Naughty or Nice
by Starsky Hutch 76
Little Jasma Kent and Diana of Paradise Island have their hands full trying to save Christmas from the Krampus, who is punishing naughty children before the Yuletide season! But can even a Tyke of Steel and a Wonder Tot stop this mythological menace?
It was a sunny but cold Saturday in December two weeks before Christmas. As usual, the neighborhood kids had decided to brave the cold to play outside. Some of them had assembled their bikes in a circle to discuss Christmas and what they hoped Santa Claus would bring them. Among them were Jasma Kent and her friend Diana from Paradise Island, who was staying with Jasma’s family for the week.
“I want a She-Ra, Princess of Power doll!” Jasma said excitedly.
“Me too!” Diana exclaimed, agreeing with the older girl. She had no idea what a She-Ra Princess doll was, but if Jasma wanted one, it must be pretty nice.
“I want a Millennium Falcon, a Death Star, and a Dagoba Swamp play-set with a Yoda figure,” one boy said.
“You know there’s no way you’re getting that,” another boy said. “You’ll be lucky if you don’t get coal in your stocking.”
“Yeah!” a redheaded, freckle-faced girl on a Barbie bicycle laughed. “You’re always naughty!”
“Somebody thinks so, anyway,” the first boy said seriously.
“Huh?” everyone said.
“The other night, there was something in my room,” he started, getting everyone’s attention. “It wore a long Santa coat, but it had horns and goat legs. When it opened its mouth to laugh, it had a long, pointy tongue like that demon guy from KISS. He had a bunch of birch rods in his hand, and he yanked me out of bed and started whipping me with them! I yelled for my parents to help me, but it’s like they couldn’t even hear me!”
Everyone grew quiet until one boy broke the silence. “Ah, that’s just another one of your crazy stories, Geoff.”
Everyone started to laugh until another boy broke the silence. “I don’t think he’s kidding. My cousin said the same thing happened to him. He said it had red eyes and green fur, except for his face where he had just a pointy beard on his chin.”
“I couldn’t see too good ’cause it was dark, but that sounds right,” the first boy said.
Everyone stood in stunned silence. The group slowly broke up as parents began to call their children home.
“It sounds like Krampus,” Diana said as they walked home.
“Krampus?” Jasma asked. It fascinated her how her friend always seemed to know so much about myths and legends.
“You know how Santa brings toys to all the good kids on Christmas Eve?” Diana said.
“Uh-huh…” Jasma said, nodding.
“Krampus is the one whose job it is to punish the bad ones.”
“But it’s not even Christmas Eve!” Jasma exclaimed. “If he’s going around whipping kids early, we’ve got to stop him!”
“We do?” Diana asked.
“Sure. We’ve got super-heroes in our families. That makes us super-heroes, too!” Jasma said emphatically. “So it’s up to us to do something.”
“I guess you’re right,” Diana said. “So what do we do?”
“There’s one thing,” Jasma said. “But you’re not going to like it.”
“What?” Diana asked warily.
“If we’re going to get Krampus to come to us,” Jasma said. “We’re going to have to be naughty.”
That evening, Clark Kent walked out to his patio carrying a plate of raw hamburger patties and a spatula. He stopped in his tracks when he saw, next to the grill, Jasma and Diana sitting by the overturned bag of charcoal. On the patio lay a pile of diamonds.
“I’m showing Diana how I can make diamonds,” Jasma said, crushing one of the last few pieces of coal into a diamond.
Clark let out an exasperated sigh as he turned and went back inside. “Kristin, dinner is going to be a little late. I’ve got to go back into town and get some more charcoal!”
The next day, Aunt Gerta was watching her favorite soap opera, Secret Hearts, when a loud, barking pack of dogs ran through the living room.
“What in Rao’s name!” exclaimed Gerta Gim-Ze.
“We were playing stray dog rescue, but Diana left the door open!” Jasma said, chasing after the dogs.
The following afternoon, Kristin Wells Kent walked out the back door and let out a gasp. Somehow, the neighbor’s tool shed had been placed in the branches of the large oak tree in their backyard.
“We made a tree house!” Jasma said cheerfully as she and Diana poked their heads out of the door.
Kristin turned on her heels and walked back inside. “Clark!”
The next day, Clark stepped out onto his patio again, hoping to grill hamburgers without incident. This time, he was greeted by the sight of a large hole surrounded by huge mounds of dirt. Two small, dirty heads, one blonde and one brunette, poked their heads out of the hole.
“We’re going to China!” Jasma said, grinning.
Clark turned and walked back inside. “Kristin! You’ve got to see this!”
That night, Jasma and Diana, clad in nightgowns and bare feet, moved slowly down the hallway, planning to go to the kitchen for a late night snack. As they approached Clark and Kristin’s room, they could hear them talking.
“I just don’t think they’re good influences on each other,” Kristin said.
“Neither of them are bad kids,” Clark said.
“Maybe it’s because they both have powers,” Kristin sighed. “They’re fine on their own or with non-powered kids, but put them together, and you have chaos.”
“Well, we’re not sending her back,” Clark said. “Hippolyta hopes that having her stay with some of her former teammates will help her old memories to resurface.”
“Can’t you just have Zatanna cast a spell to revert her back?” Kristin asked.
“Sadly, no,” Clark said. “According to Zatanna, when she was reverted to clay and then changed into a child all over again, it was like a big reset button had been pushed. Any spell to put her back to her former age will do nothing, because as far as the magic is concerned, she already is her normal age.”
“Then any memories…” Kristin said.
“…Are probably lost for good,” Clark finished. “I think, deep down, Hippolyta must know this, but she just hasn’t admitted it to herself. I would hate to be the one to dash her hopes, though.”
“You used to be a grown-up?” Jasma asked Diana in a whisper.
“I guess,” Diana said. “I like being a kid better, though. It’s more fun.”
Clark and Kristin, having picked up their whispers with their super-hearing, came out into the hallway. “What are you doing out of bed?” Clark said sternly. “We said you were grounded.”
“Plus, it’s past your bedtime,” Kristin added.
“But we wanted to get a snack,” Jasma said.
“Get back to bed!” Clark ordered, pointing in the direction of Jasma’s room.
“OK…” Jasma groaned.
“Well, I think we’re officially naughty now,” Diana said as they walked back.
Later that night, there was a rumbling from the chimney, and then a pair of cloven hooves hit the fireplace floor. A figure with goat-like horns and legs crawled out of the fireplace. He wore a long Santa coat and carried birch rods in one hand.
As he moved toward Jasma’s room, her ears perked up, and her eyes opened. “He’s here,” she said.
Krampus’ clawed green hand turned the doorknob, and he entered. His vision was suddenly blocked as a comforter was thrown over his head. Jasma and Diana began to wail on him with pillows.
“Ach! Mein Gott!” Krampus exclaimed. “You rotten childrens! Stop vit ze hitting!”
Krampus managed to shove them away and yank off the comforter, revealing his devilish face. “Now, lets us gets down to business!”
“You can’t hurt me!” Jasma taunted. “I’m invulnerable!”
“Ah-hah!” Krampus said, holding up a hairy, clawed finger. “You may have the invulnerables, but I have the magics. Zo my birch rods still hurtzes.”
Jasma and Diana screamed and dashed from the room. “Ooh, I hates ven zey runs!” Krampus exclaimed.
Krampus chased Jasma and Diana into the living room and swung his birch rods wildly, trying to connect with one of the disobedient children as they darted about. “Ztop and take your medicine, you bratz!” he snapped.
He looked up just in time to see Diana pick up the sofa by one end and swing it at him like a baseball bat. “Uh-oh,” he said, his eyes growing wide. The sofa connected, and he went flying across the room to hit the wall and slide to the floor.
Krampus shook off the stars dancing before his eyes and leaped to his feet. “Ooh, I’m going to give you zuch a vipping for that!”
Diana tried to dodge as Krampus reached for her, but he managed to latch on at the last second. “Ha! I got you! … Vait… vere’s blondie?”
Krampus looked up to see Jasma flying toward him, carrying the refrigerator over her head to fling at him. “…Gott in Himmel…”
As the refrigerator connected with his head, he flipped head over heels before crashing to the floor. The refrigerator embedded itself in the wall above him. He looked up just as the freezer door opened, and the frozen turkey fell out and bounced off his face.
“What’s going on here?” a masculine voice suddenly boomed.
Krampus rose to his feet to see a very angry-looking Superman looking at him. While Krampus’ magic had kept Clark and Kristin from hearing him, they had been able to hear the racket created by Jasma and Diana.
Superman looked him up and down. “And just what are you supposed to be?”
“I’m Krampus!” Krampus said indignantly. “Vy is it everyone’s heard of the Claus, but no one’s heard of the old Krampus, eh? I am beloved holiday icon, too!”
“I wouldn’t say beloved,” Kristin said, entering the room with Aunt Gerta. As a historian, she knew all about Krampus.
“I’ve no beefs with you, Superman,” Krampus said. “But your childrens must to be punished. That is mine job.”
“No, that’s my job,” Superman said, fixing him with a steely gaze
“We only acted bad to get Krampus to come here,” Jasma said. “He was whipping all the naughty kids early, and we needed to stop him.”
“Yeah!” Diana exclaimed. “He’s not supposed to do that!”
“Oy, you super-heroes!” Krampus said, slapping his forehead. “You drive me to the crazies! Even ven you are being bad, you are being good. As for the punishing early ting, I does it so the childrens can still get presents. Give them clean slate, you know? I tired of havings to be the bad guy. I nice guy!”
“Then why not let the kids off with a warning?” Kristin said. “The whole ‘be good for goodness sake’ deal?”
“I no give vippings, I not be doing mine job,” Krampus said. He tucked the birch rods under his arm and clapped his hands together. “Hokey-dokey. It looks like I gots no vork to do, so I be going back to South Pole now.”
He laid his finger aside his nose, gave a nod, and then disappeared in a swirl of twinkling lights that flew up the chimney. At the same time, twinkling lights rained down from the ceiling, and all the damage in the house returned to normal.
“Wow!” Jasma and Diana exclaimed.
“You know, I should have known that you could never really be bad,” Superman said, placing his hand on Jasma’s head affectionately. “You’re certainly your mother’s daughter.” Jasma smiled up at him happily.
“So, hopefully, we’ll have no more shenanigans for the rest of the week,” Kristin laughed.
“Nope,” Jasma said. “I really like being good better.”
“Me too,” Diana said. “I wonder if the Dibnys’ house will be this much fun next week!”
“For Ralph and Sue’s sake, I hope not,” Superman said.