Sunday, December 26, 2010

Karlton The Christmas Kitty - Part Four

We hope you'll pardon the lateness of this, the final part of Neyland's Christmas short story.  It turned out to be an epic White Christmas in our neck of the woods, the first in many, many, many years.  Needless to say, this has caused some hullaballoo and hubbub.*  Everyone has now been subdued, calmed down and returned to their senses.**  So, on to the conclusion of...



Karlton The Christmas Kitty
by
Neyland D. Catt



     The tiny little fru-fru fellows dressed in their green jumpers didn't seem bothered by Karlton's threat of violence and impending gastric absorption.  They just smirked back at him and slowly advanced.  Karlton, suddenly unsure of himself in the face of so many elves, started backing away until he bumped against the sled.  He found himself surrounded on all sides, as even the reindeer joined the circle with their disapproving stares.  Karlton dropped into his fighting crouch, prepared to take out as many of the little people as he could.  He paused, as the gathered throng parted, and a large figure strode forward out of the shadows.
     There before Karlton stood perhaps the largest woman he had ever seen in his life.  She was the size of three regular women all rolled into one plump form.  She had curly hair of the purest white and rosy red cheeks that framed a gentle smile.  She wore a well-used cooking apron over the top of her red robes trimmed in white.  Karlton suspected there my be some connection between this jumbo lady and the tubby thief he had left on the rooftop.  The large woman put her hands on her hips and leaned down to peer at Karlton with a slight grin.

     "Well, well.  What do we have here?  It's an adorable little kitty," she said in a slightly jolly manner.

     Karlton stared up at her uncertainly.  Then, the old instincts kicked in.  Suddenly, he was lying on his back in the snow, his underside exposed and all four legs in the air.  He turned his giant doe-eyes to the lady and squeaked a pitiful sound that would have made even newborn babies whistle in admiration of its cuteness.  Also, he was suddenly rain-drenched and bedraggled.  (The elves would marvel at that one for hours later.)

     "Nice try Karlton.  That tired old routine doesn't work on old Mrs. Claus," the woman said with a chuckle.  "Do you have any idea how many cats I've had in my lifetime?  Heck, there's at least fifteen back in the house right now.  I'm immune to your tactics, so what do you say we head inside and have a genuine discussion about my husband's sleigh being here without him and your possible role in that?"

     Karlton blinked numbly and then gave a quick glance over to the gathered elves.  One of them made eye contact and gave him a look that said, Dude it's all totally true.  She's one of the world's first crazy cat ladies.  Karlton sighed and pulled himself up out of the snow.  Mrs. Claus turned and headed back toward the big building.  Karlton and a small army of elves followed.

     Inside, Karlton was lead to a toasty little sitting room with a wood heater and two comfy reading chairs.  Mrs. Claus' massive girth settled over one of them.  She gestured for Karlton to take the other.  He briefly entertained the notion of hopping up into her lap in an attempt to subdue her with warmth and a rumbling purr.  Something about her eyes told him that would not be an effective stratagem.  He shrugged and hopped up into the empty chair.

     Mrs. Claus sipped from a steaming cup of tea that had turned up rather unexpectedly.  She watched Karlton from over the rim for a moment.  He felt, quite correctly, that she was taking measure of him.  It was a most disconcerting feeling.  He was quite unable to meet her gaze.

     "So.  I'm sure there is a reasonable, or at least entertaining, explanation for what has happened to my husband.  However, at this point it is really not important.  What is important is that you understand the consequences of Santa Claus being stranded on a rooftop while his sleigh and all the gifts are back here at the North Pole," Mrs. Claus intoned amiably.

     This caught Karlton rather off guard.  This was not at all the situation he had expected.  He had heard legends about Santa Claus, of course, but on the street you just didn't have time for believing in fairy tales.  You were too busy trying to convince anyone who had an extra tin of tuna to believe in your fairy tale.  This had started out simply enough.  Karlton had thought the guy was just a thief!  He had no idea that he had car-jacked the legendary spirit of Christmas!

     Karlton saw from Mrs. Claus' expression that understand without a word being spoken.  She smiled at him and nodded.  Karlton wasn't sure if he felt more fear or respect for the hefty mistress of the frozen north.  She gave him a look that said either would do nicely.

     "So, I gather things got out of hand at some point and you ended up alone in the sleigh with panicked reindeer?" Mrs. Claus inquired.  Karlton nodded.  "They are trained to return home immediately in case of an emergency.  I suppose they must have thought this qualified.  Not to worry!  This can all be sorted out in time to save Christmas for the children.  We just need to get you back in the sleigh and on your way to Santa."

     Karlton gave the woman a quizzical look.  She chuckled and got up from her chair.  She then motioned for Karlton to follow her.

     "Of course I could fly the sleigh back myself, but that just wouldn't do.  Oh no, I'm afraid that since you started this mess, its yours to sort out.  I'll just have a word with the reindeer and they'll take you back straightaway."

     An hour later, Karlton sat on the edge of the roof.  Santa was next to him, his legs dangling over the edge as he sipped a cup of hot cocoa.  The reindeer were now obliviously chomping on apples, all thoughts of Karlton long since gone.  Santa looked down at Karlton and gave him a reassuring smile.

     "No worries little buddy.  There's still plenty of time to hand out the rest of the gifts.  The schedule is not quite as tight this year, due to a 25% increase in naughtiness.  You know, there's plenty of room for you back at the North Pole," he said.  Karlton gave him a hopeful look.  "Although, everyone has to earn their way at the shop.  I think I might just have an idea."

     Karlton thought about this.  Earning his keep?  He'd never held down a steady job before.  He'd never had any intention of it.  Still, it was warm and cozy in that big house.  Plus, he'd been living with celebrities, even if nobody over the age of five thought they were real.  Fifteen other cats.  A family.  Karlton looked up at Santa and gave him a firm nod.  The jolly old elf grinned from ear to ear.

     "Excellent!  Come with me.  We have one stop to make back at the North Pole!  You're going to love this!"  Santa exclaimed as he practically ran for the sleigh.

     Just before dawn, Mr. Williford T. Piggles stretched and stumbled back into the den.  He nearly lost his tuna at what he saw there.  He ducked behind the door frame and watched in genuine amazement as two figures placed gaily-wrapped gifts under the Christmas Tree.  One was a large, jolly man wearing a festive red suit trimmed with white.  The other was similarly dressed, but much smaller.  It appeared to be a cat!  While the man was jolly and festive, the cat couldn't help looking arrogant and slightly shifty.  The cat turned and caught Mr. Piggles staring.  It was Karlton!  He gave a wink and tossed Mr. Piggles a tin of tuna with his name on it.  Then, as quick as a wink, the two figures were gone up the chimney in a flash.

     Mr. Piggles ran as fast as his chubby legs could carry him, which admittedly wasn't very fast.  He did make it to the window in time to see two sleighs pull away from the rooftop.  One carried Santa and was pulled by eight tiny reindeer.  One carried Karlton and was pulled by eight angry squirrels.  Karlton looked back over his shoulder as he flew away and called, "Meowrry Christmas tubby!  To all a warm night!"  Mr. Piggles returned to the den, a kilowatt smile on his face.  He opened the large package addressed to him to find the largest and pinkest cat bed he had ever seen.


THE END!

**************************************************************************

Hope you guys enjoyed this little holiday tale!  We will be back tomorrow with more wintry goodness!

---Neyland D. Catt



*Hullaballoo is not so bad on its own, but when you add hubbub to mix, watch out!  If you don't know what these words mean... join the crowd.

**Subdued, calmed down, and returned to their senses by a combination of: threats of physical violence, hot apple cider, home-made fudge, and actual physical violence.

15 comments:

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