It’s Christmas time in Ohioville, and Santa has finally broken free of his eternal prison! Doesn’t that sound festive?! Merry Christmas and enjoy this horrifying episode!
Merry Christmas, everybody! We love saying that here, because even if you don’t celebrate it, far be it from us to wish that you have a terrible Saturday.
Speaking of Christmas, what an episode! Fighting off monsters is such a wonderful Christmas tradition. And really, if you are fighting off a mess of malevolent monsters, who better to have at your side than Rick Stone of The Weekly Impulse!
Yes, this episode was a labor of loving collaboration between two teams. The teams behind Markley Bros. Entertainment and The Weekly Impulse are proud to present this episode as a crossover between our two worlds. It was a lot of hard work, but we think it turned out great!
So why should our teams put so much effort into working together? After all, we’re halfway around the country from one another! Michael has a beach and Alex has snow! Michael’s team is the Berkeley Bears and Alex’s is the Buckeyes! And despite the fact that those both start with ‘B,’ they are not the same team.
The fact of the matter is that we each have a great respect for the work of the other. In fact, if you are not familiar with The Weekly Impulse, I recommend that you go listen to it immediately.
But there’s something more than that. We don’t just respect one another, we share a common goal. As followers of Jesus, we are both desperate to glorify him in everything we do – especially in this season! How many times have you heard the true meaning of Christmas from a preacher, a relative, or a cartoon character? It’s like Christmas music; sometimes you hear it so much, you just tune it out after awhile.
We admit, the Christmas story is an old story. In fact it’s about 2,000 years old. It’s been repeated so often that it sounds clichéd. But don’t let that distract you. We’ll give this one shot, then you can get back to your partying:
Jesus is God who came as a man. He died to pay the penalty for your mistakes and mine. Furthermore, he has more than enough righteousness to offer us free tickets into his Father’s presence. That’s why we give at Christmas, because we imitate our God.
I guarantee you Santa didn’t give you any Christmas presents this year. But Jesus is offering you one. If you want to actually unwrap it, feel free to email one of us. We’ll talk about it.
Once again, Ladies and Gentlemen, please have a wonderful Christmas. And enjoy this episode. It is our gift to you.
—Alex Markley & Michael Crandall
“We have lost the battle, but we will not lose the company softball game.”
Linus: Now, Snufflefungus, turn that dial!
Linus: And press that button!
Snufflefungus: Got it!
Linus: Now turn the dial again!
Snufflefungus: But Linus, I already turned it!
Linus: It’s not turned enough! Turn the dial more!
Snufflefungus: (Patience.) Linus, please. I’m the scientist here.
Linus: Why do you get to be the scientist? I wanna be the scientist!
Snufflefungus: Because you’re a laptop! Everybody knows laptops can’t be scientists! Besides, the dial only needs to be turned one time.
Linus: Fine! But I get to press the big button!
Snufflefungus: (Worried.) Uh, okay…
~~ Big sound.
Malex: (Muffled, from upstairs.) Hey! What’s wrong with the electricity?!
Linus: (Worried.) What have we done?!
Snufflefungus: (Cheerfully.) I don’t know!
Linus: Let’s go upstairs and pretend like nothing happened.
Snufflefungus: (Cheerfully.) Okay!
~~ Scene change.
~~ Electric crackling, popping. Dies out quickly.
Malex: There you guys are!
Snufflefungus: Hi Malex!
Malex: I was just trying to string the Christmas lights when something weird happened to the electricity!
Linus: Let’s just overlook for a moment how incredibly pathetic it is that you’re stringing lights on Christmas Eve and get right to the heart of the problem. Malex, you just seem to attract weird problems. Why is that?
Snufflefungus: What’s wrong with the electricity, Malex?
Malex: Well at first it looked like a brown-out, then it started surging! Lots of stuff exploded… again.
Snufflefungus: But why?!
Malex: Well, I don’t know. It almost looks like the alternating current is shifting in and out of phase.
Snufflefungus: (Excited.) I don’t know what that means!
Linus: I don’t know what that means either!
Snufflefungus: Well Linus, obviously the AC lines being out of phase would cause erratic spikes and drops in the current. This could only be caused by the waves of temporal distortion ripping through our fair Ohioville!
Linus: (Roars.) Don’t you talk to me like you know things! I know you don’t know things!
Malex: Actually, he’s right. At least he was right up until the part about the temporal distortion. Several other things would be much more likely culprits–
Snufflefungus: (Cheerfully excited.) We made this happen! In the lab! Just now!
Linus: Hey! We were gonna pretend like nothing happened!
Snufflefungus: But I’m bored with playing pretend! I want to play mad scientist again!
Malex: (Freaking out.) This is horrifying news! What have you done?!
Linus: Malex, please. We were only trying to find Santa.
Malex: (Flustered.) But why?! Last time we saw Santa, he was trying to steal an experimental weapons-grade white hole for some nefarious purpose! The only thing that finally stopped him was when he himself fell into the white hole!
Malex: He tried to kill me by sitting on me!
Linus: What’s your point?
Malex: So why were you trying to find bad, bad Santa?!
Linus: (Condescending.) Well duh, I wanted to ask him for this awesome robot body for Christmas. It has the strength of ten men.
Malex: I don’t know why I put up with you.
Snufflefungus: Malex! Mara is going to call us! On the phone!
~~ Phone rings.
Malex: Hi Mara, that’s a neat trick with the telepathy between you and Snuffy.
Mara: There’s no time for pleasantries, Malex. Something bad has happened!
Linus: Mara, will you just put your personality on hold for one minute and tell us what you’re so upset about?!
Mara: (Gasps.) You are so bad!
Malex: I– I’m sorry about Linus, Mara. Please continue.
Mara: Something evil just appeared in town square!
Malex: What do you mean, appeared?
Mara: I don’t know, but it’s bad! Will you meet me down there?
Malex: Uh, sure.
Snufflefungus: I’ll bring cookies!
~~ Scene Change
Santa: (Horror Santa laugh in the distance.)
Mara: Malex! I’m over here!
Malex: Oh no! How could this happen?!
Linus: Wow, Santa is bigger than I remembered.
Snufflefungus: He’s climbing that building! Yay!
Rick Stone: Snufflefungus?!
Snufflefungus: Rick Stone! I don’t remember you at all!
Rick Stone: Then how did you know my name?
Snufflefungus: You offered me ice cream, and strangers always have good ice cream, so I followed you around and answered a lot of questions! Then I went home.
Rick Stone: That was an interview, Snuffy. It wasn’t nearly as creepy as you just made it sound.
Malex: I remember that interview. Aren’t you a reporter for that tabloid rag?
Rick Stone: I’m a reporter for the Weekly Impulse.
Linus: (Laughs derisively.) “Reporter.”
Rick Stone: No matter where I go, I always have to say this: It’s not a rag. It’s a weekly newspaper that specializes in the bizarre.
Linus: Then you should love Ohioville.
Mara: Why do you smell like a bog?
Rick Stone: Because I was in a bog. I was investigating reports of a species of deadly alligator people that lives in the Everglades. I don’t know what happened!
IRIS: You encountered an unstable bubble of spacetime distortion which shifted and relocated you here, to Ohioville.
Snufflefungus: (Gasps.) Your pocket sounds like a woman!
Rick Stone: Oh, uh… Hang on. That’s coming from my PDA. Everyone, this is IRIS, the Weekly Impulse’s sentient computer system.
Snufflefungus: (Cheery.) Hi IRIS, hi! I’m Snuffy! This is Malex, that’s Mara, and Linus is our computer!
Malex: So, we do have a crisis at hand.
Rick Stone: I know. As soon as I landed here my Santa Proximity Alarm went off!
IRIS: That is one of my five thousand three hundred and fifty primary functions.
Malex: You have an alarm that goes off when you get too close to Santa?
Rick Stone: Yes.
Malex: Well your alarm would be due to that roaring red beast clinging to the top of the tower over there.
Rick Stone: I see him. What is he throwing?
IRIS: Those are boulders of stale gingerbread. It makes an excellent projectile.
Rick Stone: Incoming!
~~ Gingerbread boulder.
Mara: Guys! What are we going to do?! I’m telling you, there is evil here! Any moment, he’s going to run out of stale gingerbread, and then what?! Then what?!
Linus: What I want to know is, how did Santa escape his eternal prison?!
Snufflefungus: We must have weakened it!
Malex: What aren’t you guys telling me?
Snufflefungus: We built a mathematical model of the white hole and discovered that Santa was too fat to get flung back in time! His increased mass resulted in a persistent, closed loop of spacetime – like a Möbius strip!
Malex: An eternal prison. But that doesn’t explain how you weakened it.
Linus: I told you! I wanted to make sure my Christmas wish list was delivered! But we just keep going over and over my mistakes! Can’t you see I’m too beautiful for these petty squabbles?!
IRIS: Your computer is not functioning. Does it need an anti-virus scan?
Malex: We already did that a few weeks ago. It didn’t help.
Mara: Guys! …What are we going to do?!
Malex: Santa must have been gathering energy from the white hole during his entire imprisonment. He must be somehow using that energy to leave his weakened prison walls. But how can we use that to our advantage?
Rick Stone: (Dramatic.) I think… I know how to deal with this.
Malex: Come on. I love the persona, I really do. But first you have a Santa Proximity Alarm and now you somehow know how to stop him? I really have to ask… How would a journalist like you know anything about Santa?!
Rick Stone: A fair question. As you know, Santa Claus has held the world in thrall for centuries.
Malex: No kidding. Every Christmas, half of the world devotes hours and hours worshiping at the alter of Santa. They put up decorations and sing songs about him. They dress like him. They tell their children lies about him. I got it.
Rick Stone: Right, well we at the Weekly Impulse–
Linus: You mean you at the Weekly Impulse.
Rick Stone: (Annoyed.) We at the Weekly Impulse have been tracking Santa’s movements for a long time. And let me tell you, it hasn’t been pretty. IRIS, can you read the Santa-related headlines from the Weekly Impulse archive?
IRIS: Acknowledged. Santa Masterminds Child Labor Camp. Santa Plans Reducing World to Lump of Coal. Santa’s Operation Causes Global Warming. Santa Survives Yet Another Assassination Attempt.
Malex: I think we get the picture.
Rick Stone: My research seems to indicate that he’s had a hand in almost every major disaster for the last four hundred years. He has nearly infinite resources and is apparently indestructible. And now he’s returned to cry havoc and let loose the reindeer of war!
Snufflefungus: Not yet though, he’s still just throwing stuff.
Linus: Bah! He’s horrifying, I’ll give you that. But four hundred years of terror? I just don’t buy it!
Malex: Shockingly, I’m with Linus on this one.
Rick Stone: Believe me! I’ve seen what he can do first hand. It was four years ago, around Christmas Eve. My sources had told me that Santa had developed some new weapon – a sort of heat ray that disintegrates people and turns them into black lumps of carbon.
Mara: (Gasps.) Not coal!
Rick Stone: Yes, Mara. Coal.
Malex: That seems like the sort of thing Santa would do.
Rick Stone: That Christmas Eve, Santa led his army against the island nation of Walendo. I rushed to get there ahead of him because I knew it’d be a great story, as well as a chance to stop Santa before he did any more harm. But when I got there, I was all alone against Santa’s army. I… I couldn’t do anything to stop them. There were too many! I managed to get a few people into a boat where they could sail to safety. But in the end, the entire nation was wiped out. Ten thousand people, all turned into lumps of coal.
Linus: Wow, that sounds like a lot of words you just said.
Rick Stone: I had to get the whole story, so I confronted Santa himself. He said I had been naughty, then he tried to turn me into a charcoal briquette. There was nowhere to run, so I went on the offensive.
Mara: What did you do?
Rick Stone: I shot him.
Malex: You must have missed. I’ll direct your attention, again, to the grotesque, Santa-shaped monster terrorizing the city.
Rick Stone: I didn’t miss. My bullets were completely ineffective!
Malex: How did you survive the encounter?
Rick Stone: The building we were in was very badly damaged. The floor gave way underneath me and I fell into a parking structure below. I hit my head and lost consciousness. By the time I woke up, Santa had left.
Mara: So he never turned you into coal.
Rick Stone: I failed so miserably that day! It haunted me. I threw myself completely into researching how to defeat Santa… And I think I have it figured out.
Linus: Well, care to tell us before we get hit by a giant cookie boulder?
Rick Stone: Santa’s mind is, shall we say, special. He’s not a human being, as you can imagine, and most of his functions are actively coordinated by what little higher brain function he has.
Malex: That must be how he’s channeling the energy from the white hole!
Rick Stone: Now this is where things get complicated. According to my research, Santa’s brain can only process so much stimuli at once before his other functions begin to be impaired. If we can flood his brain with two conflicting emotions simultaneously, followed by a physical assault, his brain will seize up trying to deal with all the stimuli.
Linus: (Sarcastic.) That’s not a tall order at all.
Rick Stone: (Dramatic.) Is it still too tall of an order if it saves the world?
Snufflefungus: I don’t think so.
Malex: Alright! We can do this, guys! Happiness and anger are conflicting, right? I know two people who are great at making others really happy and really angry, respectively.
Snufflefungus: Oh Linus, Linus, I bet that’s us!
Linus: Bah, of course it is!
Mara: That takes care of the conflicting emotions, but how do we physically assault him?
Rick Stone: IRIS, how close are the Weekly Impulse offices?
IRIS: You don’t want to know.
Rick Stone: Any chance of retrieving any weapons from there?
Rick Stone: Blast!
Malex: Snuffy, what about your lab? Is there anything dangerous in there?
Snufflefungus: Yes! I think so. Maybe.
Mara: (Gasps.) Oh no! Santa noticed us! He’s coming this way!
Malex: Quick! Mara and Snuffy, go back to the house and get whatever seems dangerous out of Snuffy’s lab! Hurry back!
~~ Large thud, then giant footsteps.
Linus: Here he comes!
Malex: Rick, what are you doing with a pad and pencil?
Rick Stone: We can stall Santa with an interview, I can get the next big scoop for the Weekly Impulse!
Santa: (Santa laugh.) Behold! Santa is Santa!
Malex: Santa! What an unpleasant surprise to see you again!
Linus: Wow, I forgot what a moron you sound like.
Santa: Santa remembers Malex. Malex trapped Santa for years in prison made of space!
Rick Stone: That’s too bad. So, Santa–
Santa: (Santa laugh.) Santa enjoys recycling. Santa will go all recycling on Malex and his tiny friends!
Santa: Santa said the wrong word again. Santa means retribution when Santa says recycling.
Malex: That doesn’t fit either, but okay.
Rick Stone: Santa, I have a few questions. I’m writing an article about your comeback.
Santa: (Roars, devolving into horrible laugh.) Rick Stone! Santa has a list of nice children. Santa has a list of naughty children. And Santa has a special list of children that escaped from Santa’s clutches! Rick Stone guess which list Rick Stone is on?
Rick Stone: I suddenly have a very bad feeling about this.
IRIS: You may all wish to move.
~~ Gingerbread boulder.
Rick Stone: Yeah, she’s pretty useful.
Santa: (Santa Laugh) Run from Santa, cowards! Santa enjoys the hunt!
Linus: So, stalling didn’t work?
Rick Stone: It was worth a try.
Mara: There you guys are! We’re back!
Linus: That was weirdly fast.
Rick Stone: What did you bring?
Santa: (In the distance.) Do not hide from Santa! Hiding from Santa is naughty!
Snufflefungus: We couldn’t carry everything!
Mara: We brought something called a “Long Range Shish Kebab Device,” also known as a fire crossbow.
Snufflefungus: I had no idea cooking could be dangerous!
Mara: There’s also this thing called a Corncob Shredder 2.0.
Snufflefungus: I added a nuclear function! But it’s not stable.
Rick Stone: Oh boy.
Malex: Okay, I hope this is enough.
Rick Stone: I’ve always got my pistol.
Malex: Good, we’ll need it. Linus, Snuffy, Santa is already pretty mad. I just need you two to go in and make the emotional contradiction worse.
Rick Stone: We’ll get into position and fire off a volley as soon as his confusion starts approaching critical mass!
IRIS: I cannot accurately estimate when that will be.
Rick Stone: We’ll just have to guess.
Mara: You just need to know when his emotional framework starts to collapse? I can use my telepathy to find out.
Rick Stone: (Dramatic.) Are you sure? Santa’s mind is an ugly, dangerous place, you might–
Malex: (Interrupts.) Good girl! You can do it!
Linus: Let’s just do this already! All this exposition is boring!
~~ Giant footsteps.
Malex: (Urgent whisper.) Okay, here he comes!
Mara: (Urgent whisper.) Be careful!
Snufflefungus: Hi Santa!
Santa: (Santa laugh.) Snufflefungus! Santa is glad to see you again. Now Santa can punish you forever!
Snufflefungus: It’s so great to have you back, Santa! Christmas just wasn’t the same without you!
Santa: (Confused.) Santa is happy to hear that.
Linus: Well I’m not, butter bum! I can’t believe you have the nerve to show your ugly, whiskery, bulbous face around here again.
Santa: (Santa growl.) Linus makes Santa angry.
Linus: Good! Embrace the hate! Join me on the dark side– Oh wait, that’s not right.
Snufflefungus: Santa, you’re so special! The way you laugh is special, the way you punish humanity is special, and your plans for world domination are so special!
Santa: Santa is happy and angry. Santa is besmirched.
Linus: You never say the right words! It’s like the lottery or something in your moth-eaten brain!
Snufflefungus: But that’s okay, because Santa, you’re as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man as ever this good old city has known, or any other good old city, town, or borough in the good old world!
Linus: Santa, you scare babies!
Snufflefungus: And children love you!
Linus: And you’re a lying abomination!
Snufflefungus: And your abominable lies bring joy and horror to everyone!
Santa: (Roars.) Santa’s brain is full of happiness and anger!
Malex: Mara, anything yet?!
Mara: His mind… It’s so dark and minty!
Santa: (Starts gibbering.) Santa candy trouble light season bulbs recycling can’t undone over coal ambivalence…
IRIS: Linus and Snufflefungus are in danger. You must abort this mission.
Rick Stone: Mara!
Mara: Now! We need to launch our volley now!
Malex: Snuffy, Linus, get out of there!
Rick Stone: This is for Walendo, you horrifying red sadist. (Starts firing.)
~~ Corncob Shredder 2.0 explosion, flying shrapnel.
Santa: (Santa roars.)
~~ Popping sound.
Mara: What in the world?
Rick Stone: All that’s left is his beard.
Mara: Did we kill him?
Linus: I don’t think so. It looked to me like he just vanished!
Malex: Once his brain seized up, he must have snapped back into his prison.
Rick Stone: Great! Once again, all I have is the story… and Santa’s beard.
Snufflefungus: And nobody will believe the story!
Rick Stone: They never do.
Snufflefungus: Hey, I just remembered something!
Malex: What’s that, Snuffy?
Snufflefungus: It’s Christmas Eve!
Malex: So it is, Snufflefungus. So it is.
Snufflefungus: Let’s go back home and have hot chocolate, hang up our stockings, and sing Christmas carols!
Linus: (Laughs warmly.) That sounds like a horrible idea!
Malex: Rick, would you like to come along? You could spend Christmas with us!
Rick Stone: Sure, I’m in no hurry to get back to that bog!
Snufflefungus: Can Mara come along too?!
Malex: Of course, Snufflefungus.
Mara: You know, I have a good feeling about this Christmas. I mean, if we get this kind of catastrophe on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day has to be peaceful, right?
~~ Everyone gasps.
Producer and Director: Alex Markley
Writers: Alex Markley & Michael Crandall
Voices: Alex, Gabriel, Peter, & Susie Markley, with guest appearances by Michael Crandall as Rick Stone and by Jessica Mahan as IRIS.
Post-processing director: Susie Markley
Illustration: Peter Markley
Release manager: Peter Markley
Recording assistance: Drew Reed & Jim Diaz
Thanks to everyone for their help and support.