How on Earth did I get myself into this?
Commander Walsh thought, not for the first time on this unseasonably
warm, sunny Christmas Eve, and continued to simmer slightly in his own
Red wool and sunny days don't go well
together in the desert.
He tried to wipe the numerous sweat beads
off his forehand and was again severely hampered by the thick black
gloves and the broad brim of the ridiculous hat. Needless to say, it
itched. For a moment he wondered about lice.
And the red clashes horribly with the
Hard to be a hard-assed, tough-as-hell
commander-in-chief while wearing a long, white, false beard that
tangles in your legs every time you take a step.
"You're doing great, sir." Ranger Niko,
dressed in white and gold and glitter, smiled, only a little weary
around the edges. "Really."
"The children love you." A beaming Zozo,
a bell-tangled green cap between his ears, dangled his legs from atop
of a pile of colorfully wrapped parcels and waved the next pest
forward. "You've got the phys–" he stopped and – at the sight of the
dark brown glare hitting him from between the two more-than-brushy
white brows – continued smoothly, "–voice for it."
Behind Zozo and his pile of parcels stood
a silent, black-clad figure. The red and pine-green button on the
collar was the only concession that Goose had been willing to make for
the event. His face wore the carefully carved mask of blandness he kept
for occasions when any comment would be either a groaned "Humans" or a
snapped "They're nuts."
Walsh couldn't agree more with him,
actually. They were nuts.
The next brat climbed onto his knees.
"Dear Santa, I wish..."