All I Want For Christmas


L.E. Croft

Synopsis: Nine-year-old Lara Croft has wanted a set of airsoft pistols for the last few Christmases, but her parents have refused to get them for her. This Christmas she mounts a full campaign to get exactly what she wants. Based on Jean Shepherd’s holiday tale “A Christmas Story”.

It was that time again, the ground was freshly glazed with snow, all of the shops had up their festive decorations, and I was determined to make my parents realize that the only way I’d ever have a happy childhood is if I had a pair of airsoft pistols. Oh yes, I’m sure you’re thinking “What nine-year-old girl wants a bb gun, let alone two, for Christmas?”, well I’ll have you know that this girl would. I never was a prissy girlie girl, always a tom-boy. My childhood friends were mostly boys. The girls at my school thought I was weird because I preferred to play cops and robbers instead of playing with dolls.

There I was, standing in front of the large window looking in at the holiday display set up inside the toy store, dressed in my Christmas dress and overcoat. My curled auburn locks dangled over my shoulders as I spied the airsoft pistols I had been pining over for the last three Christmases.

“Isn’t it beautiful, Lara?” My mother gleamed, looking down at me with admiring eyes.

I shrugged, the lights and decorations were invisible to me, my eyes were glued to those pistols.

“Mother, this Christmas, I really really want those.” I pointed to the pistols through the window.

“Lara, darling we’ve been over this how many times now? I’m not giving my young daughter a pair of guns. You’ll shoot your eye out!” My mother huffed. “Wouldn’t you rather have one of those new Cutie Susie dolls? Or maybe a Robbie the Rabbit stuffed animal?”

I looked up at her indignantly. “No. I hate dolls and I hate stuffed animals. My friends’ parents got them air rifles last Christmas.”

My mother wrinkled her nose. “Obviously they’re negligent. Who gives a nine-year-old a gun?”

“But it’s not a real gun, mother.” I batted my eyes.

“They may not shoot real bullets, Lara, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. I don’t like this new found interest of yours. I don’t want you going with your father to the shooting range anymore. It’s not healthy for a child to have such a keen interest in firearms.” My mother always was so over-protective.

“Ready to go ladies?” My father walked up behind us, our loyal butler Winston at his side, carrying two brown paper bags full of groceries.

“Henshingly, I don’t want you taking Lara with you and your associates to the firing range anymore.” Mother said sternly.

“Why not? She’s always well behaved.” Father smiled, patting me on the head.

“Because, darling, I’m concerned that by you introducing her to such violent and dangerous weapons it is having a serious affect on her young mind.” Mother glared at him.

“Daddy, mother is being obtuse. All I asked for are those airsoft pistols. It’s Christmas after all, and I’ve been so very good this year.” I looked up at my father with big doe eyes.

“Did you just call me obtuse?” My mother looked at me in the usual way she does, a combination of shock and fury. “Lara, that is awfully rude, where did you even learn such a thing?”

“School, mother, in mathematics. I looked up obtuse in the dictionary and found out that it not only has a geometrical application but can also be used as an insult.” I said matter-of-factly.

Father laughed as my mother scorned. “My brilliant little girl. Now apologize to your mother.”

“Sorry, mum.” I frowned.

“Now about these pistols. I thought we came to an agreement last Christmas that you’re far too young for bb guns.” Father looked down at me.

“But that was last year. I’m older now.”

“I already told her no. She thinks she can coax you, Henshingly.” My mother let out an aggravated sigh as we walked back to the car.

“I’m sorry, Lara, but a young girl like you doesn’t need to be playing with such things. It’s not lady like.” Father said as we walked.

“But daddy....”

“I said no, Lara. Now I don’t want to hear another word, understand?” He snapped, looking at me with stern eyes.

“Yes, father.” I lowered my head as Winston opened the door to the town car, letting me in.

The next day at school during lunch break, I climbed up into my favorite tree in the school yard. I sat there thinking intently about how I could possibly convince my parents to get me those airsoft pistols.

“Hey Croft! What are you doing up there?” A voice called from below me.

Looking down, I saw James Farrington. He grinned at me, waving for me to come down. I groaned, making my way out of the tree’s frozen branches.

“So any luck?” James asked as I dropped down in front of him.

“No. They’re being stubborn, just like the last three Christmases.” I wrinkled my nose.

“Well I know what will cheer you up. Charlie just dared John to lick the flag pole.” James pulled me along.

We ran to the front of the school yard where a small crowd of students had gathered. James and I squeezed our way through to the front to see John and Charlie standing in front of the flagpole.

“I’m telling you that it isn’t going to stick!” John shouted.

“Then do it! Lick the pole you chicken!” Charlie taunted him. “I double dog dare you!”

John grimaced. “This is dumb.”

“I triple dog dare you!” Charlie shouted, pointing at John menacingly.

Oh no, not a triple dog dare, I thought. There was no backing down now. John swallowed, looking at the rest of us. He slowly approached the pole, stuck out his tongue. We all held our breath as he licked the icy pole.

“See...” John mumbled as he tried to pull away.

He was stuck! What a dumby! We all laughed as he shrieked, trying to pull his tongue off the pole.

“Dumb ass!” Charlie snickered.

“You boys are horrible. John, out of all of them I thought you were the smart one!” I laughed so hard my sides began to hurt.

He screamed, waving his arms around, begging for one of us to help him. The group began to dissipate and it was just James, Charlie, and I that stayed.

“What are we going to do?” I asked as the school bell rang.

“Nothing. If we tell anyone we’ll get into trouble! This close to Christmas I’m not risking my neck for this clown.” Charlie said, running away.

James shrugged. “Sorry Johnny.” He ran off after Charlie.

John cried, looking at me. I looked around, if I didn’t leave now I’d get in trouble. Charlie was right, with Christmas right around the corner, I couldn’t risk getting in trouble.

“Sorry.” I frowned.

John waved his arms screaming in a muffled voice. “Don’t leave me!”

“The bell rang!” I yelled, then ran away.

We sat down at our desks as our teacher stood at the front of the classroom looking at each of us. She was like a hawk, I knew she’d notice that John wasn’t with us.

“Lara, where is John?” She asked.

I shrugged. “I... uh.”

I glanced at Charlie and James. Charlie shook his head and James avoided eye contact.

“I... uh... I’m not sure, Mrs. Peterson.” I frowned, sinking into my seat.

She eyed me, then looked at the rest of the class. “Has anyone seen John?”

“I have, Mrs. Peterson.” Rebecca Jacobs raised her hand.

Oh boy, here it comes, I thought as I glanced at James and Charlie.

“Well?” Mrs. Peterson folded her arms across her chest.

Rebecca pointed towards the window, smiling.

Mrs. Peterson walked towards the window as the class began to laugh. She looked out and there she saw poor John with his tongue stuck to the flagpole.

“Oh my goodness!” She gasped, then rushed out of the classroom.

The whole class jumped up out of their seats and ran to the window. After a few minutes Mrs. Peterson appeared, running with two other teachers towards John. Shortly after a firetruck arrived to help remove John’s tongue from the pole.

I looked at Charlie scornfully. “You dumb little....” I punched him in the arm.

“Ouch!” Charlie cried, rubbing his arm.

I stormed back to my desk, sitting down with a huff. “Stupid boys.”

The four of us sat out in front of the school waiting for our rides back home. John hadn’t ratted any of us out, not that he really could since his tongue was bandaged up.

“So what are you going to do, Croft?” James asked.

“About what?” I looked at him.

“About the pistols, silly, what else?”

“I don’t know. Father said if I brought it up again I’d be in trouble. Mother refuses to budge on the subject. She says they’re too dangerous and that I’m developing a dysfunctional personality.” I groaned.

“You already have dysfunctional personality! You’re a girl that hangs around boys for Petesake!” Charlie balled up some snow, then threw it at two passing girls. They screamed and ran away.

“I know!” James jumped up from the curb. “Why don’t you ask Santa Claus?”

“Santa Claus? Really, Jimbo, that’s the dumbest thing ever. We all know he doesn’t exist.” I huffed.

“Well sure, but the department store Santa does exist. If you get your parents to take you, he always says that he’ll bring you what you ask for. As long as your parents know you still believe in Santa they’ll have no choice. If they don’t get the pistols after Santa told you he would bring them for you, they’ll risk destroying your childhood beliefs. My psychiatrist always tells my parents that infraning upon my imaginative practices is datermetal to my well being.” James grinned.

“It’s infringing and determental, you idiot.” I sighed, shaking my head. “Although... you do make a good point.”

“That’s what I did. My parents had no choice but to get me the airsoft rifle.” James said as Charlie hit him with a snowball. “Hey!”

I sat on the curb thinking as the three of them broke out into a snowball fight.

That evening I decided to disturb my father in his study. He sat in front of the fireplace smoking his pipe and reading his newspaper.

“Daddy?” I said, creeping into the room.

He grunted a response as I scurried to his chair. I climbed into his lap as he stared at me begrudgingly.

“Daddy, will you take me to see Santa Claus tomorrow?” I smiled.

“Santa Claus?” He blew smoke out his nose as he puffed on his pipe.

I coughed and scrunched my nose at the smell. “Yes, daddy. I haven’t told him what I want for Christmas yet.”

“My dear child, I was under the impression you didn’t believe in Santa Claus anymore.” He eyed me.

“I never said that.” I retorted. Or had I? I couldn’t really remember.

“I very clearly remember my brillant quizical daughter asking me when she was six-years-old how a man could possibly fly around the world in one night. Also I do recall her saying that a man of his proportions could never fit down a chimney.” My father looked at me with a twinkle in his eye.

“Yes but he convinced me!” I shook my head. “I just had a moment of doubt, that’s all. I still believe in him.”

My father smiled. “Oh alright, I’ll have Winston take you tomorrow. But remember, I don’t want to hear that you were asking for those pistols again. I don’t want you shooting your eye out.”

My heart sank.

“Now run along.” My father shooed me away.

I left his lap, my head lowered. I left the room, sulking.

The following afternoon Winston carried me to the department store to see Santa Claus. The line was so long it seemed like it looped around the store not once, but twice. Winston looked down at me, smiling.

“Do you know what you’re going to ask for?” He asked me.

“Yes.” I paused. I couldn’t back down now, this was my last chance.

Hours passed and then finally we neared the top of the platform where Santa’s throne sat. I mumbled to myself, cursing the kids who took too long to ask for what they wanted and was thankful to the ones who cried like babies as soon as they sat on the fat man’s lap. Santa and his elves had little patience for the crying kids, they sent them almost immediately down the slide through the village. Once we neared the top, Winston said he’d wait for me at the bottom. This was it, the moment of truth. Just one more kid before me and then I’d have my one last chance. The kid in front of me was a crier, he was taken from Santa’s lap just as soon as he sat there. Down the slide he went, still crying.

“Come on, come on!” The elf lady grabbed me by the arm pulling me from the line.

She sat me on Santa’s lap, giving one of us a dirty look.

“Well hello little girl, what’s your name?” Santa asked, I could smell scotch on his breath.

“Lara, sir.” I replied.

“Lara, isn’t that a pretty name. Have you been a good little girl this Christmas?” He enquired.

“Yes, sir.”

“Good! What would you like for Christmas?” He smiled, his grin containing gaps from lost teeth.

I paused and my mind went blank, then my father’s voice began to ring in my ears. Lara! My father shouted. I told you not to ask for those damned pistols! You’re never getting anything for Christmas ever again!

“Um...” I stammered.

“Come on, kid, we ain’t got all day!” The elf lady snapped.

“How about a nice Cutie Susie doll?” Santa offered.

I nodded. “That sounds perfect, sir.”

“Great.” He smiled then leaned towards his elf. “Get her outta here.”

The elf lady grabbed me and pushed me down the slide. As I started to slide my brain clicked back on. I stopped myself from sliding, turned around and clawed my way back up towards Claus and his evil elf lady. They stared at me as I hung onto the platform.

“I don’t want a Cutie Susie doll! I hate dolls! I want two airsoft pistols, with silver trim!” I shouted.

Santa exchanged a look with his elf, then leaned forward. “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”

No! Not that answer again! My face scrunched up in anger as they both laughed at me.

“Ho! Ho! Ho!” Santa said in almost an evil voice as he placed his boot against my head and pushed me down the slide.

I slid all the way to the bottom, hitting the soft fake snow. My cheeks were flush, and my eyes twitched with anger.

“Why that fat old cod!” I sneered.

“So how did it go?” Winston asked as he approached me. “Did Santa say he’d bring you what you asked for?”

“No! He said I’d shoot my eye out, and then he put his boot against my head and pushed me down the slide!” I cried. “I hate Christmas, Winston. I never want to celebrate this stupid holiday again!”

“Oh my dear girl, don’t cry.” Winston patted my head as I hugged him.

“All I wanted was those two airsoft pistols, that’s all I wanted, Winston. I don’t care if I ever get anything else for Christmas.” I sobbed.

“Well, perhaps your father and mother will change their minds.” Winston said with a wink as I looked up at him.

“I doubt it.” I frowned.

“Come on, I’ll take you home and make you some hot chocolate.” Winston took my hand as we walked.

The day was finally here, Christmas morning, and I was disappointed. I knew among all those presents under our large eight foot tree, those two airsoft pistols would not be waiting for me. My father and mother were full of good cheer, as I sculked into the room my eyes beginning to tear. They brought out the camera, snapping pictures as I opened my gifts. As I suspected, my mother had bought me a stupid Cutie Susie doll, which I tossed aside. Among my other gifts was a pink bunny footie pajama from my Aunt Margaret, rabbit ears and all. Oh how I hated that woman, every Christmas she found some way to humiliate me.

“Oh isn’t that adorable!” My mother swooned. “Go put it on!”

I looked at her as if she had stabbed me a thousand times in the chest. “No.”

“Oh come on. Just for a little while, so I can take a picture for Aunt Margaret.” Mother shooed me.

I sighed. Great, could this Christmas get any worse? I ran out of the room with the pajamas and returned a short while later. I scrunched up my face resentfully as my mother giggled.

“That’s wonderful! Doesn’t she look adorable, Henshingly?” My mother snapped a few pictures.

“Amelia, dear, she looks miserable.” My father looked at her, puffing on his pipe.

“Oh alright. Go take it off, you’ll only have to wear it when Aunt Margaret comes to visit.” My mother said, waving me away.

I ran out of the room, nearly tripping on the pajama’s big rabbit feet. I returned back in my normal pajamas and robe. I made plans to burn the cursed pink bunny pajamas in the fireplace later.

The morning continued on, and all of the presents had been opened. Mother and father were delighted with all of their gifts, but not me. I looked at the clothes and useless toys that I’d never play with.

“Well that’s it. Merry Christmas!” My father said with a grin.

“Excuse me, sir, but I believe you missed one more.” Winston said, pointing to a package hidden behind the tree.

My father and mother exchanged looks then nodded for me to go take a look. I crawled around the tree and snatched the package and was shocked to see that the perfectly wrapped gift was just for me. My heart skipped a beat, could it be possible that they changed their mind? I tore open the wrapping paper and pulled out the box. A grin formed on my lips as I looked at the two silver trimmed airsoft pistols.

“Did you buy her that?” My mother looked at my father scornfully.

“No, did you?” He returned her look.

“I’m going outside to play with them!” I shouted, running away with the box.

“Oh dear.” My mother frowned. “Be careful please, and don’t shoot at animals or people!”

My father looked at Winston. “Did you have something to do with this?”

“Not at all, sir. Not at all.” Winston smiled innocently.

I tigthened the sash on my robe as I ran out of the door, my new shiny guns in tow. I fumbled with the box as I pulled them out, not bothering to look at the directions as I loaded the small BBs into the clips. My snow boots sunk into the fresh snow as I slipped the clips into the pistols. I held them in my hands, admiring them as I heard someone call my name.

“Lara! Merry Christmas!” James Farrington came running from the front gate of the estate, dragging his sled behind him.

“Merry Christmas!” I smiled, holding up the pistols. “Look!”

James smirked. “I guess the Santa thing worked?”

“Yeah. I guess it did.” I said, looking back at the mansion to see Winston watching in the window. I waved at him and he waved back then walked away from the window.

“Can I see them?” James asked.

“No... I haven’t even gotten to play with them yet.” I muttered.

“Oh come on. You have two. I can play with one and you can play with the other. We can have a duel. I bet my aim is way better than yours.” James said smugly as he snatched one of my pistols from me.

“Give it back, Jimbo! You have your own Christmas presents at home!” I yelled at him as he ran from me.

“What are you going to do about it? You’re just a girl!” He stuck out his tongue at me.

My temper flared and I aimed my one pistol at him. Without even a thought I pulled the trigger and as if in slow motion, I watched the pellet fly from the gun and hit James Farrington right in the eye. I gasped as he fell back, my other pistol flying through the air as he let out a shriek of agonizing pain. I shot his eye out! I shot his eye out!

“Oh my gosh, are you ok?” I ran over to him.

He covered his eye with one hand as he cried. “You shot me in the eye! Why did you do that!”

“Dumb, stupid boy! You wouldn’t give me my pistol back, so I got angry!” I shouted.

“You didn’t have to shoot me in the eye!” He balled like a baby. I hated when boys cried, it was so annoying.

“Listen you little weasel.” I grabbed him firmly by the collar of his snow jacket. “You better not say a word to anyone about this. My parents were worried I would shoot my own eye out, if they found out I shot out another kid’s... well that would be the end of it. I’d never see the light of day again. So if you value your life, James Farrington, you’ll run home and tell your dear ole mum that an icicle fell from a tree and hit you in the eye.”

He stared up at me, seeing the intensity in my eyes. I had scared the crap out of him. He scrambled to his feet, grabbed his sled and ran away.

“You’re a mean girl, Lara Croft!” He yelled.

“Don’t make me shoot your other eye out!” I yelled back.

I grunted, grabbing my other pistol from the snow and decided to head back inside. I prayed that no one had witnessed what had occurred and that James wouldn’t tell on me. I entered the mansion, pulling off my snow boots.

“Back so soon?” Winston asked.

“Yeah.” I mumbled.

“I thought I heard James Farrington. Was he here?” My mother asked.

“Yeah, but he was messing about and an icicle fell and hit him in the eye. So he ran home crying.” I said sheepishly.

“Why didn’t you get us?” My father asked.

“Because he ran away. He’ll be fine, it was small.” I shrugged, sitting back down beside the Christmas tree.

“Well Merry Christmas, Lara.” My father said with a smile.

I smiled. Merry Christmas indeed.


NOTICE: This story is a work of fiction. Lara Croft, her likeness, and the Tomb Raider games are all copyright of EIDOS Interactive. There is no challenge to these copyrights intended by this story, as it is a non-sanctioned, unofficial work of the author's own.