“Hatboy! Hatboy, wake up!”
I groaned and glared blearily at my alarm clock. It was quarter past eight, but that didn’t mean anything. My alarm clock, along with every clock in my room, had stopped at quarter past eight – the moment the Dalí Warhead had gone off in my cupboard. One of the potplant cactuses on my windowsill had also stopped at quarter past eight. It was a weird bomb.
I groaned again, half-sat, and checked the quantum entangled sundial I’d picked up from the Intergalactic Wormhole Nexus gift shop. I flopped back. Of course, that said quarter past eight as well. I grumbled and pulled the covers up over my head.
“Hatboy, wake up! It’s a miracle!”
I bolted upright, jammed my hat on and lurched out of the door.
“What kind of miracle?” I demanded. “Religious? Statistical? Technological? Meta?” I paused. “Tubular?”
“No, the Surfer Bandits vanished when the ocean did, you know that,” Creepy said, shuddering and averting his eyes. “Put on some pants and come downstairs.”
I looked down. “I’m wearing pants.”
“Put on better ones,” he advised, and bounced away like an angular green Tigger in a coke hat. “We have a visitor.”
I looked down at my pants again, then shook my head and followed him.
“Anything you want to warn me about with this miracle visitor?” I asked him. “Because you seem way more excited than wary, and that’s weird for uninvited-”
I stepped into the kitchen.
Creepy spun around from the open fridge, brandishing a coke bottle and beaming widely. He looked strangely different to how he’d looked a few seconds ago. Dustier, more weatherbeaten. His sunglasses were battered and scratched up, which I was sure they hadn’t been when he’d come to my door. And he was suddenly wearing a weird raggedy black robe over the top of his Mambo shirt.
“It’s been a long time since I had coke,” he said with relish, then – despite the fact that he was looking right at me – seemed to realise he wasn’t alone in the room. He scowled at me. “Oh. You’re here too then.”
“I … guess?” I said. “What are you talking about?”
“Honestly, Chuck, it’s been a while for you too,” he said, and tilted the bottle towards me. “Pour you a glass? For old times’ sake?”
I opened my mouth to demand answers of the universe in general – not out of any expectation of a result, but just because it was my only recourse – when Creepy closed the fridge to reveal Creepy grinning behind the door.
“Ah, Hatboy, I see you’ve met Mister C of 9,” he said happily.
I looked back and forth between the two Creepies – or the Creepy and the Mister C of 9, apparently – with a sinking feeling in my stomach.
It seemed like it came earlier and earlier every year.
You wanted a distraction, you roll the dice.
To be fair, he’s right. You did ask for it Damon.
I didn’t say I didn’t like it or anything of that nature. Can you explain it to me Toom? Does it make any sense to you? I will let it play out and see if it works itself out on future episodes…
Hee, well … this has been a long-brewing story that definitely connects back to other stories on the blog (Creepy and Hatboy in particular) and my “tradition” of writing Christmas Specials that have some twist or gimmick or mind-blower affixed as a gift.
In this case, I’m looking back at several stories to find all the characters that were based on a friend of mine: the titular, nay seminal, Creepy. Stay tuned!
Side note: Gumby on bath salts may also technically be based on Creepy, since he is stretchy and green and horrifyingly violent. But in this case he’s just a side-joke.
Let me see if I can list my Christmas Specials…
Last year, I was overworked and out of time, and could only write the brief story The Fifteenth Noël, itself not a Creepy and Hatboy story but It’s All Connected, Man.
In 2018, it was Finding Them and War Is Noël, an interwoven pair of stories.
I was on vacation in Australia in 2017 so there was no Special.
2016’s Christmas Special was technically The Myconet.
In 2015 [ITERATION ALPHA] and [ITERATION OMEGA] The Burning Blog took attentive Hatstanders on a magical mystery tour through the Hatstand’s comments sections of bygone years. This was part of a larger Christmas Special plan I am still intending on implementing one day but sadly I have to do a day job.
In 2014, I didn’t even try to kid anyone and my Christmas Special was called Phoning It In.
2013 was my first Christmas Special as far as I’m aware, with the interlaced stories Murder Most Foul, Let’s Ride, The Tenth Reindeer, With A Rebel Elf and Check It Twice, which I tagged as an online anthology called Chuck Dickens’ “A Christmas Carl”. Just because I could.
So I would call this a genuine Hatstand tradition at this point. Six non-consecutive years of Christmas Specials. I’m rather proud of that.
A worthy tradition. I still remember the Santa story and the mind-blowing way it roped in Creepy & Hatboy midway. And then there’s the Myconet story and its mind-bending implications of the Creepy & Hatboy verse.
And forget the twist in the soul mate story.
And I think I totally missed last year’s bit!
*I forget the…
It really just tied into the second story after a long break is all. I’m lazy sometimes.
I can’t explain anything Hatboy does, he’s a law unto himself.
Having recently jumped in the deep end and read Panda Egg without reading anything else of his before, if I don’t get what is going on, I just enjoy the writing and the plot and the characters and know that it will all make sense at some point when I catch up, I don’t need to know about the background or context or world building, I just let that stuff go and enjoy the literary ride. I’m comfortable it will all unfold in time. You seem to be totally across his world building and all the characters in a way that is far far more knowledgeable than me, so we probably have completely different experiences reading Hatboy’s work. Which I think is kind of cool, actually. His writing probably appeals in very different ways to each of us, but still really appeals…like you I do love Crom though, he sticks in the mind for a long time…
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