Invader Zim – Christmas Special

By Sam

It was December 24th, but that meant nothing to Zim, the little green alien with huge purple eyes who’d come to Earth in hopes of conquering it. Dressed in his human disguise (which consisted of a black wig and contact lenses), he walked through the city streets, having forgotten completely what he’d been going to do. He was much too busy being distracted by the way the streets were decorated to be bothered with any plans he’d made earlier.

He stood still, as the crowds moved as one around him, totally baffled. The city looked like Los Vegas. There were lights on every building, not to mention some odd vine that seemed to have grown, overnight, up every lamppost and traffic light in town. There was music in the air and strange dust falling from the sky. For a moment, he worried that the dust would be toxic, but once it touched him and had no real effect, he figured it was safe.

He wondered if the dust had a drug-like effect on the Earthanoids as he noticed some human children trying to catch it on their tongues. He also observed that every human that passed him made and effort to make eye contact and smile. It was actually a bit frightening. He preferred being ignored to being singled out.

After only a few minutes, he was totally overwhelmed. Frustrated, he flailed his arms and shouted at the top of his lungs, "What is going on around here????" After his outburst, the only thing that could be heard were the crickets chirping (even though they should’ve been dead or hibernating or something). The whole crowd turned to stare at him. He blinked a few times, wishing he had a laser gun big enough to blast them all. The crowd then started whispering to each other.

As the crowd slowly resumed their activities, Zim turned on his heels and headed off, wanting to get out of there as quickly as possible. Going against the current proved very difficult, and stepping out into the street nearly got him run over! He was glad when he finally made it back to the suburbs and even more relieved as he reached the safety of his own home.

Needless to say, the events of the morning had left him in an irritable mood. And the last thing he wanted to see was bounding towards him like a faithful puppy as he entered the base. It was his little robot, G.I.R., all smiles, as usual. "Hi!" G.I.R. chirped, "Did ya have fun in the city?"

"Don’t ask," Zim muttered, walking past him to the kitchen, where he used the trashcan to get down to the lab. Scowling, he sat in front of a huge computer screen, surfing the Earthanoids ‘Internet’, looking for some clue as to what was happening in the city.

As he searched, G.I.R. came into the room, singing, "It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas".

"Would you stop that?" Zim growled, "I’m trying to-" He stopped short. That same tune had been playing in the city! There must have been some sort of connection! "Where did you hear that?" he asked G.I.R.

"On TV!" G.I.R. said simply, then he impersonated a stereotypical TV announcer, "Only one shopping day left till Christmas!"

"Kris-what?" Zim asked, turning back to his computer and typing furiously. On the screen appeared the words, ‘And Alien’s Guide to Earth Festivals, Traditions, etc.’ "Perfect!" Zim cried, "Print!" He slammed his hand down on a large button and out of the printer popped…a large book with the same title – complete with binding and a beautiful brown leather cover.

"Oooohh…" G.I.R. said in awe, "pretty…"

Zim laughed triumphantly, holding up the book, "That brat Dib will never have the advantage over me again!! Ha ha ha!!" Dib was a human boy, and the only one who saw Zim for what he truly was – an alien. "Now then," Zim said, sitting down and opening the book, "Let’s see what this thing has to say about… Christmas!"

G.I.R. watched, fascinated, as Zim read aloud from the book, " ‘ Christmastime is an Earth holiday celebrated every twenty-fifth of December. Although overly commercialized today, its origins lie in the spread of cheer and good will…’ " He made a face, then continued, " ‘and peace on Earth. If you, as an alien, have made your base on a part of Earth where Christmas is celebrated, you need not concern yourself with the dozens of other holidays associated with December. To see instructions on celebrating Christmas, turn to page a hundred and fifty-seven.’ " He did so, hurriedly wanting to learn more about this odd Earth tradition (not that any Earth traditions were normal).

Step One on page 157 was decorating the house. Zim looked over the sketches quickly, then showed them to G.I.R. "Here – I want you to go out and put lights on our house – see? Like the pictures – ok?"

"Ok!" G.I.R. said, running off happily.

Zim shook his head wearily and turned to Step Two in the book: Christmas Cookies. The pictures didn’t look appetizing to him at all, but he was determined not to skip any step of the Christmas process. So he headed into the kitchen.

As it turned out, the instructions were extremely complicated, especially since Zim didn’t know what half the ingredients were. He wound up using substitutes for a lot of things, and as he sat on the kitchen floor, watching his creations bake, he wondered if the strange combination would cause the oven to explode. He rubbed his face with his hands, attempting to clean off the flour, but he only managed to smear more on. He sighed.

Just then, G.I.R. came into the kitchen, and without a word, unscrewed the bulb from the refrigerator, and left. Zim didn’t seem to notice until G.I.R. returned with a ladder and used it to reach the light bulb on the ceiling. Once he had unscrewed it and plunged the room into darkness, Zim spoke up.

"Um… G.I.R.?" he asked.

"Yes?" came G.I.R.’s reply from the blackness.

"What are you doing?"

"I’m decorating!"

Confused, Zim stumbled out of the dark kitchen into…the dark living room. In fact, the whole house was pitch black! "G.I.R.!" he shouted.

The front door opened, letting light into the room, and G.I.R. poked his head in. "Yes?"

"What have you done with all the lights in the house??" Zim demanded.

"Oh! Come and see! Come and see!" G.I.R. said excitedly, taking Zim’s arm and dragging him outside, "Look! Pretty!"

Zim looked up and his jaw hit the ground. All the lights from inside the house were now taped on the outside of the house! "…G.I.R…" he said, "This isn’t right. Now put these back where you found them and try again!" G.I.R. did so, looking a little dejected. Once the entire house was lit again, he set out to find more lights.

Zim returned to the kitchen, to watch his cookies and read about Step Three: Interior Decorating. While he was reading, his cookies (if you can call them that) began burning! Since he didn’t have a nose, it took him a few minutes to even notice! When he did, he panicked trying to get the tray out of the oven. In his attempts, he ended up burning his hand, but didn’t realize it until he had finished his task. Then he sat on the floor, sniffling as he bandaged his hand, and cursing the primitive Earth technology.

It was about this time that G.I.R. came back inside, his mood visibly lifted. He saw the bandage on Zim’s hand and looked concerned. "Did master get an owie?" he asked.

"I’m fine," Zim said defensively, "Have you finished?"

"Uh-huh!" G.I.R. nodded, "Come see!" Zim followed G.I.R. outside and saw, once again, that the little robot had taped light bulbs all around the edge of the house. At least this time they were lights from the neighbors’ houses. G.I.R. had even gotten them to blink!

G.I.R. looked to Zim, seeking approval. Zim gave his robot a single pat on the head. "It’ll do," he said. G.I.R. beamed.

Just then, an all too familiar voice spoke from behind them. "My…what an…interesting light display, Zim," said Dib.

G.I.R. squealed and disappeared into the house. Zim forced a smile. "Why…thank you, Dib," he said through clenched, zipper-like teeth, "You’ve always been the observant one."

Dib put his hands in the pockets of his trench coat and grinned. "So…have you written to the man in red yet, Zim?" he asked, "All us human kids have."

"Of course," Zim lied, trying to hide his puzzlement, "Now if you’ll excuse me, I have more decorating to do." And with that, he spun around and hurried inside. Dib stood there for a moment, blinking, then he growled and stomped off, having been defeated for the time being.

Inside, Zim watched Dib leave through the peephole, snickering to himself. Then he turned his attention to his new problem: who was this ‘man in red’? He rushed to consult his book, but found that G.I.R. was already looking over Step Three. "G.I.R.!" he barked, "Give me that! I need to look something up!"

G.I.R. yelped and scurried away only to reappear next to Zim as he searched through the pages. "What’cha looking for?" he asked curiously.

Zim didn’t answer. He just pointed to a picture of Santa Clause. "This must be the man in red!" he declared, "But…why would one write to him?"

"It says he lives in the North Pole," G.I.R. noted, "Maybe he gets lonely."

"Bah!" Zim said, "There’s no motivation in that…wait…it say here if you write to him, he’ll bring you what you ask for! Excellent! Let’s do it!"

"It seems to easy," G.I.R. said hesitantly, "Where’s the catch?"

But Zim wasn’t listening. He was panning over a long list of names in the book. "Amazing…there must be a ‘man in red’ for every country on the planet!" he mused, tapping a finger to his chin, "In order to obtain the maximum quantity of gifts, we must write to every one of them!

And so they did. Well, actually, they didn’t write – they e-mailed every name on the list. As Zim made a list of all the Earth-conquering devices he wanted, G.I.R. reread the list of names. "Hmm…the American name is ‘S. Claus’," he read, "Do you think the ‘S’ stands for sharp?"

Zim looked up, thinking it over. "Sharp Claws, huh?" he said, "Sounds pretty nasty for someone who’s supposed to be jolly, doesn’t it?" But even as he spoke, he typed ‘Sharp Claws’ into his letter. Then he was hit with a streak of nice and asked, "Is there anything I should ask for, for you?"

"Me?" G.I.R. said, flattered, "Um…a friend!" Smiling, he hugged himself and rocked back and forth happily.

"…Right…" Zim groaned and typed it, reluctantly, into the letter, "Do you think they all live in the North Pole?"

"Probably," said G.I.R., "Maybe they have a big commune up there."

"Well, your guess is as good as mine," Zim said, "So that’s where we’ll send them." And he did.

Then it was back to decorating. They couldn’t find a wreath, so the stole a tire off one of their neighbor’s car, stuck a bow on it and hung it on the front door of their house. As for stockings, they used a pair of Zim’s boots and tacked them up on the wall. G.I.R. stared at them for a short while. "They won’t hold much, will they?"

"Hey!" said Zim angrily, "My shoe-size is not my fault!"

But Zim’s shoe-size was soon forgotten as the pair set out to find a tree. The actual tree was G.I.R.’s job, and Zim took care of the ornaments. As he waited for G.I.R. to return, he scavenged his lab, picking up bits of metal and machinery and tossing them into a cardboard box. Once he thought he had enough, he brought them upstairs. For lights, he strung refrigerator bulbs on a long wire and got them to light with a bit of alien technology.

Not long after, the front door swung open and in came G.I.R. dragging behind him…a palm tree! "Look master!" he called, "Look what I found!"

Zim just stared as G.I.R. stood the tree up in the center of the room. "G.I.R…that’s a palm tree…" he said at last.

"So?" G.I.R. said. Zim shrugged. It would have to do. So they decorated the palm tree, and it didn’t look half bad, either.

Preparations for dinner came next. After searching the house thoroughly, they came up with: Zim’s cookies, a box of crackers, some dog biscuits, milk, and a dozen cans of mock Space Spam. It wasn’t much of a feast, but it was theirs. Setting up took hardly any time, and it wasn’t quite time to eat when they had finished, so while they waited, they set up a few more things around the house. After Zim had carved a fireplace into a wall and lit a small fire (being careful not to burn himself), he went to look for G.I.R. He found him up on the ceiling, hanging a strange little plant above the doorway between the kitchen and the living room. "What is that?" Zim asked suspiciously.

"Mistletoe!" G.I.R. said, hopping down to the floor, "It was in the book!"

Zim looked up at it uneasily, "What’s it for?"

"Well," G.I.R. said, "This!" He jumped onto Zim’s chest and kissed him!

"Augh!!" Zim cried, trying to push G.I.R. away, "Get off of me! That’s disgusting! If that’s what it does – take it down!"

G.I.R., still clinging to Zim’s chest, cocked his head. "But…you said to do everything the book says," he protested.

"Well, I’ve changed my mind," Zim said, "We have no need for a plant that encourages saliva exchange! So take it down…then we’ll eat, ok?"

"OK!!" G.I.R. said, sliding off of Zim and climbing up the wall to take the mistletoe down. Then he skipped into the kitchen.

Zim wiped a hand across his mouth, still disgusted, then followed G.I.R. into the kitchen, where the little robot was already seated at the table. Zim took his own seat and cleared his throat. G.I.R. looked up. Zim raised his glass of milk, "I propose a toast – to the Almighty Tallest! For without them, I wouldn’t be on this miserable rock!"

G.I.R. raised his own cup with both hands, "And gawd bless us – everyone!" Zim gave him a funny look. He shrugged, "I heard it on TV."

The meal continued without much excitement. G.I.R. did most of the eating and Zim just pushed his food around on his plate, using the different items at the medium for a mapped planning of world conquest.

But as he was getting to the good part, G.I.R. crawled across the table and asked, "Are you gonna eat that?" Before Zim could answer, he had eaten it all. Zim put his head in his hands and sighed. G.I.R. licked his lips, quite satisfied. "Yummy!" He hopped off the table, took Zim by the arm once again and led him into the living room. "Let’s watch TV!"

"Do we have to?" Zim moaned as he took his seat on the couch.

"Oh yes," G.I.R. said, turning the TV on and climbing onto the sofa, holding the remote possessively. They watched Christmas specials until Zim couldn’t take it anymore and threatened to shoot the TV. So G.I.R. found the big book of Earth traditions and opened it to an excerpt from ‘The Night Before Christmas’. "Will you read to me master?" he asked, dropping the book in Zim’s lap.

"No," Zim said firmly, pushing it away.

"Ok," G.I.R. said, undaunted, "Then I’ll read to you." He cleared his throat and began, " ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a-" He was cut off by Zim, who had fallen asleep and was snoring softly. G.I.R. cocked his head, then smiled. "Good night, master," he said, shutting the book quietly. Trying not to make any noise, he put the book away, left a plate of Zim’s cookies out with a note that read, ‘To Sharp Claws and all you other guys’, and shut out the light. Finally, he curled up next to Zim and fell asleep too.

The next morning, Zim was rudely awakened by G.I.R. jumping on the couch and yelling, "Look master! Look! Sharp Claws came!"

Zim opened his eyes groggily, "Wha-?" He sat up and looked around the room. G.I.R. was right. The ‘stockings’ had candy-canes in them, and there was a present for each of them under the tree. G.I.R. brought the packages over to the couch and handed one to Zim.

"This is for you!" he said, then sat down to open his own present, which turned out to be, "A choo-choo train!!" G.I.R. cried happily, hugging his new toy.

Zim wasn’t nearly as happy with his gift, which was an adorable teddy bear. "Yuck!" he said, holding it away from himself and making a face, "This isn’t what I wanted! It’s repulsive!" He tossed the bear on the floor and G.I.R. picked it up.

"Can I have it then?" he asked.

Zim folded his arms and slouched back against the couch, frowning. "Yeah. Sure. Knock yourself out," he said dryly. G.I.R. looked up at Zim. It actually pained him to see his master so disappointed. Then he remembered something. He scampered off and came back with another package. This one was sloppily wrapped in newspaper and oddly shaped.

G.I.R. held it up for Zim to take. "Here. I almost forgot – this is for you!"

Zim took the gift awkwardly. "What is it?"

"Open it and find out!" G.I.R. said, climbing back onto the couch. Zim tore the paper off the gift and found a globe of the Earth. He looked at G.I.R., touched but puzzled. G.I.R. grinned shyly. "It’s to help you plan your conquest of Earth," he said.

Zim blinked a few times. He’d never realized that G.I.R. could be so thoughtful. "G.I.R…" he said at last, "…I really don’t know what to say…"

G.I.R. smiled and hugged him. "Merry Christmas!"

Zim rolled his eyes and patted G.I.R. on the head, "Merry Christmas, G.I.R."

And as the camera pulled back on the peaceful scene of their house, it stars to snow, and we hear G.I.R. say, "I’m gonna go find the mistletoe again!"

"Nooo!!" we hear Zim shout.