Chapter 1

 

"Bah Humbug!"

It's the Christmas season and for the last few weeks, Louis, my hare-brained agent, has had me working my claws to the bone writing 100 reviews before the big day. He insists that if I do not complete this task, he will cancel Christmas and I shall NOT be whisked off to Hollywood to become a rich and famous film critic.

Needless to say, this has thrown me into a tizzy. "You can't cancel Christmas!" I informed the orange-treat munching, Tomcat, 48 hours before the big day.

"I can, Fat Boy! I gave you a choice . . . You opted not to do as I asked, now you and everyone else must suffer the consequences."

 

I had failed to live up to the contract. Bah Humbug! All of a sudden, Christmas had become the worse time of the year. I let my fans down, I let myself down but worst of all . . . I had let my Cleo down. Maybe, I had to reconsider this whole wedding thing!

Walking home in the cold and snow left me weary and chilled. I ran into my pal Basil. He saw my grumpy demeanour and asked, "What's the matter, Tibby?"

"I'm thinking about cancelling the wedding." I told him.

"Oh, Buddy, you can't do that. You love Cleo far too much." Basil is the kindest soul on this earth.

"I don't want to, but I might have to." I uttered dejectedly.

"You'll find a way out of your dilemma; I know you will. I have some last-minute Christmas shopping to do. I've saved the best for last . . . got to get a special gift for my girl. Any suggestions?"

"A slap-up meal, is always a good choice." My belly rumbled at the thoughts.

"A brilliant idea! Meowy Christmas, Tibbs!" He patted me on the back and off he went.

I did not have the heart to tell him Christmas was going to be cancelled as well. And all because of me. So, I continued on my way and the amount of good cheer sent in my direction began to annoy me. If another cat on the streets, meowed 'Meowy Christmas' at me, I intended to swat at them, and snap a resounding, 'Bah Humbug!'

Chapter 2

Christmas Eve found me up late, slaving away at another review. What else did I have to do? Louis wanted his 100 reviews and I had to keep going. Then, without warning, the power went out! Being the brave kitty that I am, I huddled by the candlelight hoping for some warmth and courage and enough light to continue writing.

Whenever things go awry, my first instinct is to run but I still had 93 reviews to crank out. I could not let the eerie atmosphere deter me from my job. My scribbling was interrupted when, to my surprise, I heard the distinct sound of a collar bell.

This was strange as no cat, in the house, wore a collar. I leapt up and peeked my head around the doorframe! No one was there. My fur began to stand on end and my tail puffed up to three times its size.

I went back to writing but closed my eyes for only a second. Suddenly, I was awakened and standing before me was my pal, Zack!

"Tibbs . . ." He meowed my name without moving his mouth! "What is this nonsense about you cancelling your wedding?!!" Zack hissed, nearly making me run from the room.

"How do you know about that? I, only, thought about it earlier this today." I was confused. "Zack, didn't you go OTRB?  How can you be here, now?" This was freaking me out!

"Meow . . ." Zack dug his claws into the carpet and stretched his body out fully. "I'm here to help you, Tibbs! We were pals here on earth and there are some more of your furriends who are willing to guide you towards the future you deserve."

"My future?!!! The one without Cleo? Louis is going to ruin me if I don't get these reviews done! That's the bleak future I'm facing, Zack."

Growling, Zack arched his back and came to a standing position. "Louis does not have the power to ruin you!" He yowled.

"What?!!!"

"He lies!" Zack boomed.

I crouched down, ready to bolt.

Zack turned to leave the room. He meowed over his shoulder, "Expect three furriends to visit you. They will show you the way." Zack leapt out the window.

I ran to the window, hoping to see him on the pavement below but spied no one. This was most disconcerting. It was like he just disappeared. I ran to my bed.

Chapter 3

I awoke, with a start, to the sound of something jumping on and off the furniture in the other room. This piqued my curiosity. I raced . . . (Okay, waddled . . .) into the other room to see a sight that had my ears twitching uncontrollably. There in plain sight was my old pal, Scarlett, leaping from chair to chair batting around an object that I could not make out.

I knew Scarlett had gone OTRB earlier in the year, so what was she doing here? I rubbed my eyes a few times to make sure it was really her. Then I realized what the object was that she was bunny kicking. A flyswatter! This was Scarlett, alright.

"Scarlett . . . Babe . . . Is that you?" I asked with trepidation.

She stopped what she was doing, sat up and said, "There you are, Big Boy! What's this I hear . . . You're considering working so hard that you'll end up having Christmas without Cleo? And you want to cancel 'The Wedding of The Century'?"

When put like that, it sounded ridiculous. I hung my head in shame. "Christmas is just another day. And the wedding may not be the best thing for Cleo. Louis says . . . " I stopped justifying my position when Scarlett held up her paw.

She approached me and said, "You're very easily influenced, Tibbs."

"No, I'm not!" I insisted.

Scarlett placed her paw in mine, and we were transported to a time in the past . . . I could see myself at the beach with the Dude, Sundance. "Brah, you got to get a job. You gonna be married soon. You gonna have a wife to support."

"That's why I want to go to Hollywood, Dude." I remember telling him.

"Marriage is a prison, Dude. I should know. You come see me when you in Cali., Brah. We have some fun together."

Scarlett raised an eyebrow at me.

"The Dude knows what he's talking about. Prison is his home away from home. But when he's out, the Dude can pawty like nobody's business. He can show me things . . . " I defended.

"But can he show you how to keep Cleo and yourself, happy?" Scarlett raised a valid point. She took a hold of my paw once again and we zoomed to the scene last Christmas when we had a nip pawty to end all nip pawties.

There we all were lolling about the house spreading the catnip, far and wide. Patches, the resident nip fiend, teaching us all the best rolling methods known to felines.

"Do you think we should have invited LG?" I asked the She-Devil.

"Lord who . . . ?" Patches could not even remember the name of the love of her life whilst luxuriating in the powerful weed.

I had forgotten this. I turned gob-smacked eyes on Scarlett. She grabbed my paw and whisked us back home.

"What does all this mean?" I asked.

"As the Ghost of Christmas Past, I wanted you to see how your decisions today affect your tomorrows. Think about that when you want to cancel the wedding." Scarlett picked up the fly swatter and ran from the room.

Chapter 4

Thinking about all I had seen had me more confused than ever. I decided to go to bed. I barely got my head down when I heard the ding-dong of the clock striking two - BONG . . . BONG . . .

All of a sudden, I heard the distinct meowing of a Maine Coon. I arose and sauntered into the next room, only to be confronted by my recently passed pal, Frederick.

"Freddy . . ." I rushed towards him. He threw up his paws and stopped me in my tracks.

"Tibbs, Buddy . . . Tell me it isn't true . . ."

"What, Frederick?"

"As the Ghost of Christmas Present, I've heard rumours about you dumping Miss Cleo? When I was among the living, I always looked up to you. It seemed to me, you had all the felines, but your heart belonged to Miss Cleo." Frederick began.

"It's all true, Bud." I answered but curiosity got the better of me and I asked, "The Ghost of Christmas Presents must be an important job. What kind of presents have you brought me? Are they filled with the 'Spirit of Catnip'? I might have to hide them from Patches. You know what she's like." I sniffed around my pal for the distinct odour of the weed.

Freddy guffawed until his eyes leaked tears of joy. "I do miss your 'Buffoonery', Tibbs. But I'm here to teach you to live in the 'now'." Freddy held out his paw. I took it and we were whisked to a scene . . .

Sitting in a fancy restaurant were Basil the Kindhearted with his girl, Tiny Bubbles. The lovely white Persian, Bubbles (aka Moet the Blind Cat) is given a covered plate, the aroma of which is scrumptious. She attempts to get at the food but cannot figure out how. "This meal smells delish, my Love. But I can't . . ." She mentioned to her date.

Basil leaps to his paws. "Allow me, Momo . . ." He removes the cover, allowing Tiny Bubbles to drive into the meal.

"Cat bless you, Basil. You are the best Tomfurriend, a girl can have."

 

Basil blushes and puffs out his fluff.

Freddy turned to me and boomed, "Their love brings them closer every day.

Thinking of my Cleo, I said, "There's plenty of time for Cleopatra and me to do romantic stuff like that."

"I thought so too. Remember . . .” Another scene unfolds before us . . .

Freddy and I were at a Stud Muffin Inc. meeting, a few weeks before he passed away. He asked me, "Should I ask Sooty to marry me?"

"You're still a young Tom. Play the field a bit, son." I answered flippantly.

Reliving this scene nearly broke my heart. "Oh . . . Frederick . . ."

"I never got the chance with Sooty. Don't make that same mistake, Tibbs." Frederick's wise words penetrated my heart.

He grabbed my paw and we transported back to my room.

"Will Cleo miss a lifetime of turkey and me, because of my behaviour?" I needed to know.

He meowed, "If you don't change your ways and concentrate more on her. I foresee a lonely, thin grey BSH . . . turkey-less and without her McDreamy."

I gasped at this harsh reality.

"The next Cat Spirit to visit you is the Ghost of Christmas Yet-To-Come. He will show you what your life will be, if you carry on the way you are." Then with a hiss and a poof . . . Frederick disappeared.

Chapter 5

Before I could even have a midnight snack, I was transported to a church where I stood at the altar awaiting my lovely bride-to-be Cleo. The nervous tension permeated my very being. I was ready to bolt.

Looking to the Vicar for support, I could not believe my eyes. It was Spooky. He winked at me and meowed, "Don't do it, Tibbsy."

I ran from the church, followed closely by Spooky.

"Stop running, you moron!" Spooky's meows rendered me motionless.

"Spooky, why are you here?"

"I'm the Spirit of Christmas-Yet-To-Come and I have to show you how your ridiculous behaviour influences the other cats. If you go through with this great escape, your furriends will take a leaf out of your book and . . ." Spooky teleported me to a scene involving Bubbles (Moet), Minnie, Patches and my Cleo. All of them sitting around a dinner table sobbing and meowing.

"Why are they all crying?" I asked Spooky.

"They have no food and their Toms are conspicuously absent." Spooky spoke solemnly.

"Surely, Bas, LG and the Dude are out rustling them up some grub?" I was distressed to see these lovely felines in such dire straits.

"The Toms decided to follow in your pawsteps and have absconded." Spooky flicked his tail and we magically ended up in Sundance's Catnip Mansion, where Basil, LG and the huge shadow of another cat rolled around enjoying wonderful weed cigars.

I turned to Spooky and said, "Tell me, that isn't Basil acting so disrespectfully. He loves Bubbles, he wouldn't hurt her like that. And LG would never allow himself to be nipped to the gills for fear of what Patches might do to him. Even Sundance loves Minnie enough not to . . . Who is that other hulking mass? It isn't me . . . Is it?"

"They all want to be like you. Carefree and irresponsible."

I was crestfallen as we catapulted back to my room. Could I truly be such a bad influence on my pals? I shamefully asked Spooky, "Are these the things will come to pass or only what MAY come to pass?" It was an important question. I waited with bated breath for the answer.

Spooky meowed, "Change your ways and you can still rectify things." And before I could thank my pal, he was gone.

Chapter 6

I awoke to the sounds of kitties opening their Christmas presents. Admittedly, the racket that could be heard usually had me running for cover but not today. All that I had been shown in the night was that being afraid and running away was not the answer. I had to change my ways and face up to the truth.

I loved Cleopatra and she loved me. I loved all my furriends and I knew they returned the sentiment. From now on, I was going to show them all that Tibbs was no longer a push-over.

First off, I called Louis B Hare and left a message on his machine. "You're fired!" Then I went to buy the biggest turkey I could find and invited all my pals round for Christmas dinner.

It was the most joyous Christmas I have every encountered. Tiny Bubbles said it best when she meowed grace before the meal, "Cat Bless Us Everyone!"

The End.

*A special thank you to Basil and his Mum for help with the photos*

 

 

A Morning Kiss

A morning kiss, a discreet touch of his nose landing somewhere on the middle of my face.
Because his long white whiskers tickled, I began every day laughing.

Janet F Faure