Throughout the many years of his life, Christmas was never something Glomgold cared to make a big deal out of. Sure, he couldn’t deny that he liked watching the snow outside his window. And that the red and green lights all over town were nice to look at. And that hot cocoa and candy canes tasted quite pleasant. And that some of the Christmas tunes he’d always hear on the radio he kept on his desk were catchy.
Okay so maybe he did make at least a medium-sized deal out of the holiday season. Then again, who could blame him? There was just something about that time of year that got to everyone, even those with the coldest of hearts and evilest of minds. However, despite being quick to get into the holiday spirit, Glomgold never really had much planned for it.
He’d get greetings from his employers, sure, and maybe a few small gifts, but they all had families to go home to. The duck hadn’t heard from his own in too many years for him to even count, not even through a small postcard or letter. He wasn’t even sure how many of them were still alive. As for friends, Glomgold didn’t really do that kind of stuff.
The one thing he did have, however, was a tank full of sharks who he could buy gifts for. He wanted nothing but the best for them, so he would venture to only the finest meat market and purchase several T-bone steaks for his underwater friends. Sometimes he even liked to sculpt them into the best Scrooge McDuck he could muster! Although he didn’t speak shark, he knew they had to at least appreciate it a little.
Other than the sharks, however, Glomgold spent most of his Christmases doing what he always did: managing his money, thinking up elaborate revenge plots and daydreaming about being the richest duck in the world. Who needed presents when you had that?
On this particular night, Glomgold was sitting at his desk with the small radio there turned to a station playing those horribly catchy holiday tunes. He hummed along as quietly as he could while scribbling himself on a piece of paper. Technically, he was supposed to be doing paperwork, but it was far from his favorite thing to do. Therefore, he’d resulted to doodling himself in various scenarios. There was one of him as a superhero, one of him as a merman, and he was currently working on one of him as an almighty and powerful god. However, while he was hard at work on that third one, there was a knock at his door.
Startled, the duck shoved what he was drawing away in his desk drawer as quickly as he could and grinned nervously. “Come in!”
One of his employees opened the door, holding a package in her hands. It was wrapped in green paper and adorned with a red ribbon, tied into a bow on top. He could also see a tag sticking out of the bow.
“This just came in the mail for you, sir,” the employee spoke earnestly, putting the package down on his desk.
Glomgold looked down at the package, adjusting his glasses in confusion. He didn’t order anything recently!
“Are you sure?” he asked, voice wavering in confusion.
The employee shrugged. “It has your name on it.”
The duck looked to the tag he’d previously seen near the top of the wrapped box. Just as the employee had suggested, it said “to: Flintheart Glomgold.” His confusion was growing by the second, but there was no doubt that it had found itself in the right hands.
Still squinting at where his name was written, Glomgold waved his employee off. “Thank you. Get on with your work.”
“Right away!” the employee spoke before walking away and out the door.
Once he was alone again, Glomgold looked the package he’d received over. It appeared to be thoroughly wrapped in red and green, and upon getting a closer glimpse, the duck noticed that the ribbon had a copious amount of glitter on it. He frowned. Was this...a Christmas gift?
Glomgold had a lot of questions. Where did this come from? Was it really a gift for him or was someone trying to steal his identity? Or perhaps it was a trap sent to explode the second he opened it? Maybe it would be best if he just pushed it to the side and forgot about it…
But then again, he’d always been a rather impatient man. Letting his fears slide away at the thought of getting something he could use to one-up every other billionaire in Duckburg, Glomgold began to ravenously tear away at the carefully wrapped paper.
Once the package was free of its decorations, all that remained was a cardboard box with a lid on top. Gulping down any fear that what was sent to him might be some sort of plot to bring him to his demise, Glomgold allowed himself to pull the lid off. He shut his eyes while doing so, not prepared for what he would see rather it be good or bad. And when he felt it slide from his fingers and onto his desk, he allowed them to crack open.
It was a fruitcake. There, in the middle of the box that had been addressed to him and presumably what was the only present he’d received for the holiday season in who knows how many years, was a fruitcake. It didn’t look special. There wasn’t any frosting on it or fruits he didn’t recognize from past fruitcakes. It was just a regular fruitcake. And a note.
He picked the slip of paper on top of the dessert up and let his eyes scan it. Only three words were written there: from Scrooge McDuck.
Glomgold blinked, processing this information. So he was given the first Christmas present he’d had in years. And it was a fruitcake. From his sworn nemesis.
After a while of staring down at the gift, he eventually lost his cool and shoved it off the desk, screaming out in a rage. “MCDUCK!”
The gears in his head started turning as fast as they could, and Glomgold got up to pace behind his desk as he tried to think of why. Why did Scrooge even give him a gift? They were constantly at each other’s throats and currently in the middle of a bet with high stakes! Maybe it was to spite him? That was normally the kind of energy one would expect when gifted a fruitcake by what he knew. But what if he was just trying to be generous? The note didn’t say anything other than who it was from! It didn’t even leave enough to interpret a tone. Was it sincere? Jiding? Furious? Who knew!
Suddenly, Glomgold came to a stop as an idea started to settle among the influx of them pouring into his brain. The gift probably wasn’t sincere, and while it did seem like something the other could have done as a joke, he wasn’t sure why Scrooge would have picked now to do it. Therefore, only one option remained: it was a way to make him look bad.
Why didn’t he see it before? Scrooge was playing a sick bargain here! He wanted to one-up him like he always did! Why else would he have given him anything, even something as insignificant as a fruitcake? If Scrooge gave him a gift knowing well that he had nothing planned to give in return, it’d make him look bad!
Letting what had to be the other duck’s intentions sink in, Glomgold sat back down in his chair and immediately reached for a pencil and a piece of paper. His mind was flooding with ideas now, and there was no way he’d let Scrooge do this. He had to show that he was always one step ahead of him and get him something. But not just anything. Something big. Something life-changing. Something that would leave him shaking in pure awe that he’d figured him out, let alone actually managed to get a step ahead.
“I’m not gonna let you win this easy, McDuck,” the duck grumbled to himself as he frantically jotted down ideas, knowing he had a mere three days to think of something before it was too late. “Not this time…”
It was late at night on Christmas. Scrooge had bid farewell to his spirit friends who visited every holiday season earlier in the day, and the rest of his family had celebrated until they were no longer able to. Donald was sleeping soundly in his house boat, Mrs. Beakley was likely doing the same in her room, Launchpad was eating some leftovers in the garage with Gyro, Duckworth was probably somewhere in the “spirit world” as he liked to call it, and the children had crashed, thoroughly exhausted from opening presents, watching Christmas specials on TV, chasing each other around the room with the new dart guns they’d been gifted and everything else that a wonderful Christmas entails. Now, there was only an hour left until the holidays came to an end, and although it didn’t take much to exhaust Scrooge McDuck, he was feeling pretty tired.
He’d just sat his top hat down on the nightstand and planned to slip into his nightclothes for a rest when he heard what sounded like a loud knock at the door. Nearly jumping out of his skin, he waited for another to make sure he wasn’t hearing things. Sure enough, one more loud tap followed. Grumbling, he didn’t even bother putting his hat back on as he trudged down the stairs to greet whoever had come to see him at such ungodly hours. It was probably Launchpad and Gyro asking if they had any more food left so no need to make himself look too presentable.
Once he’d reached downstairs, Scrooge stopped for a moment to stretch, yawning and popping his back. Whoever was on the other end seemed to get even more impatient by the wait, pounding hard against the door to the point of where he feared it might burst down.
“Calm down, calm down!” Scrooge called, walking over to the door as quickly as he could muster. “I’m comin’!”
Finally, he made his way to the door and wasted no time in yanking it open, still expecting a familiar face. “Okay, now, what is i-”
“There you are!”
The surprisingly loud voice that greeted him in return shocked Scrooge, and he adjusted his monocle to make sure he was really seeing what he thought he was. Sure enough, there on his doorstep stood a rather sinister-looking Flintheart Glomgold, holding a wrapped box in his hands. On top of sinister, he also looked as if he was about to freeze to death, not even wearing a single article of clothing to protect himself against the cold.
Initially shocked, the billionaire soon felt nothing by annoyance as he looked his rival over. “Flinty? What are you doing at my house? And curse me kilts, don’t you have a scarf or something?”
“Cease you words, McDuck!” the other duck spat, bulldozing inside the mansion and slamming the door behind him. “You know exactly why I’m here!”
Scrooge cocked his head to the side, both confused and tired. “I do?”
“Ohhh,” Glomgold continued, chuckling, “if you don’t now, then you will when I give you this!” And with that, he thrust the box he held in the other’s hands so hard that it almost felt like a punch to the stomach.
Once it was in his possession, Scrooge allowed himself to take a much better look at what Glomgold had brought. It was wrapped in red and green paper with what appeared to be doodles of the other’s face all over it.
“Did you draw these?”
“Yes, but that’s not important! Open the present!”
“Ugh, fine.” Scrooge heaved a deep sigh before tearing away at the paper as slowly and carefully as he possibly could. His pace frustrated Glomgold, and he tapped his foot on the floor hard.
“Can’t you open it any faster!?”
“I can, but I’d rather make sure it’s not something that’s gonna kill me because knowing you, the moment I open this thing, it’s gonna blow the whole mansion up,” he spat before laughing a bit. “Or try to and fail miserably. Probably the latter now that I think on it-”
“Shut up and open the blasted gift!”
Rolling his eyes and not even bothering to reply to the other’s persistent begging, Scrooge tore away at the last of the paper and pulled open the lid of the box that lay beneath. Peering inside, he expected to see a bomb or a scorpion or something that was meant to harm him. Instead, he was greeted with a simple holiday fruitcake.
He screwed up his eyes in confusion. “Ah.”
Suddenly, Glomgold burst out into very loud, maniacal laughter. Letting air hiss out of his beak, the other duck turned his eyes toward him, not understanding the reaction.
“How does it feel, Scroogey?” Glomgold finally spoke smugly. “You thought it’d be sooo smart, getting a gift for me when you assumed I didn’t have anything to give back. Trying to one-up me like you always do. Well, you’re not getting away that easy!” The other began to pace as he resumed his rambling. “I spent the last three days thinking up something for you and trying my hardest to make sure it would blow you out of the water, and finally, this morning, I thought of it! I’ll just give you the same thing you gave me!” He let out another ear-shatteringly loud laugh. “It’s perfect, you see, because now you’re absolutely frustrated at the idea that you didn’t get to best me in this little competition, yet you’re not getting anything that you’ll actually get a long-term use out of! So tell me, Scroogey, how does it feel to get beat at your own little game by me?”
For a minute, Scrooge tried his hardest to process what the other had just said to him. Honestly, he wasn’t sure if it was because he was dead tired or just because none of Glomgold’s little schemes made sense, but he was having a hard time wrapping his head around what the other had just said to him. However, all the complicated thoughts inside of him manifested onto his face, and he gave a small grin.
“Thanks, Flinty,” he spoke, trying his best to keep a level tone. “I’ll put it with the others.”
His words seemed to shock Glomgold, causing the other duck’s eyes to nearly pop right out of his head. “You mean you already have one!?”
“Of course I do,” Scrooge laughed, seting the box containing the fruitcake down on a small table next to him. “I have lots of em. Why do you think I sent you one? When you’re the richest duck in the world, everyone all over the world’s always sending you useless things you don’t really need for the holidays, and at least ninety percent of those things are fruitcakes. I thought giving some of em off to people who annoyed me would get rid of the last one, but the minute I sent that one to Mark Beaks, more and more just came rushing in.” He shook his head. “It’s no use. But I’ll make sure to give this one to Launchpad to get a good use out of it. He’ll eat anything. Thanks Flinty. Have a nice walk home.”
He turned around to head back upstairs, expecting the other to just leave but was stopped when he felt a hand grab his shoulder. Too surprised to groan, Scrooge was whipped around to face Glomgold, looking angry as ever.
“Are you kidding me!?”
“Thank you? You’re thanking me for giving you a taste of your own medicine? Are you crazy!?”
“What else do you want me to say?” Scrooge snarled, roughly freeing himself from the other’s grip. “That’s what most people say when they get gifts, even if it’s something they already have. Don’t you know that?”
“No!” Glomgold replied rather harshly. “Why would I know that? I’ve got better things to do on Christmas then gets gifts like try my best to foil your every move, but apparently you don’t even appreciate that!”
“Wait,” Scrooge spoke, taking in everything that had just been said to him, “you don’t get gifts?”
“No! Not everyone’s obsessed with family like you.”
He didn’t know why. Maybe it was because it was Christmas, or maybe it was because the other duck looked so pitiful right now, but for some reason, Scrooge felt a wave of something unusual wash over him. Something he definitely didn’t feel very often, especially not for Glomgold.
“You don’t get anything? Nothing? Not even from friends?”
“Why do you even care? It’s none of your business!”
Scrooge opened his bill to speak but stopped himself, realizing that the other duck was right. It really wasn’t anything he had business worrying about, especially given the more-than-rocky past the two of them had. However, he found that the lump in his throat about this whole situation was harder to swallow than it should be, rather he like it or not. There was a while of silence, but before he knew it, words he never thought he’d say in a million years found their way out of his head and into reality.
“You know, it’s mighty cold outside right now, and you’ve come here dressed in nothing to protect yourself from it,” Scrooge resumed. “Why don’t you...come in and, uh, maybe have a seat for a few minutes until the weather’s died down. Just don’t...take too much, but since it is Christmas, it’s the least I can do for...you.”
He spoke as if the words physically pained him, but once they’d left him, he tried his hardest to force the most sincere looking smile he possibly could, keeping eye contact with Glomgold. And for a second, he saw the other’s expression soften ever so slightly. His eyes widened, as if he was intrigued by the other’s offer, and while he wasn’t smiling, his bill rested in a neutral and at the very least docile state. For a second, it really looked like he was going to say yes.
But then, as quickly as it had changed, his bill curled downward into an angry frown, his brows furrowed, and Scrooge began to feel like an idiot for thinking he might ever accept a friendly offer from the likes of him.
“Are you trying to pity me, McDuck!?” he gasped, disgusted. “Do you really think I’m gonna sit here and let you feel sorry for me?”
Scrooge was quick to react with anger. “Are you serious? I was trying to help you, for cryin’ out loud, but you’re just so stubborn that you turn down any offer I make no matter what it is. ”
“I’m not stubborn!” Glomgold screamed back, walking toward the door slowly as he ranted. “You just think you’re soooo much better than everyone else with your stupid status and adventures and family! And besides, if I was gonna spend Christmas with anyone, it wouldn’t be you in a gazillion years!”
With that, the other duck shut the door behind him...and opened it back up a few seconds later to hastily rush to the table and grab the box with the fruitcake back. “And I’m taking this back! Now you’ve got nothing from me for Christmas. Nothing!”
And then, he slammed the door.
Well, that was pointless. Scrooge rolled his eyes, wondering why he even tried to offer any form of hospitality to the other duck and began his walk upstairs. However, while he was getting dressed for bed, he couldn’t shake his thoughts of the encounter away. He’d been dealing with Glomgold for years and knew that he often didn’t know how to show any positive feelings toward those around him, and this was definitely proof of it. And perhaps he really should have just took the gift without saying anything so this wouldn’t have happened.
As he tried to sleep that night, the billionaire realized this was one of those situations where his brain wouldn’t leave him alone until he did something. Oh, how he wished it wasn’t. He wasn’t the type to go around doing good deeds, especially for someone like Glomgold. Nonetheless, he knew he wouldn’t be able to get a good night’s rest until he at least planned to.
“You’ve got something in the mail, sir.”
It was the last thing Glomgold expected to hear when the same employee from last time opened the door to his office. Christmas ended the day before, and although he was suffering from a mild cold due to being outside with no winter attire in such harsh weather, it hadn’t stopped him from doing some paperwork. Actual paperwork this time. He was rather proud of himself!
However, he had a feeling his productivity was about to go off the window when he saw whatever was in the box the employee had just sat on his desk, one that looked suspiciously just like the last one Scrooge McDuck had sent him.
“I’ll just leave this here,” the employee commented before hastily walking rather quickly out the door, as if she knew he wasn’t going to take it lightly.
Glomgold wanted to throw the whole box in the fire, especially after how the other duck had patronized him last night. How dare he try to tell him how he should live his life, especially after ruining it all those years ago? He’d been trying to push all thoughts of Scrooge out of his mind, but with this recent development, he knew that wouldn’t work.
Sighing and grumbling under his breath, he began to unwrap the gift, having no clue what it might be. Probably another fruitcake since he apparently had a million of them just lying around. At least he didn’t have the one Glomgold brought for him. That one had been eaten in one sitting last night as the duck had sat by the mirror in his room and contemplated his life...in a “how am I going to get revenge Scrooge McDuck” next kind of way, that is!
Once all the paper was off the box, he opened it and focused on what was inside. Somehow, although he thought he’d imagined every possible thing that it could contain, the box’s contents still surprised Glomgold. Wanting to make sure he was seeing the right thing, he pulled what he’d received out and looked it over: a checkered green and blue scarf that looked a bit worn but was overall rather warm, as well as the exact color of his kilt.
That was when he noticed the note left inside the box. Curious, he picked it up and sat the scarf down on his desk, reading what it said.
Since you don’t have any sense to buy yourself some clothes to wear outdoors in the winter, I took it upon myself to give you one of my old scarves. I’ve had it for a few decades, but never really wore it because it wasn’t my color. It seems to suit you though. I hope it satisfies you enough to leave me alone about this whole gift thing.
P.S. Don’t tell anyone who gave this to you. They’ll think you’ve gone soft.
- Scrooge McDuck