A Kitten for Christmas Morning. The Authors Collection.

kitten_with_tree

It came to be known as “The Kitten Christmas.”  It was decided, by whom I have no idea, that the kids would get a cat from Santa.  I, who had never had a cat and did not like cats, who was, after all, a “dog” person – who had happily gotten the dog about whom Jamie said, “I think we’ll call him Charlie,” and as far as I knew Jamie had never known anybody named Charlie, and possibly never even heard the name before —  I was sent to pick up the cat.

James R. Callan
James R. Callan

The house, no address, surely was a clandestine hideout for members of the FBI or CIA. Or perhaps even worse, the NSA. I was fingerprinted, subjected to search, and interrogated for three hours in a 2×2 room under hot lights, with lie-detector attached, questions being asked over a speaker hidden in the wall above the one-way mirror.  No Dr Peppers.  Suddenly, the voice stopped, the lights went cold and I sat in darkness.  My life, short as it had been at that time, passed before my eyes, though without the lights, I only got a few glimpses of the brighter spots.  Finally, the door opened.  I didn’t know what to expect, and was ready for it.

Blank sheets, attesting to what I had no clue, were thrust under my nose (or perhaps my hand, I am no longer sure) and I was ordered to sign each and initial the back of the first one next to the initials of my interrogator, though his were in invisible ink and I might have actually put mine initials on top of his.  Then, the cat was released into my custody.

Little did I know, it was actually a Suicide Cat, just out of commando training, who had never been in a car before.  I had backed up no more than ten feet when the kamikaze cat was racing around the car, flinging itself against the windscreen, tearing at the seats and slashing at the driver.  In one of the most incongruous scenes ever videotaped by the NSA, the cat-unfriendly driver was seen to be trying every seducing, soothing, baby-talking line known to mankind in the futile effort to calm down the run-away cat.

ATonOfGold-3dLeftFinally, by the end of the first block, the killer cat settled down, still scared, but feeling somewhat secure by anchoring its claws into the top of the driver’s head.  And it remained there for the remainder of what must have been a 5,000 block trip.

Christmas morning, the terrorist-cat had transmogrified into a small, tame kitten.  The kids were thrilled.  But the kitten was about to get a comeuppance, or a comeapartness.

At last, Kristi (after all, the youngest is always last) got her chance to hold the kitten.  Not being any more experienced than the driver, she grabbed it, got the kitten’s neck in the crook of her arm and locked her hands to her chest.  The kitten, hanging down, but firmly secured by its head, immediately yelled for help.  And immediately, older and more experienced sister Kelly came to the aid of the kitten-in-distress.  She tried to take the kitten.  Kristi was not about to have her turn commuted down to such a short time.  She held tightly.  Kelly pulled mightily.   The kitten got longer.  And longer. Only when an adult (who knew a thing or two about kittens and just how long they could be stretched) came to negotiate, did the kitten get off the rack.

It was a Christmas to remember.  And to the day he/she died, I’m sure the kitten remembered it also.

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  • Caleb Pirtle

    Kittens do have a mind of their own. And they learn to adjust to the rigors of children. I found a kitten when our son was young, and he would place the kitten in the cockpit of the large spaceship from Star Wars and fly him all over the house. All we could see were the whites of the kitten’s eyes growing larger by the moment.

    • Jim Callan

      But they do survive. And if truth be known (again, truth is a difficult …), Earlene and I have a cat today (have had for 15 years), and three of our four kids have cats. One, bless her, has a dog.

  • Darlene Jones

    LOL And, did you come to love that cat?

    • Jim Callan

      Love is such a difficult concept to define. But I understand “tolerate.” In truth, this was the first of several cats the kids had, and yes, I did come to … it really IS a difficult concept.

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