“TACTICAL NUKE, INCOMING!!!” “BANG BOOM ZAP!” “YOU’LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE, NEVER!” Those were just a few of the obnoxious noises coming from Pear’s living room. Yup, that was his name, due to his pear-shaped head.
It was the first day of winter break, and he was playing his favourite video game, Illuminati Fighters, slumped on the couch and surrounded by empty bottles of Mountain Dew and bags of Doritos.
“Pear, you have been playing for five hours! Don’t you think you ought to be doing something else?” His mom asked from the kitchen.
“Hold on a second, I just broke into the Illuminati Headquarters!” he yelled back.
His mom thought for a moment, then said, “Hey look, Pear! Dad is coming home with Illuminati Fighters 2, as a, um, reward for another successful term of school.”
Pear’s eyes finally opened fully from continuously squinting at the screen. “What? Really? Ahh!”
He took a last sip of Mountain Dew, got up from the couch, grabbed his coat and hat, and raced out the door. He suddenly stopped to a halt, confused. “Mom, Dad’s not back from work yet.”
“Yeah, so go do something fun in the snow,” his mom cried out from the house. “Come on, it’s winter. You shouldn’t be staying inside playing video games all day. I’ll unlock the doors at 3:00. Have fun!”
“Wait – unlock?” Pear ran to the door and pushed it with all his might. It didn’t budge. “Why mom, WHY!?”
Pear sat in his backyard, doodling snipers in the snow with a stick. Suddenly, a supersized rabbit with an MP7 strapped across his shoulder came out of nowhere, pulled a bag over Pear’s head, and carried him away….
“Ugh. Where am I?” When Pear finally had the bag removed from his head, he found himself in a chair in a large, oval room. Circular lights ringed the walls, as well as a semicircular desk in the centre of the room. A pompous man who looked like Santa Claus – wait, who actually was Santa Claus – sat behind the desk. His loud and kind voice echoed through the building.
“Hello there, my friend. We are the Seasonal Holiday and Festival Protectors, or SAHFP for short. You are in a lair ten kilometres underground. Sorry about the method we used to bring you here, I assure you that we are trying to think of new ways.”
“Anyways, I am Santa Claus and the rabbit with the thing that shoots chocolate eggs is the Easter Bunny—”
“MP7, Christmas Man,” the Easter Bunny piped as he leaned nonchalantly against the corner. He bombarded a servant with chocolate eggs.
Santa Claus continued. “Yes, an MP7 that shoots chocolate eggs, and the turkey over there is the Thanksgiving Turkey.” He pointed to a regular-looking turkey.
“How do you do?” it gobbled. Then it took out a machine gun and squirted cranberry sauce at the servant.
“We’re not just any ordinary holiday mascots – we also shoot non-violent weapons at enemies!” Santa laughed as he sprayed boxes of presents from a bazooka at the servant.
“So why do you need me?” Pear asked.
“Well, as you can see, we’ve only got three recruits on the team, including me,” Santa replied. “We used to have the Groundhog Day Groundhog, but he quit. So, we’ll need a replacement for this winter, and you’re perfect for the job.”
“Why?” Pear asked.
Santa explained, “We had the MP7 Easter Bunny investigating which neighbourhood kid was fit for the role, and he chose you because of your sniping skills, which you learned from your video games.”
Pear brightened up. “Oh yeah, sniping is my specialty in Illuminati Fighters!”
Now the turkey stepped in and said, “This winter we have heard about sightings of Krampus, the villain of Christmas who punishes children during the Christmas season who have misbehaved, in contrast to Santa Claus, who rewards the well-behaved ones with gifts. Easter Bunny spotted him in this neighbourhood. We thought we defeated him last year, but he’s back.”
“And we need you to help us,” the Easter Bunny joined in.
Pear nodded, and with just a few hours of preparation, the whole crew was ready. A cold night breeze swept through Pear’s neighbourhood. Even with his heavy winter jacket on, Pear shivered frantically, holding his Dragunov SVD sniper rifle full of steaming hot chocolate. When no one was looking, he quickly opened the clip and took a sip. SAHFP kneeled down behind a bridge, eyeing a particular house while waiting for Krampus. The turkey told Pear, “We froze time at your house so your parents wouldn’t realize that you were gone for so long.”
“Easter Bunny discovered that this house is the one that Krampus is going to sneak into, so keep your eyes peeled,” Santa whispered. Suddenly, they saw a dark figure creep towards the building. “On three, two, one…” Santa whispered. His head was shiny with sweat despite the cold.
“Now!” he ordered. Everyone except for Pear, who waited to get a chance to snipe Krampus, quietly strode behind Krampus and prepared to shoot him. “Bang!” went Santa’s present bazooka. However, Krampus managed to dodge the big, heavy box, turned around swiftly, and shot coal at each of the three members from a pistol. Santa, Easter Bunny, and Thanksgiving Turkey were each knocked down to the snowy ground, dizzy from the impact.
“Ha ha,” Krampus’s low, gloomy voice echoed through the wind. “You thought you defeated me, but I simply retreated quickly, and now I can destroy each of you!”
Krampus raised his pistol at each of the protectors. Luckily, Pear was still behind the bridge, steadying his shot. “Phoomp!” Out came the burning Christmas drink, aimed right at Krampus’s mouth. Splash! “Hey, what’s…aaaaaaAAAAHHHH!” That was the loudest sound of the night, causing birds to flee from their nests (well, assuming there were birds there in winter). Krampus dropped his coal pistol and starting running around like a chicken on the loose, stuffing his face in the snow. Just then, the three protectors recovered from their dizziness and bombarded Krampus with cranberry sauce, boxes of presents, and chocolate eggs. Pear finally gave Krampus a few more squirts of extremely hot chocolate. He whimpered under the pile of holiday objects like a cricket.
“Good job, Pear. You saved us, and helped defeat Krampus.” Santa said. As soon as he said those words, Pear blacked out.
The very next day, Pear lay in his bed, head throbbing. “What happened?” he thought. Pear couldn’t remember a thing. He walked downstairs, and saw his mom and dad in the kitchen, eating warm breakfast.
“Hey Pear, good morning.” His dad smiled.
“Morning,” Pear replied.
Pear sat, biting into his French toast, pondering about why he felt so brainwashed.
Maybe heroes don’t have to remember anything. Maybe Pear wasn’t supposed to remember. What mattered most was that he did something good. Something that no one remembered… except for SAHFP.