(the following is a fan-fiction in honour of Thanksgiving. Enjoy)
A VILE Thanksgiving
Thursdays at Stone Harbour were like Thursdays at any other quaint little English town, slow and dull. The centre of activity in the town, the theatre, was usually closed on said day for rehearsals and ‘other preparations’ for the weekend performances.
As per the usual, the hallowed temple of the arts was closed this particular Thursday, but for an entirely different reason. This particular day, the building was alive with the hum of celebration and laughter.
Several long dining tables had been set up in the staff-only dining and expertly decorated under the watchful eye of one Contessa Adrianna Covrenzi. The aristocratic thief was arrayed immaculately in a tailor-made magenta dress which she saved for special celebrations; she would have preferred to show off a scarlet number but conceded that only one woman could and should don that colour tonight.
Clutching her purse in one gloved hand and gesturing with the other, Contessa directed the henchmen with ruthless efficiency, transforming a simple staff-only dining area into a beautiful banquet hall worthy of Thanksgiving. Alongside the henchmen, the usually reserved Kidman was happily lighting the various candles and staring curiously at their mesmerizing glow.
The younger VILE agent had ditched her usual grey garbs for some sort of native American costume. Contessa let out a small but discreet smile as the younger agent continued her task under Adrianna’s watchful gaze; it was always refreshing for the senior agents to see Kidman come out of her shell. She was very much the youngest sibling of their group and treated as such by them. Briefly, Contessa wondered if the unusual garment had been supplied by their resident jester.
Said jester was currently working in the kitchen, leading the culinary brigade alongside a polyester clad chef. Vic the Slick and Joe Kerr both boasted Italian heritage, so it had surprised no one when they decided to work together and take charge of food. Like his counterpart, Joe had kept a small bit of his usual flare in his chef’s outfit – he had removed his mask and substituted his chef’s hat for a jester’s cap whilst Vic had exchanged his usual polyester jacket for a polyester apron.
Each man had pulled out some old family recipes and was expertly whipping up various dishes, splitting the work evenly between them; Joe had opted to focus on pasta and sides whilst Vic had taken turkey duty upon himself. Behind them, a young blonde giggled; it was certainly a sight to see the two men work side by side, weaving in and around each other in a graceful yet somewhat comical dance.
Patty Larceny was dressed in a pink pastry chef outfit whose cuteness was only enhanced by the small smudge of flour on her nose. VILE’s golden girl had proven on many occasions that she was a highly adept baker, and so no one had argued when she volunteered to churn out Pumpkin pie and various other sweet treats. Sprinkling some edible glitter on her latest batch of cookies, Patty glanced out to the makeshift bar to see Dr Sara Bellum attempt yet another crazy concoction.
The enigmatic scientist had ditched her usual lab coat for a new one, just so she didn’t contaminate her drinks with any unwanted additions. Dr Bellum had, as per VILE tradition, wanted to contribute in some way and somehow building a giant mechanical turkey just didn’t fit the bill so she had volunteered to mix the drinks. Beside her on the counter was the Mixologist’s Bible and an array of spirits and other bartending paraphernalia. Underneath the bar though, were several crates of cider just in case.
As per tradition, a piano had been set up in a corner of the room for Sarah Nade to ply her talents; this year though, the instrument would serve as little more than a decoration. Sarah was out on tour and unable to return to Stone Harbour in time so she had sent an advance copy of her newest album, Plymouth Rock, in her place. The album comprised mainly of Sarah Nade’s signature style rock songs although there were about three or four mellower tunes thrown in as well.
The best song in the entire album, oddly enough, was a stripped down, simple ballad featuring only the acoustic guitar and Sarah’s heavenly vocals. It was simply titled ‘Coming home’ and was a beautiful and poignant reminder of the importance of family and friends.
Soon enough, the room was fully decorated, the candles were all lit, the tables were set, the food was laid out and all the family were seated and exchanging stories and jokes; all that was left was the arrival of their matriarch.
Suddenly, all chit chat was cut short by loud, heavy footsteps. Eartha Brute entered the dining area carrying a moderately sized fir tree over one shoulder.
“Sorry I’m late folks. I brought the tree. Where do we set it up? I can’t wait to decorate it.”
For a few moments, total silence reigned in the dining area as Eartha’s broad grin met only blank stares. Finally, someone spoke up.
“Ey…that’s a nice tree and all Eartha, it’s just that we got a slight problem here. It’s Thanksgiving today, not Christmas. You’re actually a month early with the tree sweetheart.”
For a moment Eartha looked crestfallen and everyone wondered whether she’d burst into tears; despite being her unearthly strength and gruff exterior, Eartha actually had a rather sensitive side to her. All the senior agents knew that it didn’t take that much to get to her emotionally; she was always the first to cry during movie nights – even when the show was a comedy.
Whatever tension had built up in the room quickly subsided when a familiar voice rang out “That’s a lovely tree Eartha, thank you for your thoughtfulness. It would make a lovely prop for our production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ right Vincent?”
“Eh, right of course Carmen. Thank you Eartha.”
Eartha beamed with pride and went to put the tree down by the side of the dining area before taking her seat at the table.
With the drama over, everyone turned with delight toward the woman who now took her rightful place at the head of the table. For once, the Queen of Thieves had forgone her usual ensemble and instead opted for a beautiful gown. The dark crimson dress hugged her figure in such a way that left no doubt it was tailor made for Carmen herself; even Contessa was impressed by the exquisite number.
Taking her seat, Carmen was quickly enveloped in a quick hug by Kidman who sat on her left. Across from Kidman, on Carmen’s right was her right-hand man, Vic-the-Slick; Seated beside Vic was a rambunctious Patty Larceny and across from her, the equally lively Joseph Kerr. The two always got along well and it showed with their ever on-going banter;
Next to Joe was the much more reserved Dr Sara Bellum and across from her, the equally calm Contessa. The two women engaged in respectful yet idle talk, once in a while trying to bring Eartha in, without much success.
Eartha was seated next to Contessa with Sarah Nade’s empty chair across from her. The powerhouse wasn’t much of a talker and instead preferred to listen to the jokes and admire the food, in particular Vic’s masterpiece of a roast turkey.
Light, crystalline tapping rang throughout the dining area as Carmen held her glass of cider up for a toast. “Everyone, as it is Thanksgiving, I feel it only appropriate that we begin our meal by each giving gratitude for something. Would anyone like to start us off? Vincent?”
Clearing his throat, Vic stood up, “Ahem, I guess I, um, am thankful that after all that’s happened recently, everyone is safe and sound and we’ve got a brand new place to call our own.”
A chorus of agreement was heard from around the table as Vic took his seat; since losing the Antarctic base it has been one perilous adventure after another. Truly, it was a wonderful thing for everyone to be able to just seat down in peace in the safety of Stone Harbour.
Kidman got up and gave Carmen a big hug and then proceeded to give everyone at the table one too.
“I’m thankful for you Carmen. I wouldn’t be here without you. I’m also thankful for each one of you at this table; Vic, Patty, Joe, Contessa, Dr Bellum, Eartha, you’re my family. I would be all alone without all of you.
“Aw Kid, we love you too” giggled Patty as she stood up. “Lolz, I guess I’m grateful that Stone Harbour is such a fantastic place. Sure, the old base held a lot of memories for us but it was also like, totally remote and boring at times. This theatre is a lot more cheery and full of life, and gives us something to do when we aren’t out on heists. Plus, it’s always fun to put a smile on someone’s face. Right Joe?”
“Couldn’t have said it better myself Patty.” Joe laughed as he stood up to take his turn. “I’m thankful that we’re all here. Thank you Carmen, for choosing each one of us and giving us a chance to work alongside you. It’s been an absolute honour and pleasure.” The sentiment was readily echoed by all present, much to Carmen’s amusement.
“I guess I’m thankful for being alive.” Contessa uttered in a surprisingly subdued fashion. “Before VILE, I took life for granted; I was so absorbed with living the life that I forgot to live. Being around you guys, made me realize what I’d been missing.”
“Wow, and here I thought I was the depressing one,” Joked Sara Bellum in her thick Eastern European accent. “As for me, I’m just grateful for second chances. After my past stunts, you still found it in you to take me in again. Thank you, Carmen.” Carmen replied by uttering a few words in a language that only Sara seemed to understand. Whatever it was, it made Sara break into a teary smile.
Finally, it was Eartha’s turn. After blowing her nose and wiping off the last of her tears, Eartha stood up. “I guess I’m just thankful for all this food. Can we eat now?” This earned her a chorus of laughter.
With the meal all but devoured, it was time for desert; Vic was waxing lyrical about his family tradition of Pumpkin Gelato served with Maple Syrup and spiced pumpkin seeds. Joe and Patty were helping serve whilst Vic continued with his spiel, oblivious to the polite chuckling going on around him.
As the thieves tucked into their desert, Kidman turned towards the object of her adulation. “I just realized that you never got to share what you were thankful for, Carmen.”
The VILE Leader merely displayed her trademark enigmatic smile as the rest of the table turned curiously toward her. “I guess if I have to pick something, I’d say I’m thankful for ACME.”
At first, Kidman laughed heartily, thinking Carmen was telling one of her rare jokes. However, she stopped abruptly after realizing everyone else at the table wasn’t laughing but instead smiling thoughtfully. Perplexed, she turned back to Carmen, waiting for an explanation.
“Confused little one? Don’t be. For as long as I’ve played this game, ACME has been a most worthy adversary, and a fairly reliable ally during the more distasteful of times. They have made the game most enjoyable thus far, and for that I am thankful.”
“Ey, they might be stick-in-the-muds but there ain’t no denying those gumshoes are good at what they do.” Vic mused before eating another spoonful of the gelato.
“You know,” Joe piped up. “ACME and VILE are really the last of a dying breed. We represent ideals that are almost non-existent in the world today – the honest cop and the honourable thief. We’re two sides of the same coin really.”
“Yeah, but we’re the glittery side.” Patty giggled.
Carmen raised her glass, halting any further conversation on the topic.
“A toast then, to ACME.”
“To ACME!” came the unanimous reply.
As the dining room soon erupted into laughter and animated conversations again, Carmen discreetly glanced at the untouched piano and smiled ruefully. Lifting her glass almost imperceptibly, she whispered to no one in particular,
“Happy Thanksgiving Chase.”
Across the pond, in a certain office of a certain crime stopping agency, a man sat on his leather office chair and slowly sipped from his glass of scotch; his rugged yet smooth features perfectly illuminated by the moonlight streaming in.
The laptop on his desk forgotten, he pours himself another glass and glances outside the window; Compulsively, he seeks out the figure that is always there, the phantom that simultaneously haunts and comforts him. Though he knows the futility of the task, his hawk-like eyes never cease scanning the rooftops. Tonight, there is no shadow there to taunt him, no voice that whispers in the wind; only silence in all its deafening glory.
Bemused, the man turns his gaze back to his office, back to the single rose sitting in a glass vase on his desk. He lifts his glass to offer a toast though he knows she’ll never hear it.
“Happy Thanksgiving, Carmen, wherever you are.”
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