Merry Christmas, Baby
by The Enigmatic Big Miss Sunbeam

Jean Luc loved the rain.

And in New Orleans, Santa often delivered presents in the rain; there would never be a White Christmas there.

But Jean Luc loved the rain and now there was a momentary let up and he and Q were walking their bulldog John Q on the deserted Garden district streets under gray wet skies that made everything glow and Q was saying: "Now isn't this nice, Jean Luc, the whole Garden district to ourselves? "

Jean Luc looked down at the shiny gray sidewalk, the vivid wet yellow leaves glistening after the rain.

"It's nice. You're nice. John Q is nice."

They smiled at each other. And Jean Luc continued, "Where shall we eat tonight?"

"We may have to just replicate; everything is closed for Christmas eve."

"You won't cook for me, Q?"

Q looked mildly put out.

"No, I don't cook; I don't clean either. I don't wear little aprons and . . ."

"Q, I was teasing you." Q was silent.


"Of course, you were just joking." Q smiled.

Jean Luc sighed inwardly. No one was like Q, in ways both good and bad. "No one is quite like you, Q."

They walked a few more steps; John Q nosed some leaves.

"You sound very experienced, Jean Luc. Which, of course, you are, you old whore. And I should expect you to compare me to all your past lovers. The Girls Club. Your Starfleeties. The Femillion."

"Q, stop this."

"No, it's true." And the mobile face that Jean Luc could never quit regarding turned inward and dark. "I knew it, I just knew it. Someday the truth would come out. Pining for some damn woman, are we? Someone to do the dusting, someone . . . to . . . make little stews and muffins. Someone to moo *My Hero* when you come in with your star- briefcase and say, honey, I'm home from saving the world from another one of stupid old Q's temporal anomalies. And then she giggles: *oh, Jean Luc. I made you a little star pie!! See!! Your favorite!!!!!!* Well, I've had it, Jean Luc Picard! Denigrating me at every turn! Ceasing to love me! Only using me!" Tears sprang into those black eyes.


Q wheeled around and began to walk home.

Jean Luc stood there; on the one hand, he had to finish walking John Q who looked pretty content to stay out for the next two hours without ever doing anything conclusive, and, on the other hand, Q was disappearing around the corner.

Damn. But if Jean Luc could save the world, surely he could handle this. "John Q, let's walk home after Daddy Q, and if you . . . do that thing that you need to do . . . then . . . Pere Noel will come tonight, as you have been a good boy."

John Q breathed heavily in agreement and -- mirabile dictu -- did what he needed to do.

At home, Jean Luc trudged up the stairs to the bedroom carrying John Q, and then he heard it.

"Shit. Shit. Shit."

He went to their bedroom door and knocked; there was no answer. Only the sound that meant he was in for it now: George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today". When Q started playing that over and over, it meant Jean Luc would have to move heaven and earth to change Q's moods.

"I see we've gone straight to George Jones mode; we haven't passed Go, we haven't given old Jean Luc a chance to make it up to us for having had at one time a social life. "

He hear soft sobbing then. "A social life you miss, you mean!"

"Q, be reasonable; I can hardly be held responsible for whom I loved before I loved you."

"Past tense, mon capitaine!"

George Jones, always a keen observer of human nature, was singing: "this time he's over her for good."

"Q, be reasonable."

And then something new happened; the door Jean Luc was gently knocking at was outlined in brilliant fiery orange light and it seemed to be swelling, pushed forward against its frame - and Q was saying in a fiery orange voice: "Reasonable is too easy. I am too good to be reasonable. My lack of reasonability is my main virtue."

Then the ever-ironic George Jones observed: "First time I'd seen him smile in years."

And the hall turned dark and Jean Luc stepped back and George began his final brutal hillbilly crescendo: "They placed a wreath upon his door, and soon they'll carry him away. He stopped loving her today."

Jean Luc stood at the door knocking intermittently until he had heard George sing his song over fifteen times. Was it an hour? Was it a year?

He rested his head, his hands clasped under his chin, against the dark wood of the door. "Q?"

"You'll forget in time," George Jones seemed a portent now.

"I'm not moving, Q. I'm jut getting comfortable." Jean Luc lay on the floor, his ear still beside the crack under the door.

John Q wandered over and huffed and lay beside him. His only friend.

"Would you like a bed time story, John Q? Here, what have we got to read?" The only thing Jean Luc had was a little wallet-sized pocket padd; he punched in a fiction key. NO CAN DO beeped the lightly- powered little padd. Its only function was to check mail. "Wonder if we got any Christmas cards?" Jean Luc sighed. "Alas, no." Then he closed his eyes. "Our only mail is an Adam and Steve catalogue." Adam and Steve was an *adult* merchandise vendor whose catalogues Q found inspirational in better times. The irony was about to kill Jean Luc.

"Here, John Q," he glanced at the door, "this should be good."

And while John Q agreeably panted on the floor beside him, Jean Luc scrolled forlornly through the catalogue. "See, back when Daddy Q and I were one inseparable protoplasmic unit, we could have used this;" he pointed to a particularly Gothic sex-device, "and this one," another, even more Gothic one, "and . . . books! Who can say Adam and Steve appeal only to man's coarser side? Oh, with copious illustrations. Q and I always made our own."

He smelled something: Damn. Damn. Damn.

"Q, are you burning last year's holiday's snaps?"

"Who cares," Q sobbed from behind the door.

"You know she came to see him one last time; oh, we all wondered if she would" George Jones recapped.

"They were such good photographs. So evocative of the life I love."

It was a kind of neural surfing that Jean Luc would do when Q got this way; you just had to find the right way to plug into Q's moods.

"Q, don't burn that one where I'm on my knees. That's my favorite."

"Your favorite; don't make me laugh. That particular photo was the first to be consigned to the PYRE!!!!" The last word was a wobbling wail.

"He had underlined in red every single *I love you.*" George Jones was once again sharing all the mournful details.

"No, Jean Luc, go on back to your little woman: no doubt she's waiting for you. You can take loathsome holiday snaps with her. *Oh, giggle giggle, Jean Luc, I'll get the kiddies Jenny Lou and Jimmy Lee and you can get the Brownie camera. Here, we'll put fabric reindeer horns on you. Tee hee hee! It's funny!!*"

"Q, I will strangle you if it's the last thing I do."

And now John Q was getting worried, breathing heavily and wrinkling his brow.

And he couldn't let dear John Q get upset.

"Look, John Q. Look at this toy! Oh, it comes in three different sizes: Travel/Patio sized for impromptu use; Daily Mammal for rough regular use and - well! - King Hell-sized for those special occasions."

Perhaps Q was listening.

"He still loved her through it all/Hoping she'd come back again," George Jones sagely observed.

"John Q, look at the illustrations. Oh, my, here's a nice little book of pictures. Adam and Steve have entitled it *Bare Ass Parade.* My, doesn't that sound like a good one: Bare Ass Parade. Oh, look at the cover; isn't that Riker leading the Bare Ass Parade?" He had to believe Q was listening.

A very soft sound under the George Jones: half sob, half omnipotent chuckle.

A pause.

Then a soft breeze under the door, and a whisper: "Do you renounce your old lovers?"

Jean Luc would do anything for Q but lie: "No, of course not. They taught me how to love you more clearly. If I were nothing, I couldn't love you as much."

"Then it's off, Jean Luc. Let's break up."

"Let's do no such damn thing. Q. Q," Jean Luc was genuinely angry. He rolled over and pressed his shoulder against the door, angrily hissing, "oh, how appropriate. Here I am in the Old Lonesome Leroy's section of Adam and Steve. Where you can personalize your inflatable blowup sex doll. Well, we'll just special rush order a Jean Luc Picard love toy tonight - and guess what, since you don't eat or go to the bathroom, you have no need to leave this room so we'll just lay old uninflated Jean Luc the Love Balloon out on the floor and slide him under the door. Since that's all you want. It's obvious you don't want a Jean Luc with heart and consciousness and conscience."

"Dammit, all I want *is* your heart, Jean Luc."


"If I could reach in my scarred chest, you would have that mechanical toy in your stocking now. You would have the ripe grape clusters of my lungs, my dark mysterious slick liver, um, my intestines lying curled in wait like a tiger on the Himavant, all of me, but don't you see, you big . . ., you already have all of this. Completely. You have," Jean Luc rolled his eyes, "my manly plow, my guarded nest of duplicate eggs."

Q was quiet; Q was thinking; Jean Luc could feel it.

"I hate your past," Q said quietly.

Jean Luc calculated quickly: "Q, time is our biggest problems. You don't believe the past is past, while, to me, time is quite linear. Every second has led to the richness of this second; every second is in synapse with every other second and the next second. That's why I look so forward to the second when you'll open this damn door and we can be together."

"Only if you make some concession."


"You won't renounce the women of the past?"


"Well, then, will you get fucked up with me this weekend? It could be fun."

"How fucked up?"

"Just mildly. Very minor. Just Cabernet and ibuprofen."

Jean Luc was taken aback: "Isn't that dangerous? Doesn't it cause internal bleeding?"

"You know what I say about internal bleeding, don't you, Jean Luc?"


"I say, where better?"

"I am looking forward to getting mildly fucked up with you, my love, this weekend."

George Jones fell silent.

And then there was one of the most welcome sights ever: Four beautiful long fingers waggled under the door.

John Q woofed softly, and Jean Luc put his fingers on the fingers under the door.

"Merry Christmas, baby," said a soft drawl. "Guess where the mistletoe is now."

"Oh, Christ!" said Jean Luc, "John Q, darling, go into your room and wait for Pere Noel there while your Daddies do adult things; we'll come get you when we're through."

But Jean Luc hesitated when he opened the door; the light . . . the light was so strange. And he looked over: there was Q, a new Q, under a photographer's lights and white umbrella, with a little smile on his face. He was tan, and goateed, and oiled like a body builder, nearly naked in black briefs and wearing a white sailor cap back on his head. Oily black locks fell to his forehead, and enchantingly he had a blue anchor tattooed on his forearm.

Every cell in Jean Luc's body became erect; leaning against the wall, with one elegant hand on a smooth tan thigh, Q looked at him with his lips parted and then bit his lower lip: "Get it out and get it up, sailor."

Jean Luc looked down; he was dressed the same way, except his little sailor hat was cocked towards the front of his head.

He ran his hand over his chest: soft, moist.

Q began to pose a bit; "do you like this?"

Jean Lou looked at his forearm; he also had an anchor tattooed there.

"I'm in shock; you'll . . . have to . . ." and Q was beside him and then they were pressing against one another; he could feel Q's largeness, damp and velvet, thrusting against him and he saw Q's eyes were closed.

"Where's your big thing?" Q whispered.

"Q," Jean Luc gasped, pushing against him: "here. Here." Q began to caresses him singlemindedly. And Jean Luc began to scream softly: "don't stop."

And Q pulled Jean Luc's briefs down to the top of his thighs and Jean Luc did the same to Q. And then they rubbed against each other, but the kiss was more important to Jean Luc. Q's large soft lips covering his, his soft sweet tongue inside his mouth, for the thousandth time, the millionth? And then Q's hands moved to his buttocks and between them and Q pulled back and moved his large hand to Jean Luc's face - Jean Luc took one finger in his mouth and licked it and then Q took the finger and moved it back to Jean Luc's buttocks and inside him. Arrgh.

And Jean Luc grasped Q in the same place.

Q pulled his head back: "I nailed this chair to the floor: it's the Chrome Dinette Chair of Love."

And Jean Luc sat down and Q pulled his briefs off; now he was nothing but tattoo, oil, and sailor cap, and Jean Luc moved to the edge of the chair (clever of Q to nail it to the floor) and Q straddled him and Jean Luc was in him and they began to move together and Jean Luc found he could not think or breathe anymore. He felt his sea-flavored blood crash his body with each thrust and each whimper of Q who started to laugh and then grunt and then whimper again and then Q began to pinch his neck and they moved faster and faster, and Q whispered, "baby, can you jerk me off?" and Jean Luc grabbed Q and pulled him and pulled him and then their position was perfect: Jean Luc leaning back, briefs around his ankles, with the naked Q on him and sinking again and again against Jean Luc and then Q groaned and Jean Luc felt him pulse in sequence with their heartbeats and Q came on his hand and Jean Luc gasped -- everything but sensation had disappeared -- and plunged into Q until Q screamed and then he came.

Like children all over the world, they were too excited to sleep that night, but finally dawn rolled in, a pale December dawn, a Christmas dawn. The morning after for rough strong-thighed shepherds who were visited by beautiful creatures from outer space. Who changed the world forever for the rough strong-thighed shepherds.

John Q was at the foot of the bed, and Jean Luc was lying in Q's arms. On the floor were the caps and the briefs and some other items: instant cameras, ropes, ribbed black fingerless latex gloves (an Adam and Steve exclusive), a corncob pipe, all used both as props for photographs and in other ways.

Jean Luc kissed Q's cheek: "What shall we call this exciting sailor scenario?"

"I've already decided. You can be Ponchatrain Pete and I'm Simply Milton. File that in your fuck folder, boyo."

Jean Luc laughed. Then they were both still, drowsing. Jean Luc kissed Q's hand. "Do Ponchatrain Pete and Simply Milton live happily ever after?" he asked.

Q kissed Jean Luc just above the ear: "Let's lurch to the next second, and see, mon capitain."

The End

Merry Christmas, Baby

He said I'll love you till I die; She told him you'll forget in time.
As the years went slowly by,
She still preyed upon his mind.
He kept her picture on his wall,
Went half crazy now and then;
He still loved her through it all
Hoping she'd come back again.

Kept some letters by his bed
Dated 1962.
He had underlined in red
Every single I Love You.
I went to see him just today,
Oh but I didn't see no tears.
All dressed up to go away,
First time I'd seen him smile in years

He stopped loving her today;
They placed a wreath upon his door,
And soon they'll carry him away;
He stopped loving her today.

You know she came to see him one last time --
Oh we all wondered if she would.
And it kept running through my mind.
This time he's over her for good.

He stopped loving her today.
They placed a wreath upon his door,
And soon they'll carry him away;
He stopped loving her today.

- George Jones
"He Stopped Loving Her Today"