An excerpt from a story I've discussed here before and never named. It's probable that the story will never be published in its present form.
The main character is Paul Valdez, a freshamn at Walker Technical Institute. He shares a suite in McDermott Hall with one William "Goober" Riley and "Egyptian" Dave Jarman. They have many bold adventures; and one begins shortly before Christmas break:
"You'd better get going, or else you'll end up spending Christmas Break here," Dave advised as I lounged on the sofa in the common room.
"Yeah, yeah," I replied. "My plane doesn't leave for five hours."
"Have you seen a weather report lately?" Dave replied, plugging the star in and stepping down off the footstool. He admired his handiwork for a moment, then said, "Well, it's beginning to look like Christmas, isn't it?"
"Sure," I agreed.
The tree was a real seven foot Douglas Fir, which he'd cut down himself a few hours earlier. He and Goober, it turned out, kept a cache of Christmas decorations in the same wall that contained the gun vault.
Goober chose that moment to come in. "Hey, dudes! It's snowing outside! I'm dre--whoa," he interjected, raising his Ray-Bans. "Judas, Dave, you've outdone yourself."
"Thank you, thank you," Dave grinned, bowing.
"I thought we only had two strings of Jalapeno lights?"
"I bought a few more."
"Xcool. It looks better when you do the whole tree with them."
"Well, it was either that or little cows," I replied.
Goober laughed, remembering our escapades with SETPF [Students for the Ethical Treatment of Furred People] and the exploding cow. "Oh, yeah."
"No, he's not joking," Dave said. "We could have done cows, ducks, pigs, ears of corn, '57 Chevies, M&Ms, little cans of Coke...."
"Little cans of Campbell's Soup," I put in.
"Yeah, the Warhol look," Dave added. "The new Christmas decoration store at the Mall had everything you would care to consider decorating your house with."
"Well, let's get some Christmas music going," Goober said enthusiastically, ambling over to the stereo before Dave or I could stop him. He switched it on.
"Well, it ought to be over now anyhow," Dave said to me.
"Let's hope so," I replied.
"What?" Goober asked, as the amplifier clicked on.
"--and because of the enthusiastic response we've received, we've decided to extend our 'Little Drummer Boy' marathon another hour!" The announcer said happily. "So without more adieu, here's...uh...'The Little Drummer Boy'...again!"
All three of us screamed and made a mad dash for the power switch.
Despite Goober's proximity to the stereo, Dave actually made it there first. Blessed silence descended.
Goober found his voice first. "W...how long...?"
"We've been checking every half hour," Dave said, "since eight thirty. That makes it about two and a half hours, now."
"I'd like to talk to the general manager of KGAK and ask him why the hell they started playing nothing but Christmas music on Thanksgiving day," Goober sighed. "They were the only station that played music I can relate to."
"Perhaps they were interested in having a market share," I sniped.
"With a three hour 'Little Drummer Boy' Marathon?" Goober exploded.
"Better than the alleged music they played before," I fired back, grinning.
"You," Goober announced, pointing, "are definitely one sick motherfucker if you'd rather listen to 'The Little Drummer Boy' over and over and over again for four hours rather than listen to the Zooks and the Arthritic Hippies from Hell once."
"Well, I wouldn't," I mused, "but at least the agony would be over sooner."
Dave laughed. "Anyway, they've been playing Christmas music for three weeks--you gotta figure that the DJs would get bored after a while and start spicing things up. Besides, they are garnering a larger audience this way."
"Sure they are," Goober replied disgustedly. "Then they're driving it insane. What's the point of that?" He waved a disgusted hand in the air. "Forget it. Paul, I am in such a Christmasy mood that I think I could even stand one of your Mannheim Steamroller disks, if you have one handy."
"We've played all three of them through, twice," Dave said, "but I suppose we can handle hearing the new one again."
"Which one is that?"
"The top one, In the Aire," I supplied. Goober turned the stereo on again.
"--rum pa pa pum (tik) pa rum pa pa pum (tik) pa rum pa pa pum (tik) pa rum pa pa pum (tik) pa rum pa pa pum (tik) pa rum pa pa pum (tik) pa rum pa--" The stereo droned.
"What the fuck?" Goober asked curiously, the CD in his right hand forgotten.
A horrible scratching sound came from the speakers, and the announcer came back on. "Heyy, guess what? The Vienna Boy's Choir has developed a horrible skip! It looks like I scratched it when I put it away an hour or so ago, so we're going on to the next version of 'The Little Drummer Boy', which is the version done by Mannheim Steamroller! As for the Vienna Boys' Choir, well...." we heard, in the background, the sound of a record breaking. "So much for them. And now, Chip Davis and the Mannheim Steamroller doing--you guessed it--'The Little Drummer Boy'!"
"This is my worst nightmare, come to life," Dave said incredulously.
"At least the next one is the only good version of the song," I said, "since it appears that Goober is paralyzed."
"Huh? Oh, sorry," Goober said, putting the disk into the CD player and switching the stereo over to CD. As the synthed-up (but tastefully so) version of "Joy to the World" began playing Goober turned to us and said, "Yow! Anyhow, Paul, any time you want to go to the airport just say so."
"I'll give you a ride."
"In what? Your sleigh drawn by eight tiny reindeer?"
"Hell no. In RudeBug."
Dave covered his eyes. "Oh, no."
"You knew it had to happen someday, Dave my man," Goober grinned.
"Don't, Paul. I'll give you a ride," Dave advised seriously.
Goober looked insulted. "Hey, come on! You think I blew six grand for nothing? The body hasn't a single speck of rust on it now. It even has a floor."
"No shit?" Dave sounded surprised.
"The heater ducts don't leak, the engine idles right, and I even had them put new tires on it."
"I don't believe you," Dave replied, folding his arms.
"No? C'mon, then," Goober smiled. "You too, Paul."
I regretted agreeing when I saw the car.
It was neon green, but that wasn't the bad part, mainly because the car wore a steadily thickening coat of snow. It had a fake Rolls Royce hood, but that wasn't the bad part. It was lowered in the style of a California Bug, but that wasn't the bad part.
The interior was the bad part. Not because it was in bad condition--quite the opposite--but because of the accessories Goober had chosen for the car.
First, the dashboard and rear deck were carpeted in neon green fake fur. Deely balls hung across the top of the windshield. A chromed chain steering wheel graced the steering column, Christmas lights surrounded the back window, and not only did he have one of those chaser light turn signal bars in the back window, he also had a dog with a bobbing head whose eyes lit up. The front seats had magenta sheepskin covers on them and the back seats were done in chartreuse.
I looked at the grinning Goober. "You have absolutely no taste, do you realize that?"
"Oh, no, Paul," Dave replied evenly. "He has taste. It's just taken a permanent vacation."
"Hey, come on, you guys," Goober protested. "I'll have you know three chicks whistled at me while I was driving it here!"
"They were pity whistles," Dave counseled. "Really, Goober, this thing is frying my retinas. I'm going inside."
"Okay, I admit it," Goober sighed. "The interior is completely wrong. Not what I ordered at all."
Dave's eyes went wide. "Hah! I told you not to use Mexicali Custom!"
"What are you guys talking about?" I asked.
"A place near here," Dave said, "does custom work on cars. The guy who owns the business does good work very inexpensively--by taking the cars south of the Mexican border to Mexicali. The only problem is, nine times out of ten the car comes back looking like, well...."
"A spicmobile," Goober supplied.
"Yeah," Dave sighed, "although I was trying to think of a nicer way to put it."
"But, hell, I got almost ten thousand dollars worth of work done for only six k, so I feel pretty good about it."
"Ten thousand--" Dave and I sputtered.
"Sure. Have a look at this," Goober grinned, unlocking the trunk lid and raising it, showing us the engine.
It was a maze of large diameter chrome pipes. Somehow it all fit in the car's diminutive engine compartment.
"You didn't!" Dave exploded.
"Sure as hell did. 3.8 liter flat four, turbocharged--" Goober's boasting went no further, as Dave seized him by the lapels and began shaking him.
"What are you trying to do? The thing'll do backflips!"
"No it won't," Goober replied calmly. "Think about it. You know how to do force diagrams. Besides, no way can it beat the Beast."
Dave let go of Goober and stepped back, shaking his head. "Before, I only thought you were insane. Now I know." Dave looked at me, and said, "Paul--for your own sake, ride with me to the airport."
"Fine," I agreed. "Can we go inside? I'm freezing."
All of this is merely the beginning of the episode wherein Goober shields an interstellar embezzler from the wrath of his former employer.
...because of the exchange rate, the embezzled funds total a hundred trillion dollars: "...I was out of petty cash and into the office party fund," the alien admits sheepishly; and when told that Goober's getting 0.5% of the take as a fee for his efforts, his friends (individually and to a man) exclaim, "Goober, that's five hundred billion
Goober, unruffled, replies, "I know. I can do arithmetic."
* * *
This story is 16 years old and I haven't touched it since I finished the rewrite in 1996. One of my friends read it and said, "You ask yourself, 'why am I reading this?' But you can't put it down!"
Mostly, it needs editing, but the first quarter of the book is kind of sappy romantic stuff and completely different from the zany SF antics of the rest of the story, so it really does need work.
This being the case, I'm putting that excerpt out there for a couple reasons:
1) I can.
2) It's kind of Christmasy.
3) It's humorous.
4) [fill in the blank.]
Hope you enjoyed it!