CHRISTMAS GOOD AND EVIL
EVIL AT CHRISTMAS
DISCO EVIL AND BEYOND
From Charles Dickens' ideals to The Grinch to Silver Bells to Doctor Who, Christmas has changed over the decades and yet, strangely enough, remains the same.
A good villain such as The Grinch does tend to help with the festivities. The Grinch being an American green meanie who, like many a Christmas villain, reforms in the end.
Very few people in the Western world don't look forward nowadays to the Doctor Who Christmas special. And what would the Christmas special be like without it's villain or collective villains? It is always fun when the Daleks appear or you have a killer Christmas tree on the loose in a London apartment.
Since The Doctor's return to television much effort has been put into The Doctor Who Christmas special. There has even been a Doctor Who version of a Christmas Carol set on an alien planet with fish that swim in the air thrown in for good measure.
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men...The Shadow knows! This is from an old radio play featuring a mysterious character known as The Shadow. He was born at a time when the USA was experiencing a crime wave. The bitter cold of winter seems to suit him best.
The Shadow went on to fight crime in his own pulp magazine and then in comic books. He lay dormant for a time and then was snapped up by D. C. comics in the 1960s.
Then The Shadow went into hibernation and was snapped up by D.C. comics once more. Christmas did feature in some of the stories. There was always, however, the fight against crime and other elements of evil.
There have been Batman stories centered around crime and also the Christmas season.
The notion of the second chance for the petty criminal seems to come with this season. Batman is usually short on forgiveness and understanding but not so much at Christmas.
The makers of the television show Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman put together a number of Christmas episodes.
One featured an unhappy toy maker who decided to infect both children and adults with greed over his latest toy creation. Another involved a female android who saves lives by eavesdropping in a closet. She also poses as a makeshift Christmas tree.
Apparently Santa has both a naughty as well as a nice list when it comes to children and presents. This tends to indicate that their are naughty children in the world.
In the cartoon series Futurama there's a mad robot Santa who has decided that all of humanity is on the naughty list. Hence 'you better watch out' is the catch phrase of X-Mas. It has to be true when you have a mechanical Santa out to maim and kill in honor of the season. The future can be a strange place.
Bing Crosby made the song I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas famous. It featured in one of his movies and remains a big hit at Christmas throughout the world.
A relative of his came along decades later and made I'm Dreaming of a Punk Christmas infamous.
In the 1951 movie The Lemon Drop Kid starring Bob Hope you have the reform at Christmas of a two-bit hustler. Bob hope as the kid set out to scrounge money for these old women ex-criminals and then pocket the money for himself. He does in the end have a change of heart. The movie features the song Silver Bells.
In 1955 the song Nuthin' for Christmas was a big hit. A silly song about a bad kid who is not terribly bright. In the end in Jerry Lewis' version the not too bright kid mistakes a burglar for Santa and helps him to steal the family cutlery.
Spirits of the dead that cannot rest are said to be extra restless at Christmas. This is the time of year when they best remember the kind of deed that might have earned them a better afterlife. This is seen in just about all of Charles Dickens' Christmas stories.
Christmas is said to be the birth date of Jesus. In truth the date was moved from we know not where to late December because this time of year was already considered holy.
For in the dead of a northern European winter there had to be some hope that the cold would end and new growth would occur. Before any sign of the coming of spring there had to be something.
In England before Christianity really took hold it was fires of the druids that kept the snow and ice at bay. Nowadays it is the the birth of the Christian savior.
Easter of course is the fulfillment of the promise made by the redirected birth of Jesus in December.
Jesus is crucified and then comes back to life. Again the date was changed to land Easter on a pagan holy day.
It should possibly be remembered that it was once the sacrifice of the Green Man that brought about the miracle of spring.
For many people in the west Christmas is a time for family and friends. Some people like myself look upon Christmas and New Years Eve as a time to sum up a year in the life and also to look back on other years.
It was Prince Albert and Queen Victoria who made the Christmas tree popular in England. It was already popular in Europe.
We all would like Christmas to be a time of peace on earth and good will to all.
The Christmas of 1914 was like that for both Allied and German soldiers. There was the realization that the Great War wasn't going to be a six month gig as the hopeful had predicted. There was also the fact that many of the Christmas traditions enjoyed by the Germans were also en joyed by the British. Peace on earth and good will for one day - Christmas day - didn't seem like too much to ask for.
And now for Chapter 8 Disco Evil: Dead Man's Stand by Rod Marsden
(Complete novel available through Amazon USA, KINDLE and Smashwords. Also available Ghost Dance and Desk Job.
New York, December 1980
In the more well-to-do parts of the city, Christmas carols were being sung. Everywhere there were Santas ringing their bells for charity. In Harlem, Paul dropped a few coins into a black Santa’s pot and was thanked kindly for his donation. He hadn’t been to Harlem much since he arrived in New York.
He figured the people living there had more than enough problems without him adding to them. He didn’t understand the new music coming out of their streets and he didn’t really want to try. If it was good for them then that was fine. If it was a betrayal like disco then they would have to find their own avenger. He wondered what had happened to cool Jazz and Blues.
There was a lot of energy coming out of the village. Some people were playing Bob Dylan songs. Others were listening to old Cat Stevens recordings while still others were caught up in something totally awesome and relatively new.
Paul had to stop by a bar and grill where John Lennon’s lifetime masterpiece, Imagine, was being played. He could see, in his mind’s eye, his mother, Mary falling in love with it. He could also see the glimmer of hope for humanity he hadn’t seen in a singer and a song in a very long time.
He wondered what the ex-Beatle was thinking when he wrote it. He certainly wasn’t thinking of revenge or of making the world a better place by the removal of certain people. It was all back to ‘make love, not war’. The hope of a generation and more generations to come was encapsulated in one song. The very notion took Paul back to before the world dumped on him and way before he met Lilith who promised to help him set things right.
Back then there had always been ‘The Doctor’. The number one science fiction show out of England was Doctor Who. It spoke of a better way, a more intellectual way of dealing with violence. The idea of out-thinking your enemies was pure ‘Doctor Who’. The only time he’d tried it of late was at that tattooist’s establishment and, according to word on the street, the results had been less than he had hoped for. Once more, he had made vampires and they had been destroyed.
The song ended, Paul moved away from the eatery in search of he knew not what. The sight of the occasional Christmas tree in a shop window gladdened him. He missed his family more than he had in months but there was no way he could join them even for the holidays.
He was glad he couldn’t feel the cold. It would have saddened him even more since, in Australia this time of year, it was anything but cold. People, where he grew up, enjoyed frosty beer and the surf in December, not hot toddies, indoor games and sticky date puddings. It really was the other side of the world where he had landed and was trying to make the best of his situation.
Down a dark alley Paul wandered, becoming more and more aware of being followed. There were dark alleys; it seemed, even at Christmas. There were also people who felt comfortable using them for less than kind practices. When he turned around, he found himself confronted by four gang members in dirty jeans and jackets.
As a sign of which gang they belonged to, they had on bright red bandanas. Three of them spoke to each other, for a moment, in a language derived from Spanish. The fourth one was a girl of Anglo-Saxon origins but certainly of gang member status. She appeared to understand what they were saying but did not join in the discussion. When the talking stopped, they looked at Paul in a meaningful way as if they’d been talking about him. One of them shook his head sadly and another smiled the smile of a predator about to pounce.
“What do you want?” asked Paul as if he didn’t know.
“Your money, gringo!” said one of them.
“Or your life!” said another.
The girl remained silent, eyes all a sparkle. The same could also be said for the fourth bandit.
“Already taken,” said Paul, shrugging his shoulders.
“Your money?” asked the one who called him gringo.
“No,” corrected Paul, “my life. And you can’t have my money.”
“We shall see,” said the girl.
There was the flick of cutlery, four knives in all. Paul was surprised there wasn’t a gun of some sort among them. Maybe they hadn’t robbed enough people yet to be able to afford such a luxury.
The three males came at Paul like a pack of savage dogs. He shrugged them aside and grabbed the girl. It took no effort whatsoever to wrest the knife from her grasp and to walk her swiftly away from her friends.
She was a skinny blond with not much weight to her at all. The males followed and attacked again. This time two ended up face down in the same dumpster. The third tottered off in the opposite direction, carrying the hand he busted when he gave Paul his best Sunday punch.
“You’re mine,” Paul told the female. Dressed in leather with black make-up on, she still looked too young for what she had been doing. She looked too young for what he was about to do to her but that didn’t faze him. By his reckoning, he’d been too young for the sort of things that had happened to him at ‘The Blue’, in Sydney an age ago.
“Don’t!” she whispered as he put her up against a wall, fangs extending, fangs dripping with saliva. It would be so easy to feed, he told himself. So why am I hesitating? Why don’t I simply give her what she deserves? There was, however, innocence about her he might only have perceived at Christmas. It wasn’t much but it was enough to move him to do something unusual. Of course, it might have been John Lennon’s song, Imagine, still ringing in his head, imploring him to be a better person if that was, indeed, even possible.
“You’re mine,” whispered Paul back at her, looking as menacing as he could make himself, “but I’m going to let you go. I am going to give you back your life. Take it. Call it a present from me to you. If you like, call it foolish sentimentality on my part for this time of year. Call it what you will. Know this: If I ever catch you on these streets again, trying to mug people with the help of your friends, you are gone, you are dead. What’s more, there will be no regrets on my part. Do you understand me?”
“Good. Now go and try to stay out of trouble.”
When Paul put her down, she bolted into a garbage can and then into a street lamp, but was away before he could stop laughing and garner together second thoughts concerning her fate. He knew he should have pressed his considerable advantage. He knew he should have taken her for every drop of the good red she had.
“I’m getting dumb in my old age,” he told himself before taking on bat form. In his head, he suddenly heard another vampire chuckle. The voice was that of a male. He knew then that the girl he’d let go was going to be someone else’s dinner. So be it! He told himself. He’d let her go all right but he wasn’t responsible for her. In fact, he now felt even more foolish for letting her go in the first place.
As he flew off, he saw the other bat circling, getting ready to go in for the kill. Sometimes, even when you let them go, you couldn’t always save them. Paul had never seen two vampires fight but it would have to be over a better reason than some stray gangland type. She should have been at home with her family rather than gallivanting about, looking for a dishonest way to get some cash.
He might not have let them go if he’d known that the lads he’d knocked about had already squealed to two FBI agents who were now after the girl and her attacker. Also, he might have felt a lot better about letting her go if he’d seen the FBI men catch up with the other vampire, just as he literally was putting the bite on his victim. He did, however, hear the guns with the special ammunition discharge. There was the acidic smell of cordite which drifted his way. He didn’t know what to make of the sound and the smell, though, until he heard the other vampire’s shriek in his head which ended with the other vampire’s second death.
Paul wondered at both his luck and the girl’s. This night they had been entwined. Maybe someone upstairs, or possibly downstairs, wanted them to share the same planet for a while longer. The question was for how much longer. Neither of them, he figured, had great prospects.
Just for the sake of the season, Paul would go to bed hungry and put in an extra effort the following night. He knew his family, back in Australia, if they were aware of what he’d become, would want it that way. He also knew that he wanted it that way because some things about being human still had to make sense to him, even if he was never going to ever be completely human again. This had to include forgiveness and charity on certain nights of the year. On this particular occasion, peace and goodwill toward others included miscreants in dirty jeans and jackets.
Before going back to his lodgings, Paul approached an all night book shop with the intention of possibly providing a gift of sorts to certain members of the undead community. There he bought a copy of Mandy Provost’s novel, ‘Stark White under the Stars’ and also Corrine Kelly’s short story collection, ‘Blood on my Lips and other tales of the Macabre’. He also arranged, via mesmerism, for the shop keeper to order in fifty extra copies of each work the very next day. Then, after it was done, to forget about having done so but to have it in the back of his head that it was an important thing to have done.
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