“Offkeys! Wait up one moment!” Deputy Harmons and Dr. Krins rush over to meet the band as they walked down the road.
Cal looked up to the deputy “Deputy Harmons. Somethin I can help you with?”
Harmons was panting slightly, but regained his composure “I have a favor to ask of you guys”
Clarice stepped forward “Sure, what do you need?”
“We would like to join you guys on your next tour. Deputy Harmons was…gifted a certain mask and he needs to find its rightful owner.” Dr. Krins gave Clarice a half bow of respect “can we?”
“Oh course groovy doctor man~ We’d be glad to let you join~”
Harmons suddenly hugs Jenny tightly “Thank you!”
Jenny chuckles “No problem Officer~”
Harmons lets her go and steps back. “well, unless one of you wants to be Pinstripe?”
Eric quickly looks up, but Cal turns to him “No” Cal’s gaze stern. “None of us wish to be Pinstripe”
Pandora chuckles “Pinstripe can’t be a girl anyway right?”
The group collectively shrugs as Harmons hands Pandora the mask “No idea”
Pandora looks at the mask with pure curiosity. She smiles before quickly putting it on before anyone could object.
“Wait!” Cal reached out too late, with another bright flash of light, Pandora’s whole look changed, from bright, trendy clothes, to a form fitting cocktail dress, her hair becoming flowing black curls. Her necklace becoming various shades of grey and black.
“oh-ho ho!~ It’s been a millennia since a female hosted me.~” She looked down at her body “Mmm~ Beautiful, but not my desired host~” She chuckled before removing the mask, only her necklace returning to normal.
“wow! Nice dress” Pandora smirked to herself “I think I’ll keep this~”
Harmons looked down at his own outfit as Pandora handed the mask back “Maybe I should change back into my uniform…suit’s just don’t feel right to me”
Clarice scoffed “Nonsense officer Harmons. That suit fits you just fine”
Harmons raised an eyebrow in response “Thank you Clarice. But still, I need to get my uniform anyway. Can I trust you guys with this mask?”
Mike reached his hand out “Sure Deputy. None of us are crazy enough to put it on anyway. Right guys?”
Cal, Jenny and Clarice nod. Pandora shrugs, still softly feeling her own body in her dress. Eric looks away from the mask. Harmons had his doubts, but handed the mask to Mike anyway. “Keep care of it guys. None of us like Pinstripe, but Sherriff Waters has a point, the world needs him, it.” He shivers slightly “just…take care of it okay?”
“Sure Sherriff, we’ll keep it safe” Mike puts the mask in his bag. “Go get changed. We leave tonight.”
Harmons smiles slightly and walks off. Leaving the band, and Dr. Krins, to stand in the road.
“You gonna put it on Mike?” Cal strummed his guitar as he leaned against a wall.
“No, my powers would make him too dangerous. And I don’t think a metal head Pinstripe is what the world needs.”
“Or a not so groovy Dj~ Or a jazz girl~ Maybe a girl who respects the classics~” Jenny playfully nudges Clarice. “Huh?~ You think so Clare?~”
“It’s Clarice Jennifer. I’ve told you this already. Calvin, maybe you can be Pinstripe?”
“No Offence Clarice, but Pinstripe was already a cowboy, and you saw how that worked. Nah, maybe Mike.”
Mike looked up from his bass “Huh? I already said no though. All of us would be a bad Pinstripe. Psyco DJ Pinstripe? Laid back Jazz Pinstripe? Pop Pinstripe? Metal Pinstripe? Cowboy Pinstripe? Maybe Clarice yah, but I still have my doubts. Our abilities would be too dangerous to give to a trained, perfect killer. Let’s just leave it to Deputy Harmons to find the next Host.”
Krins stepped forward into the group “No one in town would be Pinstripe. We all are too dangerous if we became Pinstripe.”
Cal nods “Dr. Krins has a point. Actually, Dr. why are you in town? You normally only come into town for December? Its April.”
Dr. Krins chuckles “Vacation my boy, vacation.”
Cal skeptically nods “Okay…. can I ask another question?”
“Of course” He smiles kindly.
Cal steps closer “Are you…. Santa?”
Dr. Krins laughs “Cal, how long have you known me?”
Cal raises his eyebrow “uh, about twelve years…why?”
Dr. Kirns continues laughing “And it’s taken you twelve years to figure it out?”
Everyone suddenly looks up to Dr. Krins, Jenny drops her saxophone.
“W-what?~ No way groovy candy cane man~ Santa ain’t real~”
“Oh Jenny, for your tenth birthday, you got a bowtie from your dad, it was green with red stripes. You wore it that Christmas, where you got your first flute. Your parents didn’t buy that flute; they didn’t know who got it. I did.”
Eric slowly removed his glasses, revealing his neon green eyes “You got me my first laptop.”
Dr. Krins smiles “You had a hunger to make music. I Got Cal that hat for Christmas last year. Mike his first set of Drumsticks. Clarice her first conductor’s staff. And Pandora her favorite bracelet. I got everyone in town their most prized possession. “
Mike was the only one of the team who didn’t seem to be surprised “I always knew Santa was real. Always kinda guessed it was you. It was pretty obvious actually”
Dr. Krins laughed “Of course it was obvious! I wasn’t hiding, hell, I only come to town in December.”
Mike smirks “yah, pretty obvious”
Dr. Krins softly pats his back “You always were a deceivingly smart boy Michael. That’s why you always got gifts. And the power you have, is perfect for you”
Out of all the band, Cal was still the most shocked. He looked at Dr. Krins with such a surprised expression, full of disbelief. “I…I am friends with Santa”
“Yes Cal. But if it helps, you can still call me Chris.”
Cal sighs with relief “Good, Chris. So, why are you joining Deputy Harmons on this trip?”
“I have seen many things in my life, including all the good Pinstripe has done for the world. I want to see that legacy continue correctly. We’ve said it before, but the world needs a Pinstripe.”
The group nods
“Meet us at the bus station at six tomorrow”
Chris smirks and nods “Alright then. See you then” He turns and waves before walking away, disappearing in a sudden blizzard of snow.
“How long has he been doing that?” Cal tilts his head “Has he always done that?”
“Probably” Mike looked down at the mask in his hands “Let’s put this somewhere safe, the last thing we need is someone in town to put this on”
The band nods in agreement. “No offense to any of yah, but I don’t trust anyone with that thing except Mike”
“Thanks Cal.” Mike looks up momentarily “Let’s go get packed” He puts the mask back into his bag before walking away, whispering silently to himself “the sooner we get this thing out of town, and away from Eric the better”