Friday, 24 December 2010

Mercenary Christmas Special 2010


By some unknown miracle, snow starts to dust Beale Street and Walker Street, the two parallel streets joined by a town square in the middle and formed by mercenaries who have come and gone. The snow starts laying calmly on the thick sand covering the tarmac and cement that used to form a road system and pavement for military to pass on through on their way to the mouth of the Suez to the south. To the north lie only several sand-dunes visible on the horizon, looming near the streets and providing the perfect coverage for the outskirts of Egypt itself.

One of these houses, the north-eastern most house on the eastern street, Beale Street, sees a jolly rotund figure, clad in a red suit trimmed with white fur, slide down the sloped concrete, chuckling to himself. He quickly jumps over the makeshift plastic gutter and lands on a concrete platform, turning around and pointing a finger at the lock. It unlocks and opens soundlessly. The figure, carrying a large burlap sack, slowly tiptoes in on faded leather boots, looking around.

As he walks onto the straw “Welcome” mat, he feels something snag his foot. He looks down in surprise, only for a loop of thickly-woven rope to pull his right foot from under him, hanging from the ceiling.


A lamp flickers on in the corner of the room. Sitting in four seats, turned to face the doorway, sit Phil Nolastname, sporting his shaven head and a new covering of stubble, as well as white cotton pyjamas. Next to him is Steven Llarec, his hair coifed and his face newly shaven, a wry smile on his face as he wears blue rocket-ship pyjamas. Next to Steven, Ivan Hellgenstrand, his eyepatch clasped tightly over his scarred left eye and his head shaved to the skin, and next to him is Jericho Kingston, still wearing a shirt, tie and black trousers, as well as leather gloves.

Voice [Angrily]: LET ME DOWN!

Phil: Look at this, boys, we just found ourselves the most wanted fugitive on our list..

Ivan looks down at a sand-blasted piece of paper in his hands.


Cringle [Panicked]: I’M..I’M SANTA CLAUS!!

Jericho stands up, pulling a crowbar out of the back of the waistband of his trousers, advancing on Santa Claus threateningly.

Jericho: Words been getting around that you put us on the naughty this true, fatman?

Cringle: WHAT?!

Steve [Excitedly]: SANTY!! CAN I HAVE MY PRESSIE?!?!?

Cringle: NO!!

Steve gives a small sniffle. Phil pats his shoulder.

Phil: Jericho, smack him one.

Cringle: Sma--

Jericho swings the crowbar back and smashes it forward, slamming into Santas right kneecap. Santa scrams loudly, only for Jericho to slam the crowbar into his bulging gut twice.

Jericho [Viciously]: SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!

Santa lets out a pained groan, struggling uselessly against the rope that his foots caught on.

Phil: Where’s the presents, fat man? And I’m not talking about coal or socks or sweaters, I’m talking about the nuclear-powered motorcycle I asked for!

Cringle [Panicked]: I’ve already delivered the presents to every house! Yours is outside, I swear! I SWEAR!

Phil narrows his eyes, nodding silently at Jericho. Cringle gives a small nod, and in a red sparkle, a large pile of presents are swiftly added to the small pile already set under the Christmas tree.

Ivan: Ve are done here..

Jericho swings the crowbar at the rope, latching the hook around it and cutting it loose. Santa falls to the floor with a small crunch, rolling onto his back and scrambling onto his feet. Jericho grins, rubbing his crowbar threateningly.

Jericho: Remember us…

Santa lets out a panicked groan, grasping his burlap sack, scrambling out of the door and jumping onto the roof in a magical bound. He throws the sack into the back of his gold-gilded red sleigh and grabs the reins of his reindeer, whipping it. The reindeer shoot into the air at inhuman speeds as the four turn around, watching out of the window at the back of their house which normally only overlooks the tips of pyramids and sand dunes.

All: Wowwwwwww…

As Santas mach-5 reindeer head over to Australia, he looks at his reins: One reindeer is missing.

Cringle [Confused]: Where’s Blitzen?!?!

=Back in Beale Street=

As the clock hits five in the morning, a lone light flickers on in the upper rooms of the Dog and Handgun. A wondrous smell of sizzling, sweet meat fills Beale Street, enticing people from their slumber. Brick is standing in the upstairs kitchen over a hob, frying two steaks. Jon enters from the bedroom door to the left, cracking his neck.

Jon: What smells so good?

Brick: Blitzen.

Jons eyes widens and his eyes cut from the discarded hunting rifle on the floor to the bloody carcass of a mutilated reindeer bleeding out on the white linoleum.

Jon: Does that mean--

Brick: Yes…It’s--


Lights are standing to stud the windows of Beale Street and Walker Street. Opposite the house of Phil, Steve, Ivan and Jericho, the unwrapping of presents is already in full swing. Dave and Bob are sitting beneath the tree, wearing pyjamas, clapping their hands.

Dave [Rocking Back and Forth]: PRESENTS! PRESENTS!

Bob [Clapping his hands together]: YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!

Dave: Where the hell is everyone?

Dave and Bob look around: No-one. Robbie is sitting on the couch, flicking a lighter on and off while a small grey wolf pup nestles in his lap.

Robbie: Light goes on, light goes off. Light goes on, light goes off.

Dave: If we come back to find our house a pile of ashes, blame the psycho.

Robbie: Dave, aren’t you an Orthodox Jew? Why are you celebrating Christmas?

Dave: …We’re in Egypt. Do you think there’s a fucking Matzah Ball being held anywhere?!

Robbie: Matzah-what?

Dave: Chicken ball soup. Except, it’s a nickname for dances that occurred in dance halls for single me.

Robbie: So why ARE you celebrating Christmas?

Dave shrugs.

Dave: Get together with friends. Just don’t expect me to say a prayer or anything. Jesus ain’t my messiah, he’s batting for your side. So Happy Birthday Jesus, but I ain’t going to be all like “YEAH HE WAS BORN!”

Bob: Is there anyone whose actually celebrating it cause Jesus was born?

Johans Voice [Happily]: HAPPY BIRTHDAY OUR SAVIOUR!!!

Stoofers Voice [Happily]: HAPPY BIRTHDAY J DOG!!

Voice of Jesus: Thanks brah!

Bob: ……Okay. So does that mean you don’t want a present?

Dave: No, but it’s just a present to and from friends..right?

Robbie: Well, it--

Dave [Sinisterly]: RIGHT?!

Robbie: Fuck you and take this--

Robbie reaches beside him, grabbing a large bundle and throwing a present wrapped in greaseproof paper at Daves head. Dave screams and ducks before looking up at Robbie.


Franks Voice: Will you two shut up?!

Dave: Get your ass out here, you drunken fuckmonkey! It’s your holiday!

Bob: I wonder if Octopus is getting up?

Bob stands up, walking across the floor and opening the day to his bedroom. A lacy bra flies out, hitting him in the face. He blinks slowly, staring at it and grinning inanely.

Bob [Grinning inanely]: HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!!

Voice of Jesus: Thanks brah!

Bob absent-mindedly strolls into their bedroom, slamming their door shut. Dave tears open his present, revealing an eight-stick candle: A menorah.

Dave: …Cool. A menor--

Dave cups the stand of the menorah, causing several knives to shoot out of the candle holders.

Dave [More excited]: COOL! A MENORAH!

Robbie [Ecstatically]: MERRY SATURDAY, DAVE!!

Dave [Ecstatically]: MERRY SATURDAY, ROBBIE!!

Robbie: So where’s my present?

Dave: Here, to celebrate..our friendship.

Dave tosses him a sheet of paper: That of a U-boat. Robbie looks at it while the pup sits up, yawning lightly.

Robbie : …A photo of a Type Nine U-boat…cool?

Dave points towards a window outside. Robbie gets up off the couch, clutching his right arm around his wolf pup and cradling it to his chest, wandering over to the window and throwing aside the curtain: From their house to the end of Beale Street, approximately 250 feet away, stands a tall U-Boat. Gleaming gunmetal shines in the sun, while the painted mark of crossed swords stands as a cold reminder to the rank and crew this destructive machine attained. The roughly-cuboid shape of the cabins which lead to the hull, engine rooms, map rooms, quarters and weapons rooms below stands roughly into the sky. Robbie stares at it, his eyes glistening at its beauty to him.

Robbie [Gobsmacked]: …Scheisse! IT’S BEAUTIFUL!

Dave: That right there is one of the jewels of the kriegsmarine. U-One-Six-Nine. Of course, we’ll tow it to the Suez where you can have fun destroying Ocelots barges and fishing vessels. The best part? He’ll just think its Germany trying to one-up him! Everyone wins!...except Germany, unless they mobilize a modern navy along with the U-Boats, in which case, they do win--

Robbie: Dave..You had me at U-One-Six-Nine.

Dave: So you like it?

Robbie [Ecstatically]: Like it?! I LOVE IT!!!! My God, A U-Boat!!! How did you afford it?!?!

Dave narrows his eyes.

Dave: You must never tell anyone about the boat. We…replaced a U-boat in a German museum with one made of crackers spraypainted silver.

Robbie blinks several times.

Robbie [Underwhelmed]: ..Doesn’t making a u-boat of crackers and spraypainting the whole thing silver….not make a goddamn lick of sense?

Dave: OH YEAH?! …Yeah, you’re right…

Dave gets to his feet, putting his hands on his hips and looking around the room.

Dave: ..That WAS stupid! [Angrily] FUCKING HELL, FRANK, YOU DICK!!

Frank: [Breathing raggedly]: up!

Dave walks over to the door of Franks room, slamming his balled-up fists against it and slamming his knees into the wood.


Frank starts groaning loudly, causing Dave to push away from the door as if he had just received an electric shock. Robbie looks up, his eyes widened in a rare show of fear.

Robbie: ..I hear sounds. Evil sounds. Sounds that need..setting ablaze.

Robbie holds his left hand high into the air, flicking the lighter ablaze. His eyes glaze over, and he starts grinning evilly.

Dave: Put..the lighter..DOWN!


Dave grasps Robbies arm, pulling it roughly as Robbie struggles desperately. The wolf pup yips loudly and it leaps onto the arm of the couch, curling into a tight ball. The light flickers on and off repeatedly in the struggle as Dave pulls Robbies arm down horizontally. Dave grasps Robbies thumb, pulling it back and finally allowing the lighter to drop to the floor. Robbie takes a few steps backwards, his lips trembling as he points behind Dave.

Robbie [Fearfully]: f..f.f….f..f.f…nn..n…n…

Dave: What? What? Is it a ghost? Or a minotaur? Or Justin Bieber?

Dave looks hesitantly at Robbie before slowly turning around: Frank, half-asleep and fully-naked, is standing there. Hearing Robbie, he growls lowly, turning around and offering a full-frontal view, his legs bruised, his chest discoloured, and patches of blood still visible from the Shadow Moses encounters. He simply raises a tired eyebrow at Dave, standing there.

Frank [Tiredly]: Take a picture…s’lasts longer..


Frank: Wha--

Frank looks downwards, noticing he is in fact fully-naked.

Frank [Grinning]: ..Hey big boy..

Dave retches violently, spinning around and turning away, falling onto all fours. Frank shrugs it off, turning around and digging a finger into his bellybutton, pulling out some blue fluff and flicking it away before smelling his finger.

Frank: …meaty.

Dave gives a cry of mental anguish, slamming his head violently into the carpeted floor with sickening thuds. Robbie simply stands there, looking down at Dave.

Robbie: Brother, stand..

Dave stands up, tears welling in his eyes. Frank turns around, opening a wooden door painted white and walking into a darkened room, flicking the lightswitch on and shutting the door. Almost immediately, the screams of Raging Raven and Will fill the air.


Franks Voice: ….Not bathroom?..

Ravens Voice [Scathingly]: NO!! GET OUT!! GET OUT!!!


Robbie: Let’s..knock eachother out.

Dave sniffs and nods, and both him and Robbie lunge their heads forward, smashing into eachother with a ruthless headbutt which sends both men crumbling backwards, hitting the floor with an unconscious crash as Raven starts screaming louder, screams of which manage to wake up one mercenary, residing in an old dusty square behind the single-story bungalow Dave and Robbie are living in. Nestled in the north-eastern corner, in one of two two-storey houses which have long since been abandoned and left for the elements to corrode into yellow brick, ruined tile and rotten mortar, is Bill Johnstone, sleeping directly underneath two boarded-up windows which slam violently in the wind. Hearing the screams, Bills eyes shoot open, and he quickly sits up inside his khaki sleeping bag, looking around the dark, abandoned building.


A clicking sound rolls across the sand-strewn white tiles on the floor of the building, only for a Christmas tree to blaze into multi-coloured lights just feet away from him, erected outside an old, boarded-up doorway in this one-room makeshift home. Bill hops to his feet in his sleeping bag, staring at the tree.

Bill: This better be the results of me drinking, or I’m gonna be mighty pissed!

The grizzled features of his face stare around the room as the clicking sound repeats itself. He leans down, trying to grab a gun or a makeshift weapon..only to realize his own Desert Eagle has rolled down his sleeping bag and into the feet of it while he slept.

Bill: Fucking Jehovah, This is gonna be shi--

Bills pale-blue eyes quickly narrows as a large shadow passes in front of the tree.


Bill struggles violently in the sleeping bag, only for something to push him onto his back. He flops up and down like a fish out of water, his gun rattling at his feet.


Voice: Bill, old chap, it’s just me!

A lone lightbulb dangling loosely from a wire flares up, lighting the lone room up as best it can: Standing in front of the tree, with pilot goggles clasped tightly to his head and a dinner jacket loosely slipped around him is the huge form of the resident Emperor Penguin, Mr. Dibbley.

Mr. Dibbley: Bill, your surroundings are despicable! Have you not thought of applying for a planning permit and building a house?

Bill [Glaring at Dibbley]: MY HOUSE IS JUST FINE!

Mr. Dibbley looks around, unimpressed at the single room Bill is living in.

Mr. Dibbley: This isn’t a house, chap, it’s a room! Look at this sand on the floor! The doors have all been boarded up! You have no refrigerator, no heating, no oven, no books and no bath!

Bill: …And?

Mr. Dibbley: Are you even still alive?!

Bill: …..Maybe? But look, penguin dude, can you actually help me get THE FUCK OUT OF THIS SLEEPING BAG?!?!

Mr. Dibbley: ..How did you get stuck?

Dibbley waddles over, flippers slapping his bulbous white belly and he tilts forward. Bill sits up and Dibbley loosely slaps his flippers at the incredibly loose knot in Bills sleeping bag, quickly undoing it and allowing Bill to free his bare arms.


Dibbley stumbles back, coughing and waving a flipper in front of his face.

Mr. Dibbley: So you’ve survived on hard alcohol, I see!

Bill pulls off his sleeping bag, revealing a grey shirt soaked with patches of sweat on the chest and under the arms, as well as a pair of blue-and-white striped boxer shorts clad over a pair of legs which happen to be hairy, and have strands of silver duct-tape stuck to them. Bill quickly stands up, turning in a circle with his arm behind him before stopping, leaning back and pulling off some of the duct-tape, grasping a bottle of Pabst Blue Label and raising it to the sky.


Mr. Dibbley: …What are you doing with it strapped to your legs!

Bill gnaws at the lid with yellowing teeth, pulling it off and spitting it off.

Bill [wiping his mouth]: Well, they had a challenge at the Half Moon to see who could strap the most bottles to their legs and go walking north to the outskirts of the Egypt while the Praying Mantis guys do their little patrols. I won!!

Mr. Dibbley: ..That’ll explain your arm, then.

Bill looks down at his left forearm: A bullet hole has been torn into it, and has since started to scab over.

Bill [Surprised]: …Huh. That’d explain why I can’t move my fingers as much. Anyway, Dibbley, what the fuck are you doing in my home?!

Mr. Dibbley: It’s Christmas! A time of celebration, of cheer, of love, of giving and receiving, of--

Bill: Drinking?

Mr. Dibbley [Sighing]: ..Yes..drinkin--

Bill: WOOHOO!!!

He drains his bottle of Pabst and smashes it on the floor, raising his arms.


Bill dashes over to the tree, leaning down and picking up one wrapped in white wrapping paper, clearly outlining a bottle. He tears off the paper, revealing a bottle of aged Bourbon.

Bill [Ecstatically]: FUCK YEAH!!! THANK YOU BILLY, SAL AND VINCE!!!!!!!

Mr. Dibbley: So this would be a bad time to say that your present is a visit to Alcoholics Anonymous?

Bill glares at Dibbley.

Bill: You got a me a present, and you MADE IT A PRESENT FOR A PUSSY?!?!?! That’s it, I’m going to shoot you.

Bill leans down, ruffling through his sleeping bag. Mr. Dibbley sighs, running a flipper over his beak in frustration.

Mr. Dibbley: Look, fool, I bought you alcohol. Here--

Dibbley motions his flipper to a neatly-wrapped package in plain red at the foot of the tree: The package is clearly outlining a six-pack of cans.

Bill: Is it beer?

Mr. Dibbley: You cannot be this dense.

Bill dives to the foot of the tree, pulling off the wrapping paper and revealing a six-pack of Budweiser, the cans glinting like angels to Bills eyes.


Bill kisses the top of the six-pack lovingly.


Mr. Dibbley: Charming.

Bill stops, turning his head and looking at Mr. Dibbley

Bill: ..Sorry penguin dude, I never got you anything.

Mr. Dibbley: It’s my fault for..being a surprise visitor. Although I did get something from ReLoaded. I do wonder what it is.

Mr. Dibbley waddles over to the tree and leans down, grasping his flippers onto a box covered in pink and powder-blue striped wrapping paper, shaking it loosely.

Tavi: Y’know..I hope Dibbley likes his new switchblade!

The lone upstairs room of ReLoaded, spanning the entire floor length of the house itself, save for a small room to the south-east for the bathroom, sits emblazoned with dazzling red, pink and gold light from the various lampshades around the porcelain lamps dotted around the room. On the western wall, opposite the door, are three beds, erected on white plastic frames with thick black duvets on top of the memory foam mattresses, a stark contrast to the filth most of the mercenaries wallow in. The only one laying on their bed is Crying Wolf, a Beauty and the Beast Unit member whose normally eratically-emotional temperament has been altered by the changes, or lack thereof, in the normal timeline. Her tanned, svelte body is capped off with a perfect hourglass figure, chestnut eyes and flowing black hair. She sits there cross-legged, humming in pink silk pyjamas with a large pile of presents at the foot of the bed.

Wolf: Psshhh..I’m sure he will, Tavi!

Tavis Voice: And what about Frank and Mantis? I thought of them all while choosing out those leather wrist-and-feet bonds!And Bob and Octopus! Those leather paddles are a steal!

Wolf: I bet they are, darling..

Tavis Voice: I mean, come on! Switchblades and sex! ..Write that down, Wolfy, that could be our motto! Don’t’cha think it’d make a good motto?

Wolf: Yes, Tavi..Are you finished in there? I WANT TO OPEN MY PRESENTSSSSS!!

The wooden, varnished door to the bathroom opens and Tavi slips out. As mentioned, the room itself is a stark contrast to the mercenaries, and so is Tavi: A female anthropomorphic sugar glider of unknown origin, unknown background and unknown age. What is known is that she is quite young and quite feisty, her steel fur clashed with a large white patch across her chest and stomach and across her lower face. A steel-black tip caps off her flowing, silky tail, as well as forming large patches around her glowing golden eyes, and also creating a line that runs from a patch of spiky-grey fur on her head acting as a proxy human hair, down to her onyx nose. Tavi stands there, hands on her hips, wearing pinstriped pyjamas more suited to what men wear, a small hole cut just below the hem on the rear of her pants to allow her tail to flow freely.

Tavi: I’m done! I’m done!

Wolf: What were you doing?!

Tavi flicks a slender hand through several white streaks of hair, pressed and heated so they flow over the top-half of her eyes.

Wolf: I see….Why have you done that?

Tavi shrugs.

Tavi: Fun..Don’t you think it makes me look…DASHING?!

Wolf: Darlin’, I thought you already looked dashing.

Tavi waltzes over to her bed to the far right of the room, next to the bed of Wolf and jumps on it, clawing her hands across the presents.

Tavi: Oh man, I hope we’ll get some good loot this year!

Wolf: We will, we will! Look at this stuff! We have some admirers!

The door to the stairway slams open and the form of a small woman, with short, black hair finished with two long bangs on either side of her head, as well as deep, shining brown eyes, stands in the doorway, a thick-set red fleece overcoat with white lace cuffs and bronze buttons clad across her upper body, her lower body clad in black furry slippers and revealing blue floral silk pyjama pants from beneath the coat. She quickly unbuttons the coat, pulling it open and revealing a black shirt reading “SNIPER: Don’t Run, You’ll Die Tired” with the graphic of a crosshair across the chest, before shrugging it off and onto the floor, running forward and leaping the bed furthest to the left, hugging her own pile of presents.

Courtney [Maniacally]: MOMMY MISSED YOU!! SHE DID! SHE DID!

Wolf grins brightly.


The women exchange cackles of delight as they grasp random presents, tearing them open with a resounding hunger. Wolf grasps a box wrapped in khaki wrapping paper, tearing off the paper and pulling the box open to reveal several bottles of perfume amongst straw.

Wolf: Wow! You hijacked the truck, Tavi?

Tavi looks over, wearing a new maroon beret and grins, giving her the thumbs up.

Courtney: Huh, what the hell is this?

Courtney holds up a large, heavy box wrapped in silver wrapping paper, with a tag reading “Mechanics” scribbled onto it. Courtney tears off the paper and opens up the box, looking into it and giving a wide grin.

Courtney: Wow, an engine from a Ferrari!!

Tavi: ..Why would we need an engine from a Ferrari?

Courtney: run…..stuff?

Tavi shrugs it off, tearing open a box covered in dark-blue wrapping paper.

Tavi: And from The Lamb and Flags guys I geeeeetttt…..a….new pot.

Tavi pulls out a large metal pot by its black handle, taking off the glass lid and revealing a mound of sugared popcorn.

Tavi: Oooooooo!! SUGAR!!

Courtney licks her lips, motioning an arm across Tavis shoulder and clawing a hand at the popcorn. Tavi quickly sees her hand and slaps it.

Tavi: My present! Get your own popcorn!

Courtney sighs, standing up and walking behind the tree, bending over and picking up a large box which rattles as she shakes it. She sits next to Tavi, pulling open the wrapping and revealing a plain red tin box.

Courtney: Lessee what Phil got me..It’s..

She opens the tin box, revealing a tin of sugar, packed into which are the distinctive black cans of Monster Energy.


Wolf: Oooooo! I wonder what they got me!

Wolf grabs a misshapen present, tearing off the distinctive red wrapping paper and looking at the present.

Wolf: …Three gold bullions?

Wolf pulls out three gold bars from the wrapping paper, cocking an eyebrow.

Courtney: Ooo! Let’s hock them to Drebin!

Wolf eyes them suspiciously.

Wolf: …Maybe later. Hey! We all got something from Bob and Octopus!

Tavi, Courtney and Wolf each reach out, pulling a large box wrapped in golden wrapping paper to the lap of Courtney. All three of them grasp the paper, pulling and shredding it off before pulling open the flaps of the resulting cardboard box with a swift and satisfying rip. Courtney looks down into the mess of shredded paper, pulling out a long flowing piece of black silk.

Courtney: ..What the hell?

Wolf, cocking a thin eyebrow, reaches into the box and pulls out an identical piece of material, only coloured a dazzling ruby-red. Tavi leans over, pulling out a white sheet of silk material. In unison, the women unfurl the material, revealing three long dresses with a low-cut to enhance and show the cleavage.

Tavi: ….Seriously? I ain’t wearing this!

Wolf [Grinning]: Seriously? I love it! I think it could really enhance the bazumbas, know what I mean?

Courtney: ..Yes. Bazumba enhancing is good! Hmmm..I got something off of..Frank and Mantis! How sweet! It’s a….laser pointer?

Courtney has torn off the black wrapping paper of a small present, pulling out a small silver tube tipped with glass. She presses a button at the base of the tube at the wall, causing a red light to flow out, starting to char a hole in the wall. Courtney grins maniacally, switching it off.

Courtney: …Now I can use that!

Wolf: ..I even got something off of Dean and Karab!

Courtney: I wonder what it is?!?!

Wolf holds up a box covered in greaseproof paper, shaking it lightly as it squelches against the sides of the box.

Wolf: ..Something dead.

Tavi: Just how we like ‘em!

Wolf tears off the paper and opens the box, looking inside it.

Wolf: ….Oh my. Raw liver.

Wolfs chestnut eyes dart at both Tavi and Courtney, her nose wrinkling.

Courtney: …You eat that?

Wolf: ….Occasionally…But God knows where they got that from…

Two doors south from ReLoaded lies the double-floored building of Dean and Karabs Kebaborama, as signalled by a light made of garish neon-tubing that was flashing green, blue and red in the dawn environment. The plastic door had been locked tight, as had the kitchen, and the counter had a metal gate locked down over it. Upstairs, however, a lone lamp, sat upon a wooden box, was lighting the only bedroom, opposite the stairs from behind the wall where the ovens and the cylindrical Tandoor lied to the second floor. Two beds, little more than thick mattresses laid upon clumsily-welded metal frames, each with an eagle clutching a snake between its beak welded into the two bars at the foot of the bed, held Dean and Karab. Dean, the young, handsome thrillseeker blessed with youth, a chiselled face, deep-set blue eyes and an actual personality to boot. Karab, his bubbly manservant from Hyderabad, a blue turban wrapped thick around his head and a curled black beard descending from both ears and his jaw to his lower neck, his thick metal riot shield laid under his bed.

Karab: Well, friend, it looks like we have wonderful presents this year!

Dean: So, Karab, why are you celebrating Christmas?

Karab: It’s a time of celebration. It’s become so commercialized that I am sure the Gurus would not look down upon me for celebrating it as a holiday and a time of peace. Lord Jesus is still revered as a messenger in Sikhism, but I am not celebrating his birth. However, I can use this day as a Gurpurab for Guru Gobind Singh.

Dean: ..I won’t even ask what that is.

Karab: A celebration of Guru Gobind Singhs birthday! A time for celebration and reflecting the Gurus wisdom!

Dean: …You do that, and you get to carry around a curved sword? I totally got the short end of the religious stick.

Karab: However, I won’t bother you anymore with my religion, for it is hear..

Karab taps the side of his head.

Dean: A religious guy who doesn’t feel the need to spread his religion incessantly? ..I think I love you.

Karab cocks an eyebrow.

Karab: …Too far.

Dean: Let’s cut the fucking blah-blah, and get unwrapping! MERRY CHRISTMAS!! ..oh, and a happy Gurdurhur to you.

Karab: Gurpurab.

Dean: Gesundheit. Anyway, onto the presents!

Dean grabs a small, oddly-shapen present wrapped in black from Frank and Screaming Mantis. He grins, rocking back and forth as he rips off the wrapping paper, revealing a silver spatula with a blue rubber grip.

Dean: …Hey, spatula..

Dean looks at it from its side: The edge of the spatula itself is almost as thin as an atom. Dean swipes it across his body, slamming it into the wall. The spatula, effectively doubling as a knife, embeds violently into the wall with a swift cracking of plaster.

Dean [Now grinning]: ….NOW THAT IS SOMETHING!!! See? That investment of buying Frank a bottle of Jack Daniels for Christmas paid out!

Karab: Indeed!

Karab wraps a shark-tooth necklace around his neck, a present from his father back home in Hyderabad. Dean eyes the necklace before looking down at a box wrapped in white wrapping paper.

Dean: …Hmm..Billy, Vince and Sal..What could it be…

Dean pulls off the wrapping paper, tearing open the box and leaning in, pulling out a length of vivid orange and white material with black stripes scarred across it: Tiger skin. Dean stifles a scream as he unrolls it.


Karab: Oooo! Nice..and…cool!

Karab clutches a large white sack close to himself, cuddling it.

Karab: The Lamb and Flag guys have got me a bag of charcoal! Finally, the Tandoor can blaze again!

Dean: Yeah, I guess it can.

Dean tears off the silver paper of a long, thick box, revealing a leather box with bronze latches. Dean unclasps the latches, flipping open the lid and revealing several guns inside the case and pegged onto the inside of the lid. Dean claps his hands giddily, grabbing a Sawn-off shotgun from inside the case and looking inside the barrel.

Dean: SWEET! Those Hispanic mechanics did polish my guns! Now I can fire up my car and ride with my guns!

Karab: Cool! Phil, Jericho, Steve and Ivan got me a spice rack AND spices!

Dean: ..Yeah, ‘cool’.

Karab lays a carved wooden structure across torn red wrapping paper carefully, making sure several glass jars lined side by side across both shelves don’t fall out. Karab reads the labels eagerly.

Karab: Wow..Star Anise, Marjoram, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Ohmyfuckinggodburna…..Hang on, what is ‘Ohmyfuckinggodburna’?

Dean: ….Ohhhhh! You were off on your pilgrimage when that happened. We held a chilli cook-off in the Half Moon. Phil created a spice made out of various bits and pieces left over from spice jars, trash cans and the floor, and put it in his Chilli Con Carne. It burnt the tongue so much, and caused such a river of violently molten diarrhoea to flow, that he named it ‘Ohmyfuckinggodburna’. You..might not want to use that if you value feeling things with your tongue…or just feeling things in general.

Karab: …Yeah, I’ll keep that in mind.

Dean: Although the question is..How the fuck does he afford it?

Karab: What?

Dean: Margeyram? Cinnamon? Starry Niece? That’s some expensive shit, man.

Karab: Savings bonds? A share in a major company?

Karab and Dean turn their heads and look at eachother before laughing loudly.

Karab and Dean: He stole it..

Back in the most north-easterly house, where the lights have all switched on, Steve unwraps a large, thin box wrapped in red wrapping paper, revealing a fifty-inch plasma HD-ready 3D-ready television.Steves eyes widen and his jaw drops slightly.

Steve: HOW DID YOU AFFORD THIS??!?!?!?!?!

Phil simply sits there, grinning, revealing three gold teeth glinting at the back of his mouth.

Phil: I have NOOOOOOOO idea what you’re talking about..

Ivan rips open a box wrapped in bright red wrapping paper, tipping it upside down and pouring out an entire Russian NKVD Officers uniform, consisting of khaki jodhpurs, polished black leather boots, a long khaki tunic with blue shoulderboards and a blue seam up the arm and across the collar and cuffs, a brown leather belt with a golden buckle shaped like a star and a blue peaked cap with a red band between the peak and the main body of the hat.


Phil: I managed to buy one that was in actual service during Stalingrad. Set me back a lot of money.

Phil grins, the gold teeth in the back of his mouth sparkling once more. Jerichos eyes shift and look at him suspiciously.

Jericho: Alright, where did you get the money? We’ve been on Shadow Moses Island for months!

Phil: Let’s just say…Liquid helped pay for some presents.

Jerichos eyes slowly widen, then furrow angrily.

Jericho: That’s funny, because I recently had over one million dollars taken from my account. Money that has been there for, would you believe it, nine years? Money that I never knew about, money the bank insisted has been there, and money that suddenly just appeared to if it had been there for nine years. Phil, WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO??!!

Phil: I remembered that you’ve had an account open since 2005, and that you constantly renew it without looking, since you’re saving the money for a rainy day…So, I used your account to be a placeholder for cash from Liquids account.

Jericho glares at Phil

Jericho [Spitting]: YOU CUNT!

Phil: Cunt? I’ve paid pilots shipping goods to the British Army in Afghanistan to..’accidentally’ drop cargo over our street! The best thing? The fortune will keep us stocked for a good few years! Liquids money will fund our unhealthy tea and biscuit habits!

Jericho sits there, stunned into silence, mouth agape and eyes widened.

Ivan: ..Vell, that stunned him.

Steve: Heehee! Jericho looks like a Venus Flytrap!

Phil: I..probably shouldn’t have said he had the opportunity to take over a million dollars in ca--

Jerichos eyes roll into the back of his head and he collapses backwards onto the floor, sprawled out.

Phil: --sh.

Ivan: Woah!

Ivan has just torn silver wrapping paper off of a box, opening it up and pulling out a mullet wig. He grins, pulling it out and flopping it on his head.

Ivan: Now all I need is ze pornotache!

Steve: You like?


Phil: That’s a yes. C’mon Jericho, wake the fuck up!

Phil pinches Jerichos right cheek, causing him to quickly sit up and reach forward, grasping a lumpy present wrapped in golden wrapping paper.

Jericho: Mine from..Bob and Laughing Octopus? Oh jeez, do I really want to know?

Jericho tears off the wrapping paper, pulling out a pair of leather gloves. Jericho shrugs.

Jericho: It’s nice, I guess.

Steve grabs a present wrapped in white paper, pulling it off and revealing a Persian rug dashed with golden thread and intricate floral patterns.

Steve [Grinning broadly]: SWEEEEEET!! RUG THING!!

Ivan: Wow..zat is a Persian Vug..Very expensive..

Phil: Oh yeah? Trying to outdo me?

Phil grabs a small box covered in the same white wrapping paper, tearing it open and pulling out a crystal-cut carafe filled with a dark brown liquid. Phils eyes brighten.

Phil: WHISKEY!!! I love them. It’s official.

Steve: Hey..we haven’t got anything from crazy ladies of Hispanic guys!!

Ivan: …Ve do. Ve have to pick it up from the Chop Shop in a few hours..

Ivan holds up a small white card between his thumb and index finger.

Phil: Ehhh…s’all good I suppose. Hey, I got something from Moms!

Steve looks over at Phils lap as he tears off the red and silver wrapping paper of a box, opening the box and pulling out a pair of tanned leather cowboy boots.

Phil [Happily]: …Awesome! All the way from N’awleans!!!

Ivan: Nawleans?

Phil: New Orleans. A few years after I became a mercenary, me parents moved to New Orleans. Can’t blame ‘em, it’s a nice place..but..BOOTS! BOOTS!

Jericho: Surprised you never asked Frank for some…

Phil: Cause Frank would probably piss in them. Jericho, have a present, you massive cunt.

Phil thrusts a misshapen present wrapped in red into Jerichos lap.

Jericho: Alright Phil, what did you get me?

Jericho tears open the rough, misshapen paper and pulls out a long piece of camel-brown material, pulling it out and unwrapping it, holding up the loose form of a brand new trenchcoat. Jerichos mouth widens in legitimate surprise.

Jericho: …Woah..

Phil: You like?

Jericho: …Wow…thanks…I know my last one got torn and shit in Shadow Moses, but--

Phil: Shut the fuck up and put it on.

Jericho slowly gets to his feet, looking down at his trenchcoat and rubbing the material in his hands as he walks off behind Phil towards his own room. Phil grins, tearing off a swath of blue wrapping paper off a present in his lap, pulling out a scarlet-handled swiss army knife. He grins, holding it out ahead of him and flicking his wrist, causing a small machete blade to slice out from the handle.

Phil: Wow, Brick sure knows his knives..Look at that blade!


Phil: Fucking hell, I hope Brick loves my present. God knows that coat cost me a pretty penny as well.

Over at the Dog and Handgun, in the lone bedroom upstairs, its stairs hidden behind the bar. Two beds lie roughshod against the northern wall, surrounded by garish decorations including a deer head. Socks, underwear, beer cans and pizza boxes cover every visible inch of the carpet, leaving nothing visible underneath them. Sitting on the left hand bed is Jon, a young man with cropped, tidy brown hair and no stubble on his youthful face, indicating a more pure background than most of the other mercenaries. On the bed to the right, Brick, the big old southern boy who wasn’t the skinniest man, but had a large smile on his face which seemed to part the goatee on his face. On his head was his camouflage baseball cap which he never took off, but across his body was a brand new deer fur coat, complete with the bucks head hanging where a hood would be on a hooded top. Brick smirks, running his hands across the coat before smelling his palms.

Brick: Oh man, smell that kill!

Mr. Moneypennies: Sheeit! Lemme smell that!

On a wooden chest of drawers under the window is a large glass tank looming near Bricks bed, inside of which is a thick branch, and a thicker emerald snake with black diamond patterns on its back. The snake, somehow learning English thanks to a combination of DNA-altering radiation and human companionship, raises its head, flicking out its tongue.

Brick: No way, snake dude…But have a rat instead.

Brick reaches under his bed, rummaging through the garbage until he hears a squeak from the colony of rats who have inevitably set up nest in the filth. Brick wraps his hand around it tightly, pulling it out and throwing it into Mr. Moneypennies open cage, where the snake quickly coils around the defenceless rat, squeezing its bones into a fine powder with relative ass.

Jon: That’s sick, man. A creature died to warm your body and feed Moneypennies.

Mr. Moneypennies: Fuck you, J-Bo!

Brick: Says the guy with the cockwarmer made from ferret fur?

Jon looks around the room shiftily.

Jon: You win this round..

Brick: Look, shut it and start opening presents, okay?

Brick grabs a present wrapped in white wrapping paper, pulling it open and revealing a sharp Bowie knife. Brick grins, holding it up.

Brick: This’ll do! This’ll do!

Jon: Good for sticking pigs, huh?

Brick: And enemies!

Brick grins inanely, giving a practice thrust of the knife.

Brick [Smirking]: Looks those rich bastards got some nice toys after all!

Jon: I never even got a present from those shitheads!

Brick: Cause ya stink.

Mr. Moneypennies: Damn son, You got schooled!

Brick gives a small laugh and Jon simply grabs a box wrapped in golden wrapping paper, tearing it open and looking at the box.

Jon: Well, Bob and Octopus got me a box of condoms. They must know about the strippers.

Brick raises his head, turning to face Jon.

Brick: Don’tcha think we should let them outta the basement?

Jon laughs.

Jon [Cruelly]: No..Fuck no!

Brick: That’s my boy! I’ve trained you well, and soon…you will join the battle with us!

Jon [Bluntly]: I’m already a fucking mercenary, its just that Lynch never let me go.

Brick: ….Lookie, let’s drop the feuding business and get some presents opened!

Jon grabs a present wrapped in silver paper, tearing it open and pulling out a pair of metal pliers.

Jon: ..Great. Pliers. Fucking pliers.

Brick: HEY! The Mechanics got me spark plugs!

Jon: You don’t even have a car!

Brick clutches his armful of mismatched spark plugs closer to his body.

Brick: My spark plugs.

Jon sighs and shakes his head, tearing open a present wrapped in white paper, tearing it open to reveal a pitch-black leather jacket with a sheep-fur collar.

Jon [Ecstatically]: THANK YOU BILLY!!! He actually listened to me!

Brick: And if he had any sense, he’d have peed on it.

Jon: How about you open mine before slagging me off?

Brick grabs a long box wrapped in blue with holly prints on the paper, tearing it off and pulling open a box, revealing a sleek fishing rod with a polished wheel and a taut string.

Brick [Happily]: Cheers, Jon! Always wanted another fishing rod since those bastard Suez patrols took mine away!

Jon: Now you have one!

Brick: Why don’t ya open mine, bud?

Jon grabs a present wrapped in identical paper, tearing it open and pulling out a silk purple jacket with a yellow lace collar and cuffs. Jons eyes widen and he grins happily.

Jon [Grinning]: Hotdamn Brick! I always wanted my own pimp jacket!

Brick: Merry Pimpmas!

Jon: Merry Pimpmas, big man! Better than the shit the Mechanics gave us!

Brick: Dammit man, quit complainin’! They’re probably busy or some shit!

Over at the Chop Shop, the presents were already spread across the floor of the main garage, which happens to be empty aside from a large blue winch embedded into the floor. Various metal shelves line the wall, covered haphazardly with tools and toolboxes. In the middle of the polished linoleum, a circle has been made by two mechanics: On the left is Johan, tall, muscular, bald and wearing a goatee, vest and boxer shorts, showcasing his impressive masculinity. On the right is Stoofer, who is several inches taller than Johan, a mop of black hair shooting down from his scalp across the sides of a face scarred by both time and battle. Stoofer is bare-chested, revealing a large, illegible tattoo which resembles that of the Virgin Mary, his muscles still firm despite the toll of time.
Stoofer: Such a wonderful time of year, ese.

Johan: Indeed it is, brother.

Another Hispanic gentlemen arrives from a door to the right, wearing a pair of pressed long-sleeved blue pyjamas with a silk trim, and a pencil-thin moustache over his smooth upper lip, his hair slicked back over his head.

Johan: Hey, *Beep*, are Bobby and the other two up?

That Hispanic Guy: Si, they are working on..the special present.

Bobby, the tall, white mechanic with a thick moustache and a bald head which gleams in the bright lights, walks into the room with an oil-covered vest and boiler-suit pants, wiping his hands with an oily rag.

Bobby: Gotta love this time of year! Gives a warm, tingling feeling to the stomach!

Johan: Indeed it does. The birth of the saviour truly does.

Stoofer: Now, we replicate the gift-giving of the Three Wise Men and exchange the presents.

Bobby sits to the north of the circle, while That Hispanic Guy sits opposite Bobby.


Stoofer growls, turning his head to That Random Guy, a middle-aged man who still has a youthful exuberance about him, along with a cheerful smile and a flock of brown hair.

Stoofer: It is a time for humbleness.

That Random Guy: Woah woah! Alright, big guy!

That Hispanic Guy: Alright, alright, my compadres, let us partake in the present giving..

That Other Random Guy: Presents? Fuck yeah!

A man of an illegible age, thanks to his thick handlebar moustache and flowing black hair which obscures most of his face, walks in, clapping his oily hands together and rubbing them on his own white vest.

That Other Random Guy: Yo, Johan, hows things on the presents front?

Johan grabs a box covered in black wrapping paper, throwing it him. That Other Random Guy catches it and sits beside Bobby in the circle, grinning.

That Other Random Guy: A sudden..blissful feeling has arrived..

That Hispanic Guy: That’ll be the Christmas spirit, now let’s start opening presents before you do overdose on it.

That Other Random Guy tears off the wrapping paper, tearing off the flaps of the box and opening it, pulling out a bottle of Scotch.

That Other Random Guy: Hell yeah, that’ll do nicely!

Johan pulls up a misshapen present wrapped in red onto his lap, pulling it open and pulling out a woven woollen red, green and white poncho, laced with golden thread forming intricate patterns. Johan smiles, holding it up to the light.

Johan: A great present from Phil and his household!

Bobby: Ya lucky bugger..I just got a freakin’ pan from Dean and Karab.

Bobby puts a stainless steel saucepan on his bald head, balancing it there.

Bobby: Hey! Look at me! I’m Mexisteel!

Stoofer: You think you’re Mexisteel?

Stoofer pulls out a pair of solid iron bracers from a box laying atop of shredded white wrapping paper, holding them out.

Stoofer: Billy, Vince and Sal are making me Mega Mexisteel!

That Hispanic Guy opens up a box wrapped in red paper, holding out a small cedar box and flicking open the bronze catch, revealing lines of Diplomaticos Cuban cigars, thick and long inside the box.

That Hispanic Guy: Looks like we’re getting a good haul from those guys on Beale Street! I guess this’d be Jerichos shopping..Nothing like a fine cigar.

That Random Guy: Awwww man, the Lamb and Flag just gave me licensed beer steins!

That Random Guy holds up two glass beer steins, emblazoned with a white logo of a lamb with a NATO flag between its lips.

Johan: Wow, did not know they were selling licensed stuff!

That Other Random Guy: Weelll..after all the money we pumped into it following Shadow Moses, it’s not surprising

Stoofer: Yeah, they gave me a licensed gutting knife!

Stoofer grins, clutching a machete with a wooden handle, the Lamb and Flag logo etched into the side of the blade.

Bobby: Dude, that’s a machete..

Stoofer: In my hands? Gutting knife.

Johan: Indeed!

That Hispanic Guy: Just don’t turn it on your own people, ese!

That Random Guy tears off the pink wrapping paper of one of his own presents, pulling out a Heckler and Koch MP5 submachine gun. He grins, pulling it out and extending the thin grey stock, looking down the iron sights.

That Random Guy: Holy shit, those girls at ReLoaded know their stuff!

Bobby nods in agreement, having torn open his own present and now with the huge , bulky steel form of an M60 light machinegun laid across his lap. Johan pulls several bottles of Tequila from a box, covered in shreds of white paper, filled with straw, looking at them and grinning.

Johan: Nice..Jose Cuervo.. It seems like Billy, Vince and Sal know their stuff as well..

A mile to the south-east of Walkers Street lay an unusual sight: A two-tiered mansion which stands out amongst the sand and various coloured tents which occasionally prop up on and around the dunes behind it. From its position, the mansion overlooks the small forms of Beale Street and Walkers Street in the distance. These streets are visible even in the main room of the mansion, to the right of the entrance hallway guarded by two tall glass doors. The room is decorated with lavish paintings, tapestries and various other kitsch items of tremendous value. A fireplace sits against the northern wall, crackling lazily and spitting the occasional ember onto the Persian rug near it. Opposite the fireplace are three carved oak chairs, their legs carved with lions-feet bottoms and their cushions made of maroon leather. The one to the left, which has a small wooden stand with an empty carafe beside it, is occupied by a man with a grizzled bear and shaven black hair, his face young and powerful to match the chiselled muscles of his biceps and triceps.

Billy: So..Vince. It looks good this year, doesn’t it?

In the middle sits a man who is less physically impressive than his friend, a large beard covering most of his rounded face, his eyes baggy and pale, and a small paunch in his gut.

Vince: Of course. It’s always a good time of year for us!

Billy: Looks like I have been appeased this Christmas day.

Billy opens a small box wrapped in red wrapping paper, unlatching a bronze latch and flipping the cedar box open to reveal rows of thick, chestnut-coloured Romeo y Julieta Cuban cigars.

Billy: Phil, Jericho, Ivan and Steve will live. Billy is appeased.

Vince: Dammit Billy, cut the violent crap out, and enjoy life!

Vince pulls out an electric shaver from a bundle of golden wrapping paper, eyeing it.

Vince: I think people are telling me to shave my beard..

Vince opens up a present wrapped in black from Frank and Screaming Mantis: A pair of sleek Police sunglasses and a card reading “SHAVE THE BEARD.”

Sal: Damn right they are! Seriously man, shave that thing.

Sal, an African-American man with a light skin tone, bald head and a freshly shaven face, adorned by the most fashionable aftershave one can buy, is clutching a solid white long-haired Persian cat, its eyes closed contently and its pink tongue lolling slightly from its ‘squashed’ face as Sal scratches under its chin, the cat burrowing its face into the silk of Sals purple dressing gown.

Vince: So says the James Bond villain cast-off?

Sal: Fuck off, Sasquatch, and don’t insult Tibbles, dammit!

Billy: Tibbles? Really? How completely and absolutely retarded.

Sal: Screw you, Scotsman!

Billy shakes his heard, smirking and manically tearing the pink wrapping paper off of a misshapen present with sharp edges, pulling out a black UMP-45 submachine gun, looking down the circular iron sights and rubbing the edges of the gun eagerly.

Billy: In-built silencer as well..Beautiful.

Vince: Well, Phil and Jerichos house got me a fake Egyptian beard the Pharoahs used to wear..and with solid gold trimming as well!

Vince sticks the lapis lazuli-carved beard into the middle of his chin between his beard, grinning and slapping his knees.

Vince: ..Just call me..Vincenzo the First!

Sal sits down in his leather armchair, placing Tibbles on his lap.

Sal: I think I’ll call you: The twat.

Vince: Go fuck yourself, Sal!

Sal sighs, laying back in the chair contently.

Sal: Whatever poor boy..whatever

Billy tears open a present wrapped in red wrapping paper, pulling out a pitch-black Inverness cloak and grinning.

Billy: Jesus Phil, didn’t think you’d bloody listen!

Sal: Oh God, you got one of the cloak thingies..What next, bagpipes?

Billy rips open a very oddly-shaped present wrapped in black: Sure enough, it’s a set of bagpipes with the Black Watch tartan bag and oak pipes.

Billy: Frank, you’re a fucking genius!

Sal: I always hated that man. ALWAYS.

Vince: Why don’t you open a present?

Sal: I bought Tibbles for myself. All a man needs is his purebred Persian cat.

Vince: I thought he needed a personality and charisma..Well, you’re living proof that a man doesn’t need those things.

Sal: What are you saying?

Vince: I’m saying that peanuts probably have more charisma and personality than you.

Billy laughs loudly, nodding.

Billy: Vince is right! But seriously, open a fucking present. People are being nice to you.

Billy slides a present wrapped in white towards his feet. Sal sighs, leaning over carefully and grabbing the present, pulling it open and allowing a teatowel emblazoned with the Lamb and Flag logo to tumble out weakly.

Sal: …Yeah, cause that’s awesome.

Vince: Well, they got me this..

Vince reaches under his armchair, sliding out two six-packs of Lamb and Flag own homebrewed beer.

Vince: Pretty nice, eh?

Sal: I guess it is. I shall enjoy driving the Bugatti Veyron my father gave me for Christmas down to those streets, though.

Billy: I’ll enjoy playing my bagpipes as well, cunt!

Sal: Screw you! You better not!

Billy raises the main chanter of the bagpipes to his lips, blowing and letting loose a squealing sound which causes Tibbles to let out a strangled growl, leaping up and latching onto Sals cheeks with sharp claws.


A mile away to the North East lies the hub for the Christmas part season: The Lamb and Flag. While none of the upstairs rooms, occasionally rented out to patrons, have lights on. The bar itself is ablaze with bright lighting. The twin blue metal are locked tightly, the windows have been locked and metal mesh placed on the inside over them and the stools are still stacked uniformly on the wooden tables dotted in random patterns about the floor, save for a purposefully-made circle in the middle where Obese Maurice, a large, obese man whose gut hangs across his knees and inhumanly thick legs, and whose thick arms are adorned with various tattoos displaying a pride in his Newcastle and English birth. Moe the Midget, a four-foot tall man with a bald head and piercing blue eyes, with a small beard plaid into knots, ended with a rubber band and descending thinly from his chin, and Dick Head, the barkeep with his brown hair shagged roughly on his scalp and with heavy-set bags and circles embedded into the pale skin around his eyes, are sitting, in the middle of them a large pile of presents. Dick is already wearing black trousers, white dress-shirt, a bowtie and a white silk apron, while Maurice and Moe are both wearing long-sleeved pyjamas.

Maurice: Ah’m excited like, moosh!

Dick: Well, let’s open..I gotta get some work done, but let’s get this Christmas pride going!

The three men dig into the pile of presents in the middle of them. Maurice grabs one clad in black paper, tearing it open and revealing a set of three Japanese kitchen knives with thin, sharp blades.

Maurice: Propah nice, Frankie-boy! Shall enjoy these tools of my trade!

Moe: Aye, look at what Stoofer gave me! My own small set of brass knuckles!

Moe grins, pulling a set of bronze brass knuckles onto his right fist.

Maurice: Nice! Nice!

Dick: Damn, Robbie and Dave finally got me some lead-balls for my musket! Gotta love those psychos!

Dick grins, shaking the uniform cardboard box at his feet with a resounding rattle.

Moe: So you’re going to be putting Old Glory back in action?

Dick: Oh yes, he’ll be joining the hose in active action!

Maurice pulls the red wrapping paper off of a lumpy present, pulling out an extra-extra-extra-extra-large tanned brown leather bomber jacket with sheep-fur cuffs and collar.

Maurice: SWEET! Cheers Jericho and Co.! That’ll do me!

Moe: You got one too? God knows where he got it from!

Moe ruffles his own miniature-sized thick black leather jacket, grinning broadly.

Dick: Well, I just got two bottles of Glenfiddich fify year old from Phil, so that’s my life complete.

Maurice: Aye, ya lucky bastard!

Moe pulls the paper off of a small box, opening it and pulling out a Sgian Dubh: A small knife with a blade of Damascus steel and a Stag horn handle.

Moe: Sweet! Thanks Billy!

Dick tears off the golden wrapping paper of one of his presents, pulling out a box of Marlboro cigarettes.

Dick: About damn time!

Maurice: Smoking again, kiddo?

Dick: Damn straight! God knows I got a shitload of work to do today to get the meal prepared.

Maurice: Maybe if you had the help of a..extra-large pogo stick!

Maurice tears a large sky-blue pogo stick from a layer of pink wrapping, grinning broadly.

Dick: I’m gonna go open the doors.

Dick ties his apron tighter around his body, quickly standing up and turning around, squeezing between a wooden table and unlocking the metal doors with a resounding, echoing click before sliding them open, walking out into the morning air and giving a deep smell.

Dick: …Time to work!

Dicks eyes narrow and he looks into an alleyway opposite the Lamb and Flags doors: The form of Tom Morello, wearing jeans and a black t-shirt with a red star emblazoned on it, appears carrying a leather guitar case, grinning at Dick.

Dick: …Uhh..hi Tom..Shouldn’t you be in..y’know..the real world?

Morello: Yes…but I want you to say my little friend..

Morello unclips his guitar case and lets it swing open, only for a bulldog puppy to scamper out, tail wagging and tongue lolling out of its mouth.

Morello: AIN’T HE CUTE??!!?!?!?

Dick: I didn’t think puppies were supposed to kept like--


Dick: Tom Morello Junior?


Dick: ….Right.


Morello throws his head back, cackling as he walks through a darkened alleyway opposite the Lamb and Flag and, ultimately, out of sight. Dick shakes his head.

Dick: That man is pure fuckin’ insanity….and speaking of pure fucking insanity..

Dick turns his head, looking up the street, watching as Courtney, Crying Wolf and Tavi walked up the small set of concrete steps towards the house of Phil, Jericho, Ivan and Steve which are overshadowed by the looming U-Boat, on top of which Dave and Robbie are leaning over the railing at the fore of the boat, watching them.

Inside the house, A feminine knock raps on the door of the house. Jericho, having made a cup of coffee, stumbles over the wrapping paper and grasps the door handle before stopping suddenly, eyes narrowing.

Jericho: There’s something behind this door. Something feminine, delicate, yet unspeakably evil.

Courtneys Voice: We seeeeeeeeeeeeeeee yooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuu..

Jericho pulls his hand away from the doorknob, only for it to rattle ominously. Jericho quickly twists around, staring at Ivan who is sitting at the folding plastic table with a small cup of espresso.

Jericho [Hissing quietly]: What the fuck do we do?!

Ivan shrugs.

Ivan [Quietly]: Let them in!

Jericho turns around, only for the door to smash in his face as it opens swiftly. Courtney bounds in, arms spread wide as she latches them around Jerichos chest.

Courtney: Jjjjjjjjjjjjjerichoooooooooooo!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Jericho [Surprised]: ..Umm..hi--

She shoves him aside, strutting over the mounds of wrapping paper and advancing on Ivan, arms spread. Ivan screams, getting to his feet and pulling up his chair, thrusting it at her.


Courtney: Okies. LADIES! COME IN!

Ivan: Ladies?!

Courtney: Oh yush…I brought..the whole ReLoaded crew!

Courtney walks into the room, smelling the air and letting out a satisfied breath as Tavi and Wolf trot in, grinning eagerly.

Ivan: ..Alvight, whats this about?

Courtney reaches into the pocket of her jeans, pulling out four cards and holding them out. Ivan reaches out, taking them and looking at the envelopes.

Courtney: Thank you cards for the presents! Everyones getting them!

Ivan: Vell thank you!

Wolf: Where’s Phil?

Ivan: He’s in his room, getting ready for the meal down the street. Shouldn’t you girls be doing the same?

Tavi: Maybe later. I prefer the hug of a good of pair of jeans before a dress!

Ivan looks uninterested, choosing to turn around set the cards on the table.

Ivan: Yeah.

Wolf grins evilly at Courtney and Tavi, pressing a finger to her plump lips and slowly tiptoeing over to the door to Phils room, before stopping, glaring at the doorhandle which shines oddly in the light.

Wolf: ..Is that sterling silver?

Jericho looks at Wolf, and then glares at the doorhandle.

Jericho [Angrily]: THAT BASTARD!!

Wolf scowls at Jericho, grasping the doorhandle and shoving the door open. She jumps into the room, grinning, but her face falls when she can’t find him.

Wolf: ….Phil?

Jericho walks behind her, glancing over her shoulder.

Jericho: Windows not open, so where the hell is he?

The room goes silent as everyones eyes and ears focus to pick up the slightest oddity in the atmosphere. Surprisingly, there’s nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Wolf: ..Strange. Where is he? The windows closed…

Jericho eases Wolf aside and gently tiptoes into the room, scanning around: Aside from a large set of maple-wood drawers with gilded gold handles, nothing seems possible to fit in. Jericho gets on his knees, ducking down and looking under the bed: Nothing. He gets to his feet, raising an eyebrow and checks the chest of drawers: All three long, deep drawers hold nothing but clothes.

Jericho: Where the fuck could he--

Jericho turns around, climbing onto the bed and throwing aside the curtains: Running down the street, wearing only a pair of boxers, is Phil, waving his arms.

Phils Voice [Giddily, ecstatic]: FREEDOM! FREEDOM!

Jericho [Scathingly]: SMART ASS MOTHERFUCKER!!

Wolf simply smirks, looking at Courtney.

Wolf: Darling..How fast can you go on a can of Red Bull?

Courtney: Welllllllllllll I visited Alpha Centauri once!!

Wolf: Good enough for me..

Wolf reaches between her cleavage, pulling out a can of Red Bull and cracking the tab. Courtney snatches the can from Wolfs hand, downs the entire contents of the can and dashes out of the door at inhuman speeds. Phil turns around, the last thing he sees is an inhuman blur coming at him.

Phil: Truly, I should have seen this coming.

Phil collapses to the ground, screaming violently as he’s quickly dragged up Beale Street. He claws the air, motioning towards Dick.


He gets dragged past Robbie and Dave, who are now standing on top of the U-Boat and watching.


Dave and Robbie simply stand straight, giving him a salute as he’s dragged up the stairs, kicking and screaming as the door slams shut behind him. Dave smirks, turning to Robbie who is clutching his wolf pup in both arms.

Dave: Shall we tow this thing to the Suez?

Robbie: ..How the hell are we going to do that?

Dave puts his fingers in his mouth and gives a shrill whistle. A violent rumble fills the air, and a derelict house to their right caves in on itself, collapsing violently into dusty rubble which showers across the road as a bright yellow bulldozer roars towards the U-Boat, it’s slate-grey scoop raised high to just below the cockpit where That Other Random Guy sits. The bulldozer drives to the front of the U-Boat, quickly shifting right and reversing so its rear aligns with the boat. That Other Random Guy quickly slides down the metal ladder and onto the sand, rushing over and latching a metal cable from the back of the bulldozer onto two loops welded to the left and right at the front of the u-boat.

Robbie: *Beep*, bring the wrath of the Kriegsmarine to the Suez!!

That Other Random Guy jogs back over to his bulldozer, climbing up the ladder and into the cockpit, giving a thumbs up and driving forward. Dick quickly backs into the Lamb and Flag as the bulldozer drags the U-Boat south out of Beale Street.



As the afternoon starts to settle in the Middle East, so does the Christmas spirit: Dick has now dragged out three tables into the middle of the street, between the alleyway and the Lamb and Flag opposite. A set of barrels and six-packs of beer cans which glint in the sunlight sitting at the foot of the table. Dick throws a long, tarpaulin-like white tablecloth over the southern table, quickly dragging the cloth upwards to cover the three tables. Wooden chairs, taken from the Lamb and Flags own bar-room and ten to a table with five on each side, dot the sands near the table. After laying down the tablecloth, Dick dusts off his hands and stands in the doorway of the Lamb and Flag, hands on his hips and admiring the scene.

Dick: Well, the tables are out, the six-packs are ready, there’s two barrels of Madeira stolen from the British Embassy in Cairo and now I’m just dusting the fucking sand onto the pavements.. what else?

Maurice slowly stumbles past, his thick arms latched around another oak barrel which he quickly sets down at the foot of the table next to the wine.

Maurice: Barrel of whiskey?

Dick snaps his fingers.

Dick: Perfect..perfect! Of course, now we need to cook the ham, the turkey, the beef, the duck, the goose--

Maurice: --the quaker, the baker, the candlestick maker?

Dick: No joking, Maurice! This is an operation equivalent to Vietnam!

Maurice: Americans running around and screaming, then going home declaring victory?

Dick: NO! …Maybe.

Maurice: Look, lad, the turkeys in the oven with the beef and the ham, Deanos doing the duck and goose, and the others are cooking vegetables. Is that alreet?

Dick: Mercenaries and vegetables?! We’re fucked.

Maurice: Ow, kidda, it worked last time, remember?

A huge explosion belches thick smoke out of the door of the Dog and Handgun. Jon screams and is immediately thrown out of the upstairs window, riding a wave of red cabbage which sends him crashing violently onto the sand below.

Dick: …..I really don’t understand how it did.

Jon [Weakly]: …Cabbage…ready…

Jon curls up in a foetal position, hugging his knees to his stomach

Jon: I’m bleeding internally..

Dick sighs, walking over to Jon and starts to sweep him towards the Dog and Handgun. Jon cries out weakly as Dick sighs, repeatedly sweeping until he pushes him into the doorway of the Dog and Handgun.

Dick: Stay inside and don’t play with fire, idiot.

Jon: ..I can feel my spine..

Dick: Good for you, now stay inside. BRICK! Take care of your retarded servants better!

Brick grabs Jons legs, dragging him inside the Dog and Handgun and sliding the doors shut behind him. Dick takes a deep breath of the crisp air and exhales joyously, clutching his broom and walking back to Maurice.

Dick: As I said, how did they? These guys can barely turn the safety off of their own guns.

Maurice: They just do, lad, they just do.

Dean emerges from his Kebab Shop, clutching a silver platter with a browned duck laying on top of it.

Dean: Let me serve this shit so I can put a suit on.



A steel-tipped whip cracks from an alleyway in front of Dean, causing him to scream and jolt backwards. That Hispanic Guy, wearing a dazzling white jacket, white leather shoes, white shirt and red tie, runs out of the darkened alley, clutching the leather plaited handle of his bullwhip menacingly, his moustache waxed into a pencil-thin line.

That Hispanic Guy: You are a pendejo, Dean..You cannot handle the heat…So we bring…VEGETABLES!!!!!

Silence. Dick, Dean and Maurice simply blink, completely underwhelmed by That Hispanic Guys dramatic announcement.

Dean: …..Yeah. Just bring ‘em out and put ‘em on the table, will you?

That Hispanic Guy claps his hands: Johan, Stoofer and Bobby emerge, all three of them wearing suits identical to that of That Hispanic Guy. The only difference is that Johan is wearing a silk sash in the design of the Mexican flag across his jacket, and Stoofer is wearing black leather shoes. In their hands, they clutch silver platters, covered in carrot batons and mashed potato.

Bobby: Truly, I am embarrassed.

Stoofer: Wearing white..Great, what am I, some angel in a shitty movie?!

That Hispanic Guy: Men, place the goods on the table. The sooner we do this, the sooner we eat, the sooner we get home and test out the ping-pong table Brick bought us all.

Stoofer, Johan and Bobby stroll forward, setting down one platter on one of the three tables each before backing away from the tables and walking towards the mouth of the alley, folding their arms and entering a deep conversation. That Hispanic Guy looks at Dick, shrugging.

That Hispanic Guy: I try.

Dick: You do?

The nearby doors of the Dog and Handgun swing open and Brick strolls out, carrying a large blue porcelain bowl and wearing a sleeveless dress shirt, black bow tie and cummerbund, black dress trousers and Reebok sneakers, his camouflage baseball cap still on his head.

Brick: Phoowee! So much for Christmas bein’ cold..It’s hotter than a Mississippi women here!

That Hispanic Guy: Wow..sleeveless dress shirts..they make us?

Brick: Make ‘em meself. I’m a handyman!

Brick pushes the bowl onto the northernmost table, slipping his hands into his pockets and shuffling his feet.

Brick: Jon should be here any minute…

Silence. Nothing appears.

Brick: …Anyyyyy minute.

The doors of the Dog and Handgun slowly open and Jon weakly sidles out, a heat-pack bulging out of his lower back and visible through his untucked, unbuttoned dress shirt which hangs loosely over black dress pants. He slowly carries an identical porcelain bowl forward, groaning as he does.

Jon: ..Pain..I feel pain..

That Hispanic Guy chuckles, folding his arms and watching him.

That Hispanic Guy: If he moves any slower, I’m gonna have to whip him!

Jon: Fuck you..

Jon slides the porcelain bowl onto the middle table, sighing and clutching his back.

Jon: Hot crippling redcurrant death..

Johan: Good God, man. Stop complaining!

Jon: Whatever..

Jon slowly lies down on the sands, gasping and sighing happily as he rests his back, looking up at the sky.

Jon: Pretty…

Brick walks over to him, placing his foot on Jons chest and raising his arms.

Brick: I’ve slain the filthy beast!

Wolf: Well, looks like some of the gang have already arrived!

Wolf, now wearing a long red silk dress which clashes with her tanned skin, walks down the street. To her right is Courtney, wearing an identical dress in black, and to her left is Tavi, her dress a dazzling white. Jon raises his head, quickly jumping to his feet.


Tavi: Drop dead.

Jon stamps his right foot.

Jon: C’mon ladies! Let me buy one of you a drink!

Courtney walks over, running an index finger across his chin before bringing it up and flicking him in the nose.

Courtney: Beep.

Dick: didn’t bring anything?

Wolf: I thought only the people who drew straws had to bring something..

Dick: That was just me being more polite than saying “Bring the fucking food, all of you.”

Tavi: Charming.

Maurice snaps his fingers, tapping Dick on the shoulder.

Maurice: The meat should be just about cooked, lad, I’m gonna go see how Moes doin’

Maurice turns around, shoving open the doors of the Lamb and Flag and walking into the pub. Dick simply smiles, clapping his hands together.

Dick: If you ladies would like to get seated, we’re just waiting for the stragglers to arrive!

Tavi, Courtney and Wolf sit together on the southern table. That Hispanic Guy has taken to smoking one of his cigars, while Johan and Bobby continue to talk in hushed tones. Jon quickly sits next to Tavi, and Brick sits next to Jon.

Jon: Hello gorgeous.

Tavi: Go throw yourself under a tank.


Dick, Tavi, Wolf, Courtney, Brick and Jon turn their heads, narrowing them at four figures walking from the north of Beale Street towards the table. Dicks nose and mouth wrinkle, stifling a laugh at the sight: Phil, Jericho, Steve and Ivan were wearing double-breasted grey tunics, grey jodhpurs and peaked caps with golden hammer-and-sickle pins on them. In their hands they carry plastic bowls, filled to the brim with Yorkshire Puddings.

Phil: Reporting for duty and bearing the puddings from Yorkshire.

Dick: Great, English food. Pop it in the middle of the tables.

Steve: Three tables? MANY FRIENDS!! YAY!!

Phil, Steve, Jericho and Ivan move around the tables, shuffling the silver platters into the middles of each, between every few seats. Jericho quickly dusts off his new leather gloves, clapping his hands together and looking around.

Jericho: SO! Is this is it?!

Jericho sits on a wooden chair, pulling himself close to the table and grasping the silverware to his left, slamming the handles on the table.

Jericho: FOOD! FOOD! GOOD!

Phil: cute, his first word!

Dick: Not yet, smartass.

Jericho whines, laying his head in his arms on the table.

Ivan: Awww. Cute.

Wolf: Reminds me of you, Phil! Pathetic, lazy and waiting for something.

Phil: I’m not waiting for something, you succubus, I’ve already got it! It’s called…money.

Phil grins, the gold teeth at the back of his mouth sparkling.

Wolf [Bluntly]: Well, it won’t be sex.

Phil [Sarcastically]: Oh no, my heart doth truly bleed.

Stoofer: You have got to be the only man I know who doesn’t want sex.

Phil: How about you trying sleeping with her?

Stoofer glances at Wolf, who winks at him and blows him a quick kiss.

Stoofer: ….Good point.

Wolf [Bewildered]: WHAT?! Am I too overtly aggressive?!

Phil, Jericho, Stoofer, Bobby, That Hispanic Guy: Yes.

Wolf huffs loudly, folding her arms across her chest.

Wolf: No wonder I’m bisexual..

Jericho [Voice muffled in his arms]: Raise your hands if you care..

Everyone simply looks around, twitching their noses and causing Wolf to huff even louder.

Wolf: Where’s the others? Are they coming?!

Dean: Woah, hold it crazy woman!

Dean, now wearing a leather suit jacket, white shirt, blue silk tie, brown dress pants and black leather shoes, and Karab stroll down the sandy streets, Karab carrying a white plastic bowl and Dean carrying a platter with a roasted duck laid upon it. Karab, wearing a white turban, long-sleeved white kameez shirt made of loose cotton with a red trim around the cuffs and neck, white cotton shalwar pants and woven straw sandals, holds out his bowl to Dick who leans over and smells it.

Dick: PHWOAR!! What the hell is that?!?!

Karab: Dal Makhani! Lentils, cream and spices. Perfect alternative to common vegetables, don’t you think?

Dick looks at Maurice, who nods silently as he licks his lips.

Dick: Serve it, my good man.

Karab nods ecstatically, walking forward and placing the bowl on the middle table. Dean also walks forward, placing a large bowl beside his. Johan sniffs the air, pursing his nose and lips.

Johan: I smell evil arriving.

From the south of the street arrive Robbie and Dave, empty handed.

Robbie: Sup.

Dick: Nice to see you guys brought something.

Robbie: We brought the wrath of the Wehrmacht!!!

Robbie bares his teeth and growls. Dick simply stands there, underwhelmed.

Dick: …Okay.

Dave: Well, why would we bring food?? Come ON! We don’t cook, we kill! That’s our job!

Karab: Excuse me, but who’s the Sikh here?

Dave: Keep talkin’, Guru boy!

Karab reaches into the hem of his pants, pulling out a Kirpan with a curved steel blade approximately two feet in length with a leather handle gilded with silver.

Dave: …..Oh. Well, beat this!

Dave draws his basket-hilted sword with a swift strike against his leather scabbard, pointing the tip at Karab.


Robbie: Dave, that’s French.

Dave sighs and lowers his arm, turning to Robbie.

Dave: Just let me have this damn moment in the spotlight, please!

Frank walks out from behind Karab, wearing a tuxedo and holding a silver platter covered in small cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon. Dave turns around, quickly raising his sword and pointing it at Frank.


Frank: Dave, are you psychotic?

Dave: …Yes?

Frank: Alright.

Frank turns to the table, sliding the platter of sausages onto it while Dave stands still, sword still outstretched.

Dave: ..What the fuck did that have to do with anything?

Frank: Kept you confused long enough to allow me to walk off, didn’t it?

Frank jogs off up the table, laughing as Dave sheaths his sword and flips him the middle finger.

Dave: Go fuck yourself.

Frank: Why don’t you go fuck YOURSELF?

Dave: nah-ah, I said it first, so no takesy-backsies!!

Mantis, whose pale eyes are covered with thick, emerald eyeshadow to match her flowing silk emerald-coloured dress with her coal-black hair sliced back into a bun, walks to the head of the table and behind Frank, snarling at Dave who smirks at her.

Dave: No fucking chance.

Mantis: Don’t worry Dave, just a while now before I can tear out your entrails and feed them to you.

Dave gulps loudly, and Dean laughs loudly.

Dean: Damn right! You just got schooled!

Wolf: Awww..why are we being violent? It’s Christmas time! A time for joy and happiness!

Jericho [Muffled voice]: Fuck that!


Bob walks to the head of the table, carrying a large terrine filled with cranberry sauce.

Bob: Violence..again?

That Other Random Guy: Ain’t nothing wrong with violence, right guys?!

Bobby: It’s Christmas, *Beep*. It’s. CHRISTMAS.

Bob: See? It’s a time for love an--

Courtney: Giving and shit. We know. We know.

Robbie: Human life means nothing to me.

Octopus: We already know that.

The delicate, feminine form of Laughing Octopus strolls forward, her short blonde hair feathered, her deep blue eyes covered in eyeliner and her slender form clad in a tight-fitting black dress dotted with rhinestones around the collar

Bob: Say hello to the hottest female here.

Wolf and Courtney snort, and Tavi rolls her eyes.

Bob: Quit disagreeing! You know its true!

Brick: Dammit, I’m so hungry I could eat Jon!

Jon: I..wouldn’t put it past you.

Brick turns his head to Jon, grinning maniacally and nodding.

Brick: OH YEAH!!

Frank: Well, why don’t we all take a seat? Might make the time pass quicker..

That Random Guy: That is just about the stupidest thing I’ve heard today.

Bill: Yeah! I’m here, assholes!

Bill walks out from a nearby alley, wearing a black suit jacket, white shirt, black tie, black dress pants and…no shoes.

That Random Guy: My God, it’s the homeless guy.

Bill: And whose fault is that?!

Frank: Yours. You never appealed to the embassy for them to apply for the rights to allow you to build a house.

Bill blinks rapidly.

Bill: Frank, shut up.

Frank: Just because I’m right..

Bill: NO! You’re a cunt! I need somewhere to live dammit! I’m sick of living in a fucking pigsty while you lot live in actual houses!

Screaming Mantis: Not us! We have enough living at our place!

Robbie: Plus, I have doubts you’re housebroken.

Bill: DIBBLEY!!!

Mr. Dibbley, wearing a black bow tie around his neck and a thick black cummerbund around his distended belly, waddles out from the same alleyway, nodding at Bill.

Mr. Dibbley: Greetings.

Bill: Dibbley, am I housebroken?

Mr. Dibbley blinks a few times.

Mr. Dibbley: Absolutely not.

Frank: HA! GET TOLD!

Bob: Is no-one sitting down?

Jericho raises his head, looking around.

Jericho: Come on lads!

A loud shuffling and murmur goes up. Dean and Karab now take their seats on the southern table, opposite Wolf and Tavi. Frank sits next to Dean, and Screaming Mantis sits next to Frank, wrapping an arm around his neck. Phil walks forward, sitting between Mantis and Jericho, filling up the southernmost table.

Phil: So, who gets the honor of being at the foot of the table?

Dick: Me.

Bob: Typical..

Ivan sits next to Jericho, and Steve sits next to Ivan. Bob sits next to Steve, and Octopus sits next to Bob, filling the left side of the middle table. That Hispanic Guy snaps his fingers and leads his mechanics around the table, sitting next to Brick. Johan sits next to That Hispanic Guy, while Stoofer sits next to Johan. Bobby pulls out the seat next to Stoofer, only for That Other Random Guy to quickly take it.

That Other Random Guy: THANKS DUDE!!

Bobby growls loudly, clasping his hands around That Other Random Guys neck and lifting him swiftly out of the seat, shoving him away and taking the seat for himself. That Other Random Guy chokes, rubbing his throat and kicking the back of Bobbys seat.

That Other Random Guy: You cock!

Bobby slowly turns to him, ruffling his moustache menacingly.

That Other Random Guy: I mean..wise and powerful cock..

He sighs, sitting next to Bobby and filling out the middle table, with That Random Guy sitting next to him.

Dave: Shall we join the peasants?

Robbie: It’s Christmas—Well, Saturday for you.

Dave: I’ll be enjoying my Saturday meal.

Dick: Just sit down.


Dave walks around the table, sitting next to Octopus. Robbie, looking around reluctantly, sits next to Dave and folds his arms.

Robbie: Damn social contact.

Dave: Hey, look on the bright side, you’re not sitting next to a complete and utter asshole!

The seat beside Robbie is pulled out and Will, wearing a sapphire-blue suit, black dress shirt, sapphire-blue tie, black dress pants and polished leather Brogues dotted with rhinestones, sits next to Robbie, running some wax through his handlebar moustache and feathering his hair with his free hand.

Will: Hello ugly psycho..Nice to see you socialising with people.

Dave: …I’m sorry Robbie, I spoke too soon.

Will: Screw you, Dave! Everyone here loves me, right?

Johan: I hate you.

Stoofer: I hate him more.

Johan: I hate him more.

Stoofer: No, I hate him more!

Ivan: Guys, guys! I think it’s safe to say we all hate him more.

Johan: ..We can agree on that one!

Will: Why? I have a hot wife? I’m handsome? I have a hand-cannon in my pants--

Tavi: Laid nice and snug next to the maggot in a turtleneck you call a penis.

Will: And if I wanted a snide comment from an animal, I’d be at a zoo poking parakeets with a stick.

The mercenaries flinch backwards, half-laughing at Wills snide comment. Tavi growls loudly, shooting a vicious look over at Will.

Jon: Yeah! Don’t mess with Tavi, she’ll end you!

Phil: Jon, are you holding a candle for Tavi?

Jon: No mate, it’s just the way my pants are zipped.

Tavi: Awww..jealous, Phil?

Phil [Sarcastically]: Why yes, I am.

Tavi winks at him, blowing him a kiss. Phil reaches out a hand, ‘grabbing’ the kiss before ‘throwing’ it onto the table and slamming a balled fist into it.

Tavi: Fuck you!

Brick: Jeez, can’t we all be happy? Even the Indian guys happy and he don’t even celebrate Christmas!

Karab: I’m happy because I’m celebrating the Gurpurab of Guru--

Dean: Karab, no-ones a Sikh, so I doubt anyones interested.

Screaming Mantis: Dean, be nice.

Dean: Ma’am, I am being nice. If I wasn’t, I’d tell him to go fuck himself, but I’m not because Karab is my friend.

Mercenaries [Mocking, Heartwarming tone]: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww..

Robbie: Eww! Dean has a soul!

Dean: Maybe I do!

Karab: It’s nice to see such a heartwarming display on show!

Dean puts his head in his hands, keeping silent.

Dean: If I can’t see anyone, they can’t see me.

That Random Guy: Nice try, fuckmook.

Raven, the Japanese member of the Beauty and the Beast Unit with flowing black hair and glowing chestnut eyes, appears just as quickly and out-of-the-blue as Will did, wearing a sapphire blue dress to match Wills suit. She looks around the tables, checking her nails which are also painted a vibrant blue.

Will: My pookies looking hot today!

Frank: So is my honeysugar.

Mantis smiles happily.

Bob: So is my sugarkitten!

Octopus grins, hugging Bobs arm.

Bill: What a lovely display of heartwarming, yet ultimately stomach-churning, affection.

Octopus: Why don’t you find a girl, Bill?

Bill: I find that being a lone wolf allows you to kill much more effectively than being with a woman. All who agree say ‘I’!

That Random Guy, That Hispanic Guy, That Other Random Guy, Johan, Stoofer, Bobby, Ivan, Jericho, Phil, Steve, Brick, Jon, Dean, Karab, Bill, Dave, Robbie and Mr. Dibbley: I!!

Jericho stares over at Wolf, Courtney and Tavi.

Wolf: Yes, Jericho?

Jericho: I’m suspicious. Neither of you three said ‘I’.

Before the women can answer, they are saved when the doors of the Half Moon open swiftly, and the chubby, yet cheery form of Al Morton, the landlord, walks out, clad in a black tuxedo. His bald head freshly shaven along with his chubby face. He grins, bowing his head at Dick.

Al: Room for one more?

Dick: Al..What the hell? I thought you said you were going off to Miami for Christmas??!

Al: Nah, decided to stay, moosh!

Dick: What about the PMCs? Aren’t they..drinking there?

Al: Fuck ‘em, I want some proper Christmas food!

Dick: Too few seats, my good man..

Al snaps his fingers, pointing at the barrels to the north-east of the table.

Al: How about I serve the drinks and pick food when I’m hungry?

Dick: Deal!

Al cackles loudly, rushing over to one of the barrels and wheeling it out, propping it up and pulling out the cork, smelling the rich Madeira wine inside it and smiling.

Al: Lovely jubbly. Shall I start pouring?

Dick: Go ahead. Best just to put some cans of beer near the males, though.

Frank nods giddily, and Al replaces the cork in the wine, starting to pull several Budweiser cans from the small pile of six-packs amassed there. As he does, a huge roar of an engine fills the air, and a car skids a few metres south of the table to a sudden halt at an angle, sending a cloud of sandy dust into the air. A sleek, black Bugatti Veyron stays there, the mercenaries not paying notice to it whatsoever until the doors float open in a butterfly effect with Sal stepping out, dressed in a full tuxedo with cufflinks as large as eggs and set with large rubies, matching his red tie and cummberbund. Out of the passengers side steps Billy, wearing a kilt in the Wallace tartan, a Prince Edward jacket with thick silver buttons, and a green Jacobite shirt with a leather lace across the deep-V collar.

Sal: Poor people, the king has arrived!

Some of the mercenaries turn and look, most of the others simply aren’t bothered.

Phil: The kings arrived? Oh, hi Billy!

Billy grins, waving at Phil.

Dean: King Billy! Nice to see you!

Billy turns, waving at Dean. Sal purses his lips angrily.


Dave: Holy fuck, chill out, dude!


Vince: Alright then..KING NOTHING!!!

A huge roaring sound fills the air, akin to a flamethrower being fired. Every mercenaries head turns as Vince descends from the sky, wearing a tuxedo with a large steel jetpack strapped to his back, two of the tanks spitting out flames as he descends onto the sands, quickly pressing a few switches on the black rubber grip handles and pulling himself free from the jetpack, allowing it to fall to the floor with a noisy clang.

Frank: Vince! …You still haven’t shaved.

Vince: Frank! Still drunken.

Vince sits next to That Random Guy. Sal looks around at the mercenaries.

Sal: Greetings, humans.

Jericho: Hello and sit down, cunt.

Sal sighs, walking around the table and sitting next to Vince. Billy reluctantly sits next to Sal.

Billy: to this bastard.

Sal: Go fuck yourself.

The doors of the Lamb and Flag slowly open as Maurice backs into them, carrying a platter with a rib of beef in one hand, and a glazed ham joint on the other. Maurice slides the beef platter onto the northern table, and the ham onto the middle table. Moe waddles out, holding a silver platter high above his head holding a bronzed turkey. The mercenaries turn their heads, watching as Moe hands it to Maurice, who takes it and lays it onto the southern table, close to the chair at the foot of the table. Dick quickly whips off his apron, throwing it to the ground and walking over to the turkey, nodding at Moe.

Dick: Moe…Get the carving gear and we’ll get this show on the road!

Moe clicks his fingers, twisting around and running back through the doors of the Lamb and Flag. Maurice takes his seat next to Sal, shuffling uncomfortably.

Maurice: Propah should’ve brought the big one out..

Sal:As long as your left asscheek doesn’t droop onto my lap, we’ll be fine, big dude.

The doors fly open and Moe returns, clutching a fork and a razor-sharp carving knife. Amazingly, Moe has now changed into a miniature tuxedo and his beard is now tied with a red silk bow. Dick sits at his seat at the foot of the table, holding out a hand and taking the carving implements.

Dick: And now, we carve the turkey..

As soon as Moe hops into his seat next to Maurice, a hush descends across the mercenaries. A soft wind blows in the air, followed by a rhythmic marching sound.

Frank: ..Oh my.

Franks head is looking north up Beale Street, and he is quickly imitated by the mercenaries, eager to see what Frank is looking at: Marching towards the table, wearing a khaki blazer with golden buttons and various ribbons pinned to the left breast, as well as a lone gold star on both arms and on black shoulderboards, denoting his rank as Captain. His legs are clad in desert camouflage pants, tucked into newly polished boots. The silver scars across his tanned face, the small bags underneath the staring green eyes, and the shaven flock of white hair adorning his scalp. Marcus Lynch.

Frank: …Lynch?

Lynch walks straight towards the head of the table, pulling out the seat and slowly sitting down, adjusting his collar around his neck.

Lynch: I am pleased to make your acquaintance, men.

Dean: ..We thought you left for the academy with those recruits who picked you up when we returned?

Billy: Aye, weren’t you stationed there? I thought Frank had only gotten you as leader for that one mission..

Lynch: Gentlemen. Ladies. As you know, I am a Captain. Was in the US Army when they shipped me here, and assigned to be so under the Academy. As a Captain, it is my job to lead a Company, which is what you mercenaries are defined as under the academy..whether you like it or not, they don’t give a flying fuck. Once you apply for expenses to be paid to your name while you reside in Beale Street or Walkers Street, you are a part of this Company.

Vince: Alright, but that doesn’t explain anything..

Phil: Yeah..What gives?

Lynch: …I said what I just said to explain this: I returned to the Academy to fill out the relevant paperwork required for me to retire as a Coach for the Academy, and to officially become Captain of this company. Effective immediately, Frank is my First Sergeant, and now you are all answerable to me. I will show you the paperwork if you want, but it is signed and filed with the Academy.

A hushed silence goes over the mercenaries.

Phil: Does this mean the governments of the United Nations are giving us a payrise?

Lynch: …Yes.

A huge roar of cheering goes up, with the mercenaries hugging one another. Frank stands up, holding his can of beer up high.

Frank: TO LYNCH!!

Mercenaries: TO LYNCH!!!

Lynch: Now. Let us eat.

Dick nods at the mercenaries, digging the knife into the breast of the turkey, signalling the beginning of the feast. A huge rabble goes up, followed by the grasping and clawing of hands and the gnashing of teeth.

Food exchanges hands, and bones fly in the air as mercenaries make mincemeat of the various plates across the three tables. Vegetables splatter across the tablecloths, and pretty soon the eating begins to slow down as stomachs fill to bursting point, giving way to a wave of conversation.

Dean: Karab…this stuff? It’s amazing. What is it again?

Karab: Dal Makhani.

Jericho nods, pointing his fork at Karab.

Jericho: It’s some fucking good shit, man.

Bill: Yeah! It’s nice to get some food for once!

Frank: For the last time: It’s your fucking fault you never applied for housing!

Al stops behind Bill, placing a new can of Budweiser beside him and leaning over the back of his chair.

Al: Tell ya what, son, you pay me half of your money you’re given, and I’ll give you lodging within the Half Moon.

Dick looks up from his plate, narrowing his eyes.

Dick: Bill, give me a quarter of your payment, and I’ll give you lodging in the Lamb and Flag.

Bill [Happily]: DEAL!

Al glares at Dick.

Al: You have made a powerful enemy.

Dick: We already were enemies, you cunt, it’s just a ceasefire for Christmas!

Robbie: Shouldn’t we play football in honor of the ceasefire during World War One?

Phil: Nah. Too full to bother.

Mantis: Besides, we’re not in a ceasefire, are we?

Wolf: Well, Ocelot hasn’t attacked in a while…which is odd.

The male mercenaries, aside from Jon, smirk amongst themselves, knowing what happened at Shadow Moses had earned themselves a minor alliance with Ocelot.

Tavi: …Are we missing something?

Courtney: Maybe..

Brick: Nothin’ to worry about, girls.

Jon: What is it? What did you guys do?!

Raven: What happened, pookie?

Will: A daring tactical manoeuvre only the greatest can pull off!

Steve: YEAH!

Ivan: Vell, you could put it that way..

Will: And how would you put it, crazy Russian?

Ivan: I vould put it as fucking ingenious.

A loud murmuring of agreement goes across some mercenaries.

Dick: Seriously guys..what happened?

Lynch: It’s a need to know basis.

Dick: And we don’t need to know?

Lynch: Exactly..who did this red cabbage?

Jon raises his hand meekly.

Lynch: Tastes fucking awesome.

Jon: Thank god! I damn near crippled myself making it!

Bill: Literally?

Jon: Yes. Literally.

Sal:’s alright--

Vince: Alright? It’s fucking amazing! I love it!

Steve: Love the food! Love it!

Billy: Good to see some enthusiasm!

Dave: It’s good, I’ll give you that. Good Saturday foo--

Robbie: We get it Dave.

Mantis sighs happily, nestling back in her wooden chair and wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.

Mantis: Lovely..Lovely..

Frank: It is, isn’t it?

Bob: Gotta love this..a meal with friends!

Mercenaries [Mockingly]: Awwwwww..

Bob smirks, shaking his head.

Phil: Aww..Bobs a good kid, really!

Bob: Cheers, Phil.

Phil: No problemo, Bobby boy.

Bobby: Eh?

Phil: …You too, real Bobby.

Phil and Bobby exchange winks and thumbs up.

Lynch: Right, right..

Lynch coughs loudly and raps his fork against the edge of a small tumbler half-filled with whiskey, causing the conversation to halt. Lynch gets to his feet, raising his glass high above the table.

Lynch: This meal coming off of Shadow Moses tastes sweeter than anything, for the main condiment to me is..victory. A victory well earned and well fought for. A victory that has surely earned us a place in the history books as mercenaries who overlooked the downfall of a psychotic tyrant hell-bent on truly fucking up the planet. A victory that is simply the first of many, which will ensure the safety of this very world as we know it. I am glad to be the official Captain of this company..No matter how amazingly retarded you all are.

The mercenaries raise their cans, tumblers and wine glasses up high.

Mercenaries: To Lynch!

Lynch sits down, only for Frank to immediately stand up and raise his glass.

Frank: It is a pleasure to live here, and to share this wonderful Christmas meal with you. To all of you.

Mercenaries: To us.

Frank sits down, and Johan stands up, raising his glass.

Johan: To the Lord Christ.

Mercenaries: To Christ.

Johan sits down, and Karab quickly stands up, raising his glass of water up high.

Karab: To the Gurus.

Mercenaries: ..To the Gurus.

Karab sits down, and Dave quickly motions to stand up, but grins and waves it off.

Dave [Grinning]: I’m just fucking happy to be here.

Robbie: You cheeky bastard!

Steve stands up, raising his glass up high.


The mercenaries raise their glasses in unison.

Jericho: DAMN RIGHT!

That Other Random Guy: Go Steve!

Lynch: There is one more thing I want to say before pudding..

Lynch stands up, raising his glass high into the air once more.

Lynch: Here’s to the only fucking Company that matters in this war! Here’s to us!

Mercenaries: TO US!

Lynch raises a foot up, standing on the table and raising his glass higher.


Mercenaries: TO A NEW DAY!!

Lynch hops down from the table, sitting in his chair and grinning across the table at the bright faces of the mercenaries who sit before him.

Lynch: …Merry fucking Christmas, and a Happy New Year. Let’s make this one to remember.


The sunset begins to cast an orange glow over Beale Street. Following the meal, the tables and chairs have been cleared, the cans tossed into the streets, and the barrels rolled back into the Lamb and Flag. The streets are deserted, and so are the pubs as the mercenaries retire to their homes to rest for a while longer. Down Beale Street, which is darkening as the sun hides close to the various sand dunes surrounding the street, walk Jericho, Phil, Steve and Ivan. Level with the Lamb and Flag, they turn right into the alleyway, which gives them only a short walk to go before they walk out parallel to the door of the Chop Shop.

Jericho: ..Good craic today, lads.

Ivan: Yes..good fun! Good fun!

Steve: Great fun! Great Christmas!

Phil raps noisily on the metal sliding door of the garage, only for it to jolt and quickly slide upwards, the turret of a tank pointing at Phil.

Johans Voice: WE SEE YOU!!

Phil blinks.

Phil: The fuck is this madness?

Stoofer steps out from beside the tank, patting its treads.

Stoofer: Your present from us and ReLoaded. Enjoy, but first..step the fuck away!

Jericho, Steve, Ivan and Phil quickly part as the tank jolts, letting loose a bellow from its engine and driving forward: The tank is painted a vivid beige/yellow colour, contrasting with the steel-grey treads around the gargantuan wheels. The turret is long, and the main body of it is capped with a hatch from which protrudes a fifty-caliber coaxial machine gun, armoured in steel from the front to provide cover for the gunner. The turret jolts as the tank accelerates and turns down Walkers Street, driving forward.

Stoofer: YO! JOHAN! STOP!

The tank jolts to a quick holt and the hatch atop the turrets body flips open, revealing the muscular form of Johan.


Stoofer: I assume one of you knows how to dri--

Jericho, Phil, Steve and Ivan climb onto the back of the tank, clawing their ways up excitedly. Johan quickly slides out of the hatch, jumping down and onto the sands.

Stoofer: --ve a tank.

Jericho: Of course I do!

Lynch, his blazer now unbuttoned and revealing a white shirt, stands at the north of the street near the square of buildings, his arms folded as he watches, a smile creeping across his face. Jericho slides into the hatch, followed by Steve, Ivan and Phil, who quickly stands up in the hatch, grasping the butt of the machinegun.

Phil: Fucking yeah!

Phil turns his head to Johan and Stoofer, giving them a thumbs up.

Phil: I can’t thank you bastards enough! I really can’t!


Phil turns, pointing forward out of Walkers Street to the south.


Jericho: HOLD ON TIGHT!!!

The tank jerks forward, letting loose a gigantic roar of the engine. Phil ducks down, slamming the hatch shut as the tank barrels forward. Lynch watches as they do, smirking and shaking his head.

Lynch: …Fucking morons.

Lynch turns around to the alleyway, walking forward and through the small square where Bill used to live. Bill stands outside his previous ‘home’ to the north-east, busy stuffing his clothes into a plastic bag. Catching sight of Lynch, he gives a quick salute which Lynch gratefully returns as he walks out of the alleyway and beside Franks house. He turns, jogging up the steps and knocking on the door, which quickly flies open as Frank stands in the doorway.

Frank: Hey, Lynch! What’s up?

Lynch: Nothing, just wanted a talk.

Frank: Fair enough…

Lynch: How is everything?

Frank [Slightly perturbed]: ..Umm…Fine, thanks. How are things for you?

Lynch: Dicks giving me lodging for free in the Lamb and Flag. Can’t complain really.

Frank: …..Why’d you do it? Why’d you sacrifice your job and safety as Coach at the academy to become a Captain to our Company of mercenaries?

Lynch: ..There comes a time in every mans life when he needs to find a change. A change for the better. When you came to me, Frank, I had pretty much decided right there and then..Mother Mercenary is one cruel bitch.

Frank: Mother Mercenary?

Lynch: The one who controls the payments, controls our missions, controls the units, companies, battalions and armies. The one who sits at the Academy and makes the decisions.

Frank: ..Hotdamn. I thought it was the governments job..

Lynch: Don’t be stupid. They need to put it in the hands of an individual, that individual being her. Now that I’m away from her, though, I have practically full control of these streets.

Frank [Smirking]: Oh dear..

Lynch: Don’t worry. I’m not tyrannical. I’m just one incredibly angry man. It’s just that Christmas always brings out my softer side..

Frank: So you enjoyed it, huh?

Lynch: Of course..

Frank: …Do you WANT to lead us?

Lynch: You’re a bunch of retarded mercenaries who aren’t housebroken, kill for money, are drunken slobs who prefer beer and whores to doing a good job….Of course I do. Have you seen the other mercenary units out there? The streets which dot the dunes? Full of hard-nosed elitists who believe themselves to be the best. Mercenaries who live for doing the job, and nothing else. Blank robots with human face, nothing more.

Frank: ..Seriously?

Lynch: You’re the only mercenaries I’ve seen so far who love living life to the full. I want to do that….for my wife..

Frank: Your wife? You’re married???

Lynch stands up, dusting off his pants and walking down the steps.

Lynch: …Was.

Frank: What happened?

Lynch reaches the bottom of the steps, walking down the street towards the Lamb and Flag.

Frank: Lynch! Lynch!

Lynch stops, reaching into his breast pocket and pulling out something before turning around and throwing the object at Frank. Frank swiftly catches it in his hand, looking down at it: A bronze medal in the shape of a snowflake with a white ribbon.

Lynch: The Medal of Shadow Moses. Custom-made….Merry Christmas.

Lynch gives a polite nod, his smile fading by the second as he turns around. Frank grins, holding the medal to his chest.

Frank: ..He does think I’m special!

Lynch keeps walking, and Mr. Dibbley waddles past in front of him, heading towards the Lamb and Flag. Lynch whistles and Dibbley stops, only for Lynch to throw him an identical item. Dibbley looks down at the medal, grins and claps his flippers happily, with Lynch giving him a small salute.

Frank: …Son of a.

The door slides open and Frank turns around: Mantis is standing there, arms folded and looking at him.

Mantis: Is everything alright?

Frank: Everythings fine..Merry Christmas.

Mantis [Smiling]: Merry Christmas..

Frank and Mantis watch as Dibbley enters the Lamb and Flag, followed by Lynch, Lynch stops in the doorway, adjusting his blazer and shoving the door open.

Lynchs Voice [Booming loudly]: I NEED SOME FUCKING ALCOHOL!!!

Frank gives a small smirk as Lynch disappears into the Lamb and Flag.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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