Chapter 2:

Is it obvious that I'm making this story up as I go along? 🤔

The Plight Before Christmas

“Oh, Ms. President,” Laika smiled, turning back around to the POTUS who was angrily glaring at her, “what seems to the problem here?”Bookmark here

“You shoplifted,” the President bluntly stated.Bookmark here

“I didn’t ‘shoplift’ anything,” Laika said with an innocent handwave, “I merely swapped this Moon-stealing kit for a mug of tea! Simple trading! Equivalent exchange!”Bookmark here

“That is not the law of equivalent exchange,” the President sighed, taking a pistol out from her non-objectified cleavage and pointing it at the wolf-girl. “Shoplifting is the lowest crime of all! Worse than arson, murder and even jaywalking!”Bookmark here

Laika raised an eyebrow. “Come again?” she asked. “Why does the President of the United States of America care about petty crimes? …Which I DIDN’T commit, by the way!”Bookmark here

“You see…” the President began as the moonlight conveniently shone down directly onto her like a spotlight, “When I had just dropped out of clown college, I got a job working as a security guard for a supplier of industrial materials. Steel beams, bags of cement, human remains in the walls… We had it all! Until, one day… one day…” The President paused, clenching her fist and biting her knuckles, clearly holding back tears. “Some hoodlum stole a whole prefabricated building!” she cried.Bookmark here

“Like…” Laika interrupted, “an already-assembled prefab, or…?”Bookmark here

“YES!” the President sobbed, “It was AWFUL!”Bookmark here

“Well, I’m not gonna steal a McDonald’s, or whatever, so you can put the gun down now,” Laika pleaded, sweat rolling down her entire body. “Look, if it’s really a problem, I’ll just pop back into the shop and swap this kit back for the mug…”Bookmark here

“You will do nothing of the sort!” the President shrieked, firing a bullet which barely grazed even a single long, brown hair on Laika’s head. “Dammit, I forgot…” the President muttered to herself, “I have the aim of a freaking stormtrooper!”Bookmark here

Laika stared blankly at the Prez, before casually turning around to put the Moon-stealing kit back on the shelf where she found it.Bookmark here

“Where do you think YOU’RE going, criminal?!” the President shouted back to Laika, “Guards, get her!”Bookmark here

Suddenly, Laika found her path blocked by two armed members of the President’s elite guard as they teleported in front of her. The girl clutched the hilt of the sword under her belt, preparing to draw it.Bookmark here

“Hmph,” the President said with a slow clap, “Looks like you brought a knife to a gunfight…”Bookmark here

“Hey, I’m supposed to be the one making references here, not you!” Laika groaned.Bookmark here

“Laika,” a muffled voice spoke.Bookmark here

Laika’s ears pricked up. “Hey,” she asked, staring at the guards with a raised eyebrow, “did either of you just call my name, right now?”Bookmark here

The guards looked at each other in confusion. Seizing her opportunity, Laika weaved in between the two of them… But like a seamstress trying to thread a needle, her first attempt was unsuccessful. Still, the guards were so distracted by Laika’s question (and the power of plot convenience) that the wolf-girl eventually managed to get past with no issue. The speed at which Laika headed back to her abandoned cup of tea was comparable to Sonic the Hedgehog controlled by a professional speedrunner.Bookmark here

“Laika,” a muffled voice once again said, causing the canine woman to stop in her tracks.Bookmark here

“W-Who said that?!” Laika stammered, unsure of how anyone could be tailing her at nearly lightspeed. Was it a Stand-using enemy ghost prankster? Perhaps a talking heat-seeking missile? Maybe even a talking, Stand-using, heat-seeking enemy ghost missile prankster? “A-Are you with the President?!” our heroine asked the voice.Bookmark here

“Down here,” the muffled voice said, as Waifu-chan emerged from Laika’s pocket.Bookmark here

“Oh, Waifu-chan,” Laika beamed, “now’s not a good time, I’m trying to get you a surprise present!”Bookmark here

“Laika, look out!” Waifu-chan yelled. She would have pointed in the direction of the threat, but, as with most miniature anime figurines, her arms were not posable.Bookmark here

Laika glanced over her strapless right shoulder, only to find all of the dollar store employees and customers were backing her into a corner from behind. As all of their eyes glowed bright red, the store’s speakers finally stopped blaring All I Want for Christmas is You, much to Laika’s relief. In unison, all the store-goers bar Laika pointed up to the nearest speaker as they let out a demonic shriek. Laika’s ears twitched as the speaker started playing another ditty.Bookmark here

I am not trying to seduce you.Bookmark here

Laika and Waifu-chan watched on in horror as the others’ bodies twisted and contorted in unimaginable, gruesome ways. They were… They were…Bookmark here

When I dance, they call me ‘Macarena’!Bookmark here

They were doing the Macarena! Laika backed away slowly until she felt a shelf against her back.Bookmark here

Crap, she thought, there’s nowhere to run!Bookmark here

She was getting more and more boxed-in by the dancers as they slowly approached her to the beat, their bodies suddenly radiating a bright white light. Although Laika had never watched Dragon Ball, she’d seen enough animemes and Steven Universe episodes to know what was happening – a fusion dance! Laika hurriedly pushed Waifu-chan back into her pocket and shielded her eyes as the store employees and customers merged into one huge being! (Or Not One Huge Being? Am I right, M.S. Webber? Wink, wink.)Bookmark here

“S-Stay away, Frankenstein,” Laika barked, “or I’ll… Or I’ll…” Her hands trembled as she reached down to withdraw her saber from between her belt and hip.Bookmark here

“FFS,” the goliath grumbled, “Frankenstein was the scientist, not the monster! Calling me ‘Frankenstein’ would be like calling Miguel Rivera ‘Coco’… or like calling you ‘The Plight Before Christmas’!” it complained. “The monster was called Adam, dammit!”Bookmark here

“Waifu-chan,” Laika said, “can you use your psychic demon powers on this monster?”Bookmark here

“Nuh-uh,” Waifu-chan’s muffled voice called out from her owner’s skirt pocket, “I’m not actually Waifu-chan, remember?”Bookmark here

“Because you’re just a figurine?” Laika asked.Bookmark here

“No, because I’m a bootleg!”Bookmark here

“You really thought you’d get away with shoplifting?!” the not-Frankenstein-but-actually-Adam creature roared. “Get real!”Bookmark here

“Now,” the President called out, casually entering the scene, having finally noticed that Laika had escaped, “seize her!”Bookmark here

The amalgamation reached its giant multi-handed right arm down to Laika, ready to carry her to jail singlehandedly (although, perhaps “singlehandedly” wasn’t the right word).Bookmark here

“I’m sorry,” Laika pleaded, “I thought you wouldn’t even notice that the Moon-stealing kit was gone! I swear, I thought you’d appreciate the tea!”Bookmark here

The certified big chungus of a monster stopped. It looked the wolf-girl from the tips of her ears to the tips of her toes. “Did you say… ‘tea’?” it asked.Bookmark here

“Uh… yes?” Laika nervously replied.Bookmark here

The flesh goliath resumed reaching out towards Laika. The wolf-girl dropped to her knees, shut her blue, bespectacled eyes tightly and covered her ears with her hands, bracing for the worst. And then… nothing. She didn’t find herself pinned down by tens of hands like in her worst nightmares or in a cheirophiliac’s greatest fantasy. She didn’t find herself crushed to pieces like the heart of a shipper whose favorite couple didn’t become canon. And, perhaps obviously, she didn’t find herself transported to an island resort wearing nothing but a grass skirt and a coconut bra filled with a million bucks in Kuwaiti dinars. As she opened her eyes, she discovered the smorgasbord of human beings reaching behind her back and lifting her discarded dog-shaped mug off the shelf behind her and taking a sip from it.Bookmark here

“I LOVE TEA!” the creature yelled with glee as it ate the entire mug whole with its knockoff-Xenomorph tongue. (Is “Xenomorph” a proper noun? Google was being a poopyhead when I asked…) “You’re free to go!”Bookmark here

The President’s jaw dropped to the floor like a person’s underwear in an erotic novel written by some 19-year-old with a name like Bethel or Constance or something. “Are you… are you kidding me?!” she shrieked, grabbing the ends of her short gray hair and pulling them in frustration. “She’s a shoplifter!”Bookmark here

“Don’t get your non-objectified panties in a twist,” the amalgamation rolled its eyes, as it separated back into its original components. “I think she’s learned her lesson.”Bookmark here

“But that’s a Moon-stealing kit!” the Prez moaned, “She’s going to steal the frickin’ Moon! Doesn’t that bother you?!”Bookmark here

“Not one bit,” the store owner smiled, leading Laika safely to the exit. “Thank you, come again!”Bookmark here

As Laika continued on her journey, she took a quick look at the time on her smartphone. “17:00,” she affirmed, “just seven hours left…”Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.