Thursday, December 25, 2008

At midnight on Christmas, the animals speak

It was Christmas Eve and the Millbrandt house was full. Oma was visiting, and both of the grown boys were home. Between the five humans and the five animals, the property was practically bursting at the seams, or so Benji thought. At least Sheep stayed outside. If he decided to come in, Benji decided he’d leave, or maybe just find somewhere he could hide and no one could find him.

Oma seemed to be the Growly man’s mother. It was hard to really tell, but she and the Growly Man both spoke the same language as Runa, the German Shepherd. B
enji had finally figured out that what they were speaking was called German, and not germ. The Lovely Lady had said something to Growly Man about her not understanding German, and that’s how she knew. Now it made sense that Runa only spoke German. If she was a German Shepherd, of course she’d speak German. It made a lot more sense than Runa speaking the same language as germs. Benji had never even seen a germ, much less heard one talk. There was no way that a dog, who wasn’t even as smart as the cats could learn the language of germs.

Everyone was a lot happier since the power had come back on and the furnace had gotten fixed. It was very nasty outside. There had been snow and today it had rained and everything was sloppy. Between the rain and the cold, Benji was so glad he had a house and people to feed him and give him warm places to sleep.

Benji wasn’t sure exactly what Christmas was, but it seemed to be something like Thanksgiving, where lots of people came over and stayed and there was really good food. Oma was even better than Lovely Lady about giving the kitties treats. Whenever she cooked something, little bits of it seemed to get into their bowls – even Runa’s.

While Benji was daydreaming about what Oma might give them to eat tomorrow he was joined by Krishna and Misty. The humans had all gone to bed, and it was almost time to sneak upstairs into their beds. Their beds were the warmest place possible on cold nights, particularly the Growly Man and Lovely Lady’s bed.

Krishna said, apparently apropos of nothing, “It’s almost midnight. We need to decide what we’re going to do about it.”

“Umm, go to bed?” That was Misty’s idea. She’d been awake for over two hours, and it was time for a nap. Benji nodded, as that seemed the best idea to him too.

Krishna gave them a look as though they weren’t quite bright. “It’s Christmas Eve and almost midnight. We only get one chance a year to speak to the humans so they can understand us. It’s an opportunity we can’t miss. Should we ask for better food? Special kitty beds?”

Misty was genuinely confused and a bit upset. “They can’t understand us any other time, why should they understand us at midnight on Christmas Eve? I think you’re making this up to make Benji and I look like fools. That’s not nice, Krishna.”

“I’m not sure why, but I think it has to do with the animals who were with Baby Jesus in the stable when he was born. Since he had to be born in a stable, God let the animals be able to speak to him to welcome him to the world.” Krishna’s idea was a little short on details, but he had the basic idea.

Now Misty was convinced that Krishna was putting them on. “No way, Krishna. Jesus was a very important man who lived a long, long, long time ago. There is NO way he was born in a stable. Humans don’t get born in stables, especially not important ones.”

Misty and Krishna argued back and forth, each trying to convince the other. There is no one like a cat for being sure that his or her point of view is the only correct one, and when there are two cats involved, the argument can go on for days.

As the minutes ticked by, Benji slipped out of the room, and quietly climbed the stairs. When he got to the top, he went in the bedroom at the head of the stairs. He care
fully jumped up on the bed, after looking at the clock and seeing that it was, in fact, midnight. He navigated the down comforter to get as close as he could to Lovely Lady’s ear and very quietly said, “I love you.”

The Lovely Lady was very much asleep, but she half-woke at the sound of a strange voice, and seeing Benji near her, said, “I love you too, Benji. Merry Christmas.”

Did she really understand him? Benji decided she did, but she was too asleep to realize that she didn’t usually have conversations with her cats – at least where they both spoke English.

Photo courtesy of Zielony -

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