Blossom the Cat’s Christmas

Blossom the Cat and ReindeerThe night before Christmas Eve, Willow and Mrs. Hatcher baked Christmas cookies.  And later, after everyone was supposedly in bed, Blossom watched from her sleeping basket as Mr. H snuck into the kitchen, silently devoured five cookies, then slunk out.

Blossom had her own little secrets.  She’d recently discovered how sharp claws could pry off Tupperware lids.  Sitting on the kitchen counter, she chose a second container that Mr. H had not eaten from.  She opened it, casting the lid aside with the smoothness of a tiger.  A snowflake shaped cookie with buttercream icing all but held up its hand, begging to be licked.  Which Blossom did, then flicked the naked cookie onto the floor and swiped it under the fridge.  That was another secret, hiding things under the fridge.  Or simply put, destroying the evidence.  No one would notice the missing cookie anyway, especially after Mr. H’s cookie meow-a-thon.

However, the next morning while Blossom was eating breakfast, Willow exploded.  “Dad!  How could you?”  She held out the container Blossom had opened.  “I told you and Mom the cookies in this box were for Santa!”

“I didn’t go near that Tupperware!” Mr. H protested.  He looked from Willow to Mrs. H for a simple nod but they weren’t being agreeable.  So he turned to Blossom and his eyes widened like he’d just been jolted awake.

Blossom turned to her dish to avoid eye contact and further suspicion.

Later that morning, Blossom fretted as she trotted into the back yard.  She should have been joyful out in the frosty air, a slight tremor underfoot thanks to voles tunneling into the earth.  But this is what trampled through her thoughts:

You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why.

Holy cat chow, if Mr. H was on to her eating Willow’s cookie, probably Santa was as well.  Trudging down to the corner where all the chain link fences came together, Blossom met up with Riley, her best feline friend forever, and Merle, the neighbor bulldog.

“On Christmas Eve we leave carrots out for Santa’s reindeer,” Riley was saying.

“We leave out mushrooms and lettuce,” said Merle.

“I screwed up,” Blossom blurted, interrupting their conversation.

“Tell us,” said Riley, nose almost to the fence.

“I ate a cookie that was meant for Santa.”  Blossom hung her head, hoping her friends would say worse could have happened.

“Whoa!” Merle did a little hop.  “Do you think you got on Santa’s naughty list?”

Blossom felt her ears prickle with panic.

“Don’t hang your head like that,” said Riley.  “You look like you’re pouting.  A big Santa no-no, if you know what I mean.”

“Maybe if you wrote him an apology letter,” said Merle.

“But I don’t know how to write.”  Blossom felt hope slipping through her toes like fine litter.

“Scratch something on paper for the reindeer,” Merle suggested.  “They might be able to interpret.”

That night, alone in Willow’s bedroom, Blossom puzzled over what to do and decided as her options were thin as whiskers, she’d appeal to God.   “Dear God,” she bowed her head.  “Thank you for my family and friends but I was wondering if you might throw a little miracle my way since it is the season of hope and presents.”

And out on the lawn there arose such a clatter. 

Thinking she’d heard hoof beats, Blossom scampered to the window to check out the noise.  There stood her miracle under the Hatchers’ apple tree.

Blossom pried the window open with both paws.  “Chad!” she cried.  “Did you run away from the mall?”

Chad, the mall reindeer, was taking a poop in the sparkling white snow.  He turned to Blossom.  “Hi, Blossom.  Happy Holidays,” he said in a tone one might use after being told they’d be having a sparse Christmas.  But no wonder, Chad had to put up day after day with the bratty mall kids petting and pinching and pulling his tail.  “I’m just taking a break.  That’s all.”

“If I scratched out a letter to Santa, could you interpret it for him?” Blossom said, remembering Merle’s comment about reindeer translating letters to Santa.  She crossed her toes, knowing it was asking a lot.

“I don’t know how to interpret, Blossom.”  Even Chad’s antlers seemed to droop.  “But I could mail a letter for you.  I can reach a mailbox because I’m tall.”

“Thanks, Chad.  I’ll be right back.”  Blossom darted into Mr. Hatcher’s office with half a plan in her brain.  With her teeth, she grabbed an envelope from an opened box in one of the side cabinets.  Then off to Willow’s room, up onto her dresser.  Using one paw, she pulled a photo of herself that had been tucked into the mirror’s frame.  Pushing the photo into the envelope, she raced into the living room and sat before the Christmas tree.

She needed to don her thinking cap.  Santa would recognize Blossom from the photo but how could she prove she’d been good?  She stared the tree up and down, looking for inspiration.  And the answer came like an angel from Heaven.  The Hatchers’ little angel, her skirt fit right over the tree’s tip-top.  Little pipe cleaner arms made to look like she was praying.  A round wooden head, painted face with eyes shut.  And a gold halo made of wire, a halo defining the angel’s goodness.  A halo in the envelope along with Blossom’s photo should get the hint of her goodness across to Santa, shouldn’t it?  Blossom tipped her head, thinking.  One bite with her razor sharp choppers should separate the halo from the angel’s head and ta-da!

Blossom’s heart was ticking fast.  Not knowing how long Chad might wait for her, she dashed back to the window.  “Hold on two more minutes, Chad.”

“No worries,” Chad replied with as much cheer as a turtle who’d lost his shell.

Blossom calculated that if she positioned herself on the top of the piano and launched herself like a rocket, she’d sail right over the tree, snag the angel and bounce off the couch on the other side.  She paused for one more prayer and second miracle.  Please, please God.  Nice list or naughty list all hangs in the balance because of this angel. 

Blossom took off, flying over the tree, feeling the angel’s silky skirt brush her toes as she passed over.  The little angel tumbled to the carpet and lay there face up.  Praise the Lord!  Meow-elujah!  Blossom hit the couch, jumped to the floor and hovered over the angel.  She really, really hated to separate the sweet little ornament from her halo but as the miracles appeared to be piling up like dead flies, she figured it must be part of God’s plan.  And just as Blossom put her teeth to the task, there was a tremendous swooooosh! to her side, along with a chorus of clinking sounds.  She didn’t need to look to know the Christmas tree had just fallen over.

Oh well.  She’d better let Chad know he was free to gallop back to the mall.

That night was Christmas Eve.  Blossom sat alone in the dark while the Hatchers were off to a candlelight service at church.  Willow had prepared a plate of cookies for Santa and one with carrots for his reindeer.  She’d left them on the fireplace hearth.  Blossom deposited a few bits of kibble near them just in case Santa owned a cat.  She wasn’t expecting more than a stocking full of dog doo-doo this year for all her naughtiness, but it never hurt to try.  Mrs. H hadn’t even given Blossom a time-out for all her Christmas tree bad manners and not being punished made her feel even worse.

Wallowing in kitty self-pity, Blossom was shaken by a sound from the back yard.  Ching, ching, ching!  Ching, ching, ching!  Blossom flew to the window.  There was Chad.  Taking a break?  Wasn’t the mall closed by now?  Blossom pushed the window open.  “Merry Christmas, Chad,” she meowed.  “What’s up?”

“Hi, Blossom.  Happy Holidays,” Chad said in his monotone voice.  “Hey, I think Santa’s in the neighborhood.  Go check out your Christmas tree.”

What? Check out the Christmas tree?  Heart ticking like a rattlesnake, Blossom scrambled through the dark house and stopped at the living room entrance, toes glued to the floor.  She pricked her ears.  The house was quiet as a dead mouse.  She didn’t know what to do.  She didn’t want to check out the Christmas tree.  What if Santa passed by her house and left nothing?  Or what if Santa did stop but only left gifts for Willow?  Blossom’s fur felt crawly.  She was afraid to look, knowing she might be facing a whole year ahead with not even one teeny tiny toy, an everyday reminder she had been on Santa’s naughty list.  There were no meows to describe that awfulness.  Blossom was so overcome with dread she feared her whiskers might shrivel.

But she couldn’t keep Chad waiting so she stuck her nose around the corner.  Moonlight filtering in through Mrs. H’s lace curtains cast little snowflake patterns on the walls and made the tree ornaments twinkle.  The Christmas tree looked magical and its lights weren’t even on.  And then Blossom spied Santa’s plate of goodies.  One cookie had a bite out of it, one carrot was left and the kibble was gone!  And Blossom could smell something that hadn’t been there before.  Catnip.  Santa had left a catnip toy!  She wasn’t on the naughty list, she was on the nice list!  She thought if she let out a sigh right now, it might be big enough to knock the tree over a second time.  So she didn’t.

Instead Blossom leaped for joy.  Oh, she’d never be bad again!  Her days of springing Tupperware were over!  The next time she was tempted by Tupperware, she’d remember this moment and how Santa may or may not be watching.  Or God, maybe he fixed it and that was the real miracle.  Who knew?  Anyway, she had to tell Chad her good news!

Blossom zipped back to Willow’s bedroom, stopping at the door.  The window was still ajar, cold air making the room chilly, but something slight balanced on the sill.  She tore to the window and looked out.  Chad was gone but sitting on the sill was a piece of paper with this upon it:

Blossom the Cat with Halo

Blossom the Cat Goes Shopping

Blossom the Cat Goes Shopping

This Christmas the Hatchers would purchase an artificial tree and forego the trip to the tree farm.  Mrs. Hatcher was not a fan of Black Friday shopping but decided she would get one of the many online deals and have the tree delivered right to their door.

Of course, she decided to make this purchase from target.com and, when she realized she did not have her Target credit card at hand to punch in the numbers, she left her iPad on the table and went off in search of her purse.

Leaping into the kitchen chair, Blossom took this opportunity to see just what tree Mrs. H had picked.  She looked down at the image and then gazed out the window facing onto the deck and the evergreens beyond, a small ache in her heart.  “A tree should smell like balsam, not plastic,” she grumbled.

A cardinal perched on the Hatchers’ deck railing, stared in at Blossom.  “A tree should stay in the forest,” he called, loud enough for the whole yard to hear.

Blossom turned her attention back to the iPad, thinking how cardinals should mind their own business.

Mrs. H was taking a long time locating her purse so Blossom decided to see what other deals target.com had to offer.  Spying the small magnifying glass at the top of the screen and spreading her keyboard toes wide, Blossom prepared to search.  CAT being the only word familiar to her, she entered the letters.  Her whiskers quivered in anticipation as the screen went blank and a small circle in its center spun about.

A page opened to photos of kitty litter bags.  Blossom grunted.  Online kitty litter?  That would be like Mrs. H scrolling through pages of toilet paper.  Wagging her head, she swiped her paw from bottom to top, watching the screen images flick by and settle again, this time on a picture of a scratching post, the carpet around it a lovely shade of robin egg blue.  At the post’s top something resembling a tree branch stretched out, blue and red mini mice bobbing from its limbs.  Original price $28.99, On Sale for $20.30.

Blossom had never seen anything like it but knew in that moment she wanted it more than anything in the world.  The room was very quiet but she looked around to make certain she was alone.  Just one little gift for the family cat?  Mrs. H must have left her purse in the car, the woman was taking forever.  Blossom’s toes trembled with power as she pressed the Add to Cart button.  Heart racing, she scrolled on as if nothing had happened.

“That’s bad manners to play with someone else’s iPad!” the cardinal tweeted.

Blossom slit her eyes at the cardinal.  He was redder than wreath ribbon.  “I’m cyber shopping.  Leave me alone.”

Next item was a cat cottage.  How cute, like a little tree house, a feather dangling by a string from its top.  And, holy hairballs, one cat lounging on the lower level, another off its deck!  If she owned one of these, Riley could come over and they could play house!  $129.99, Now On Sale for $91.00!  Heart thumping like a beating drum, she pressed Add to CartKa-ching!  Every time a bell rings, a cat gets a new toy!

“Willow, have you seen my purse?” Mrs. H sounded like she was in the basement.

Blossom’s head was buzzing right between her ears.  She was in control of her destiny.  Next up, a cat slide!  $59.99, Now $42.00.  Add to CartWeeeeeeeeee!

“You could be donating all those purchases to the poor,” the cardinal warbled on.

Blossom’s ears burned.  This cardinal was pecking at her concentration.  She turned swiftly, leaped at the window, in all her harshness causing the kitchen chair to scrape across the floor.  The cardinal bobbed his haughty head from the snow covered railing, knowing Blossom could not pass through the glass door.  “Tis the season for giving,” he chirped.

Blossom huffed.  Next time she was in the back yard, she’d have to do a little cardinal catapulting.  Back to the iPad.  She was scrolling into necessities.  It was as if the cardinal had brought bad luck.  A pooper scooper here, a boring food bowl there.  A litter box with removal tray.  She paused at that item.  It would be nice for Willow to change her litter every day.  But Blossom sat up straighter.  Maybe she should display some self-control, maybe she was being a bit greedy.  Plus if she stopped right now, Mrs. H might not notice the hike in price of her fake tree.

Blossom bounced to the floor just as Mrs. H clipped into the kitchen and seated herself.

“Make sure you’re only paying for what you ordered,” the cardinal cried from the deck before flying off.  Good, Blossom fumed.  Cardinals could be as annoying as crows.

Mrs. H raised her index finger, ready to pop in the zillion numbers off her Red Card, when she stopped.

Blossom held her breath.

“Maybe I should get a few more strings of lights, while I’m at it,” Mrs. H announced to Blossom, not waiting for agreement.  Click, click, click.

 “And Christmas cards, they’ll be here by next week.”  Click, click, click. 

Mrs. H went on and on.  Flying fishsticks, she was going to wear out the keyboard.  And so far, she hadn’t even blinked an eye at Blossom’s purchases.

Blossom shivered with excitement at this possibly being the best Christmas ever.  Click, click, click.  Mrs. Hatcher’s fingers flew across the keyboard like hamsters in a wheel, the gleam in her eye was one with the feeling Blossom had felt moments earlier.

Cyber Monday at its best.  Cat’s in the bag!  Or almost.

Mrs. H made one final click and sighed as if she’d just finished a marathon.  “Goodness, I’ve spent so much money I think I’ll ask Santa to pass us by this year.”

Blossom’s ears began ringing like church bells.  What?  No Santa?