Bewildering Stories

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Santa Cat

by Charles Richard Laing

I couldn’t believe it was already December 23rd. Of all the Christmas traditions, the one I seemed to keep year after year was waiting until the last minute to do my Christmas shopping. This year was no different. Apparently I wasn’t the only one. Grayson Mall was jam-packed with my fellow procrastinators.

Fortunately, I was almost finished. All the big gifts were bought, and the few names that weren’t crossed off my list could be appeased by small checks or gift cards. Therefore I decided to head home.

As I walked toward my car, I spotted a Sidewalk Santa ringing a bell in the bitter cold. Looking at him I was struck by how short he was. He looked more like an elf than Kris Kringle. It wasn’t until I got closer that I was able to see that he was actually a cat. Standing upright, he was dressed in the traditional padded red suit. The snowy white beard he wore was false, but his whiskers were real.

Most of the people who passed him by dropped a little something in his kettle. Watching it filled me with the Christmas Spirit, making me feel warm all over. In spite of what you saw every night on the evening news, I realized, people were basically good at heart. Thanks to their generosity, some poor unfortunate kittens were going to have a happy holiday.

As I walked by I reached into my pocket and pulled out a spare mouse. When I dropped it in the kettle, Santa meowed something that sounded like ‘Merry Christmas’.

Copyright © 2003 by Charles Richard Laing

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