by James "Kibo" Parry
Fourth in the annual series of Spot stories
written on Christmas morning. Copyright 1994.
Spot had been an exceptionally good puppy this year. Santa brought him a nice big lump of coal and even Krazy-Glued it into his stocking so it couldn't fall out! As Spot limped around with the coal going clomp-clomp-clomp, he wondered what his little neighbor Crushie was up to.
Crushie was Spot's current best friend, because Crushie was too pathetic to have any other friends. He was stuck with Spot. Poor little Crushie was the victim of a rare genetic disorder that had formed his body from a single crispy potato chip and his legs were little pretzel sticks. Because of this, Crushie lived in constant mortal fear that some careless clod would smash his body to bits.
"HEY, CRUSHIE," yelled Spot as he burst into Crushie's living room, slamming the door so hard that it broke all the windows in the building, "DID YOU GET ANYTHING GOOD FROM SANTA?"
Crushie just hid his head between his pretzel sticks and whined pitiably. A large tipsy stack of Christmas presents, all unopened, was precariously piled in a corner of the room. Spot gaped in astonishment. "Crushie--are you too afraid to even open your presents? Aww. Poor Crushie."
Crushie mumbled something like "Please go away! Why must you torment me!" but it was so inaudible--due to his tiny, deep-fried larynx--that Spot mis-heard it as "Hi, Spot, I like you a lot. Come in and stay a while."
"Crushie, as your best and only friend, it's my duty to help you get over your fear of opening presents. Look how harmless these are!" Spot took a gift from the bottom of the stack, causing large heavy boxes to rain down. A particularly large and heavy box struck one of the ten guy wires holding up Crushie's little Christmas tree, knocking several glass ornaments off. They exploded like fragmentation grenades all around Crushie, who narrowly escaped death by hiding under an inflatable chair.
"Hey, Crushie, where'd you go?" barked Spot as he sat down in the chair, which made rude noises as air escaped. Fortunately, Crushie, with nerves like piano wire, had already skittered from under the chair into the bathroom where he locked the door.
Spot felt sorry for Crushie. Opening gifts would clearly be too traumatic for Crushie to bear. But it had to be done if Crushie was to become as well-adjusted as Spot, who fell out of the chair while thinking. He went to the bathroom door and looked in through the keyhole.
Crushie saw a gigantic eyeball peering at him through the door, blocking the light. Crushie shivered in the darkness as the eyeball talked to him. "C'mon, Crushie, it won't KILL you to open just one present."
Standing in the exact center for the tiny room, to make paint flakes less likely to fall off the walls and crush his tiny body, Crushie wailed, "Please! Leave me alone! I'll do anything you say if you just leave me alone!"
"Will you open one of the boxes, just so I can show you that it probably won't kill you?"
"Yes! Yes! Yes! I hate you!"
Spot smiled. Crushie was well on the way to being normal!
* * * * *
Spot had arranged all the packages into a row, like giant dominoes ready to topple. Except for the big one on the end, which wasn't rectangular, but actually an upside-down tetrahedron carefully balanced. Spot held Crushie in a firm grip. "Look, Crushie. See all the pretty presents? They're your pretty presents, Crushie. Which one do you want to open?"
Crushie shivered with fear, as always. Spot decided to let him take his time to choose. To show how relaxed he was about all this, Spot lit up a cigarette.
Crushie's five smoke detectors went off, making everything in the room vibrate at two hundred decibels. Six hours later, Crushie came out of the bathroom again.
This time, to prevent another retreat, Spot tied him to the inflatable chair. "Look, Crushie. This is for your own good. You've gotta pick a present. Now." Toughlove would triumph!
Crushie looked at the boxes, each of which was at least three times as big as he was. There were ten boxes at all. He couldn't think. Boxes! Boxes everywhere! He had to pick a box. He couldn't pick a box. Crushie wanted to scream. Without being aware of it, he screamed out a number, and that number was--
WHAT NUMBER, FROM 1 TO 10, DID CRUSHIE SCREAM OUT?
PLEASE GO TO THE APPROPRIATE PARAGRAPH.
( 1 )
"I'm allergic to cardboard," Crushie whimpered, "so I can only open that one wrapped in shiny vinyl. I'll open it now, and remember, you promised to leave me alone!"
Gingerly, Crushie peeled the vinyl away to reveal--
--a fresh jar of mint-scented library paste. Library paste, the favorite food of four-year-old boys and also Crushie! He ate the whole jar. Crushie was happy now for the first time in his life! He was cured! Spot left, triumphant.
Crushie went on to lead a normal, happy life, until he ventured across the street. Suddenly his entire body adhered to a building! Crushie looked up at the enormous granite walls and saw a sign: PUBLIC LIBRARY. Oh, woe was Crushie! He was doomed, as he knew that there is no force strong enough to break the bond between library paste and a library.
Crushie, of course, was too small for anyone to notice him the next day, when they cleaned the building by sandblasting it.
( 2 )
"Okay, Spot, I'll open the big one in the corner. But then you have to go, and besides, you're not supposed to be over here anyway--Mom says you play too rough!" Crushie used tweezers to peel back the wrapping paper from one of the bigger boxes, revealing--
--a television set, complete with a cable box. Crushie had never had cable or even television before! Spot tiptoed out of the room, and Crushie didn't notice because he was enraptured by the moving colored pictures. The first channel he saw was--
--The Huge Hairy Monster Channel. Crushie began to shiver again! Then, he calmed down when the friendly announcer reassured him that this was just The Huge Hairy Monster Channel, and not its sister channel, The Huge Hairy Monster That Comes Out Of Your TV Screen And Smashes You Channel.
Crushie watched as a monster, confined to the inside of the TV set, cavorted about gaily. "Tra-la-la," sang the monster, "tra-la-la-la-la." The monster did a pirouette and twirled for a while. Then, suddenly, he lunged for Crushie's throat, but fortunately he bumped into the glass screen and didn't get out.
Unfortunately, he knocked over the television, and Crushie was sitting three inches from the screen. Scrunch!
( 3 )
"Spot, I'll open the third one from the left. But you gotta leave as soon as possible, and while you're here, you have to remember not to sing Ennio Morricone's theme song from the movie 'O.K. Connery'. You know what that does to my nerves."
"What about the theme song to 'Operation Double 007'?" asked Spot.
Crushie shivered. "That's the same damn movie, Spot. No."
"'Secret Agent 00'? 'Operation Kid Brother'?"
"No! No! They're all different titles for the same Italian movie with the same theme song that makes my ears bleed! Be quiet or I won't open the gift!"
Spot tried not to even THINK about the theme song to 'O.K. Connery' while Crushie tore off the wrapping paper bit by bit. Inside was the PERFECT gift--
--a total isolation chamber! This big soundproof cube was a room of its own. Crushie and Spot went inside. Spot shut the door. "See, Crushie? None of the sounds from outside can get in."
Crushie was so happy, he stopped shivering. "Wow! Thank you, Spot! This is the most wonderful gift ever! I apologize for getting mad earlier. You can sing your silly Ennio Morricone song if you want."
Spot opened wide and let fly: "HEEEEEE THRILLLS ME, HEEEEEE KILLLLS ME, HE GIIIIVES ME THE FEEEELING MAYBE IT'S LOOOOOVE!"
Because the isolation chamber's walls were completely soundproof, Spot's wailing was trapped inside, echoing and echoing until it became so loud that Crushie exploded!
( 4 )
Crushie burst into tears. "I wish I didn't have to do this! Spot, I hate you!"
Spot smiled. "Let it all out, little Crushie. I know it's your mental illness that hates me, not you. Why don't you start with the smallest package?"
Crushie unwrapped the fourth box from the left and discovered--
--a box of raisins.
Crushie giggled with delight as the raisins, in their little bow ties and sneakers, began to dance across the floor. Funny, funny! Crushie giggled again.
"EEK! RAISINS!" screamed Spot. "RAISINS ARE EVIL! MUST KILL RAISINS!" Spot began madly flailing at them with a broom, smashing everything in the room, except Crushie. Eventually the dancing clay raisins were reduced to smears of purple gunk on the floor.
"Waah! Spot! You just destroyed my Christmas present!"
Spot reached into his pocket. "I'm sorry, Crushie. Here, you can have this miniature marshmallow instead."
Crushie ate the miniature marshmallow. Then, its mother, a giant marshmallow, burst into the room and smothered him.
( 5 )
"I'll open the one in the big blue box! Please don't hurt me! Why must you constantly reduce my life to new levels of a living hell?"
Spot smiled and winked at Crushie as he pushed the big blue gift across the floor to him. Crushie put on his rubber gloves and unwrapped it, finding--
--a brand new IBM Dog Computer with a Pentium processor.
"Eww, a Pentium," sneered Spot, who liked Ataris. "I hear Pentium chips have spider eggs in them."
Crushie ignored him, and plugged in his expensive new computer. The screen immediately lit up with the wonderful graphical display of OS/2 Warp! "Cool," whispered Crushie as he logged on to the Information Superhighway.
A data bus ran him over.
PLEASE INSERT OBVIOUS "PENTIUM MATH ERROR" JOKE HERE. THE END.
( 6 )
"Six! Six! Six!" wailed Crushie. "Number six! Spot, YOU open it!"
Spot helpfully trotted over to it and ripped the paper off with his teeth. It was--
--a pasta maker. Crushie hid behind Spot. He was afraid of pasta makers.
"Look, Crushie, this pasta machine has all the latest safety features. See all these plastic guards around the blades? See the fully-insulated electrical cord? There's nothing to be afraid of. Let me plug it in and I'll show you how to make mostaccioli!"
Spot plugged in the machine and it began to spray pasta all over. Noodles went everywhere! "Spot, turn it off!" yelped Crushie, quivering all over, so scared that he was vibrating like a supercritical atomic nucleus.
Spot tried to turn it off, but there were so many safety features designed to prevent the user from accidentally turning it off, that Spot couldn't figure out how! He tried to guess the pasta maker's password as the room slowly filled with noodles, suffocating them.
( 7 )
"Okay, Spot, I'll open the flat one. But if I get a paper cut, you have to promise not to visit me in the hospital, okay?" Spot nodded as Crushie peeled away the wrapping on the gift, which was tagged FROM SPOT, to reveal--
--Spot's priceless collection of rare Kool-Aid packets from the 1800s. There was Hefty Horehound, Charming Camphor, Tincture Of Iodine Party, Sassy Sarsaparilla, Gentian Violet Ruckus, and Bitter Bitters. What a rare find! Nobody had drunk these flavors, or wanted to, in over a hundred years!
Spot poured all the packets into a little paper cup and added an ounce of water, and then made Crushie drink it. He immediately turned green around the edges, and all the salt fell off his pretzels. "Spot, I don't feel so good. Oooooh. I think I'm dying."
Spot ran out of the room and returned with a clear plastic pyramid in his mouth. "Crushie, you have to stand under this pyramid. I keep my razor blades sharp in it. New Age medicine says that this plastic pyramid has MAGIC HEALING POWERS!" He plopped the pyramid over Crushie and waited for the magic to work.
For a few minutes, Crushie gasped under the airtight pyramid. Then, suddenly, he felt much better! Spot lifted off the pyramid. "See, Crushie? You're okay now. Just like my razor blades!"
Crushie inhaled with relief, and his lungs sliced each other in half, because every part of his body was now razor-sharp.
( 8 )
"Elevendy-seven," blurted out Crushie.
Spot frowned. "Now, now, Crushie, that's not a number. You have to pick a number from one to ten."
"I can't think!"
"Pick a number, any number."
"Nine! Pick nine!"
"Eight!" shouted Crushie.
The eighth box was--
--something resembling a big transparent plastic bag. "What the heck is it?" asked Crushie, still shivering.
Spot grinned. "It's the most wonderful thing ever, Crushie. It's a lava zeppelin. You can fly around in it and watch the colors swirl inside." He powered up the lava zeppelin and it slowly inflated, filling with yellow and red blobs.
Crushie climbed in. Spot waved good-bye, ready to keep his promise never to see Crushie again. Crushie pulled on the control stick, and the zeppelin rose into the air, sailing over the horizon. Crushie was off on a wonderful adventure!
Of course, the zeppelin was immediately struck by lightning and it plummeted straight down. And it was directly above the pointy tip of the Chrysler Building. Crushie was impaled on the beautiful Art Deco spire.
( 9 )
Crushie screamed, "No! No gifts! No! Nyet! Nein!" so of course Spot brought him box number nine.
Inside was something horrible, something hideous, something too terrible to even consider--
--a smaller box. "Waah!" screamed Crushie. "Will my torture never cease?" He opened the smaller box to reveal--
--another one, which contained--
--another, the contents of which were--
--a single harmless snowflake. Spot smiled. "Crushie, I know you're allergic to motor oil, rabbit fur, pants, Pez, mono- and tri-glycerides, the Bessemer Process, Jim Carrey, that TV psychic with the white loofah wig, and thudding noises, so I got you the most harmless thing I could find. I even quadruple-wrapped it so it wouldn't melt. Isn't it lovely?"
Crushie took a close look at the snowflake, which looked like a little white asterisk. Suddenly it shot up his nose as he accidentally inhaled it! "Hey! That tickles! Good thing I'm not allergic to snowflakes!"
Crushie and Spot both laughed as the snowflake melted inside Crushie. He drowned in it.
( 10 )
"I choose the gift way in the back!" shouted Crushie with the firmness that can only come from having nothing left to lose.
Spot obviously didn't agree with this choice. "Are you SURE you want to open that one, Crushie? When I shook it earlier it felt awfully light and it didn't make any sound. I think it's just an empty box!"
"Great!" bellowed Crushie as he tore the paper off in shreds. The box was full of--
--air. Just air. Ordinary house air. And as Crushie opened the box, the air wafted out, blowing him over the horizon, never to be seen again.
This meant Spot never had to leave Crushie's apartment! This was Spot's best Christmas ever, thanks to the noble sacrifice of Crushie, the most pathetic dog in the world. At last Spot understood the true meaning of Christmas! "Bye, Crushie," he sobbed, sorry that his friend was no longer around to distract the author's attention from him.
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