Gadget Gadget

“You’re gonna have questions,” the ket said, which was an understatement. They crouched well out of Katters’ reach, bouncing a little on the balls of their feet, ready to bolt if it looked like Katters was going to attack them.

“I’ve got a few things,” Katters said. “Questions are among them. What the fuck?”

The ket barked and Katters supposed it was a laugh. Their mouth was split into a toothy grin, wide and sharp, and their eyes were bright in a way that couldn’t be solely attributed to their yellow colour. But their orange ears twitched and cocked at odd angles — Katters did not have the ket’s full attention. Their mind was elsewhere.

How the Zebra Stole Christmas

Director’s Commentary

The rain came down hard that Christmas Eve, rattling against the roof of The Katters’ and Zebra’s Inconspicuous Meat Pie Shop and Tonsorial Parlour. Inside, Katters and Zebra were curled up at opposite ends of the couch in the living room, sharing an obscenely large, blue comforter. Both had festive and obscenely alcoholic drinks, though they were not themselves in very festive moods.

“There’s something—” Zebra’s cheap Santa hat slipped down over his eyes and he pushed it back to its proper place. “There’s something off about this time of year.”

“Yeah,” Katters said, breathing peppermint. “I know what you mean.”

“I used to love Christmas. But now it all feels so forced.”

Katters nodded. “It’s, we’re, it’s because we’re adults, now. All the magic is gone.”

“Is that it?”

“Gone forever.”

“No,” Zebra said. “I don’t think that’s it. I don’t think Christmas magic is rel— releg— I don’t think it’s just for kids. Adults can get into the Christmas spirit, too.”

“But they do it for the kids, get me? You get into the Christmas spirit because you’re spreading joy for small people. We don’t have any small people to foist Santa-related lies onto, ergo we have no Christmas spirit.”

Zebra took a thoughtful drink, a minty chill spreading into his sinuses and an alcoholic burn spreading through his chest. “No,” he said again. “I still don’t think that’s it.”

“Well, what is it, then, Mr. Smart Guy?”

“No.” Zebra sat up, energised by an epiphany. “You know what it is?”


“We’re on the naughty list. We’ve been seasonally ostracised by Santa Claus. There’s nothing to look forward to come Christmas morning — that is to say, no presents.”

“I thought presents were antithesis to the true meaning of Christmas. Rudolph said so.”

“Rudolph can go fuck himself. Presents are an enormous part of Christmas and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is a fool. But more importantly, Katters, this is a problem we have with a very simple solution.”

“Does it involve moving?” Katters sunk deeper into her comforter cocoon. “Because I’d rather not.”

“If we’re missing out on Christmas spirit because we’re on some kind of blacklist, then all we have to do is take some Christmas spirit for ourselves. Be proactive. Take initiative.”

“You don’t mean—”

“I do!” Zebra said, scrambling to his feet. “Tonight, we steal Christmas!”

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Swap, pt. 2


K. Whimsy’s Books and Et Cetera — Sor’s bookshop — was five stories tall, and topped by a tree growing from the fifth floor balcony. The store looked out of place on the quiet street, surrounded by buildings much shorter than it.

Zebra leaned Sor’s body against the wall as she searched for a key.

“Sor,” he said, bored.

She hushed him. “Keep your commentary to yourself until we get into the lab,” she said. “The last thing I need is one of my employees finding out about this.”

“Right,” he said, and straightened. “Well, while you’re rummaging through my pockets, I’ll just unlock the door, shall I?”

Sor froze. “Oh,” she said. “Right. These are your pants.”

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