to act nice around me, or they snuck away as I approached. They used to chant my name. Now, they whispered it. I felt both powerful and lonely, which is a seriously dangerous combination. Seeing this, the higher ups decided it was best to find a job for me that would keep my mind occupied and keep me away from the general public as much as possible.

I went into Research and Development.

You see, The North Pole is a one-factory town. Everyone ends up working for the big man in some way. If you’re lucky, you end up a manager on the toy lines. If you’re unlucky, you might spend a century sweeping floors and cleaning toilets. There is no space for free enterprise or small business development. Your future is pretty much set from the moment you are born. Most Elves take comfort in that. They have job security and all that. I hated it. I wanted to be free to do my own thing, but at least I got to experiment with my talents while working for the man.

The R&D lab was full of egghead Elves with a talent for making magic. We would come up with new toys or with new ways of improving production. The elite got to work on the delivery team. Their job was making sure that the sled was ready to roll and that the time manipulation needed for the big man’s trip worked flawlessly.

I started to rub people the wrong way almost immediately. For example, I pointed out early on that we could easily use a few spells and some machines to automate the entire toy production line. My managers explained to me that this would be bad since it would put thousands of Elves out of a job. (Fucking communism.) They tried me on new toy design. That lasted for a while, but eventually I started to notice that none of my toy designs were being approved for production. When I asked my managers what was up, they explained that my toys were “unsuitable” or “dangerous” or “actually not toys but horrible curses.” Eventually, as they were running out of places to put me, they bumped me up to the delivery team. I excelled there for a while, but I started asking a few too many questions.

“Why does it need to be a sled? Why do we need to keep these smelly reindeer around? Why not use a teleportation device instead? For that matter, why do we stop time for only one night a year? We could stop time for the Elves on production to give us all the time we need to make the toys, and then we could just spend the rest of the year doing whatever it is we want to do.”

The answer was always “Tradition.” That’s the way it was done. The big man was not about to change it.

Eventually, I got sick of it all. I decided that I had slipped on reindeer shit for the last time. Something had to change.

After throwing back a few too many drinks over lunch today, I stormed into the big man’s office while he was in the middle of preparing for the big delivery. I started ranting and raving about glaring inefficiencies in production and workers rights and a bunch of other annoying crap. Then, I said the unspeakable; I accused him of running a factory of brainwashed slaves for his own twisted amusement.

That was the last straw. He fired me on the spot and called in the guards to drag me out.

But, I was ready for them. I had my new time manipulation tool primed to go if I needed to make a quick getaway. I flipped it on, and the world froze. I slid past the statue-like guards and headed for the secret archives. I needed some answers, and the secret archives had to be where they were hidden. It was the only totally off limits place in the head office. I broke in and started reading. I had all the time in the world to read as much as I wanted, so that’s what I did. I only stopped when I became too disgusted to go on any further.

The story I found explained how my ancestors had been driven to the ends of the Earth by the spread of mankind. Although we were a powerful species, we were quickly being outnumbered. We needed a refuge. Eventually, my people found the big man. He seemed a kind one, very giving by nature and possessing a real soft spot for children. Seeing an opportunity for survival with him, my people came up with a plan. They decided it would be best if they resembled children to gain the big man’s sympathy, so they transformed themselves with a permanent glamor, leaving our race looking forever trapped in childhood. Then, they approached the big man and made a deal with him. They would help him make toys and give them to the children of the world. In return, he would provide them with a safe haven. The idea was that so long as the Elves were associated with a good man like him, they would not need to fear the hostility of humans anymore.

The plan worked, our people survived, and centuries passed in peaceful servitude. Then, came the rebellion. The working Elves demanded their freedom. They wanted to live as their ancestors did, as a free and mysterious race. They were brutally put down by the Elves in positions of power. The old histories were erased and replaced by a fairy tale of peaceful coexistence and gleeful service. From then on, young Elves were indoctrinated with these lies and forced into slavery, all in the name of keeping the peace and surviving.

Well, fuck keeping the peace, and fuck just surviving. I want to live. I want to be free. If trying to live free means we risk extinction, then that’s just fine with me. Better to die in battle than scrape along in bitter servitude forever.

So, I came up with my own plan. Rather than attempt a hopeless rebellion against the big man and his goons, I decided I would go after the heart of our twisted society, Christmas. If I could wreck the big man’s reputation, if I could kill Christmas, then there would be no need for toys anymore. There would be no work for the Elves. They might start asking questions. They might start demanding freedom. The rebellion might just happen on its own, then.

Yeah, it might be a long shot. And, yeah, I might really be doing this just because I got teased too much as a kid and my boss just fired me.

Nevertheless, fuck him, fuck Christmas, and fuck you! I’m burning this motherfucker down to the ground if I can!

So, I ran and grabbed a bunch of stuff. I stole The List, planning on targeting the naughty ones first. I took all of my old prototype toys from R&D, the nasty ones that they dreaded. I loaded them up on the sled along with some new goodies I had created in my off hours, the type of shit that would have gotten me fired for sure if anyone had seen it. Then, I left a letter for the big man and his cronies to see before I departed on my mission.

“Dear Santa,” it read.

“What I want for Christmas this year is the destruction of The North Pole, but don’t go to any trouble over me. I’ll handle it on my own. In fact, you get to take it easy this year. I’ll take care of the big delivery all by myself. I’m sure the children of the world will love you after they see the toys I leave for them.

“If you don’t know what I mean by that, then ask the R&D department about my little experiments. Tell them that I’m finally putting my prototypes into production. (I only wish I could see their faces in that moment.)

“Oh, and don’t try to follow me. After all, I’ll be done before you can stop me.

“Yours truly,

“Mary Christmas

“P.S. Ho, Ho, Ho!”

I let time run just long enough for them to find the letter, freak out, and run to stop me. Just as they reached me in the sled as I sat waiting there wearing his goofy red hat and smiling like a demon, just as I saw the utter terror and desperation in his eyes, I froze time and blasted off into the cold, leaving behind the stinking reindeer and my rotten past at last.

Now, it’s time for some mayhem.

***

Later on, I think back on the whole journey. It seems like a dream now, an endless night, but it all really happened. Let me describe it to you.

***

As I rode south to North America, I had time to do some preparations for my gift-giving. I pulled out a couple of tools of my own invention.

First off, I set up my state-of-the-art Magic Toy Factory, which is basically a magic 3D printer with a scanning function. All I have to do is stick a toy in it, and it can produce endless copies of it, each one an exact duplicate of the original down to the molecular level. I started pumping out copies of my prototypes immediately.

Next, I pulled out my Chrono-Viewer, which is basically a screen linked to some very cutting edge time manipulation spells. With it, I can get a brief glimpse into the future. It’s a bit on the probabilistic side, meaning that the futures I see are only likely to be true, not 100% accurate predictions. Thank goodness for quantum fluctuations and the enduring potential for freewill. I planned on using this little darling to check if my toys will be having their desired effect (i.e. total chaos).

Finally, I pulled out The List. I set my coordinates for the nearest naughty child and let the autopilot lead the way.

It was going to be a long night. In normal calendar time, it would last months, but in big-delivery time, it would be over in a few hours. I could be back in the North Pole before anyone had a chance to stop me, but I had no intention of returning to that frozen hellscape ever again.

Still, I wanted a glimpse of how my former coworkers would react to my trip. I flipped on my Chrono-Viewer for a test to see what the immediate future looked like for the North Pole. I was greeted by a somewhat hazy moving image of Santa chewing out his guards for being so lax as to let me escape with his sled. He ordered my old manager to counteract my time manipulation device with the bigger, more impressive looking device in the main office. I smiled as he reached for the machine. He twisted the dials and immediately dropped to the floor in a pile of oversized clothes, having been instantly reduced to infancy. My booby trapping of their time device had worked like a charm. It still functioned just fine, but it did have a bit of a time leak to it now, spilling out anti-time all over anyone who operated it. Thankfully, the device had a safety on it that immediately shut it down if anyone affected by it entered “critical youthfulness.”

“I did warn you about trying to stop me,” I said to the screen.

My old manager, now reduced to a bawling baby, was carried away as some of his assistants started looking for diapers. They would need to leave him as he was for a few days at least until the anti-time charge on him had dispersed, or else there might be unexpected side-effects to ageing him up again. The rest of the R&D crew shook their heads as they examined my handiwork. They were simultaneous impressed and terrified. No one dared touch the device after that.

Satisfied that I would be safe from North Pole interference, I focused my attention on the list. It was time to start pairing up my toys with deserving kids.

***

Toy #1: The Youth Gun

Speaking of anti-time, let me introduce to you my first new toy: The Youth Gun.

Hey kids, tired of that older sister giving you grief? Has your older brother bullied you one time too many? Well, do we have a solution for you. It’s The Youth Gun! Older people can be a real headache. Why not cut them down to size? With The Youth Gun, you can make anyone younger. Tired of being treated like a kid by older people. Show them how it feels. The Youth Gun, available this Christmas under a tree near you. (Warning: The Youth Gun is not recommended for use on parents, babysitters, or other essential caregivers.)

At my first stop, I dropped off one of these babies. There happened to be a naughty teen girl living there. I addressed the gun to her little sister. Obviously, if you want someone to get shot, you put the gun in the hands of their enemy. Then, I made sure the tag said “From: Santa” like every other tag I was using that night. Finally, I teleported it down under their tree. (Why bother doing all the lifting myself?)

I pulled out my Chrono-Viewer again to check how the toy will be received. Naturally, there’s a limit to how far into the future it can accurately see, but it would be able to see at least a few days ahead. That ought to be long enough to see if my toys were operating as expected.

A quick fast forward showed the little girl finding her gift. She put it off to the side for a while, not being particularly interested in a toy ray gun. Later, her sister was being a brat to her. The little girl tried out the gun on her sister secretly and watched as her big sister got littler. The little girl kept zapping her big sister until she had become her little sister. The poor, formerly big sister found herself suddenly on the wrong side of puberty and looking up at her formerly little sister.

The girl kept the gun a secret, but she was happy to share her hand-me-downs with her new little sister.

I decided to consider that a partial success. There was some damage done, but Santa did not get fingered for it.

The next few houses with the gun were variations on that the events of the first. Quite a few teenagers found themselves needing to borrow younger sibling’s clothes. Many tears were shed. Some even found themselves needing diapers. Santa did get blamed for a few of those messes.

Then, there was the story of poor little Billy. This one will be in the news, apparently.

***

Billy was a spoiled little 7-year-old brat. He was also an only child, so I gave the gun right to him.

Billy found the gun last out of all of his many presents. (I tried to bury my gifts under others. My hope was that they might get lost in the chaos as other gifts were opened.)

His mom asked, “Where did that come from?”

“‘From: Santa,’” Billy read off the tag slowly.

His mom looked at her sleepy husband. “I see…” she said. “Santa, right?”

“Wha?” Billy’s dad mumbled with half closed eyes.

Billy tore into my gift for him. “What does it say, Mom?” he asked, holding it up to her.

“‘The Youth Gun.’ That’s… interesting.”

“What does ‘Yoof’ mean?”

“It means, like, young, like being a kid.”

“Oh,” he said, not feeling particularly excited by it. He set it to the side and ran back to play with his other new toys.

Mom stood up and stretched. “Alright,” she said. “Let’s get things cleaned up for the party. The family will be here in a couple of hours.”

“Aw,” Billy whined. “But, I wanna play with my toys.”

“Can’t you just pick up the wrapping paper?”

He ignored her and kept playing.

“Billy.”

“No,” he said.

“Fine,” she said and started picking it up for him. “But, you are putting your old toys away before your relatives get here.”

Billy did not respond.

After she had all of the wrapping paper in her hands she nudged her husband’s foot to wake him up. “Steven,” she said.

“Beth?” he said. “Uh, what is it? Is it time for presents?”

His wife sighed. “It’s cleanup time. We need to get the snacks out and put the drinks on ice.”

“Oh,” her husband said as if he had just remembered something important.

She sighed again. “You forgot the drinks, didn’t you?”

“Sorry,” he said. “It took forever yesterday to find that silly action figure Billy had to have. You know what a monster he would be if he didn’t get it. I guess I forgot about the drinks.”

“Well, one of us has to go out and get them,” she stated, making it pretty clear which one of them was heading out into the cold to search for an open store.

“I’ll go get dressed,” he said and headed upstairs.

She headed for the kitchen, while Billy kept playing with his toys. Very soon, he started to get bored. His attention turned to The Youth Gun. He aimed it at a wall and pulled the trigger making a “pew” sound with his mouth. He was surprised to find that it made a soft hum all by itself. Then, he aimed it at a houseplant and pulled the trigger. To his amazement, it shrank into a smaller, younger plant.

“It got little,” he said.

Mom yelled from the kitchen, “Are you putting away your old toys yet?”

“No,” he said with obvious frustration in his voice. Then, an idea hit him. He knew who his next target would be.

Billy crept into the kitchen with the gun clutched in his little hands. He pointed at Mom and fired. Then, he rushed back behind a corner. When he peeked back into the kitchen he found that his Mom had not noticed anything. She still looked the same, though.

He tried the gun on her again, this time he held it for a few seconds. Although it was hard to tell for sure, he felt that she looked better now, less tired at least. For one thing, the wrinkles around her eyes were less noticeable.

Her phone rang, and she put down the veggies she was cutting to answer it. Billy aimed the gun at her again.

“So, did you find any place open yet?” she asked.

“Not yet,” her husband replied.

“Did you try the 24-hour Super Mart?”

“Closed.”

“Well maybe you could try the… oops!”

“What is it?”

“My pants almost fell down. That’s strange,” she said.

“That diet must be working.”

“Maybe,” she said. “I feel a bit funny, actually.”

“Well, I’ll be home soon after I’m done. Where did you think I should try?”

“Try the… gas station,” she said and then coughed to clear her throat.

“Are you alright?” he said. “Your voice sounds a bit strange all of a sudden.”

“I feel fine,” she said, but it was clear that her voice was unusually higher now. “I must be getting a bit of a sore throat.”

“Alright,” he said. “I’ll call again if the gas station is a bust. Bye.”

“Bye,” she said and coughed again. Something strange was going on.

She put down her phone, tightened the string on her pajama bottoms, and turned back to her veggies. There was the ping of metal hitting the floor below her. She bent down to find her wedding ring on the floor. She slid it back on her finger, but it fit strangely loose on her now. There was no way she had lost that much weight while dieting.

She walked to the bathroom mirror and gasped at her reflection. Staring back at her was a teenaged girl just on the far end of puberty. “Oh my God!” she said. “I look like a kid.” She touched her young face in disbelief. “How did this…?” she started to say, but stopped when she felt herself suddenly moving downwards as if she were falling. She braced herself against the sink, but the downward motion continued. When it stopped, her pants fell down to her feet. The whole room seemed bigger. There was the sound of something sliding down the sink, and she saw her wedding ring fall down the drain just before she could grab it. She looked at her reflection again, to see a flat-chested girl just on the cusp of puberty now. “No,” she said in a squeaky voice. “That’s impossible.”

She heard a giggle come from the hallway next to her and spun around to see Billy standing there, smiling.

“Billy,” she squeaked and pulled up her oversized pants. “Go back to your toys. Mommy’s having a bit of a problem. Don’t worry.” Billy did not move. It was then that she noticed the toy ray gun in his hand. The words “The Youth Gun” were clearly printed on its side. “Billy, did you just…?”

He lifted the gun and aimed it at her again.

“No!” she cried as he pulled the trigger again. She held up her hands defensively and shut her eyes as she felt that falling sensation once more. When it was over, her shirt felt far too loose on her and her pants had become comically large clown pants.

Billy was laughing gleefully.

She looked back at him and was horrified to realize that he was taller than her now.

“Billy,” she squeaked. Her voice sounded so babyish now. “What did you do?”

“I made you littler, of course,” Billy said. “Did you get dumber too?”

She fought back the growing terror inside of her and tried her best to take control of the situation. She held out her little hand. “Give me the gun,” she said carefully as if he were holding an actual pistol. “It’s not safe.”

“Nuh uh,” he said holding it high above his head. “It’s mine. Santa gave it to me. Anyways, I’m the big one now. You have to do what I say.”

She made a desperate leap for it, but Billy backed off just in time. Her pants dropped to the floor again. “Billy!” she cried, sounding like a whiney brat now. “Give it to me!”

“Go put away my toys,” Billy said as he gently pushed her back. “Then, maybe I’ll let you play with it. Maybe.”

“Billy, You have to turn me back, now. You can’t leave me like this,” she said as she gave up trying to take the gun from him. He was so much stronger and taller than her now. She became  so frustrated and scared that she almost felt like crying, but she maintained her composure.

“Clean up my mess first,” he said. “Be a good little girl.”

“I’m not a little girl,” she said. A tear dripped from her eye.

“Yeah you are. You’re a big crybaby even.”

“I’m not!” she shouted through the tears while stomping a foot.

Billy shook his head. “I don’t play with babies,” he said. “I’m going to my room. Clean up my toys, and maybe I’ll let you touch my gun.”

He walked away, and she just stood there sobbing. Then, she heard a sound that gave her hope again. The garage door had just opened. Her husband was home.

“Steven!” she called to him.

A minute later he entered the kitchen with cases of cola cans stacked in his arms. “Well,” he said without looking at her. “I got the drinks. We can party now.”

After setting the drinks down, he noticed a young girl crying in his kitchen. “Oh, hello,” he said. “Who are you?” He knelt down in front of her to be more on her level.

“Steven,” she said. “It’s me. It’s Beth!”

“Beth?” he said. “Oh? Are you one of Billy’s cousins?”

“I’m your wife!” she shouted.

“What?”

“That ray gun you bought Billy is real. It really made me younger.”

“This is a joke, right?” he said. “You and Beth are playing a prank? ‘Cause I know I didn’t buy any… ray gun.” He coughed. His voice had just cracked strangely.

“No!” the girl cried. “Run! Don’t let him hit you again!”

“What?” he said as he stood up. Then, he gasped as his jeans dropped to the floor. He pulled up his pants and looked back at the girl. She was shrinking right before his eyes. Every second she got smaller and younger, until there was nothing but a crying baby sitting on the floor in front of him. “Oh my god!” he cried and grabbed his throat after hearing the boyish sound of his voice. His Adam’s apple was missing under the smooth skin there.

It was then that he noticed Billy standing in the hallway aiming a toy ray gun at the baby. Billy pointed the gun back at him. He felt his body start to shrink and started running away immediately. He stumbled a bit as his shoes came off along with his pants. He ran bare assed through the dining room and back through living room, hounded by the sound of Billy’s laughter.

Then, Steven bounded up the stairs, which seemed far too tall now. He ducked into their bedroom and into their closet, quickly shutting the door behind him. He crawled behind a bag of old clothes and tried to quiet his breath.

He listened and heard footsteps calmly walking up the stairs. A baby was crying in the distance, his wife, he now realized. She had it even worse than he did. The footsteps passed his bedroom door and turned down the hallway to Billy’s room.

“Come out. Come out, wherever you are,” the boy said as if this were a simple game of hide and seek.

The footsteps grew closer then.

“Are you under the bed?” Billy asked. There was the sound of a hand on the floor. “Nope.”

Steven prayed his son would give up. He prayed for someone to save him.

Suddenly, the closet door flew open. “There you are,” Billy said. He held up the gun.

“Wait,” Steven said. “Wait a minute.” He sounded like such a kid now.

“Come out here,” Billy said waving with his gun.

Steven stood up with his hands held up in surrender and walked out of the closet. “Don’t shoot,” he said.

Billy pointed the gun at him again, but he did not fire. Steven noticed that they were both about the same height now. There might be a chance to wrestle the gun away from his son, he realized. He just had to wait for the right moment.

“I’m in charge now,” Billy said.

“That’s true, Billy,” Steven admitted. “You are in charge. You get to decide what to do next.”

“That’s right,” Billy said. He let the gun swing down to his hip.

Steven realized that this might be his last chance to reason with the boy. He would give it one more shot before trying to grab the gun. “You could keep playing with the gun, but if you do, we won’t be old enough to make you lunch… or dinner,” he said. “You’ll get really hungry. Do you want that?”

Billy thought for a moment. “I could order pizza,” he said. “Or, I could eat ice cream. I could eat all the ice cream, and no one could stop me.”

Billy was looking away from him now as he imagined all the foods he could have. Steven lunged for the gun, but he underestimated Billy’s grip. He could not wrestle it from the boy’s hand. Billy stepped back and pointed the gun at him. “It’s mine!” Billy shouted and pulled the trigger. Steven felt himself shrink as he lost his grip on the gun.

“Nooo!” Steven cried as he fell to his hands and knees and sank into his too large shirt until he was nothing more than a baby.

“Bad baby!” Billy said. “You two have been so naughty.” He set down the gun and picked up his baby Daddy, still wrapped in his T-shirt like a gown. Billy carried him downstairs to the living room and set the baby on the couch in the same place he had been sitting that morning. Then, he fetched his baby Mommy in her shirt and set her down next to him. They crawled to each other and held hands. They looked up at him fearfully. “Aw,” he said. “That’s so cute.” They tried to talk, but all that came out was babbling baby talk. “Heh,” Billy said. “You sound so funny now. Baba goo goo. Ha!”

Billy stood there a minute and realized that playing with them had become boring. Now, he was just watching a pair of babies. It was more fun when he was chasing Daddy, he decided. He went back upstairs and retrieved his gun.

“Alright,” he said to his baby parents when he had returned. “I’ll make you a bit older so we can play, but no grabbing the gun. You got it? Or, I’ll make you a baby again.”

He rotated the gun around in his hands, looking for a button or a switch that would make it grow people up again. He frowned. The only thing on the gun that seemed to move was the trigger. Feeling increasingly worried now, he grabbed the box for the gun and looked inside of it. There was nothing but cardboard packaging, no other attachments or instructions.

“How do I turn them back?” he asked himself.

He looked at the gun and back at the box again desperately. There was nothing.

“Oh no,” he said. He put the box down. “Oh no.” He put down the gun on the box and stepped away from it, suddenly feeling terrified of it. “Oh no.” He looked at the babies on the couch. “Mommy? Daddy?” he said. “Help me!”

His Mommy started to cry. Then, his Daddy started to cry. Then, Billy started to cry.

“I’m sorry!” Billy moaned. “I’m sorry!”

He crouched beneath the Christmas tree, surrounded by his many presents, and covered his face as he cried along with his baby parents.

And, that was how their relatives found them when their relatives arrived for the Christmas party.

***

Now, I can just hear you all saying, “Why the heck didn’t you add a way for someone to age back to normal with the youth gun?” That’s what my managers asked me, at least, after they told me that the gun was ridiculously dangerous.

Well, it wasn’t a mistake. I mean, I didn’t forget to add a reverse function to the gun. In fact, I specifically designed the gun that way with safety in mind. I get a lot of flack for ignoring potential safety hazards, but this was one case where I spotted a potential problem and avoided it.

Just imagine what would happen if kids found a gun that could make them grow into adults. They might get attacked by their parents. They might get arrested. They might even age to death. But, if the gun can only make people younger, then there is no chance for any of that to happen. In fact, the gun’s effects wear off all by themselves. Sure, it will take a long time for the effects to go away, years even, but everyone will eventually grow back to their normal ages. In fact, they will get an extension on their regular natural lives. A person could potentially live forever with one of those guns.

Granted, there are problems that could arise. Billy’s case is an example of how the gun might be dangerous if misused. And, yes, I do feel a bit bad for the boy. He was a brat, but he probably didn’t deserve that. Still, if his story will help wreck Christmas and ruin Santa, it will be worth it.

On to the next toy.

***

Toy #2: The Magic Toy-Swap Necklaces

Complaints about the The Youth Gun got me thinking about finding a way for kids to play as grown ups safely. Then, the idea hit me, why not have kids actually be their own toys? That lead me to create The Magic Toy-Swap Necklaces.

Hey kids, getting tired of playing with your toys? Ever wondered what life is really like inside that dollhouse? Well, why not play as your toys instead? With The Magic Toy-Swap Necklaces you can be your own toys. Simply, put the small necklace on the neck of the toy, lay down, and put big necklace on yourself, and magically you become the toy! The Magic Toy-Swap Necklaces work on any toy that fits the necklace. When you are ready to go back to being a kid, simply remove the necklaces. You can use The Magic Toy-Swap Necklaces again and again. Play as all of your toys. The fun never ends! Get The Magic Toy-Swap Necklaces today, available this Christmas under a tree near you. (Warning: Do not use The Magic Toy-Swap Necklaces without a partner or adult supervision. If necklaces are damaged or if either body is damaged while using the necklaces, the necklaces may no longer function.)

Every kid dreams about this at some point. You’re sitting there playing with your toys, and you imagine what it might be like to actually be your toys. It’s really not that hard a spell to perform. I had my prototypes ready quickly, before I had really considered the implications of what I was making. I did try to make them safe. For instance, the necklace I designed for the toys is much too small to put on a human neck. I wanted to make sure that people were not using them as a way of body swapping. That could be very problematic. Also, the only way to reverse the swapping spell is to remove both necklaces. The idea behind that rule is that I wanted to make sure kids would always have supervision around when they were playing as small toys. I’ll be honest, I understand why this toy was rejected. Let me give you some examples to show why.

First, every kid seemed to ignore the instructions about laying down on the ground and the warning about not playing alone with the necklaces. I watched them with the Chrono-Viewer again and again. Take little Suzy, for example.

***

Suzy opened her necklaces, read the directions (ignoring the warnings), and immediately ran up to her bedroom to find her favorite unicorn pony toy. She put the small necklace on the unicorn. Then, ignoring the warning, she put the big necklace on herself. Immediately, she found herself standing on all fours on the floor of her bedroom. In front of her was a giant plastic foot. She looked up at a giant girl mannequin standing above her wearing her clothes. It was her own body, turned to plastic. She looked down at herself. She had hooves. She was covered in light purple fur. She took a deep breath, felt her flesh and blood chest expand, and let out an excited whinny.

“Awesome!” she cried and was pleased to hear that she sounded like the cartoon version of the pony. “Wow, this is so cool.” She started clomping around her floor, taking note of how large all of her other toys looked now. She even tapped the foot of her old body, it sounded like hollow plastic.

Then, she thought she might try out a magic spell using her unicorn magic. She focused on lifting up a wooden block, but it did not move. Then, she tried moving something lighter, a feather. That did not move either. Soon it became clear that just being in the shape of a magical unicorn did not mean that she had magical powers.

Still, she tried to enjoy herself for a while, until she started to get hungry. She decided she might like to go back to normal, and tried to take off the necklace. In the cartoon, the unicorn would have just magically lifted off the necklace, but Suzy could only use her hooves. For the first time she realized that having hooves was a serious handicap in some ways. She had no fingers. She had very little flexibility when it came to reaching her own neck with her legs. Even her hind legs had a hard time touching her neck. She started to feel frustrated and a little worried that she would not be able to get the necklace off. Eventually, she realized she could lean her head down and let the necklace slip off over her head. It did get stuck on her horn briefly, but she managed to get it loose. At last, she had taken the necklace off.

But, she was still a little unicorn pony.

In a panic, she found the instructions that she had left on the floor. She stood on the paper to flatten them out and read the large words. Her eyes went wide when she saw that she had to remove both necklaces to reverse the spell. She looked up at the giant mannequin version of her real body that loomed over her like the Statue of Liberty. There was no way she could reach the other necklace.

“Oh no!” She said. She galloped out into the hallway, crying, “Mommy, Daddy, Sara!” The house seemed so enormous now, and outside of her bedroom full of toys, she felt so small and vulnerable. The floor shook again and again. Footsteps were approaching her from behind. She turned around to see her big sister, Sara, approaching. Only, Sara seemed to be a giant. Suzy backed away and almost fell down the mountainous stairs behind her.  “Sara!” Suzy cried. “Help me! I’m down here!”

Sarah stopped when she saw the purple pony below her. “What is that?” she said as she crouched down to get a better look. The toy appeared to be moving.

“Sara! It’s me. It’s Suzy,” the pony said.

“Suzy?”

“Yes,” the pony said. “I got magic necklaces from Santa that turned me into a toy. You need to help me.”

“W-what do I do?”

“Take the necklace off of my body in my bedroom.”

Sara found the life-sized toy version of Suzy standing in her bedroom and took the necklace off of it, and, immediately, the plastic turned back into flesh. Suzy touched her human body again all over to feel that she was back to normal. She flexed her fingers and smiled. It felt so good to have hands again.

“That’s… amazing,” Sara said. “I mean, that’s actually magic.”

“It is,” Suzy said.

“How does it even work?”

“Watch this,” Suzy said. She took both necklaces with her into the hallway, and Sara followed her out. Suzy put the small necklace back on the toy. “I put one on the toy I want to turn into,” she explained. “And, I put the other one on me.” She hesitated a moment before putting the necklace back on, but then she decided she would be safe with Sara around to help.

She slipped on the big necklace and found herself back in the pony body again.

“Whoa!” Sara said from above Suzy as she looked down at her. Once more Sara appeared to be a giant. “That’s so cool,” she said. She looked back at the plastic Suzy body and gave it an experimental poke in the cheek, which caused it to slowly tip backwards. Unfortunately, Suzy had been standing in front of the stairs when she had swapped this time. Before Sara could stop it, Suzy’s plastic body tumbled down the staircase and came to rest at the bottom of the steps with a dreadful crack. Sara ran down the steps after it, but Suzy could only wait at the top of the staircase because the steps were too large for her.

Sara gasped when she reached the plastic Suzy. “Oh no!” she said as she slowly lifted up plastic Suzy’s decapitated head. The fall had snapped it off at the neck. Seeing that, Suzy’s stomach fell. “I’m sorry!” Sara said. “I’ll fix it. I can fix it!”

Sara ran off to find glue, but Suzy just sat at the top of the steps. She remembered reading the warning about damage causing the necklaces to stop working. She started to wonder what life would be like now that she was stuck as a little unicorn pony.

***

See what I mean? I very explicitly warned them not to use the toy alone. I instructed them to lay down before putting on the necklace. I even warned them about damaging their bodies. Still, this silly little girl had to stand in front of a staircase before turning her body into plastic. What is the matter with kids? I’m sure I was never that dumb.

There were plenty of dumb ideas to go around, though. For instance, some kids had the bright idea of putting the small necklace on small household pets to see if that would work. It did, which meant that some of them found themselves trapped as gerbils and turtles until a family member eventually removed the big necklace from their original bodies after noticing how strangely they were behaving.

Then, there were the kids who figured out how to use the necklaces maliciously. Take Stephanie and Patrick for an example.

***

Stephanie was 6 and Patrick was 7. Stephanie got the necklace as a gift from Santa. Patrick got nothing from Santa because he was too naughty to deserve a present. The records showed that he had a tendency to take his sister’s things without asking and occasionally break them.

They were a perfect target for this toy.

Stephanie was one kid who followed the directions, though. She got Patrick to watch her as she used the necklaces.

“Watch this,” Stephanie told her brother.

“This had better be cool,” Patrick said. He had his own action figures that he would rather be playing with.

“It will be,” she said.

She put the small necklace on her favorite Barbara doll and laid it down gently on the ground. She laid herself down next to it and put on the other necklace.

When she sat up again, she felt simultaneously tall and small. Her body felt so much taller and a pair of enormous breasts were jutting out from her chest. She was an adult! She touched one of her breasts through the thick toy clothing fabric. It was soft and fleshy and felt surprisingly good. She looked next to herself to see a giant plastic version of her old body laying there. Standing beyond that was her dumbfounded giant brother. Patrick just gaped at the living doll in front of him as Stephanie stood up and smiled back at him.

“Pretty cool, huh?” she said in her more mature voice as she struck what she imagined was a sexy pose.

“That’s amazing!” Patrick said. He poked the plastic of her original body, then he reached for his little sister in her doll body.

“Hey, wait a minute,” Stephanie said, as Patrick roughly grabbed her around the waist with his giant hand and picked her up. She shrieked. “Put me down!”

“You have real skin now,” he said.

“Stop it!” she screamed as he turned her upside down to look up her dress.

“Woah,” he said. “Is that what girls look like down there?”

Stephanie slammed her knees together and crossed her ankles. “Put me down, now!”

Patrick walked her over to her Barbara dollhouse and set her down on the top floor. “There,” he said. “I was just helping you get to your dollhouse.”

Stephanie stood up again and looked at him angrily. “You only get to touch me when I say you can,” she said. “Got it?”

He held up his hands defensively. “Hey, I was just trying to help.”

“You can help me by doing what I say,” she said. “If you play nice, I might let you use the necklaces on your own toys later.”

“Really?” he said. Although he did not say anything, he had just gotten a few ideas for fun things he might do with the necklaces.

“Sure,” Stephanie said and smiled her perfect smile. “Now,” she said. “I need you to grab some of the Barbara outfits I have over there.”

What followed was a good half hour of trying on clothes before a hand mirror that was now the size of a full body mirror. Stephanie would hide behind a screen as she changed. She was amazed at how real her naked adult body looked and felt, but she did not want to be nude for too long for fear of Patrick peeking at her again. Still, she deeply enjoyed putting on her doll’s clothes and looking at her doll reflection standing back in the mirror as she posed for herself.

Eventually, Patrick said, “I’m bored. Can’t we actually play something?”

Stephanie was wearing a pair of pants and a fashionable T-shirt at this point. “Fine,” she said. “What do you want to play?”

Patrick grabbed her pink plastic Barbara convertible. “Want to go for a drive?”

She smiled. She had always imagined what it would be like to drive around as Barbara in that car. “Yes!”

He reached for her again. “Gently,” she warned him. He gripped her more gently and carried her over to the driver’s seat of the car. In spite of how much padding her big butt gave her, she settled in uncomfortably on the hard plastic seat. Then, she grew worried as she noticed that there was no seat belt and the steering wheel was just a black piece of plastic that spun freely, disconnected from the tires. Patrick would be the one doing the driving, she realized. “Hey, maybe we shouldn’t…” she started to say, but Patrick cut her off.

“Three, two, one, go!” he said, and pushed the car forward at high speed making engine noises with his mouth. Stephanie screamed as Patrick held onto her rear bumper and raced the car around the room, making his own screeching sounds as it rounded sharp turns. All Stephanie could do was hold onto the wheel for dear life. At one point, Patrick even pretended to jump her over her old plastic body in slow motion.

“Stop!” she screamed as he held the car in mid-air. “Put me down!”

Patrick set the car down. “What?” he said. “That was fun, wasn’t it?”

“I almost died!” she said as she shakily climbed out of the car. “You can’t play that rough with me.”

“Fine,” he said. “Sorry.”

“I think I want to take a break,” she said as she removed her necklace. “Take the necklace off of my old body.”

Patrick walked over to her old body as she lay down on the ground. He dutifully removed the necklace and Stephanie found herself looking up at him. He was back to his normal size compared to her, she was back to her normal age, and her room appeared its normal size as well. She sat up and looked down at the doll she had just been. It grinned back up at her, looking plastic once more.

“That was awesome!” Patrick declared. “It’s my turn now,” he said and reached for the small necklace.

Stephanie pulled it away from him and stood up. “No,” she said. “I want to take a break for a bit.”

“But…”

“No,” she said and set the necklaces down on her dresser.

“Fine,” he said. “I don’t need your dumb toy. I’ll play with my own toys.” Patrick slunk off to his room in a jealous tiff. Meanwhile, Stephanie went downstairs to watch TV and eat some candy.

Around lunchtime, her mother asked where Patrick was.

“He’s probably in his room,” Stephanie said. “I’ll get him.”

She ran upstairs and heard a strange sound coming from Patrick’s room, like something small growling and roaring, followed by a scratching sound on the door. Whatever it was, it did not sound human.

Stephanie went to her room, and, as she was expecting, she noticed that the necklaces were missing.

She carefully opened Patrick’s bedroom door, and was surprised to find a miniature dinosaur standing in front of her. It looked to be a T-rex, only it was just a little more than a foot tall. It growled up at her hopefully. She looked around the room. There were dinosaur toys all over the floor, most of them on their sides. Then, she saw a life-sized plastic Patrick doll leaning against his bed at an angle as if it had fallen into that position from having been standing before. Naturally, both the Patrick doll and the T-rex were wearing the necklaces.

“You just couldn’t wait,” Stephanie said to the little T-rex. It walked up to her and looked up at her expectantly. She smirked. At that size, it looked more like a featherless chicken than a deadly predator. “Well,” she said. “What do you want me to do?”

The T-rex waved a little arm towards its neck. The necklace was far out of its tiny reach. Stephanie burst out laughing. “That’s too funny! You’re arms are too little to take it off. How did you not think about that before you put it on?”

The mini-dinosaur hung its head in shame.

“Well,” Stephanie said as she crossed her arms. “I don’t see why I should help you now. I mean, you took the necklaces without my permission.”

It roared up at her mournfully.

“I suppose I could help you if you promise to never use the necklaces without me ever again,” she said. “Do you promise?”

The T-rex nodded its big head up and down slowly.

“Fine,” Stephanie said. She knelt down before the dino and said “Ew!” as she touched its scaly skin. She removed the small necklace and then went to the Patrick doll on the bed and took of his necklace. Immediately, he collapsed onto his bed as a flesh-and-blood boy again.

He looked at his hands and touched his human neck again. “Oh, thank you!” he said. “I’m sorry.”

“Just remember what you promised,” she said. “Don’t use the necklaces without me.”

“Of course,” he said. “I promise.”

The rest of the day passed pretty normally from that point on. Stephanie put the necklaces back on her dresser in her room, and they spent the rest of Christmas with their family.

The next day, Stephanie was watching TV with her brother, while their parents were busy with other things.

Patrick gave her a few curious looks and then left the room for a few minutes. When he returned, he sat on the couch next to her. “Surprise!” he said as he lunged towards her and slipped something over her head.

Suddenly, she was standing somewhere else, a giant room, and her body felt really weird. She looked down at herself to see that she was shirtless and her skin was a pale shade of green. Her body seemed enormous and misshapen, and she was holding some kind of plastic club in one hand and a shield in the other. “What in the world?” she said in a deep, gruff, gravelly voice. “Patrick!” she roared as she realized that she had become a toy in his bedroom.

A few stomping footsteps later, and Patrick swung open his giant bedroom door. He burst out laughing when he looked down at her. “Look at you,” he said between laughing fits. He ran off for a moment and returned with her hand mirror. He held it in front of her, and she got a good view of the monster he had turned her into. The monster had green skin and red hair tied up in a warrior’s topknot. Two lower fangs protruded from the monster’s thick jaw outside of its mouth. The monster’s heavy body was naked except for a loin cloth. It was impossibly muscular while possessing a disgusting fat gut. Each of its hands had two fingers and a thumb.  It looked inhuman, and it looked mean. Then, there were the things hanging between the male monster’s legs that she was glad she could not see.

“How does it feel to be a troll?” Patrick asked.

Stephanie growled in fury. “You promised!” she roared up at her giant brother. “You said you wouldn’t use the necklaces again without my permission. You promised, you jerk!”

“Nope!” he said and smirked. “I promised that I would not use the necklaces without you. Well, you’re here, so I didn’t break my promise.”

“You know that’s not what I meant,” she said and pointed her club at him angrily. At the very least, the body she was in felt very powerful. She guessed she might be able to give him a good stubbed toe if she swung her club at his foot. “Turn me back right now.”

“I’ll turn you back,” he said. “But, first, you have to play with me.”

She growled, realizing that he was enjoying her frustration too much to listen to her now. “Fine,” she said. “Let’s get this over with.”

For the next half-hour she bashed through an endless series of toys that Patrick put in front of her. He had her climb a rope-like string up to his dresser to fight more toys. Then, she had to leap down onto a pillow. Surprisingly, she found that she was actually having some fun leaping around as the troll man, but she was getting tired of feeling like a monster.

Eventually, she started to run out of steam for fighting. “Enough,” she said as she fell to one knee, panting in exhaustion. “I’m done!”

“Aw,” Patrick moaned. “But, we’re having so much fun.”

“You’re the one having fun. I’m just getting tired.” she said. “Turn me back.” She pulled the necklace off of her monster neck.

“All right,” Patrick said. “I’ll do that after you make a promise to me.”

“What?”

“You have to promise to clean my room tomorrow.”

She growled as she looked at the messy state his room was in. “Fine,” she said. “I promise to clean your room.” She sat down and rested her sore troll muscles.

Patrick ran off downstairs, and, a minute later, Stephanie was sitting on the couch again in her little girl body once more. She felt surprisingly small a weak. Patrick was sitting next to her holding the necklace. She took it out of his hands and ran upstairs to pick up the other necklace. Then, she went to her bedroom and shut her door behind her as she hid the necklaces in the back of her sock drawer.

When Stephanie opened the door up again, she found Patrick standing in the hallway.

“You jerk.” she said. “Never do that to me again without my permission.”

“You had fun,” he said. “Admit it.”

“That’s not the point. You need to ask first, and I get to say ‘No’ if I don’t want to do it.”

He threw up his hands. “Fine,” he said. “I won’t do it to you again without your permission. Jeeze.”

“Good,” Stephanie said, but, as Patrick walked away, she thought she saw him smirking to himself. She knew that he was going to take the necklaces again. She needed to teach him a lesson, she realized. Then, an idea came to her, and she went about setting up a trap for Patrick if he decided to break his first promise.

Later that night, after bedtime, Stephanie and Patrick were lying in bed in their rooms. Patrick could not sleep. He desperately wanted to use the necklaces again. Quietly as he could, he crept out of his bedroom to his sister’s room. Slowly, very very slowly, he opened her door, and peeked into her room. She was on her bed breathing heavily, apparently sound asleep. He tiptoed into her room and looked around for the necklaces. There they were on her dresser where she had put them before. He grabbed the necklaces and swiftly went back to his room, shutting his door behind him.

The plan was working perfectly. He had realized that he could play with the necklaces in the middle of the night and then put them put back in Stephanie’s room before he went to sleep. Stephanie would never know he had taken them. He took out his new barbarian action figure. It was the muscular hero character who fights the troll character his sister had been earlier that day. He set up some other toys to play with. Then, he put the necklace on the action figure. This time, he would need to be careful, he decided. He had learned his lesson from when he got stuck as a dinosaur.  He knelt on his floor, making sure to stick his head out in a way that would make it easy to take off the necklace even when he was the barbarian toy.

He put on the big necklace, and then he was in darkness, no light at all. Something went wrong, he realized. His room had not been well-lit, but he should have been able to see where he was if he had become the barbarian as planned. He seemed to be lying on top of something soft, and above him there was something solid, a ceiling? He pressed up on it, but it would not move. Then, he started to become aware of his body. He was naked except for the necklace he wore, and something felt off. He ran his hands over his body and gasped in shock. He had breasts. His peepee was gone. There was some kind of hole there between his legs instead. He was a woman!

“What happened?” he said. His voice sounded a bit more feminine but not much different from his normal boy voice. “Where am I?”

He tried to crawl around on the soft thing below him, feeling his way around in total darkness. He realized he must be on top of a giant blanket. He crawled to the edge of it and felt a solid wall there. Then, he followed the wall to a corner. He did this all the way around until he was sure he was inside of a room or a large box. He was trapped!

“Help!” he shouted. “Help me!”

He listened, but there was no reply. He started pounding on the wall yelling, “Hello!? Help me! Let me out!” He kept on pounding and shouting, until the ceiling suddenly swung open. A giant Stephanie was kneeling above him. When she saw him, she smiled.

“I can’t believe you fell for that,” Stephanie said.

“What?” he replied.

“Hold on a minute,” she said and lowered the ceiling back down again.

“Wait, no!” he shouted as once more he was trapped in darkness.

A long time passed as he waited for her to return, until once more she opened what he now recognized as the lid of the toy trunk in her room. “There,” she said. “That should make sure that you won’t be going back to normal for a while.”

“What did you do?” he asked.

“What did you do?” she replied and smiled.

“I-I may have borrowed your necklaces,” he admitted. He felt even more naked under her disapproving gaze.

“Didn’t you promise you would not use them without me?”

“I did,” he said. “Sorry.”

“Hmm,” she said, unconvinced of his sincerity.

“Why am I a girl?” he asked, and looked down at his breasts. “I put the small necklace on my barbarian toy.”

“This necklace?” she said as she held up an identical necklace to the one he was wearing. “I made this one earlier today. It’s a fake. You’re wearing the real one.”

“Y-you tricked me?” he said.

“Yep,” she said. “I wanted to make sure that you didn’t take the necklaces again without asking me first. So, I put the real big necklace on my dresser next to the fake small necklace. Then, I put the real small necklace on my Barbara doll.”

“I’m a Barbara doll?” he said and touched his long blonde hair.

“Yep,” she said.

Not only was he was a woman, he was the girliest toy ever. Patrick took off the real necklace and threw it at her. “You jerk!”

“Careful, Barbara,” Stephanie said. “You don’t want to damage it. You might not be able to go back to normal if you do.”

“Turn me back!” he demanded.

“No,” she replied plainly.

“You have to turn me back,” he said.

“I don’t have to do anything you say. You’re just a toy.”

“I don’t want to be a girl or a toy.”

“I didn’t want to be a troll, but did that stop you?”

“Fine,” he said. “You made your point. I shouldn’t have done that to you, and I shouldn’t have taken the necklaces again. I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.”

“I don’t believe you.”

He groaned in frustration. “What do you want from me?”

“I want to play,” she said. “I want to play with you for a while actually.”

“How long?”

“I’m not sure yet,” she said. “But, you might want to put some clothes on.” She handed him a pink dress.

He held it up with a disgusted look on his face. “I’m not wearing this.”

“Fine,” she said. “You can walk around naked with your boobies hanging out if you want. You might get a bit cold, though.”

He grumbled and slipped on the dress. It was better than being naked, he reasoned. Stephanie helped him button it up on the back. Then, she held him in her giant hands and lifted him into the air. He looked down nervously at her feet below. He seemed to be 20 feet up in the air now. “P-put me down,” he said. “Please!”

“Oh, sorry,” she said and set him back down on the ground at her feet. “Better?”

Immediately, Patrick took off running. Before Stephanie knew what was happening, he was already out the door, into the hallway, and running straight for his room. He just hoped he could get the other necklace off of his real body before she caught him. He entered his room, but stopped just inside the door. “Where’s my body?” he asked. His original body was nowhere in sight.

“There you are,” Stephanie said as she caught up with him. “You looking for something?”

“What did you do with my body?”

“Oh, that thing?” she said. “I put it away somewhere safe. You know, you should put your toys away instead of leaving them sitting out on the floor. It’s a good thing you had me promise to clean your room.”

“Give me back my body!”

“No!” she said.

“I’ll tell Mom and Dad!”

“Will you tell them that you stole my necklaces? I don’t think they’ll be happy about that.”

“I’ll tell them.”

“If you do that then I might just have a little accident with your body. If I break it, you won’t be able to change back.”

A chill ran up his spine. “No, you wouldn’t dare.”

“Maybe I would,” she said and smiled. “Do really you want to find out?”

Patrick clenched his fists. He wanted to scream and punch something, but he realized that he was out of options. He was not going back to normal unless he played nice with Stephanie. She picked him up again.

“Let’s go play,” she said and carried him away.

They played until they were too tired to stay up any longer. Stephanie made sure Patrick modeled many of her doll’s clothes. That was followed by play acting a date with her Kyle doll. Stephanie even took Patrick on a wild drive in the pink convertible. Finally, Stephanie lay Patrick down to sleep in her underwear drawer and slid the drawer shut.

The next day, their parents were distraught when they could not find Patrick. Stephanie played innocent well enough to keep Patrick hidden in her room. As their parents looked for him, Patrick was stuck playing with Stephanie in her room, wondering how much longer he would remain one of her dolls.

***

Unfortunately, at that point, the future started to get a bit fuzzy in the Chrono-Viewer. Maybe she turned him back to normal eventually, but who knows?

Those kids were hardly the worst offenders when it came to misusing the necklaces.

For example, there was one nerdy teenager who stole his sister’s necklaces. He offered the big one as a gift to a pretty popular girl on whom he had a big crush. She put it on to humor him, and suddenly found herself standing on a shelf in a giant bedroom. She was surrounded by anime figurines that were as tall as she was, and she was wearing only a necklace and a skimpy bikini. Her breasts and hips were now cartoonishly huge. She thought about trying to escape, but she realized that a fall from the shelf would probably kill her. She waited, and eventually the nerd who gave her the necklace came home. He entered the bedroom carrying a mannequin-looking version of her original body with him. She yelled at him, but he just smiled at her on the shelf and gave her a little poke with a giant finger. Then, he stuffed her old plastic body away in his closet (after feeling it up a bit in front of her first). At last, he turned his attention to her on the shelf. She had been transformed into his favorite figurine. He planned on having a lot of fun with her from now on, which became clear to her when he started unzipping his pants.

I’ll save you the messy details of what happened next.

***

Fine, I will fully admit that The Magic Toy-Swap Necklaces–besides having a terrible toy name–were not, in fact, a good idea for a child’s toy. I clearly overestimated people’s intelligence and underestimated their capacity to be horrible to each other.

Still, they did end up serving my current purpose very well. For example, that poor unicorn pony girl made headlines as did quite a few other people affected by the necklaces. Word was spreading that Santa had handed out dangerous magical gifts.

The plan was working.

***

Toy #3: The Gift Stick

“‘Tis the season for giving,” they say. They also say, “The best gifts are ones you make yourself.” Well, how about a gift that actually comes from yourself? The Gift Stick lets you give anything about yourself to someone else. You can give weight, muscle mass, height, size, and even years of your life to friends and family with The Gift Stick, but that’s not all. The Gift Stick allows you to both give and receive. You could simply receive a “thank you” or you could receive another gift in return. It’s so simple to operate, even a child could use it. Simply hold one end of the stick and have another person hold the other end. Say out loud what you want to give, and the other person will say what they will give in return. The confirmation buttons will light up when your gifts are entered into The Gift Stick. Press the buttons to agree, and the gifts will be transferred. It’s that easy! (Warning: Gifts of actions or a spoken replies will be performed involuntarily once the confirmation buttons are pressed. Be careful what gifts you give or receive.)

***

It had been a long night, very long actually. I had been handing out an assortment of toys to thousands of homes with only an occasional rest stop. I will admit I skipped the milk and cookies to pull out leftovers and eggnog from some fridges along the way. Eventually, after getting a bit tipsy, I decided it was time to test out The Gift Stick for the first time.

The Gift Stick was a toy that my supervisors rejected even before I finished the prototype. That was kind of the last straw for me. I mean, it’s a brilliant idea. It melds together many of the functions of my other toys into one simple, easy-to-use device. Because it can’t be used alone, it naturally brings people together. Plus, it’s entirely voluntary (at least until you press the button). Again, I got accused of creating something “dangerous.” The magic was too powerful, they said. So what? I say, if people are always looking for magical solutions to problems, why not give them some magic?

Where’s the harm in giving people a little magic?

Actually, don’t answer that question.

So, anyway, I was drunk, and I felt like trying out a new, untested magical device with possibly life changing capabilities. I found a good subject, Amy, a naughty teenage girl, and I came to a halt over her house and teleported myself down, straight into her room.

I took a minute to look at Amy lying on her bed. She was simply gorgeous. She had a pretty face and an amazing figure: large breasts, curvy hips, slim waist, etcetera. Naturally, our records showed her to be a total bitch. She would do nicely.

Amy had a full body mirror in her room, in which I caught my own reflection. I barely filled up half of the mirror, I was so small, and I looked so annoyingly childish. It was the glamor our people had accepted to gain the big man’s favor way back when. We cast a permanent spell on ourselves to appear as eternal children no matter how old we got. I was an adult, but I had only the faintest hints of female curves, and my face was as innocent looking as an 8-year-old girl’s. Fortunately for me, if The Gift Stick worked properly, I might be able to change my appearance at last.

I let time run again and gave the teen a gentle nudge.

“Wake up, Amy,” I said. “It’s time for your special Christmas Present.”

She groggily replied, “What? Whoisit?”

“It’s Mary. I’m one of Santa’s Elves here with a special delivery just for you.”

Once her eyes had opened and she noticed me, she let out a quick shriek and sat up on her bed. “W-What are you doing in my room?”

“I have a present from Santa just for you,” I said.

“I don’t know who or what you are, but you need to get out of here right now.”

I sighed. In my drunken state, I may have overestimated how quickly Amy would accept me for what I was. “Fine,” I said. “Watch this.” I teleported myself across the room. “Over here,” I said. Then, I teleported myself onto the foot of her bed. “Here too,” I said as I sat down, cross-legged on her bed. I felt my stomach heave a little from all the flying around, but I maintained my composure. “I’m an Elf,” I explained. “I do magic. I have a magic gift for you tonight.” The girl looked at me in shock. “Believe me now?”

“I-I guess so,” she said. “So, Santa is real, and you’re one of his Elves?”

“Correct.”

“Did you say your name was Mary?”

I sighed. “Yes.”

“Like Mary Christmas?”

I gave her a fake laugh. “Ha, ha! That’s a good one,” I said. “Never heard that one before.”

“This is so cool.”

“Indeed I am quite cool.”

“And, you have a gift for me?”

“You got it,” I said. “Check this out.” I pulled it out of my bag. “This is The Magic Gift stick, and you have the honor of being the first person to try it out. Lucky you!”

She looked at it curiously. “What does it do?”

“It lets you give something about yourself to someone else,” I explained. “For instance, you might give someone your hair color or an inch of your height or a few pounds of extra weight. Pretty much anything about you can be magically transferred to someone else.”

“That’s… amazing, I guess.”

“Is there something you might like to give away? I would be happy to take it from you if you would take something from me,” I said as innocently as I could. I sure hoped that this would work.

She rubbed her chin and looked at the ceiling. Apparently, it was hard for her to think of anything about her body that she might want to get rid of. How infuriating. Any doubts or reservations I had about what I was about to do to her faded away. “I can’t think of anything,” she said.

“Nothing at all?”

“Well, I guess I wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds.”

I smiled. “That’s perfect. I’m a bit too skinny as it is. Here,” I said as I held out the stick to her. “I’ll hold this end, and you hold the other end.”

“Oh, all right,” she said as she gripped her end. “What now?”

“I’ll say what my gift is, and you say what your gift is.”

“What is your gift?” she asked me.

“I give to you a magic spell that can change your appearance,” I said, being very careful with my wording. Please, let this work, I thought.

“You’re giving me a spell?” she said with a hint of excitement. “And, it can change how I look.” I could just see her imagining changing herself into the most gorgeous woman in the world.

“It certainly can.”

“Cool. Oh, and I give to you 3 pounds of weight from my body,” she said. The buttons near each of our thumbs lit up. “What does that mean?” she asked.

“It means the spell is ready,” I said. “All you have to do is say you agree to the conditions. I get 3 pounds of your weight, and you get a spell from me. Do you agree?” I waited anxiously for her reply.

She took a moment to think about it. “I agree,” she said at last.

“I agree as well,” I said. “Now, press on the light.”

We pressed our buttons, and a surge of magic power flowed through the stick. My whole body tingled as I felt the glamor spell lifting from me. Amy must have felt the same tingle as the spell passed to her. We dropped the stick and started to change in symmetry. I began to grow larger as Amy began to shrink. While Amy’s breasts deflated and her hips slimmed down, my own chest expanded, popping buttons off of my shirt, as my ass swelled, tearing the seams of my outfit. Amy became shorter as I grew taller and taller. I slid off the bed so that I might enjoy the sensation of rising into the air on my growing legs. My feet slipped out of my shoes as my clothes burst and tore. Amy noticed her clothes getting looser, and looked down at herself in surprise.

“What’s happening to me?” she said. “I’m shrinking!”

“No,” I said as I felt my voice grow deeper. “You are looking younger because you are getting your present.”

“The spell?” she said as her voice grew squeakier. “Why is it making me younger?”

At that moment, the transfer completed. I walked over to the full body mirror again. My new reflection made me smile. Under my tattered, torn, and stretched out clothes was the body of a mature woman. I had a nice pair of breasts and curvy hips at last, and my face was much more angular and dramatic. Besides the somewhat pointy ears, I could pass for an above-average human adult now. “Perfect!” I said.

“What did you do to me?” Amy whined.

I looked over at the girl on the bed. She appeared to be about 8 years old now, and she looked positively adorable, but I doubted she would be happy about that.

“I gave you my glamor spell,” I said relishing in the power of my adult voice. “It was a curse we Elves put on ourselves, a disguise. With that spell, we would always appear to be children, no matter how old we were.”

“So, you’re saying you cursed me to look like a child?” she said.

“Exactly.”

“When does this wear off?”

“It doesn’t wear off,” I explained. “In fact, I have been looking for a way to remove that spell for years. I hated feeling so small for so long, especially when I could see what real adult humans looked like.” I picked up the prototype Gift Stick. “This little toy turned out to be just what I needed. You see, I couldn’t break the spell, but I could transfer it to someone else. Of course, I could only do that if they willingly accepted the spell. Thank you again, for doing that.”

“B-but I didn’t want this,” she said gesturing to her tiny body. “You just said the spell could change what I looked like.”

“Well, it did. Didn’t it?”

“You…” she said, petulantly. “You tricked me!”

“I did.”

“Change me back, now!” she said, sounding like a child having a tantrum.

“No.”

“B-but, you can’t leave me like this.”

“Sure I can.”

She was on the verge of tears. “Won’t I grow out of this eventually? I mean, I’ll just grow up again, right?”

“I’m afraid not,” I said. “You’re actually the same age as you were before. You only look younger. Unfortunately for you, because of the glamor, you will always look much as you do now. You might change a little as time goes by, but you will never appear to be an adult.”

The tears started flowing at last as she was hit by the realization of what she had lost. “No!” she moaned. “Please, no!”

I let her cry as I started digging around in her dresser and her closet for clothes that might fit me. Thankfully, I appeared to be just about the same size now as she had been. It must have been fate that I chose her. In just a few minutes, I managed to put together a basic outfit.

“You’re leaving?” she asked me between sobs.

“Yes,” I said as I slipped on a pair of her shoes. “It’s not a good idea to hang around the scene of the crime. Plus, I have many more toys to deliver.”

“Wait,” she said in a final desperate attempt at changing my mind. “Couldn’t you just leave that stick with me? Please? Give me a chance to give the spell to someone who might want it.”

“You know,” I said. “That is not a bad request, and I might actually have agreed to it if I didn’t need this prototype to start producing duplicates of it.”

“Oh,” she said, and that was the end of her hope.

“Yeah, it’s tough luck, but you’ll get used to it in time… probably… possibly. Anyway, you have a very merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Ho, ho, ho, and all that shit. Peace! I’m out!” I teleported myself back to the sled and began cackling hysterically. I paused time again, stuck The Gift Stick in my Magic Toy Factory, and flew off to cause more mayhem.

***

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by all of the creative ways people found to use The Gift Stick. After realizing that it was actually magic, people tended to experiment a bit. They tried to do stuff that I never expected they would do.

***

One pair of old friends thought they might help each other out with guys. They made a pact. They would lend each other some of their best and worst attributes before a date to give the woman on the date a better shot with the guy. Kelly gave away 15 pounds to her friend Rachel, who gave her 5 inches of her height in return. Kelly now looked tall and fit, while Rachel now looked short and chubby.

“Good luck,” Rachel said.

“I won’t need luck with a body like this,” Kelly said.

“Well, don’t forget it’s my turn to look good tomorrow. That’s the deal.”

“Of course,” Kelly said as she fixed her hair in front of a mirror. “See you later tonight.”

Rachel waved to Kelly as she was picked up for her date, then she settled in for an evening in front of the TV in Kelly’s apartment. Hours passed, but Kelly did not call or come home. Rachel started to worry that something had happened to Kelly. She texted Kelly, but there was no reply. She even called Kelly, but Kelly did not answer. Eventually, she fell asleep on the sofa waiting for her friend to come home.

Kelly was nowhere to be seen the next morning, and Rachel was getting very worried. Not only was Kelly missing, but Rachel needed to go to work soon. She couldn’t go to work looking all short and fat as she did now. She needed her inches back from Kelly. Rachel ended up calling in sick. After a while, she left Kelly a note and went back to her own apartment.

Finally, Kelly called her in the middle of the day.

“Where were you?” Rachel said. “I’ve been so worried. Are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” Kelly said. “Actually, I’m perfect. The date last night was the best night of my life. Kevin was amazing. We talked for hours, and he has the most amazing personality.”

“Well, that’s great,” Rachel said. “But, what about me? You know I needed to swap back with you again. I missed work today.”

“I ended up spending the night at his apartment,” Kelly said. “It’s huge. I mean, the guy is totally rich, but he’s not snobby or anything… I slept with him.”

“What?”

“Yeah,” Kelly said. “I’ve never done that before on a first date, but it was such a perfect night. It was like a dream, a fairytale.”

“Well,” Rachel said. “I’m happy for you, but I still need to see you so that we can trade back the weight and inches.”

Kelly was quiet for a few seconds. “I’ve been thinking,” she said.

“About what?” Rachel asked, feeling increasingly concerned now.

“Oh, God!’ Kelly said. “I can’t believe I’m even thinking this.”

“No,” Rachel said. “You can’t. You wouldn’t.”

“He’s not going to want me if I’m short and fat.”

“You can’t do this to me,” Rachel said. “We’re friends. You can’t screw me over like this.”

“I can’t give up this body, or I’ll lose him. He’s my dream guy. He’s perfect for me.”

“That’s not your body. That body is part mine.”

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I promise I’ll make it up to you somehow.”

“Just trade back the weight and inches, and you’ll have made it up to me.”

“I can’t,” Kelly said. “I won’t.”

“You unbelievable bitch!”

“Don’t make this any harder than it has to be.”

“I’m going to get you for this.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Kelly!”

At that point, Kelly hung up. Rachel swore and pulled out The Gift Stick. Then, she began plotting her revenge.

I can only imagine what horrible things Rachel might do to get back at Kelly.

***

Then, there was the group of teen girls who came up with a novel way of getting party supplies. There were four of them. All of which were 16 years old to start with. After experimenting with The Gift Stick one girl had an idea for getting some adult drinks. Although two of them could not trade off enough years to make one of them old enough to buy liquor without being carded, the whole group of them could give one girl 10 years each. That would make her 46, which should be obviously old enough to buy drinks, they reasoned.

They all made the trade, leaving three of them as 6 year olds and one of them in middle age. The older one went off to get drinks. She had to walk as they had no car to drive. The three little girls sat around uncomfortably in their oversized clothes as they waited anxiously for their friend to return. After a while, they quietly started to worry that something might have happened to her. What if she never came back with their missing years? What if they had to grow up again?

Eventually, their friend returned, but she was empty-handed. It turned out that 46 was still too young to avoid being carded. They would need to give her more years. They each decided to give 4 more years this time, making their older friend 58. They made the trade and found themselves to be little more than three babies now. Meanwhile, their older friend was grey-haired and feeling a bit tired.

Again, the older one went out to buy drinks. The three left behind started to get restless and worried again as they waited. Then, one of them needed to use the toilet. Unfortunately, she found that she was too short to climb up onto it easily. As the other girls looked for a small stool, the one trying to climb the toilet had an accident, making a mess on the floor and getting herself covered in her own piss and shit. The other girls returned and accidentally slipped in the piss as well. They all started crying as they lay in filth together.

At that moment, their older friend arrived back with a single bottle of rum. She found her friends weeping in the bathroom and realized she would need to clean them up and clean up the mess in the bathroom.

She put aside the rum, set her friends in the tub, and got to mopping up the mess on the floor.

Unfortunately, none of them had much of a party that night although the girls did enjoy splashing around in their bubble bath together.

***

Another group of girls, started to have a lot of fun trading little things around with each other. The three of them swapped eye colors, hair colors, noses, eyebrows, chins, cheekbones, breasts, hips, legs, freckles, and even their ears. They took pictures together in front of the mirror, admiring the collage that their bodies had become.

Then, it came time to turn back to normal. They examined their new photos one last time on one of their phones.

“I like how my chin looks on you, Tammy,” Trisha said, pointing at the photo.

“I think that was Tina that had your chin,” Tammy said.

“Isn’t that you on the left,” Tina said, pointing at the photo.

“No, that was you,” Tammy said. “I was in the middle.”

“Wait,” Trisha said. “That’s me there? I thought I was the one on the other side.”

“It’s a mirror. Everything is backwards,” Tina said.

“Whoa,” Tammy said. “Hold on a second. Which one are you?” she said pointing at her friend.

“I’m Tina.”

“I thought you were Trisha.”

“Wait,” said Tina. “I thought you were Trisha.”

“Guys,” Trisha said, sounding worried now. “Do you remember exactly what we swapped with each other?”

They ran to the bathroom mirror, and found three girls looking back at them that they did not recognize at all.

“Whose nose is this?”

“That’s mine.”

“Is this your chin, Trisha?”

“I’m Tina!”

“Sorry, whose chin is this?”

“Whose breasts are these?”

The other two said, “Mine.”

“They’re mine!”

“No, they’re mine!”

“Give me back my face! Where is my face?”

“Where’s my face?”

“What do we do now?”

They all burst into tears as they realized that they had become a jumbled pile of puzzle pieces that they might never unsort.

***

The Misfit Toys

As the endless night wore on, and I grew more weary of the big delivery. I started to pull out some of my secret experimental toys, the ones I called my “Misfit Toys.” I never dared share these with anybody and for good reason–they were all simply terrible. I had no way of excusing or explaining away the horrible things they would do. Basically, I had made some fucked up shit. Let me give you some examples.

***

I had an idea to make some ugly Christmas sweaters after hearing that they had become a kitschy clothing choice for the holidays. I hated kitschy crap. So, I made sweaters that each contained a different transformation spell depending on the pattern on them.

For example, I gave one family three sweaters. Their youngest daughter got a sweater with a polar bear crocheted into it. Their next youngest, a son, got a sweater with a snowman on it. Their eldest daughter got a one with a reindeer on it.

They all put on their sweaters and gathered for a photo. Then, the changes began. The little sister grew larger as white fur covered her. Her older brother became pale and cold and started to reshape into three balls. Their older sister grew antlers and watched in horror as her hands became furry cloven hooves. Moments later, the three kids had been replaced by a terrified giant polar bear; a snowman with coal for eyes, sticks for arms, and a carrot for his nose; and a reindeer with antlers that seemed to knock over or get tangled in anything around her.

Their parents did their best to comfort their transformed children. First, though, they had to deal with their son, as he had begun to melt. They quickly shoved him outside into the cold. Thankfully it had been a white Christmas. He looked back into the house sadly, feeling woefully abandoned. Then, they had to deal with their youngest girl. They heard her enormous bear stomach growl and noticed that she was eying the family dog and licking her chops. In response to her hunger, their father ran out to buy as much meat as he could. Finally, there was their eldest, the reindeer. She managed to knock over the christmas tree, a shelf of family photos, the TV, and her own sports trophies, before she was sent outside to keep her snowman brother company and avoid any further destruction. Their polar bear sister followed a short while later after taking a swipe at the yapping family dog.

The three stood out in the cold and wondered when or if they would ever be human again. The snowman was particularly worried as he had heard that an unseasonable thaw was coming in the next few days. He wondered what would become of him if he melted. The thought chilled his already icey heart.

Poor kids, right? Don’t worry. The spells on the sweaters should wear off in at least a few days and at the most no more than a week… or two. Let’s just hope they find a fridge large enough to keep their son from melting.

***

I had invented a fun toy that was designed as a trap for nosy brothers and sisters.

I left the trap toy box under a tree addressed to Megan, a young girl. Her big brother, Bobby, was the nosy one. He woke up early and started poking around at their presents. Seeing that his sister had gotten one more present than him, he grew jealous and opened her gift from Santa. Inside her gift was an empty box meant for a doll.

Soon enough, the box was filled.

When Megan came downstairs later, she found one of her gifts had already been opened. It contained a new doll boy, which she took out of the box immediately and hugged.

“Where’s Bobby?” her mother asked.

“Did he come downstairs early again?” her father asked.

“He’s here,” Megan said, holding up her new doll. It did bear a striking resemblance to her brother.

“Where did that doll come from?” her mother asked her father. “Did you buy it?”

“I’ve never seen it before,” he said and checked the wrapping paper. “It says it’s from Santa, and the box says it’s a Bobby Doll, whatever that is.”

“Hey, there’s a string I can pull on its back,” Megan said and pulled the string.

When she let the string go, a warbly but cheerful voice came out of the doll that said, “Hello, my name is Bobby.” It sounded eerily similar to their own Bobby’s voice.

“See,” Megan said. “It’s Bobby.”

Megan pulled the string once more, and the doll said, “I love my sister, Megan.”

“That’s just a doll, honey,” her mother said. Then, she shouted, “Bobby, where are you?”

Megan pulled the string again, and the doll said, “I’m here, Mommy.”

Megan’s parents took a closer look at the doll. It did resemble their son closely although it was proportioned like a toddler as many dolls were.

Megan pulled the string. The doll said, “What happened to me?” It sounded less cheerful now.

Megan pulled the string. The doll said, “Why can’t I move?” Panic was evident in its voice.

Megan pulled the string. The doll said, “H-help me!” Its voice quivered with fear now.

Megan’s parents could only gape at the doll and then at each other.

Megan just kept pulling the string, over and over, but every time she pulled it now, the doll only said, “Help me! Help me! Help me!” again and again, until her parents made her stop.

***

I gave people gingerbread cookies that turned them into gingerbread people.

I gave people candy canes that made them grow older or younger or bigger or smaller. The effects were random.

I gave people movie players that trapped them in their favorite films.

I gave people shrink rays and growth rays and gender-swapping rays and rays that turned people into a variety of animals or fantasy creatures.

I gave people magic wands that did real magic.

I gave people Christmas wishes that always came true.

I gave people their dreams and nightmares tied up in a nice bow.

I gave them a Christmas they would never forget.

And, when I had given my last gift, I gave myself a vacation.

***

Epilogue

I found a pleasant beach on the Pacific Ocean where I could rest.

I let time run. I let the sun rise and felt the glory of daylight again after an eternity of night.

I covered my tracks, putting up barriers and wards to guard against Santa’s security, who would certainly be searching for me now.

I took some time to relax and breathe before the chaos I had seeded would grow into a world-wide panic.

I saw it all coming, and I smiled.

I stripped naked and swam in the ocean and then sunbathed my newly mature body.

I dreamed of a new future.

And, I knew there was no going back.

***

Now, let me close with a traditional holiday greeting: “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You!”

Yours Truly,

Mary Christmas

Showing 7 comments
  • Avatar
    Anglican Intellect
    Reply

    Sheesh…if ever anyone deserved a visit from the Krampus… Hey, maybe that could be the sequel somehow!

  • Avatar
    lostandwhatever
    Reply

    Here is the link to the comic that Bela made:

    https://www.agearts.com/archives/portfolio/toy-3-the-gift-stick

  • Avatar
    Planet
    Reply

    This one was very, very good. Congratulations. Do you have a site with more of your stories?

    • Avatar
      lostandwhatever
      Reply

      Thank you! You do some excellent work yourself. Most of what I’ve done is anonymous on cyoc.net, but here is my more recent stuff: https://www.cyoc.net/interactives/user_10787.html

      Bela’s appreciation of my writing made me to want to write more, so I figured I should start taking credit for my work.

      • Avatar
        Planet
        Reply

        Please do, it’s very good.

        I’m not much of a writer myself, but thanks anyway! I mostly do it to contribute something to the AP community.

        I would love if you started writing complete stories like this one. You’ve got great concepts in there. If you ever want to discuss an idea, drop me a line to theplanetoftheap@gmail.com

        I’ve always found it helps a lot to talk them over before writing.

        • Avatar
          lostandwhatever
          Reply

          I might just do that. Thanks.

  • Avatar
    lostandwhatever
    Reply

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