by Dave Junker
Finally, the calendar reached December. It was a very special time for the Rangers, as it is for billions of people around the world
but, oh, would THIS be a special December! For you see, Foxglove did not know about Christmas yet!
Foxy awoke one evening to find HQ was covered with holly and lights and all of the other Christmas decorations. There was a small tree in the family room covered with lights, colored balls, glitter and chains of popcorn! And all around there were pictures of a fat old man with a big white beard in a red suit. Some of them showed this old man dressed in white in a sled-like thingie with a team of deer tied together with harnesses!
Foxys first reaction was panic .Did the Rangers belong to some strange cult and they were about to have some strange celebration? The thought sent shivers down Foxys back as she remembered the horrible festivals Winifred had hosted at the old abandoned Laundromat Future Witches Night she called it. Horrible, horrible gatherings of wanna-be witches the ugliest hags in the (or any) city .mostly bus drivers, cleaning ladies, librarians, clerks from the Secretary of State office and two huge ladies from Memphis who called themselves Elvis Girls. Their entire lives consisted of studying witchcraft and hunting down people who had ANYTHING to do with Elvis and drag them to some awful Elvis Festival. They may have been cute some years ago but if the King could see them now, hed be all shook up huh huh huh!
But Foxys initial reaction was a fleeting one. The decorations, as Foxy took a long and closer look, had a harmless happy look to them. As Foxy looked at the pictures of the fat man and the red suit and the beautiful tree .her mouth went from a fearful grimace, to a wide open astonished gape, to a little smile. This was not a witchs festival by any means. It was preparation for a festival that was happy long in happy traditions. It seemed magical in a way a GOOD way!
I see SOMEONE really likes the decorations! Foxy whirled around at the sound of Montereys voice. All the rangers were standing there, smiling at her, clad in winter coats and hats and holding bags filled with wrapped objects.
Hi, guys! Foxy said with a smile. I..uh hardly recognized the place when I got up! The decorations are so..uh pretty and the trees..really neat!
Theyre pretty alright, but I still say we overdo the decorations! Chip spoke up. The second part of the sentence was aimed at the other Rangers and Chips face went from a full grin to an annoyed smile as he said it.
Oh, Chip! Gadget pouted. We go all out when we go on cases so why not go all out for the holidays too? Besides, Gadget continued as she put her bag on the floor in the corner, This is our first Christmas with Foxglove!
Why, so it is! Monterey grinned as he hung up his coat. He walked over to the still nervous Foxglove and wrapped her in a big hug. Were gonna show you a holly, jolly Christmas the likes of which ya never seen before, Luv!
Yeah sounds like fun! Foxy said in a voice that showed Montys hug was taking the air out of her lungs (though she knew it was a good-natured hug). Dale had run up, with an excited look in his eyes as well.
Zowie all those Christmas specials! All those cookies and popcorn balls! Boy oh boy! Dale pulled Foxy away from Monty and gave her a big of his own. Then he looked her right in the face Im so happy youre here, Foxy. Its gonna be a lot of fun!
Dale had said those last words in a very quiet sincere voice and with a smile on his face. Chip and Gadget took special notice of this. Foxy, meanwhile, had a hard time taking notice of anything at the moment with this sudden attention from Dale.
Oh, it will be the most wonderful Christmas of ALL TIME, Cutie! Foxy howled as she threw her wings around Dale and gave him a huge kiss on the cheek. She still was nervous about this festival thing, whatever it was, but of course when Dale was happy .
The others all had broken out in grins at this situation, then they all went to their rooms with their packages and hung up their coats.
Foxy had become a little nervous at the sight of the other rangers. Their clothes were different! Gadget, instead of her overalls, was wearing red pants and a red sweater with white deer and snowflakes on it! And Dale was wearing a red sweater as well! Was this a part of some strange ceremony that was done during this Christmas festival? Foxy remembered some of the ceremonies Winifred and the others did at their ..no, she didnt want to think about it. The Rangers wouldnt do anything like that would they?
The Rangers settled down to business .except there wasnt any business at the moment .no cases no trouble .no mysteries! This often happened around the holidays and it made this time of the year even more special for the Rangers. It was just something about the season that made all the crazies put off all their crazy schemes for a while, made all the crooks abandon their crooked ways for a while and, although the Rangers didnt know it (nor would they have believed it), even FAT CAT made a point of sticking to legitimate business schemes during the holidays!! The fat feline always yelled at his cronies for getting all stupid for some childish holiday, but when he was all alone .he would pull out his old model train set and go to work making a really long track with all the houses and trees and train crossings!
That evening, the Rangers were feasting on sweet and sour acorns (Chip and Dale), cheese ravioli (Gadget) fruit salad (Zipper) and slugs, mealworms and luna moth (Foxy). They were really full when Monty burst into the room, holding a covered tray, just as if he were a waiter at a five-star restaurant.
Got a special dessert for ya tonight, mates! Monty grinned, placing the tray before them. All the Rangers let out full-tummy groans.
We cant eat another bite, Monty! Gadget objected, holding her tummy with two hands.
Aw, I think when ya see what I cooked up youll change your mind! Monty grinned. Presenting Monterey Jacks holiday specialty .creamy, delicious, strawberry covered .
Wild guess .CHEESECAKE! Foxy blurted out.
CHEESECA .HEY! Ya spoiled the surprise, luv! Monty gave Foxy a playful scowl.
Foxy giggled. Sorry, Monty! Wild guess honest!
Oooooooooooh nooooooo no cheesecake .cant take cheesecake! Chip moaned. All of the others moaned the same sentiments, except Foxglove.
I might have a piece later, Monty. Foxy said as she got up from the table. Maybe when I get back from flying around tonight. She got up and stretched her wings, getting them warmed up for a long night of flying.
Uh..are ya sure youre gonna go out flying tonight, Foxy? Dale asked.
Foxy looked at Dale, a smile came to her lips and she got that look in her eyes. Did you want me to stay in, Cutie?
Well .its supposed to snow tonight and . Dale reached over and grabbed the TV Guide. He searched through it for a short time then grinned from ear to ear .Rudolphs on tonight!
Snow?! Foxy exclaimed. Oh, gosh! Snow looks like Im going to be indoors for a long time .and asleep! A sad look came into her eyes .
Asleep?! said all the Rangers at once.
Oh ..golly! Gadget exclaimed. Well, I guess bats have to do that! I wonder if we can find a space warm enough for her ..I wouldnt mind if she was in my room all that time or maybe I would. The thought of Foxy being there asleep all that time is .
Monty made a motion to speak, but having just crammed a whole piece of cheesecake in his mouth, it took him a while to get some words out. "Hold on there, Gadget luv! Monty said when the last pieces of cake had gone down his throat. Taint no reason for Foxy to be hibernating! The trees warm all year round, plenty of food and Monty paused as he went over to Foxy and gave her a big hug. none of us want ya to leave us for that long, luv!
Gee! I guess I dont have to ..uh, Monty? I dont have a spare pair of ribs in case these break, you know! Foxglove pointed this fact out to Monty with a smile, but there was a bit of concern in her voice too.
OOPS! Sorry, luv! Cant control myself sometimes when Im all emotional!
As I was saying continued Foxglove. I gosh I dont have to sleep all winter! But I do have to stay indoors .so I guess I cant be of much help crimefighting for a while!
All of the Rangers started at this. After a while, Chip said, Uh, Foxy. Im sure you can still go on cases with us you just need..uh some winter clothes!
Yeah! Gadget grinned. We can make you a coat and a hat and a scarf! Whatever you need!
Foxy, for the umpteenth time that night, started at this. Gosh! Ive never been out..in the snow but Id love to try it!
Youve NEVER been out in the snow, Foxy?! Dale gasped.
Nope .Ive seen it through a window and Ive . Foxy stopped short as she thought of all the times she had gone through cold sewers with Bud Snake during the winter .getting things for Winifreds crazy spells. The recollection was quite painful and it showed on Foxys face.
I .just never tried going out in the snow. Foxy said quietly.
Well, thats gonna change! Dale said with determination. Youre gonna have more fun this Christmas then youve ever had before, Foxy! He went over to Foxy and gave her a one-armed hug, while rubbing his cheek against hers. Youll see!
I know I will, Cutie! Foxy said as she, taking advantage of Dales mood, gave him a hug and placed a huge kiss on his cheek. Dales eyes opened noticeably wider and an embarrassed smile came to his face. He was getting used to Foxys affections .almost.
Well! Chip spoke up. We need winter clothes for Foxy, so we dont lose her wonderful talents for a whole season! Chip smiled at Foxy who grinned back at him. And I think we need some really hard cases soon, so we can work off all these calories Monty is putting on us! Chip added as he patted his tummy.
Or at least start some kind of exercise program! Gadget suggested.
Or go have some snow balls fights, and go sledding and skiing and a gazillion other things! Dale howled.
OK .so whats the agenda for this evening? Chip asked
Were gonna watch Rudolph on TV and enjoy the Christmas tree and just have a fun time tonight! Dale proclaimed.
Sounds good to me! Gadget said, taking her plate to the kitchen. Youre a real man of action, Dale me lad! Monty smiled as he took his and the others plates to the kitchen.
Well I guess since its gonna start snowing tonight .I guess we could have a relaxing evening at home! Chip said. He was always careful to appear as if he wanted to work as often as possible and always had to have a reason for taking the night off without even checking with the police radio. In truth, Chip would have suggested taking the night off himself, because he and Dale ALWAYS watched Rudolph every Christmas and they both couldnt bear the thought of missing it (recording it on video was sacrilegious!).
Yahoo! Cmon, Foxy! Dale took Foxy by the wing and started pulling her toward the TV. Rudolphs almost on!
Okie-dokie! Foxy smiled. She and Dale plopped down on the couch next to each other. Foxy snuggled against Dale her usual position for watching TV. Dale had gotten used to it..to the point where he didnt even notice it sometimes! Dale sat quivering with excitement as the credits to HARD COPY rolled across the screen. The other Rangers soon joined them Gadget had made a bowl of popcorn, Monty had brought in some snacks for himself and Zipper (cheese curls, of course). Monty had already eaten the entire cheesecake (including the piece he had promised Foxy for which he would later apologize). Chip, in a very rare show of childlike mannerisms, sat on the floor by the sofa with his eyes sparkling with excitement.
By the way, Dale.. Foxy said. Whos Rudolph?
Whos Rudolph?!! All the Rangers answered at once, nearly making Foxy jump out of her skin.
Just asking Foxy squeaked, cowering back into the sofa.
All the rangers chuckled. No reason to fret, Luv! Monty assured her.
Its just youve never heard of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Chip asked.
Uh .cant say I have. Foxy grinned, getting her nerves back.
Hes the reindeer that leads Santas sleigh through the storm with his glowing red nose! Dale adds.
Youll get the idea when the show starts! Gadget said. Oh, its starting now!
With that, the six of them sat back (well, Zipper was perched on Montys shoulder) and watched the Holiday special. Five of the Rangers sat watching the show in a sentimental trance. One was watching it in a state of awe and amazement that one being Foxy of course. She just couldnt figure out how those solid objects moved like that and the story was mesmerizing. The part where Rudolph was teased about his nose and driven out of the village was rather hard for Foxy to watch, but when she saw the other Rangers had tears in their eyes as well, she felt better. They all wiped their eyes at that part.
When the show got to the commercial break, where Herbie the Elf and Rudolph are being chased by the Snow Monster of the North, Dale saw that the popcorn had run out. Hey, who was scarfing all the popcorn?!
The other Rangers came out of their TV stupor at this. Huh?! Who ate .you did, Dale! Who ELSE?! Chip gave his friend a sarcastic smile.
Nuh-uh! I just had a few handfuls! Dale proclaimed.
I had a few handfuls but that was it! Gadget said.
I had a few handfuls too no more! Chip said.
Me and Zipper just had our cheese curls, pally! Monty pitched in.
BURP .whoops! Foxy said with an embarrassed smile. I guess Im the guilty party!
Dale looked at Foxy in astonishment. He looked from Foxy to the bowl and back several times with a wide-eyed, dumbstruck look on his face. Foxy just looked at Dale and tried to suppress giggles. All that popcorn ..ZOWIE!! Dale started giggling as well and smiled playfully at Foxy. Well, havent we become a snack monster! Dale poked Foxy in the ribs to prove his point. Gonna get pudgy there, Foxy!
Foxy let out a yelp and, it seemed, sprang straight off the seat. She wrapped her wings around herself and twitched from side to side Daaaaaale .. Foxy gave Dale one of her looks. Dont poke me in the ribs thats my tickle spot! Foxy gave Dale a really big grin.
Oops sorry said Dale. All the rangers were holding back giggles and Dale was blushing from head to toe. So, anyone want something from the kitchen since Im gonna go make some more popcorn? Dale was trying to change the subject.
Bring me a diet cola, would ya, pally? Monty ordered.
Bring me a fruit juice! said Gadget.
Id like some of that popcorn and a cola, please. Chip replied..
Im full of popcorn but Id like a cola. Foxy said, her face close to Dales. Let me help you, sweetie! The shows gonna be on again soon!
Really enjoying Rudolph, huh, Foxy? Dale smiled, as he started to get up.
Uh-huh! Foxy nodded. Then, remembering the line Clarise said to Rudolph, Foxy pulled Dale back on the couch. Dale looked at her, puzzled.
Dale .. Foxy said in Dales ear in a stage whisper. I think youre cute!
All of the Rangers eyes opened a bit wider and they all looked towards Dale to see his reaction (with grins on their faces). Dale sat there in a stunned stupor .then HE remembered that line from the show. He looked from side to side, then he saw what he needed. A chair in the corner had black cups on the bottom of each leg. Quick as a flash, Dale scrambled over to the chair and pulled one of them off and fit it over his nose.
Im CUDE! Im CUDE!! Dale yelled, running around the room on all fours. SHE SAID IM CUUUUUUUUUUUUDE!!!!!!!! On that last line, Dale leaped over the couch (still on all fours) towards the kitchen. All the Rangers were roaring with laughter especially Foxy, who lay on the couch, kicking her feet in the air.
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