Shop Your Head Off

The Holy Ground Highlander Forum Midweek Challenge

Archivist’s Note: The stories and vignettes offered here from various Rysher Forumlanders have not been edited or changed other than having a spell-check performed and being reformatted for this website.


The Challenge by Leah CWPack
Shop Your Head Off by Ysanne
Here We Go A-Wal-Marting Among the Leaves So Green by SBO
The Perils of Holiday Shopping by Wildcard
Shop Your Head Off by Wain
Shop Your Head Off by Brena Rosal
Shop Your Head Off by LA-LA-Lander
Shop Your Head Off by Mr. Smiley Girl from G5
The Christmas Combo (Supersized) by vixen69
The Craft by Ghost Cat
So Three Immortals Were Shopping by celticangel (link to story)


Posted By: Leah CWPack <>
Thursday, 30 November 2000, at 11:17 a.m.

Your challenge, should you decide to participate:

Write a short scene, story or poem involving a HIGHLANDER Immortal(s) and the Holiday shopping season.

You must include the following three elements:

1) toe socks 2) moose 3) terra cotta

Good luck!


Posted By: Ysanne
Thursday, 30 November 2000, at 4:54 p.m.


"Up on the housetop the moose do pause..."

"Uh...'moose'...? It's 'reindeer,' Methos."

"Right. Reindeer, then. I knew it was large mammals with antlers, didn't I?"

MacLeod shrugged and nodded, hiding his grin, and waved permission for Methos to continue singing.

"Out jumps dear old Santa Claus, Down through the chimney with lots of noise, Breaking terra cotta toys..."


"Terra cotta, MacLeod, you know, made of clay, fragile when landed on by a three-hundred-pound elf? In the old days that's all we had to play with, terra cotta, and maybe some sticks..."

"Oh, spare me," groused the Highlander, throwing a Christmas cookie at the thwarted singer, "not *that* again! I suppose you walked barefoot through burning desert sands, uphill both ways to fetch water, too?"

Methos deftly caught the cookie and began to eat it, talking through the ginger crumbs.

"Bare feet, yes, and burnt, too, unless you were lucky enough to have old rags to wrap around your toes and feet. I remember once a woman died and bequeathed me her rag bag, and I felt like a sultan. Not a piece of cloth in there bigger than your finger, but I used them to wrap each toe and braided them together to protect the soles of my feet....what's so funny?"

MacLeod looked up at Methos from the floor where he was giggling weakly, having fallen from the sofa in a vain attempt to curtail his laughter.

"Toe socks? You're telling me you invented *toe socks,* what, two thousand years ago? Oh, Wise and Powerful One, what other wonders hast thou wrought?" Here MacLeod fought off another bout of giggles and wiped his eyes with his sleeve.

Methos fixed his companion with a stern eye as he brushed the last of the crumbs from his sweater and continued his song.

"Yo-ho-ho, the wind doth blow, Yo-ho-ho, the wind doth blow-ow-ow....NOW what!?"

MacLeod lay whooping on the hearth rug, finally recovering enough to gasp, "Santa...cutlass in his teeth...pirate sleigh, maybe? Stop, Methos, I give up! The bet's not worth it, you're killing me here. Take it, just take it."

With a triumphant, "HAH!" Methos swept the remote control from the coffee table with a flourish, and clicked on the tv.

"Fetch me a beer, and one for yourself, my good man," he gestured grandly at Mac, "and soon we will be deep within small town America, where ringing bells mean angels are getting their wings. Don't know why you're so dead set against watching 'It's a Wonderful Life,' anyway. Jimmy Stewart kind of reminds me of you."


"Here we go a-Wal-Marting among the leaves so green..."

Posted By: SBO, whose muse is tending toward silly... <>
Thursday, 30 November 2000, at 2:27 p.m.


Tapping her foot as she looked at her watch, Amanda felt a surge of panic. It was 6:30 p.m., December 24, and she'd done something she'd never done in her thousand-plus years on her planet--wait this long to get her Christmas list in order! She'd also never found herself forced to shop at Wal-Mart, either.

Duncan's party was to start in exactly half an hour and she still needed to stand patiently in line behind the 20 or so very panicked people who were in obviously the same sinking boat as she. Not only that, she had to wrap the darn presents or at least put them in some sort of gift bag. Amanda had to admit that at the moment she didn't feel much like Martha Stewart.

She took a long look at the items in her shopping cart. "Methos had better like those toe socks," she grumbled just under her breath. "And here's a cute thing for Duncan--the man who has everything. I think he'll get a kick out of it--and it's terra-cotta, too--what does this say on the package--a Chia-head? Wonder if a free Quickening comes in every box?"

She remembered, too, that she overheard Mr. SBO say he'd wanted a stuffed moosehead, he'd seen in some catalog--we'll she'd found that, too.

All in all, it had been a successful shopping trip, Amanda thought to herself, as the line inched forward by one.


Toad ya it was silly...


The perils of holiday shopping...

Posted By: wildcard <>
Thursday, 30 November 2000, at 1:44 p.m.


"You want me to steal what?"
"A Playstation 2."
"But, why?"
"I suppose you'd prefer I asked for one of the Terra Cotta Warriors of the Qin Dynasty? Or some other pathetic relic?, perhaps?"
"Well, it would make more sense."
"Sure, clay statues are loads of fun. 'Hey you wanna come over? I've got a statue!'"
"Why don't you just buy one?"
"Where have you been? These things are rarer than a set of Pokemon toe socks, or some other non-existant annoyance. And, don't try to appeal to my moral sensibilities. You, more than anyone, know I don't have any."
"Fine, give me one reason why I should do this."
"I know we've had our differences lately, thanks mostly to that Scottish boyscout. But, think of all the fun we've had. I'd do it, but I'm mature enough to acknowledge who the better theif is."
"Mature? Your asking me to steal a toy?"
"I'm sorry, but didn't you once steal a Bullwinkle clock?"
"I was expecting a Bear Clock, commisioned during the reign of the last Czar, not some stupid moose!"
"Yeah, they're real similar, simple mistake."
"So, you expect me to break into some toy store, and snatch this thing off the shelf?"
"You're not listening. These are rare. The toy stores ran out before they even opened."
"So where do I get it?"
"You're the theif, you figure it out."
"Okay Amanda, explain."
"Duncan, it's all a misunderstanding, I swear!"
"I just bailed you out, for knocking over Toys 'R' Us."
"I was.... contracted, to aquire something, I had been told they had."
"And the decapitated reindeer?"
"I was frustrated when the police showed up. The dolls reminded me of something, and I lashed out."
"Who put you up to this?"
"I see... What did he want?"
"A Playstation 2."
"I see... Did you get it?"

She felt the familiar Immortal buzz and rushed to the door to let him in. Wearing nothing but

Posted By: Wain (First MCW. Be gentle!) <>
Thursday, 30 November 2000, at 1:16 p.m.


toe socks against the chill of the terra cotta floor tiles, she let him in. A cold rush of air followed him, but that was not what gave her goose bumps. He embraced her, his breath warm on her neck. He removed his coat, placed it on the floor, and lowered her to it. One by one, he freed her toes from their wooly cocoon; he slipped the toe socks from her shapely calves. "A shame," he thought, "that people see so much skin nowadays. A beautiful calf, a well-turned ankle used to be so provocative!" He smiled archly, raised one eyebrow, and produced a tub of chocolate mousse from his holiday shopping bag. Swirling the mousse onto her toes, he . . . Oh! Did you say, "moose?" Oops. I'll have to try another muse.

I have missed these...

Posted By: Brena Rosal <>
Thursday, 30 November 2000, at 12:24 p.m.


There are so many I have enjoyed reading so I decided to give it a go.
This is first try ever and it turned out a bit longer that I wanted, so be kind. *g*

Duncan came across the little Antique store in an out of the way street. Why his intution told him to go that way, he could not say. However, there he was looking in the window at some strange stuffed moose. Opening to door, he went in to see if there was anything worthwhile.

It was a musty looking shop and not at all the way Tessa had run their place. Something on a shelf caught his eye and he went to pick it up. Catching his breath, he turned it over and looked at the back of the terra cotta plate. It was one of a set that he had used so many years ago. Standing in this store, holding the plate brought back more memories then he wished to deal with. Buying the plate, they wrapped it up and he took it home.

This wasn't the shopping spree he thought to have that day, but he did find an unusal item for Amanda that even she would smile at. Putting the package aside, he sat down and took off his shoes.

He happen to be wearing the gift Amanda bought him. He enjoyed wearing the multi color toe socks. That was something he and Amanda always tried to do, give each other a gift that makes them smile.

MWC: posting this at the top, since the thread is getting low on the board...

Posted By: LA-LA lander <>
Thursday, 30 November 2000, at 11:01 p.m.

"Look, Methos! Toe socks!" Amanda exclaimed gleefully.

"Excuse me, what!?" said Methos with distain as she dragged his slouching form toward a display of colorful footwear.

"I just love these! I haven't seen them since my stay in Minnesota in the 1970's."

"Minnesota." Methos looked at her with amusement. "You?"

Amanda wrinkled her nose at him. "Lying low for a bit. You know how it is." She picked up several pairs of the multicolored socks and held them up to the light, cocking her brunette bob to one side and eyeing them critically.

"But…Minnesota?" Methos smirked.

"Okay, very low. Do you think MacLeod would like these? They're kind of fun, don't you think?" She held a pair toward Methos' shirt.

Methos took a step back. "Do they come in MacLeod tartan plaid? He could wear them with his bloody kilt. Smashing." said Methos with dripping sarcasm.

"Okay, fine!" said Amanda irritably. "I guess it's on to the next store then," she added with growing cheer.

Methos groaned out loud. "Remind me again why it is I had to come along on this excursion."

"I needed a *man's* opinion," she said coyly. Then, looking somber, she added, "Methos, I need to find him something special. He's had so many tough things to handle this year, I want to cheer him up. He's been so broody the past few months, ever since that nasty business with Kell."

"When has MacLeod ever *not* been 'broody'? It's his natural state."

Amanda flashed him a look, and then gleefully pulled on his sleeve. "Oh, look! Look over there in the candy shop window!"

"What now?"

"A chocolate moose!" Amanda pressed her nose to the glass. "Isn't it cute? It says it has a mousse filling."

"A mousse moose?" Methos looked a her like she was a disease and rolled his eyes to the heavens.

"MacLeod loves chocolate."

"No, you're thinking of that broody actor fellow, Paul What's-His-Name. Besides, what does a moose have to do with Christmas? I thought it was reindeer."

"Oh, fine then. Spoil sport."

"Sorry. Just pick something, would you? He'll love it. It's the thought that counts."

"Right." Suddenly, Amanda gasped and dragged Methos toward a small antique shop across the way. "These are perfect," she said as they approached the window. Methos reluctantly followed her inside.

"How many of those beautiful terra cotta tiles do you have?" Amanda asked the clerk inside the shop.

"We were fortunate to procure an even dozen. They are the finest Gaelic craftsmanship," said the clerk.

"Gaelic tiles?" said Methos skeptically under his breath.

"Oh they're beautiful! I'll take all of them." To Methos she added, "He can use them in the bathroom at his new house. They're perfect, don't you think?"

"Whatever will get us out of here."

"Will that be cash or charge, Miss?" asked the clerk.

"Oh, put them on this card, please," said Amanda, fishing a MasterCard out of her pocket.

"Um, Amanda," said Methos, raising an eyebrow, "isn't that *MacLeod's* credit card?"


Posted By: Mr. Smiley Girl From G5... <>
Friday, 1 December 2000, at 5:24 a.m.

I talked with ghost cat and I decided to get in on this :)
Duncan's Loft in Seacouver...

Methos backed into the room from the bathroom in his toe-socks. He sat on the bed to put his boots on.

"You coming to go Christmas shopping," asked Duncan.

"Yeah. Hey what if I got Joe a moose?"

"A moose? What would Joe do with a moose," asked Duncan.

"In some cultures he could trade for something..."

"Like what?"

"A terra cotta pot?"

 (Semi-MWC) um, will this suffice?

Posted By: vixen69 <>
Friday, 1 December 2000, at 7:21 p.m.

I talked it over with the muses, a meeting in re:shopping. My muses lack sufficient encouragement to enter a shopping mall at this time of year. It's bad enough they have to be in my head, let alone wait in a crowded line. They have elected to do all of their shopping on-line. I wish my Kronos muse did not have my credit card numbers, but such is life. And yet, they did like the items mentioned. They came up with this, instead. Hope you enjoy it.

The Christmas Combo (Supersized)

“ ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the loft…”
I nearly started, found it corny, then scoffed—
So here is the story, not some lame parody,
But just my usual * little * MWC.

Duncan looked out the window checking out the snow drifts,
Thinking (of all things) about—combo gifts.
You know, someone brings a present full of Xmas cheer,
Then adds, “Happy birthday” to cover their rear.

Well over the years it had become such a joke,
Dreams of serious pressies had gone up in smoke.
So Amanda and he sort of made it a game—
She’d get him a lame gift—and he’d get her the same.

She got him a “Flowbee” when he wore his hair long,
Or he’d get her a sweater, but get the size wrong—
He once got her toe socks, and then took his lumps—
Who ever heard of toe socks and pumps?

But this year was the worst, for all that he got,
Was a sad little, tacky old terra cotta pot.
He’d gotten worse—but the card shocked him so.
It was signed, “Amanda, Methos...and Joe.”

Wait! Joe was a pal, and Methos had bucks!
Three names on a gift? What was wrong with these schmucks?!
A little bit hurt, he went back to bed,
But believe me, no sugarplums danced in his head.

But then up on the roof there occurred such a crash;
He awoke, got his sword, headed up in a flash—
Stubbed his toe, cussed out loud, then stopped in his tracks dead.
At the top of the stairs was a fat guy in red.

Who then hollered, “Stop, are you out of your mind?
I may be an Immortal…just not that kind.”
(The very thought of that made Duncan pause—
it wouldn’t be right to behead Santa Claus!)

And then the old dude stepped back, getting out of his way,
To point out his loaded and moose-driven sleigh.
(No reindeer, you may ask—do I have a screw loose?
With the haul kids get these days? I’m telling you—MOOSE.)

“This is just a brief stop on my annual ride—
But about that old pot—MacLeod, look inside.”
He went back down the stairs where the tacky thing sat,
Peered under the lid, and said, “How about that!”

Inside the pot was a letter that read,
“Took you long enough, you big knucklehead,
As a friend, you’re the best, in times of trouble, a rock,
So take this gift as it is—namely, a crock!”

You simply can’t giftwrap the friendship we feel
(But c’mon, admit the pot has * some * kind of appeal!)
In truth, we’ve reserved a few opera seats,
And a restaurant table, your favorite sweets,

Planned an occasion, and all of that stuff,
But this note is to say, well—it isn’t enough!
When the best thing is that we really do care for you.
(Oh, by the way, uh, happy birthday, too.)”

By the time he had turned, Santa had escaped in his ride,
But all of his friends were waiting outside—
So he did have a great holiday—the best of them all,
Just like I’m wishing you—one and all.

MWC: The Craft

Posted By: Ghost Cat <>
Sunday, 3 December 2000, at 1:40 a.m.

The Craft

Adam heard the ringing and, reaching through the usual piles of paperwork, finally got to the phone. "Pierson" he answered, distracted. The voice he heard on the other end immediately got his attention; "I don't think so!" He nearly dropped the handset, as if it had turned into a snake. "Cassandra?"

"Don't you pretend you're surprised. After everything we've been through, how could you not recognise my voice?" Even without the use of the Talent she had learned, her voice still cracked like a whip.

"I think I should remind you that you called me. What do you want, witch?"

The hissing intake of breath was clearly audible over the line and Methos wondered uncomfortably whether she could do anything to him at a distance. "There's a big Christmas Craft sale annually in Edmonton; you're coming with me this year."

"Gods and Demons! You've thought of some horrible punishments before, but forcing a man to go to a craft sale? That's just cruel!" He found himself sweating just thinking about it.

"Very funny, I'm just returning an old favour. I was your personal slave for years, now it's your turn to be a packhorse. If you're still nervous, we won't be alone. I've convinced Amanda to come, and she's bringing her walking credit card--"

"Oh, I'm sure MacLeod would be thrilled to hear himself being described in such noble tones. Give me one reason why I should."

"How about your head, on a platter, if you don't?" There was something in her voice that made him quite certain she'd do it.

He licked his lips, took a deep breath, and caved. "All right, I'll do it. But only because MacLeod will be there."

"You can use whatever excuse you want, just be there, tomorrow. At the Butterdome, on University campus; show starts at noon." She hung up as abruptly as she had called, leaving him to mouth a silent "Butterdome?" of sheer disbelief into the empty phone line.

He quickly dialled the number of the only person he knew in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He somewhat regretted the invention of call display when she answered the line with a brisk "Look Adam, Methos, whatever; I'm working on those Chronicles, but I've got paying projects too..."

"Wait, Deb-- I mean Felicia-- it's not about that. Where's the nearest holy ground site to the University of Alberta campus?"

There was a palpable hesitation on the line; "Oh...kay. St. Joseph's College is directly on campus, it's probably at least partly consecrated, and the U of A hospital has a chapel somewhere. What have you gotten into this time?"

"I got... a phone call. Someone invited me to go to the Butterdome Craft Sale, whatever that is. Okay, actually it was Cassandra, and she didn't invite me, she demanded that I go."

The author laughed; "I was the one who told Cass and 'Manda about the show. I never thought that you'd get dragged into it. Just think of this as an opportunity to rebuild burnt bridges."

"Are you going to be there?" he asked hopefully.

"No thanks, I've really gotten out of crafts for now. Maybe in a few centuries I'll get bored and handicrafts will become interesting again. You're on your own Old Man."

§ § §

Deb had generously provided one final bit of advice, the simple fact that no one parked on campus unless absolutely necessary. This was how the mixed doubles ended up on an LRT train. Methos and Cassandra would sit neither side by side nor face to face; and so they sulked on opposite ends of the car. Mac and Amanda each agreed to watch one of the elders, in case hostilities broke out. All in all, a stagecoach ride over rough roads before the invention of shock absorbers would have been more pleasant.

The Butterdome was unmistakable, squatting there like a giant half-melted block of yellow butter; earning its permanent nickname. Once known as the Universiade Pavilion, it had been built in 1983 for the World University Games, but now even the campus guidebooks used the more colourful name. The large building was used for sports, for indoor track and field; was lined with desks for final exams, and even had its own artificial rock climbing wall. And once a year, for the last 10 years, it was transformed into a Christmas Wonderland.

Looking down at it all from the top of the stairs, MacLeod was reminded of the old market fairs, but even two or three villages gathered together for trade couldn't have matched this. It was huge: Methos groaned loudly while Amanda's eyes gleamed. As they joined the line to get in, Methos griped about the $5 fee; "You're trying to tell me that I'm paying money for the privilege of spending more money?" Any further complaints were cut off by a concerted effort to avoid the coat check; "No really," they all took turns saying to the polite but relentless check girls, "that's not necessary. Thanks."

The experience from ground level was overwhelming: the scent of hot cider drifted enticingly from a booth that sold authentic mulling spices; children gathered around tables of hand-carved wooden toys; amplified carols rained down enforced cheer from above. It took all their concentration for the group just to keep together through the displays of wreathes, ornaments, toys and gadgets. All four stopped dead at the sight of strange rainbow-coloured objects. It looked as if someone had skinned some poor sprite and kept the feet, toes and all, as a bizarre trophy. Methos spoke up first; "What in the name of History is that?" Amanda shivered, fighting back memories of the sixties; "They're toe-socks."

"Toe-socks?" asked several voices at once, though Methos seemed the most disgusted by the thought. Cassandra spotted the weakness and pounced on it. Grabbing up a pair, she thrust the rainbow thing at him; "Oh, they're definitely you, don't you think?" Methos cringed, "I wouldn't wear those on a bet!"

Cassandra merely smiled, "But why not, Master? There's an entire web-site out there dedicated to the glory of your toes; why shouldn't each one be lovingly protected?" He sighed deeply; she had to bring that up, didn't she? "I knew I never should have showed you how to use the 'Net!"

"Don't make it sound so generous; you were working a Help Desk for spare cash. If I had known it was you, I would have hung up."

MacLeod broke in swiftly before it came to blows. "Will you two do your bickering somewhere else?" insisted his hissed whisper; "You sound like an old married couple." Two pairs of eyes, wide with shock, moved in unison; twin voices spoke in perfect harmony, "You take that back!"

Cassandra turned abruptly aside, making a show of purchasing the socks. The Gods only knew who'd end up getting them. The group moved off to other tables, leaving a palpable chill in the air. The two elders now walked several feet apart; but despite the crowds, no one dared step between them.

For the sake of their collective sanity, the group drifted apart, agreeing to meet if they couldn't find each other (as if that could happen). Cassandra gravitated towards a candle-maker, getting into a long conversation with the woman behind the table. Amanda drifted between clothing and jewellery, until she remembered she should be looking for gifts for other people.

Methos was almost sure he had escaped when a Buzz caught him in a crowd too dense to dodge; Cassandra shoved a bag full of scented candles at him; "Here, do something useful." Backing away with a barely suppressed glare, he nearly ran into a shelf of terra cotta pottery. The work was good quality, in a simple, practical style. In some ways it reminded him of the loot the Horsemen "acquired". Looking at a shallow bowl brought uninvited thoughts of Cassandra's old village. She'd like something like this. She'd really like something like this. This might even get me out of the proverbial doghouse. He was struck with a nauseous feeling of being pushed from the inside; the bowl fell from nerveless fingers. The potter appeared instantly, with an almost sincere look of sympathy; "I wouldn't do this if I didn't have to but, you break it, you bought it." He heard a burst of laughter and caught sight of Cassandra. Witch!

Duncan wandered hither and yon, picked up some teas, a couple packs of the mulling spices, a few more things for his kitchen. For Amanda he found a lovely necklace, hopefully before she had seen it herself. Some beautifully hand-bound journals put him in mind of a certain young author, but he hesitated. He soon found himself in front of a rack of stuffed animals. He asked the young woman if she had anything unique. As they talked about his friend being Canadian, with a quirky sense of humour, she smiled and pulled out a moose. Well, it wasn't exactly a moose; it was a cute plush version of a hunting trophy. The temptation was too much; he quickly handed over the money before anyone could see him.

The afterglow of a shopper's high kept Cassandra almost pleasant, as the two ladies displayed their prizes across their laps. Duncan could only sit and hope that they had all been legitimately purchased. She waited until Mac wasn't looking before showing the little terra cotta figure of a samurai. It was the perfect gift for the man who has everything, and she was so impressed by meeting the craftsman himself that she had actually paid for it. Not that he'd believe her it if she told him.

Mac waited until they were in private before he brought out his find. The reaction was not quite what he expected, a trio of sour faces. "What? I thought it was great. She likes cute, it'll appeal to her sense of humour, and it's Canadian."

They all exchanged looks, amazed that he hadn't realised it on his own. One of them had to mention it. Methos spoke up hesitantly, "Duncan, are you sure that's a good idea?" MacLeod blinked innocently, without a clue; Methos tried to get his point across; "You're giving this woman a head for Christmas. She's an Immortal. Think about it."

Duncan's expression turned thoughtful and he was silent for quite a while. All he could say was "Oh dear."


Reposted MWC at website with several needed

Posted By: celticangel <>
Saturday, 2 December 2000, at 3:09 a.m.

corrections and a few Christmas decorations. This was my first one so I hope I did it right. (Sadly, the link that was here appears to no longer exist)