Ted Takes a Holiday

by Kristen Bealer

"Oof! Watch where you're going, would you?" An angry voice with an Irish accent made Ted stop walking and look around, but soon saw that he wasn't the one being yelled at. A small man in green clothes was crawling out of a dumpster behind the Good Time Chinese Restaurant, followed closely by a large man in a diaper.

Whew. For a moment I thought maybe something was wrong.

"Sorry," the laid-back man in the diaper replied. They stood up and noticed Ted, who was thrilled by the rare attention.

"Good day to you, laddie," called the smaller man. "Perhaps you could help us."

"I'll certainly try," Ted said, walking over. He was so grateful to be noticed that he would have handed over his last piece of gum if they'd asked. "What can I do?"

The diapered man spoke first. "This is the St. Patrick's Day leprechaun, I'm Cupid, also known as the personification of Valentine's Day. We're looking for Christmas, Halloween and Guy Fawkes Day. See, they left Holiday Island to try to start a hip hop-punk-electronica band here in Lawndale."

St. Patrick's Day reached up to smack Cupid on the back of the head. "Don't just tell him everything right off the bat, you bleeding idiot! Now he'll think we're--"

Ted nodded. "Okay, and what can I do to help?"

The two holidays stared at him. Ted enjoyed being noticed, but this was starting to feel awkward.

"You mean you believe us?" Cupid asked at last.

"Sure. When your best friend is a talking toilet, you kind of have to keep an open mind about things like this."

The two holidays looked like they were going to comment on this, but glanced at each other and shook their heads briefly. "Then you'll help us?" St. Patrick's Day asked.

"Absolutely!" Ted started back on his way home, and the two holidays fell into step beside him.

"That's great!" the leprechaun said. "The first thing we have to do is track down Christmas, Halloween, and Guy Fawkes Day."

"Actually, I'm pretty sure his name is Bonfire Night."

Cupid blinked at him. "Err...okay. But the important thing is--"

"That reminds me; if you're the personification of Valentine's Day, then why are you a symbol from classical mythology? Wouldn't St. Valentine himself be more appropriate?"

"I got an upgrade when my holiday became more popular than the other saints' days." After a brief glare from St. Patrick's Day he quickly added, "Most of the other saints' days."

"And you," Ted said, turning his eager gaze on the leprechaun. "Do you know how to drive snakes out of countries? I've always wondered how that worked."

"My holiday is really a little different nowadays," St. Patrick's Day began, then stopped with a frown. "Now, hold on just a minute! This is too important to waste time. If we don't bring the other holidays back, it will mess with the natural order of things! Christmas, Halloween, and Guy Fawkes Day--"

"Bonfire Night," Cupid cut in helpfully.

"Shut up. And if the trend continues, who knows what other holidays may disappear from existence?"

Ted gasped. "You don't mean--"

"We do!"



"National Sea Monkey Day!"

St. Patrick's Day, to his credit, recovered quickly. "That's right! And many more, as well!"

"That's terrible!" Ted shook his head in sorrow as they reached his house, where his parents were busy in the front yard, harvesting the corn. "Hey, Mom and Dad! Guess what: I'm going to help save the holidays from oblivion!"

Not looking up from their work, his parents both snorted in derision. "Don't bother," his mother said, pulling savagely at a cornstalk. "All holidays are just excuses for greeting card companies and jewelry salesman to force their agenda on a consumption-driven public."

"Don't forget the candy pushers," his father added. "Nothing but an orgy of over-processed sugary poison dressed up as 'fun.'"

"Um...." Ted looked nervously at Cupid and St. Patrick's Day, wondering if he should change his mind about helping them.

Before he could say anything, Cupid held up a strange electronic gizmo. "Don't worry," he said. "I got this." He pointed the device at Ted's parents and pressed a button. Two bolts of lightning shot out of it and hit Ted's parents, who jumped slightly and then looked at each other with a strange new affection.

"Oh, Grant," Leslie cooed, taking her husband's hand. "Have I told you lately that I love you more than a stack of poster board and a fresh box of markers?"

"And you're more precious to me than a million signatures on an anti-GMO petition," Grant said back, nuzzling her cheek.

"You know what I'm in the mood for?" Leslie asked in a low, sultry voice.

"I can guess," he said with a knowing smile.

"Letter writing campaign?"

"Race you!"

Ted's parents raced into the house in search of pens and paper, leaving Ted alone with his new holiday friends.

"So anyway," Ted told them, "I'm definitely interested in helping you, but I should warn you that the other holidays might ignore me. You see, I have a hard time getting people to notice me."

"How so?" asked St. Patrick's Day.

"Let me show you." A stranger walked past the trio on the sidewalk, and Ted waved in greeting. "Hello!" The stranger looked up, saw the large man in a diaper standing next to Ted, and hurried on his way without responding. "You see?" Ted said.

"Hmmm." Cupid and St. Patrick's Day looked at each other nervously.

Ted realized that his big chance was about to slip away. "But now I can definitely get noticed! I'll take pictures of you and the other holidays for the yearbook. With something that incredible to share, everyone will have to pay attention to me! Just let me run inside to get my camera and--"

"No, no, no!" St. Patrick's Day interrupted, horrified at the idea. "This is a secret mission! You can't tell anyone about it."

Seeing how worried the two holidays looked, Ted glumly nodded in agreement. "I guess I'm too unremarkable for this job, then. Is there some way I can still help?"

Cupid patted Ted's shoulder in comfort. "We appreciate it, dude. Hey, maybe you can point us in the direction of someone who is remarkable?"

Ted thought about it. "Remarkable? Actually, one name does come to mind...."