Evan Quinlan

To Quote Pooh at Christmas

In Fan Fiction, Fiction, Short Stories on December 13, 2010 at 10:56 pm

“There we are,” the Eleventh Doctor declared, “It’s the perfect Christmas present.”

“You’ve left a gift bag at someone’s door,” his companion observed levelly.

“It’s Hallmark, Amy.  Hall.  Mark.”

“Exactly,” said Amy.  “Would you say that qualifies as ‘perfect?'”

“Humbug.  It’s not my fault Hallmark insists on continuing to send retail shipments through the Bermuda Triangle.  Every few years I end up with a boatload of kitsch and gift-wrap.  Inconveniently, the downstairs toilet shares a dimensional rift with the Bermuda Triangle.  Imagine my surprise when Amelia showed up down there. The other Amelia. Earhart.  ‘No smoking in the lavatory,’ I said.  We had a laugh.  She ended up in a quiet cabin on Europa.  Back to the point.  This bag does contain the perfect gift—perfect for the person who lives inside this house.”

“And that is…?”

“I have no idea.  But I know people.  They like things.  And this bag definitely contains a thing.”

“You should do this more often.  You could take over for Saint Nick.”

“Who says I don’t?”

Amy’s eyes lit up.

“You’re not…”

“No, of course not.  Not all the time.  Every few decades I’ll pick a Christmas to leave at random about, give or take, seven-hundred-million and six presents.  It’s a hobby.”

“So you are Saint Nick.”

“Yeah, I’m Saint Nick.  But I don’t give people what they ask for.  What’s the point of giving people something they ask for?  You can’t change people that way.  You only satisfy them.  Not that there’s anything wrong with satisfaction.”

“Chocolate is satisfying,” Amy suggested.

“You’ve had enough, Pond.  No more trips to Belgium.  The point is, remember Eeyore.  He wanted an inflated red balloon but he got a deflated red balloon and a pot and those were even better.  Remember that.”

“Okay.  So do we have to do the other seven-hundred million and five houses tonight?”

“We are doing them.  Right now.  Well, parallel versions of us.  Multi-threading one moment of our lives through multiple points in space.  I call it shuttlecocking.”

“Sounds questionable.”

“Oh, it is.  In fact, we should go rather soon.  Implosions.  Space-time.  General badness.”  The Doctor started down the stairs.

“Wait a moment!”  Amy stopped the Doctor by his bow tie.  The Doctor teetered over the remaining steps and made a sound in his throat that sounded like “gwok.”  Upon recovery, he turned.

“Yes, Pond?  Mind the tie, please.  Attached to my neck, you know.”

“Sorry, but I was thinking: all the other Amys will probably do the same things I do, right?”

“So your plan was to strangle me seven-hundred million times.”

“No, but listen.  Am I right about the multiple mes?”

“Most likely.”

“Do you think half a billion people have ever said ‘Merry Christmas’ all at once?”

“I think they just have.”

“Good point.  So let’s double the number.”

The Doctor smiled.

“Alright,” he said, and adjusted his tie.

Amy ran to the nearest window and pushed it open.

“What are you doing?”

“I want to hear us shout it.”


“Oh, it’s me!  And me!  And me!  We’re all doing it!”  Amy began to wave frantically out the window.

“For goodness’ sake, Pond!  Don’t wave to yourselves, you’ll end the universe!”  The Doctor froze at catching the tail end of the duplicate word “universe” uttered in his own voice from several places outside the window.

“Oh, hush, you,” the Doctor could hear Amy, and at least three more Amys across the street, retorting.  “You’re always worrying about ending the universe and it hasn’t happened, yet.”

“Not that you can recall.”

“Alright, ready, Doctor?  On three.  One, two…”

Amy stuck her head out the window.  The Doctor raised his face to the ceiling.  And they shouted it.  Merry Christmas. The sound rang from shingles and street lamps and mailboxes throughout the neighborhood.  Dogs barked.  A car alarm went off.  And in the very distance, like a gentle sigh, Amy and the Doctor could hear the reverberations of a million more voices, all their own, caroling the words into the December air.

“Well,” said the Doctor, after a moment.  “That was magical.”

Behind them, the door opened.  The Doctor turned to see a girl of about six standing in the doorway wearing footed pajamas that sported pictures of Winnie the Pooh engaged in various pastimes.

“Pooh!”  The Doctor exclaimed.  “We were just talking about him!”

“Are you Santa?”  The girl asked.  Behind the Doctor, Amy swooned.

“No,” said the Doctor.

“What.”  Amy’s tone was dangerous.

“I mean, yes.  Of course I am.”

“Why are you here so early?”

The Doctor looked at his watch.

“It’s not early, young lady.  It’s well past midnight and a certain someone should be in bed, I think.”  And then he added, “Ho, ho… ho.”

“But Santa,” said the girl.  “I mean, why are you here before Christmas?”

The Doctor blinked.

“Come again?”

“Christmas is two weeks away.”

Silence.  Broken by Amy.

“You.  Nitwit.”

The Doctor tapped his watch, then dropped his arms to his sides.

“Um,” he said, “I suppose there’s nothing to say except… oh, bother.”

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