The Christ-mouse Present (a festive tale for cat lovers)

Submitted into Contest #19 in response to: Write a short story about someone searching for the perfect gift for their partner.... view prompt



This story is dedicated to the author's beloved, handsome long haired

pussy-cat, Tommy Fluffy-Ruffles, (who can't hunt) and also dedicated to anyone that loves cats.

My name is Tom, although my owner calls me Sir Tommy Fluffy-Ruffles. My owner’s name is Alice, and she could not decide between calling me Tommy and Sir Fluffy-Ruffles, so she asked her boyfriend who said ‘Why not both’. I’m not very keen on the name but there’s not too much I can do about it. Alice is a wonderful owner, apart from her unfortunate habit of standing on the door step and shouting ‘Dinner time Sir Tommy Fluffy-Ruffles!’. This is a huge part of why I get bullied by several of the neighbourhood cats, who like to shout this at me as I walk past then fall about laughing. The second reason is because I’m what I describe as to call ‘preditorially challenged’. I think that sounds much more refined than saying that I can’t hunt, at all. The final reason why I get bullied is because I’m so handsome and well-bred and the other cats are definitely jealous, deep down. I’m a pure bred, pedigree Persian with long silky fur and bright eyes. My mother warned me as a kitten to beware of jealousy from more common cats. She told me how my ancestors came from the Middle East and probably belonged to Sultans. I know my aristocratic lineage means that I have been bred to be good at looking attractive and incredibly fluffy while lying on silk cushions, so I don’t worry that I’m not as good at hunting as the plebs.

I’m just over a year old now, so last Christmas was the first Christmas of my entire life. In fact, I did not even know what Christmas was, having never experienced one. I first heard about this ‘Christmas’ thing of the local oiks came up to me one morning. His name was spike, he had short black and white fur and no breeding whatsoever, a total pleb.

“How are things going Sir Tommy Fluffy-Ruffles?” he grinned “sparkly as ever?” My owner loves pink and glitter and unfortunately likes me to wear a pink diamanté collar. I’ve tried losing it but she bought another identical so I have had to learn to live with it. This collar did not help my street cred at all, or give me the impression of being very tough.

“You can knock off teasing me, because I know your little secret. You’ve got fleas again. Your owner ordered some new flea stuff from online and the postman brought it to ours because she was at work. Your owner told my owner everything when she came to retrieve her parcel from our house. Covered in them she said. She used the word infested. She also said you drink out of the toilet. Do you know what humans use a toilet for?” I said.

“It’s like a pool of water they have in their house?” said Spike.

“Follow a human into the bathroom and watch what they use the toilet for. I guarantee you’ll never want to drink out of one again. Also, if you call me anything other than Tom, every cat for a mile around will know you are hoping with fleas by the end of the day.” I said, feeling quite sassy at being able to have a decent comeback to his teasing for once in my fluffy life. My strategy of eavesdropping every time my owner talked to his owner had finally paid off.

“Ok Tom. I’m sorry, please don’t tell anyone I have fleas, or no one will want to hang out with me tomorrow, which would be awful, being Christmas” he replied.

“Christ what?”

“Christmas” he continued “You don’t know what Christmas is?”

“Never heard of it!” I said.

“Christmas is a special day for humans. They spend time with people they love, have a big meal and give each other gifts.” Said Spike.

“That sounds lovely” I said “I think I’d like to do Christmas” I smiled.

“If you want to do Christmas you have to have a Christ-mouse or you can’t join in” said Spike.

“What’s a Christ-mouse?” I asked.

“Exactly what it sounds like. At Christmas humans get food for a meal called ‘Christmas dinner’ and give each other presents. You can’t turn up to Christmas with nothing so you have to find the biggest, juiciest mouse you can and give it to them. I’m so organised that I delivered my Christ-mouse present to my family a few minutes before I saw you. I left it under their Christmas tree. I am so excited to see the look on their faces when my owner’s children come downstairs on Christmas morning to find a Christ-mouse on top one of the present piles.”

“I can’t hunt very well, what am I going to do? I really want to do Christmas!” I said sadly.

“Not my problem” said Spike. He grinned at me and walked away. I sat on the lawn in front of Spike’s house for at least five minutes. I love my owner Alice so much and I wanted to get the perfect gift for her. How on earth would I manage it without being able to hunt, and besides, I thought, all the best Christ-mice would have been taken.

Then inspiration hit me. Or rather, Spike’s front door opened and a furry, tiny, brown missile hit me. It didn’t take me long to realise what it was and to put my fluffy paw on its tail.

“I’ve got you! You are going to be my Christ-mouse!” I announced. The mouse was too stunned to speak for a full minute.

“What?” squeaked the mouse. I marvelled at how plump he was.

“You are going to be a Christ-mouse present for my owner. I’m going to give you as a gift so she can eat you for Christmas dinner. I think you’d go really well with some roast potatoes.” I said, full of excitement.

“You do realise humans don’t eat mice? I was just thrown out of that house. A black and white cat brought me in and didn’t kill me properly, because I played dead. A human woman found me and threw out of the door. That’s why I was flying through the air.” The mouse was recovering his strength a bit now so I tightened my grip.

“I just really want to do Christmas though. I have to get them something!”

“Look we can work this out! I’m too fluffy to die! I’ll help you get your owner a present.” Said the mouse.

“If you don’t I’ll eat you myself” I said.

“I will help you a better Christmas present than any cat in the whole of Oxfordshire, in the whole of England even, if you just follow my instructions” replied the mouse.

“Tell me then” I said. The mouse told.

Five minutes later myself, and the Christ-mouse found ourselves outside a local butchers shop. I was glad I had not eaten him so far, he’d explained that his name was Jerry and told me all about his wife and kids. He was really recent and friendly, for a mouse. He told me that his oldest son was going through a stroppy phase so I told him he could tell his son I’d pay a visit if he was naughty. We waited until a customer opened the door to exit the butchers, just as Jerry had suggested. Then we slipped inside before the man closed the door. As promised, Jerry ran straight round the back of the counter and up the butcher’s trouser leg, bit him, just to make sure he had his full attention, then back down again. Jerry scurried around squeaking as loud as he could. I jumped onto the counter and found the sausages just where Jerry said they would be. I picked them up and headed for the door. I tried to push it open by throwing my weight against it but it would not budge. The butcher looked up as he heard the thud, and started to move towards the door, with Jerry still desperately trying to keep him distracted. The butcher reached out to grab the string of sausages, but luckily, at the eleventh hour, another customer pulled open the door, and away I sped, sausages trailing behind. The butcher ran out of the shop, shouting a variety of unprintable words in my direction and waving a meat cleaver. He chased me down the road, but luckily I managed to escape him, by jumping over a garden wall. He tried to follow but I heard a door open and a human scream:

“John, get downstairs, there’s a mad man waving a meat cleaver around in the garden! HELP!”

Me and the sausages travelled from garden to garden until I got back to my own. I lay by the door of my house panting from exertion. After a while Jerry caught up.

“Thanks for this” I said “They have quite a lot of grit from the road, but other than that they are fine. Alice will love them, they are perfect.” I said.

“I can help you get a Christmas present every year, if you like. I’m very distracting to humans. In exchange maybe you can try to dissuade the other cats hear from eating me and my family.” said Jerry.

 “I’ll try! See you next Christmas eve?”

“Or before that!” said the mouse and scurried away.

I mewed at the door until I was let in. My owner was stunned to see the string of sausages. After picking some grit off, she did in in fact cook some, and gave some to me. Success all round.

I told Spike about my success when I bumped into him a bit later. He looked jealous.

“There is one more thing you need in order to do Christmas” said Spike.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“You need to learn a Christmas carol to sing to your owner. You hop onto the table while she is eating Christmas dinner, and sing it. Then you help yourself to turkey as a reward.” He explained.

“I don’t know any carols!” I said.

“I’ll teach you. Copy me, then sing at the top of your voice tomorrow! Your owner will love it! It goes like this:

I hiss you a merry Christ-mouse

I hiss you a merry Christ-mouse

I hiss you a merry Christ-mouse

And a cat-ty new year!

December 13, 2019 19:33

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