Jingle Bells.

This is set in the "Tales from the Blind Pig" universe.

It had taken almost a month of planning, several phone calls, and more then the usual bit of sneakiness, but I had managed to keep Kerry from finding out what I had gotten for her for Christmas. She also had no clue just to how I was going to present it to her, although I had my suspicions. I had made "arrangements" for her to be at work Christmas eve (which was quite a bit of work, really). five minutes after she had left, I started to work. Kerry does not like doing anything for Christmas (which, until I got the tail and paws, was a sentiment I shared), even to the point of not decorating. Fortunately, I had a pine tree or three on the property which was the right size for my plans. a few minutes later, I had the chain saw going, and scared the hell out of the neighbors by bringing the cut tree back in my taur-morph form. They had never seen it, but a few of the kids thought I looked cool.

After dragging in the tree into the garage, I got it trimmed up a bit, and got it upstairs. This was fun and entertaining, as the tree (and myself, for that matter) barely fit into the elevator. But I managed. Then I got the trough and decorations out, and set about decorating the living areas. This, along with putting up the trough, took the rest of the day. The garage, elevator, and entry were left un-decorated intentionally, so as not to give it away. The trough was a result of about a month of design and fabrication work, which was slightly complicated to design and have built. But I got it mounted and ready to go. I was just finishing up filling it when Sam reminded me that I had about five minutes before Kerry arrived home. I barely got everything stored before Sam announced that she had entered the property. A quick check, everything is all set. I was in my room, lights off, mistletoe over the door, when she walked in.

"Kitty, I'm - *BANG!!* *CRASH!!!* "EEEK!!!" Tiger, You bastard! Where are you!?" From where I was lying in wait, I could see that the 'bucket over the door' gag had worked as intended. The extra non-breakable decorations had covered her. I started chuckling, and triggered the intercom all over the house, to disguise my location. "Guess I'm on the 'naughty' list, this year." "You better not hope the stuff I brought in is broken! It's your gift fuzz butt!" Whoops. Shafted again. Then she noticed the two glowing eyes that peered back at her from my room. Then she looked up at the misltoe hanging from the top of the doorway. "Uh, Merry Christmas?" She started laughing, and came up to the doorway. And as tradition required, I gave her a hug and a kiss, and the rest is private. And my gift later turned out to not be broken, although I never did find the trough after I took it down...

Happy Holidays from Tiger, Kerry, and all the others in my head. May next year be a damn sight better the the last.

Jeremy Cook, 12/24/2004