Who is Chuck and why does he like to travel?

I was born to be a writer and when I wrote my novel Wild Point Island, Chuck, my orange and white recently rescued feral tabby, got it in his head that he wanted to travel to the island and see the place for himself. Well, of course, Wild Point Island, can only be seen by revenants (you'll have to read the book to find out who they are) and Chuck is no revenant so instead, I concocted a plan to take Chuck with me when I travel around the world, which I do frequently. Not an easy task. First, I have to deflate the poor kid of all air, stuff him in my carry-on bag, remember to bring my portable pump, and when I arrive, I pump him back up. Ouch. But he's used to it by now and given the choice to either stay home in his comfy cat bed or get deflated, he pulls out his passport, ready to travel, every time.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Chuck Meets Santa

I love Christmas. The singing of carols, the wrapping of presents, the decorations, the hustle and bustle in the stores, the back and forth texting with all my sisters and brothers trying to sort out the menu on Christmas day--all of it.

But this year, as the days ticked by, I dreaded the coming of Christmas day--knowing that Santa wouldn’t have arrived and my Chuck would be disappointed. The man in the red suit wouldn’t have slid down our chimney. Chuck’s present wouldn’t have been deposited underneath the Christmas tree. Chuckie wouldn’t have experienced that moment that all kids love--when they could rip the wrapping off their present and get to the good stuff.

Yes, dread sat on my chest like a hundred pound gorilla.

Chuck was hoping for a box full of cat treats--Temptations--to be exact.

Every night Bob said, “Tell the kid the truth.”

But I couldn’t.

Maybe I wanted to believe that somehow Santa would arrive. That somehow Chuck’s faith in Santa would make it happen.

Crazy right?

And then Christmas Eve was upon us, and Chuck could hardly contain his excitement, confident that Santa was on his way.

I went to bed that night with a heavy heart.

Chuck camped out underneath the tree, determined to stay awake and wait for Santa to arrive with his present.

I tossed and turned in bed, but finally nodded off.

The next morning--Christmas morning--I awoke at the crack of dawn, anxious to see how Chuck was handling his disappointment. I crept down the stairs and into the great room where we have our tree. Chuck was fast asleep, sprawled on top of a large box. Strange, I thought, there weren’t any presents left unopened under the tree last night. We had already opened all of them.

Bob was behind me. “Did you put a present there for Chuck?” I asked.

He shook his head.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“I thought you did.”

I tiptoed across the room toward the tree. The wrapping paper didn’t look familiar. Crouching, I stared at the gift tag on the present. In bold letters, someone had printed “Chuck”.

At that very moment, Chuck opened one eye.

“Merry Christmas, Chuckie.” And then I studied him closely. He didn’t look sad or depressed. Or disappointed.

Dare I say it?

“Is that box for you?”

Chuck didn’t answer, but it took him less than a minute to unwrap the present and open the box. Well, there was no doubt this box was from Santa. The box was filled with bags of Temptations. Chuckie’s favorite treat.

Was it possible?

I turned to Bob.

He shrugged.

I mouthed “Santa”?

“Who else?” he said.

“So, Chuckie, you actually got a chance to meet Santa. What did you think? Did he say anything to you? Did you see the reindeer?”

But the Chuckster wasn’t listening. He was too busy trying to get one of the bags of treats open. After all, the kid was hungry. And how could he resist all those bags of Temptations?

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