'Tis the Season (to Be Excellent to Each Other)

Written by:
Linda Kay

BILL & TED characters are trademarks of Nelson 1991 Inc. The motion picture BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE & © 1989 Nelson Films Inc. All Rights Reserved. The motion picture BILL & TED'S BOGUS JOURNEY © 1991 Orion Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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Stopping a moment to look at a string of brightly colored lights which were inadvertently framing a large poster ad in the front window of the Circle K, Bill sucked noisily at his frozen drink, grimacing slightly with distaste. Through a small, uncovered portion of the window he could see Ted inside the store paying the clerk then nodding with a smile as he walked away and exited the store, bopping along with his own drink in hand.

Ted stopped beside Bill and followed his friend's gaze to notice the lights. "They sure have gotten into the Christmas spirit!" he observed, taking a sip of his Frosty Slush and copying perfectly Bill's earlier expression.

"Yeah, but I think the Christmas Frosty Slushes weren't such a good idea," Bill sighed, looking through the clear plastic dome over his cup to eye the contents skeptically.

"Strawberry and avocado . . . most unsavory combination," Ted agreed, then sighed sadly. "Bogus."

"Hey, it's okay, Ted," Bill assured him with a pat on the shoulder. "It is still a most excellent Christmas treat." As if to prove his point, he directed Ted's eyes toward him and took another slurp, nodding his head. "Mmmmmm!!!"

Ted laughed slightly, then shrugged his shoulders. "It's okay. This drink is most egregious." He threw his cup into a nearby trash can and motioned for Bill to do the same. As Bill threw his cup away, Ted kicked at an empty Coke can on the ground. "I wish you were not going away for two weeks."

"I know," Bill sighed, leaning against the front wall of the convenience store. "But you know how it goes. My parents have to share their time with me, and it's Mom's turn for Christmas." He moaned under his breath, then shrugged. "Eh, it's probably for the best anyway, what with my dad going away on that ski trip."

"Who's he goin' with, anyway?" Ted asked, leaning against the wall beside Bill.

"I don't know. Some new girlfriend, I guess. Doesn't matter. It'll probably be over before they even get back." Bill then eyed Ted with slight concern. "What about you? You gonna be okay?"

Ted didn't seem to hear the question, then suddenly lifted his head. "Oh, yeah! No problem. Dad's gonna take the night off and we'll have a nice dinner Christmas Eve and open presents . . . and stuff."

Bill nodded as if in approval. "That's cool. Well, I'll be back in a couple of weeks."

"Yeah. That's not so long."

They looked at each other, knowing exactly what the other was thinking. "Not!"

Bill grabbed Ted's wrist and looked at his watch. "It's late, dude. We'd better get home."

"Can't we just hang out a little longer?" Ted whined.

"Yer dad'll throw a fit if you're not home on time, and I have to get packed."

Ted nodded sadly, knowing Bill was right. They turned to leave, heads dropped sadly. As they walked past the store's entrance, the door flew open and the manager stepped out backwards, pushing the door open with his shoulder because he was carrying two large Frosty Slushes. "Boys! Wait a moment!"

Bill and Ted turned as the man stepped forward. "I just tasted the Christmas special. Blech!!! Here, please take these on the house. They're just plain strawberry."

"Whoa!" Bill and Ted gasped, accepting the drinks.

"Thanks, Mr. Manager dude," Bill added.

The man waved his hands in front of him, warding off any further thanks. "No problem. You two alone fund the maintenance on the Slushie machine! Have a Merry Christmas, boys!"

"Merry Christmas!" Bill and Ted shouted back as the man went back inside the store. They turned to each other and clinked their cups, even though it made no sound.

"Merry Christmas, dude," Bill offered.

"Merry Christmas, Bill." They each took a long sip from the drink, then sighed, keeping their eyes down, neither of them appearing particularly merry.

Bill slapped Ted's back in a friendly manner and led him away from the store. "Just think, Ted. We'll see each other again next year!"

"Yeah." But they walked home extra slow anyway.

* * * * * * * * * * *

" . . . and traffic is already backed up on our city's highways! The 10 eastbound leaving Los Angeles is especially snarled, owing to a four car pileup caused by a jackknifed bigrig just before the 650, so allow plenty of time to get out of town or you might want to use alternate routes . . . . "

Bill switched off the radio, shaking his head. What else could anyone expect on a Friday, let alone the day before Christmas Eve? At least his father was smart . . . he'd gotten half the day off to try to beat the mad commuter rush up to Big Bear. In fact he was already loading the station wagon . . . not exactly the kind of car ideal for impressing a potential lover, but after the divorce settlement it was all he had for the time being.

Shoving another cassette tape into his suitcase, Bill wondered when his mother would show up. Chances were she'd be late again. He certainly didn't look forward to going. He'd probably have to sit around at some loud party his mother would throw together at the last minute, inviting a bunch of people she really didn't know in an attempt to create the illusion that she was the swinging young jet-setter she'd always imagined herself to be. She always claimed she wanted to spend time with him, but her idea of spending time usually meant nothing more than cohabiting the same house for a weekend, leaving him to listen to music while she got on with her "life".

Realizing he couldn't conceivably stuff one more cassette into the already bulging bag, Bill pulled the top down and struggled with the zipper a while before successfully closing it. Satisfied, he headed downstairs to see if he could help his Dad load the skis onto the ski rack.

As he reached the bottom of the stairs the phone rang. He redirected his steps and picked up the receiver in mid-ring. "Hello?"

"Hello, Bill? This is mom!"

"Yeah, hi mom. I'm all packed. When're ya comin' to . . . ?"

"Yeah, um, Bill? That's what I wanted to call you about. See, I'm afraid I won't be able to come get you after all."

Bill knitted his eyebrows in confusion. "You mean you want me to take the bus over there?"

"Well, actually, I mean I won't be able to spend Christmas with you after all. Something . . . came up. Unexpectedly."

Bill sighed with resignation. "Who is he?"

"Oh Bill, don't take that tone. It isn't like that, really!"

Bill remained silent, not letting her get away with it.

"Okay, but this guy is really special. I mean, I think he may be the one, you know? I just need to spend some time alone with him to, you know, get to know him better. Let him get to know me. You understand."

"Yeah, I understand," Bill stated quietly, wondering how well the guy could ever get to know her when she wasn't going to tell him she was already the mother of a teenage son.

"I'm really sorry, Bill. But you can spend Christmas with your dad, huh? He's going skiing, right?"

"Yeah. I can spend Christmas with Dad. You go on and have a good time."

"I knew you'd understand. I'll see you sometime in January anyway, huh?"

"Yeah, sure mom."

"Great. Well, I'll see you then."

"Uh, Mom?" Bill called, keeping her from hanging up. "Merry Christmas."

"Aw, thank you, sweetie. Take care! Bye!"

After hearing the click of the phone on her end, Bill slowly hung up the phone. He reminded himself he wanted to stay home. Still, it hurt . . . his own mother couldn't even bother to wish him a Merry Christmas.

The front door opened and his dad stepped in, looking pleased. "Well, we're all set to go!" He stepped to the small table next to the door and began shoving his wallet, spare change and other last minute sundries into his pockets.

"I was going to ask if you needed help with the skis."

"It's all done!" He paused a moment, looking at Bill. "Did I hear the phone ring a moment ago?"

"Oh yeah. It was mom."

"When is she coming to pick you up?"

Bill stepped over to his dad to tell him what she'd said, then he reconsidered. "She said she'd be over later."

"Oh good." He patted his pockets, as if to make sure he had put everything in its proper place, then stopped when he noticed the disgusted look on Bill's face. "Look, Bill. I know how you feel. This visitation stuff is really tough on all of us. But your mom really does care for you. Try to have a good time, huh?"

"Yeah, sure," Bill said sarcastically.

"Oh Eugene!" a high-pitched female voice called from outside. A moment later a blonde head poked through the doorway. "Are we ready to go?"

Bill's jaw dropped with recognition as the young girl entered the house. His father sidled up to her, hooking his arm around her waist. "Bill, this is Missy."

"Hi, Bill!" Missy smiled. "It's good to see you again!"

Bill's mouth still hung open as he gestured toward her, trying to speak.

"Oh, you've met before?" Mr. Preston asked with a smile.

Bill continued to gawk, then finally found his voice. "We go to the same school!"

"Really? That's nice." Mr. Preston hooked a finger under Missy's chin, which made her giggle.

Bill walked over to his dad, grabbed his arm and pulled him aside. "Dad! She goes to my school!"


Bill huffed in disbelief. "Dad, she's only a couple of years older than I am! She's in high school!" When this didn't have any impact, Bill's voice went up another octave. "Ted even asked her to the junior prom!"

"She graduates this year, Bill."

"Dad! This is sick!"

Mr. Preston lowered his voice. "Look, she got let back once. She'll be eighteen in February. We're not going to . . . you know . . . until she's of age! Until then, I think she's old enough to decide who to date!"

"What are you two talking about?" Missy cooed, stepping closer. "Oh, I know. It's probably one of those father/son things, huh?"

"Yeah," Mr. Preston smiled, walking back to her. "Ready to hit the slopes?"

"Sure am!" Missy smiled, turning back to the door. "I'll see you later, Bill!"

Dumbfounded, Bill stood in the middle of the hallway as his father stepped out the door, then glanced back in. "Have a good time with your mother!" The door closed but Bill could still hear Missy's squeaky little laugh outside.

"Well . . . Merry Christmas, dude!" Bill sighed to himself.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Ted was surprised to see the sun was already setting when he and his father emerged from the San Dimas Mall. They crossed to the patrol car and loaded the gifts his father had bought into the trunk. There was a large bag of small toys, some of which his father donated to Toys for Tots, although some would remain in the trunk for times when Captain Logan came across a distressed child in the course of his work, then another bag which contained a video game for Deacon and some cassette tapes Ted had picked out for himself.

As they drove home they were both quiet, until finally Captain Logan broke the silence. "I really appreciate your coming to the mall with me on Christmas Eve. I didn't know what to get you boys."

"It's okay, Dad." Ted continued to look out the window, watching for colored lights lining the houses they passed and wishing they had at least put lights up themselves. Maybe that would have helped bring about the Christmas spirit, although since his mother died just over a year ago they had not celebrated Christmas much at all.

Captain Logan could sense his son's disappointment. "I'm sorry your gifts aren't wrapped."

Ted looked at his dad sincerely. "It's really okay, dad."

"I guess I'll leave Deacon's video game in his stocking from Santa. Maybe you can wrap it later, huh?"

"Yeah, sure." They had at least made sure Deacon got a Christmas stocking, although his brother had long since been aware that Santa didn't exist. Somehow Ted's stocking hadn't been hung up for two years, but he didn't care . . . not really. He'd grown up a lot since then.

"And I'm sorry about not spending Christmas Eve at home this year. They really needed extra men tonight and I have to be there to supervise."

"Dad, it's really okay!" Ted assured him earnestly. "You got your work to do and Deacon's going to his friend's house anyway."

Captain Logan looked at Ted. "You can go to a friend's, too, you know."

"Bill's out of town."

"What about your other friends?"

"What other friends?" Ted thought, but only said, "Yeah, I'll see."

They turned off the main street and went several blocks. As they passed Bill's house, Ted noticed their outdoor Christmas lights were on. Odd, he thought. He couldn't remember they had even strung lights this year. He sat up further in his seat, craning his neck as they passed. The tree in the front window was also lit, and the lights were on inside.

Sitting back into the seat, Ted slumped down, thinking about this.

"What's wrong?" Captain Logan asked.

"The lights are on at Bill's house but there's not supposed to be anyone home."

"They probably just have them set up on a timer to fool potential burglars."

"Yeah, maybe."

* * * * * * * * * * *

Ted quickened his step as he approached Bill's house. He'd sneaked out as soon as his dad had left for work. While his dad's explanation of why the lights would be on at Bill's house made sense, something else urged him to check into it further.

Slowly he approached the living room window, pushing his way carefully through the bushes to reach the sill. He didn't really expect to see anything. No one ever spent any time in the spacious living room of the Preston household.

As he pulled his nose up over the sill, he glanced back and forth, realizing he would have to change his vantage point because the tree was in his way. He moved over to his right and looked again. This time he was surprised to see Bill sitting on the couch. Ducking slightly, Ted tried to figure out what his friend was doing, and came to the conclusion that he wasn't doing anything. Although Bill was sitting sideways somewhat facing the tree he didn't seem interested in anything.

Ted felt his heart ache for his friend. He had a pretty good idea what had happened. It was just like Bill not to ruin his father's holiday by not saying anything, too. Thinking quickly, he left the window and headed toward the side of the house. Hopefully Bill had not locked the garage.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Bill was slumped on the couch thinking everything through again. He had thought about making the best of the holiday . . . maybe even setting up the new microphone and stand his father had given him for Christmas but he'd realized his heart just wasn't in it. Finally he'd resigned himself to sitting around feeling sorry for himself. It was what he really needed anyway. No one else would feel sorry for him.

Suddenly he heard a strange noise which sounded like a low humming outside. He strained to listen but it didn't repeat itself. Then he heard another noise . . . that of an electric guitar being tuned slightly. A few moments later the stillness of the night was split with several rough and out of tune chords played in succession. They sounded somewhat familiar, but he couldn't place it until an off-key voice began singing.

"Joy to the world! All the boys and girls! Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea! Joy to you and me!!!"

Bill jumped up, hardly able to believe his ears. He reached the front door and threw it open just in time to be bombarded with, "Jeremiah was a bullfrog!!!"

Bill slapped his hands over his ears. Ted saw this and immediately stopped playing, looking at him with concern.

"That's a little too loud for Christmas music, dude!" Bill laughed, looking down at the amplifier which Ted had plugged into an outside outlet and set right on the front doorstep. He bent forward to turn it down. "Besides, that's the wrong 'Joy to the World'."

"It's the only one I know!" Ted whined.

Bill smiled. "It's great, Ted. But how did you . . . ?"

"We drove by your house and I saw the lights on. I figured something happened with your mom."

"Yeah, she did it again," Bill sighed. "I should come to expect it by now, I guess." He eyed Ted questioningly. "But what about you? I thought you were . . . . "

"My dad had to work tonight. Deacon went to a friends." Ted plucked out a few more notes of the song and picked up the lyrics in a soft voice. "Was a good friend of mine. . . "

Bill joined him as they finished the verse. "I never understood a single word he said, but I helped him-a drink his wine."

Ted stopped playing as Bill looked up at him and smiled, continuing. "Yeah, he always had a mighty fine wine." He nodded. "It is a most excellent Christmas song, dude."

"Thanks," Ted smiled, lifting the guitar from around his neck. He looked up at Bill with a slightly guilty expression. "I'm kinda glad you're home."

"And I'm glad you came over, dude." They stood for a moment in silence, just happy to be in each other's company. Bill then pointed to the garage. "Hey, you wanna help me set up my new microphone?"

"Excellent!" Ted replied. They motioned an air guitar together, then gathered up the amplifier and wires, carrying the equipment between them.

As they walked, Ted glanced over at Bill. "Bill?"


"Merry Christmas."

"Yeah," Bill answered. "Same to you, dude."

As they approached the garage, Bill let out an exasperated groan. "Oh, dude! Wait'll you hear who my dad is dating!"

The End