The Plight Before Christmas
“Whatcha doin’, anyways, Laika?” Waifu-chan asked, poking her head out of Laika’s pocket.
“It’s a surprise,” Laika playfully winked, withdrawing the blister pack containing the Moon-stealing kit from her other pocket and pushing Waifu-chan back inside her red skirt.
For minutes, Laika struggled to open the blister pack with her feeble fingernails which she had always bitten down to almost-unusable conditions whenever she wanted a quick snack. Eventually, she dropped her hands to her sides in resignation as she recited every obscenity in the English language. And then French. And Spanish. And every other language until she had uttered every swear word known to man.
“I was so close,” the lupine lady moaned, “I should’ve brought a pair of scissors! How could I be so careless?!”
“Howdy, pardner,” a voice called out, “yer lookin’ for something like these?”
Laika swung her head around to find a cowboy-looking man holding a giant pair of gardening shears.
“Oh, hey, scissors! Do you mind if I take those, uh…” Laika paused, “whatever your name is?”
“The name’s Bop,” the cowboy responded, “B. Bop.”
Laika let out a chuckle. “Your name’s Cowboy Bebop?” she laughed.
“Y’know, pardner, if y’all explain the joke, it ain’t funny no more…” B. Bop gritted his teeth. “Anyhow, a li’l birdie told me y’all were tryin’ t’ steal the Moon?”
“There is LITERALLY no way you could know that,” Laika rolled her eyes, “but, yes, I am. Did you bring those scissors to help me open the Moon-stealing kit?”
“Heh,” B. Bop laughed, “heh, heh, heh, heh, heh!” As he opened his mouth wide to laugh, Laika took notice of his enlarged canines. “Y’all really think I went outta my way to bring these here shears t’ y’all so that y’ could go and steal my Moon? Don’t make me laugh!”
“But… you already did. You laughed, like, six ‘heh’s,” Laika pointed out.
“That Moon ain’t big enough for the two o’ us, pardner… So lemme tell y’all what I’m gonna do – these shears here will cut y’all up into at least two pieces (cuz that’s how cuttin’ things into pieces works, pardner) and I’ll be takin’ that there Moon for m’self!”
“Get your own moon,” Laika barked, “in fact, why don’t you make like Cowboy Bebop and go to Mars? They’ve got two moons!”
“Pfft,” B. Bop scoffed, “y’all wouldn’t get it. Ever since I was a li’l bat, I’ve always wanted t’ get my hands on that Moon up there.”
“Well, I’m the one with the Moon-stealing kit, so you’ll have to wait your own turn!” Laika retorted. “That Moon rightfully belongs to me!”
“Heh…” B. Bop chuckled, reaching under his ten-gallon hat and withdrawing a small piece of card. “I think y’all’ll find that that there Moon belongs to me!” he laughed, holding the card to Laika as the Moon-stealing kit flew out of her hand and into B. Bop’s.
The Uno reverse card! Laika should’ve known he’d have a few tricks up his sleeve. Although in this case, B. Bop was less a magician concealing a string of handkerchiefs up his tailcoat sleeve and more a low-life cheating at cards by concealing some from his own deck under his hat. Carefully, precisely, delicately, the cowboy absolutely went to town on the blister pack, biting it, going at it with his giant shears, throwing it to the road and letting speeding cars run it over! …But the blister pack refused to open.
“Dagnabbit!” the wild west horse pirate cursed, throwing the blister pack down in a fit of rage. “Darn thing won’t open!”
It was probably for the best that neither Laika nor B. Bop could get the blister pack open. To be honest, I have no clue how a “Moon-stealing kit” would even work, LMAO!
“I know, right?!” Laika laughed. “Those things are such a pain in the ass!”
“Grr!” B. Bop grunted. “I’ll deal with this thing later! Right now, I’mma gonna kill y’all before y’ can steal my dang Moon!”
“Why do you want the Moon anyway?” Laika asked, jumping out of the way as B. Bop charged at her with his shears. “Didn’t your teachers ever tell you not to run with scissors?! Who do you think you are?! Kii Ibarra from YOUKAI MOKUSHI or something?!”
“The Moon…” B. Bop began, “if I can steal it from the sky, it won’t be able to set, thus the Sun won’t be able to rise!”
“That’s… not how that works,” Laika bluntly stated.
“Says the wolf-girl with the sentient bootleg figurine in ‘er infinite skirt pocket! Hah! Everyone knows there ain’t no such thing as women’s clothes with pockets!” B. Bop retorted. “Why are y’all questionin’ the logic in this here stupid parody?!”
“Uh,” Laika blushed, “Y-Yes, good point. Anyway, you want to stop the Sun setting, because…?”
“Because I am a vampire,” B. Bop explained, “and everyone knows what happens to vampires in the sunlight!”
“You die?” Laika said.
“Of course not!” B. Bop groaned in frustration. “Don’t be ridiculous! We get sunburn!” B. Bop lunged forward, his shears’ blades clamping down on Laika’s waist. “Whoever heard of someone dying from sunlight exposure?!”
“Laika,” Waifu-chan’s muffled voice called, “be careful!”
Laika wriggled around as the shears pressed down on her waist like a mayor cutting a ribbon with their utterly ridiculous giant scissors. In the process of squirming, she managed to knock off B. Bop’s hat, although she couldn’t do much else. And then… snip! Like a paper plate in hands of Neil Buchanan, Laika was sliced in two at the waist. Not even her cheap $5.00 imitation-leather belt could protect her.
“Hmph,” B. Bop sighed, puffing out his non-objectified, muscled pecs. “Any last words, pardner?”
“Yeah,” Laika’s upper-half coughed as she lay bleeding out on the ground. “No u,” the wolf-girl grinned, flashing the card she had swiped from under the cowboy’s hat during her wriggling.
“WHAT IN TARNATION?!” B. Bop demanded as he felt his body being ripped apart at the waist as Laika’s torso stitched herself back together. “Y’ALL CAN’T DO THIS! THAT MOON IS MINE, Y’HEAR?! MIIIIIINE!!!”
Waifu-chan popped her head back out of Laika’s skirt, curious as to what was going on, before instantly regretting her decision and hiding back within the confines of her owner’s literal pocket-dimension as B. Bop died right before her very eyes. And, yes, I know vampires are undead and should be unable to die, but do you really care about the application of accurate vampire mortality in a story where a wolf-girl tries to steal the entire Moon for a bootleg anime figurine she purchased on eBay? … I thought not.
Laika magnanimously and respectfully inched past B. Bop’s corpse, giving him a kick in the face for good measure, as she made her way towards the blister pack. Hey eyes widened in shock as she gazed down at the blister pack B. Bop had thrown to the ground. Somehow she didn’t once consider the possibility that B. Bop’s attempts to open it would have broken the Moon-stealing kit. Tears ran down Laika’s cheeks as she removed her phone from her pocket.
The dollar store was just about to close. There was no way Laika could get back there on time to trade another useless item from her pockets for a new Moon-stealing kit. Which, as I said, is an absolute win for me, since I don’t have to come up with some explanation for how the kit would work! :D
“No…” Laika sobbed. “No… No…” She held her right arm out towards the Moon and sighed, closing her hand into a fist like an anime protagonist in an OP MV symbolically grasping their dreams. And then… darkness. With her other hand, Laika lifted her glasses away from her face, wiping the lenses with the hem of her skirt. As she pushed them back up her nose… still darkness. Was this the work of a talking, Stand-using, heat-seeking enemy ghost missile prankster? Or a total solar eclipse? Or a total, talking, Stand-using, heat-seeking enemy lunar ghost missile prankster? As Laika opened her right hand to check that Waifu-chan was still safely inside her pocket, the wolf-girl was dazzled by a bright light. After blinking repeatedly a few times, Laika stared at the contents of her right hand with disbelief. She couldn’t believe it. She’d done it! There it was, in her hand – the Moon!