Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Dolce's Story Chair - Jingles and the Furry Helpers (pt 6)

Dad: Welcome dear furriends to Dolce's Story Chair. It has taken a lot longer to tell this year's story. I hope you all have felt that the wait was worth it. So sit back and enjoy the conclusion of "Jingles and the Furry Helpers"

Jingles and the Furry Helpers
Part 6: Home is the Sweetest Word

Santa’s sleigh appeared on the horizon due south of the North Pole. Two Elfs in the Great Southern Watchtower saw the sleigh’s approach and sounded their bright brass trumpets. A great bell was rung and its announcement tolled joyfully over the town. All of the Elfs of the North Pole danced and cheered and hugged each other for another Christmas Eve successfully over.
Sammy Sleighmaster looked sternly at the Toy Factory clocktower. A winkle crossed his brow and a frown crept to his mouth. Several other Elfs saw this and were taken aback. It was unheard of for an Elf of the North Pole to frown. Whispers and rumours spread like wildfire across the North Pole. Sammy Sleighmaster had frowned. Something had happened to Santa. The Christmas Magic was failing. Global Warming was going to send the North Pole to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean.
Sammy watched as the sleigh came in for its landing. The sleigh was listing ever so slightly to the left. The reindeer seemed to be strained and exhausted more than usual. Sammy noticed that Santa had the same wrinkle on his forehead that Sammy had on his. The trip this year had not gone well. Sammy realized he would have to spend many long nights figuring out what had gone wrong.
The sleigh landed with a slight skreech as metal runners struck the stone cobble. Sammy watched as a wave of relief washed over Santa’s face. Sammy’s worst fears came true as he realized that this years Christmas run had narrowly avoided disaster. He as soon as the sleigh stopped moving, Sammy raced to Santa’s side.
“Welcome back, Santa.” Sammy said as he scanned the sleigh for damage or anything out of place. “I hope things went smoothly.”
“We had some problems.” Santa started to explain.
Tinker, the little black kitten, walked across Santa’s lap and his sister, Myrrh, and stared at Sammy.
“Me fix.” Tinker said defiantly.
“And what did you fix, Little One.” Sammy asked with a tiny smile.
“Me fix.” Tinker repeated.
Jingles came to Tinker’s side and looked down from the sleigh at his good friend, Sammy Sleighmaster.
“We had a problem with the Gum Drop Diode Array..” Jingles replied. ” I tried to fix it but I was too large to reach it. This little guy seemed to know exactly what needed to be done and he saved us.”
“Excuse me.” Santa said as he adjusted the little orange ginger kitten in his lap. “But, if I remember correctly, I am the one in charge here.”
“Sorry, Santa.” Jingles said as he lowered his head. He reached out his paw and he gently pulled Tinker back.
“What happened, Santa?” Sammy Sleighmaster asked.
“It is as Jingles said.” Santa replied as he climbed down from the sleigh. “And as you warned us. The new Gum Drop Drive Array worked its way loose. We almost went for a long cold swim. If it wasn’t for Jingles and this little guy.”
Santa gave Tinker a loving rub on the head.
“Impound the sleigh!” Sammy commanded to several of the Elfs nearby. “Notify Safety and Health that there was a Class One infraction.”
The Elfs around the sleigh started scrambling about. The joyous return of Santa and his sleigh was replaced by the serious aura that surrounded a near catastrophic accident.
“So I understand that you helped save the sleigh.” Sammy regarded the little black kitten.
“Me fix.” The little black kitten now named Tinker responded.
“You know what. “ Sammy replied with a large smile. “That’s what I heard.”
“Me fix.” Tinker said proudly to his two other littermates.
“I think you and I are going to be very good friends.” Sammy said as he gave Tinker a quick loving scratch on his right ear.

Jingles woke in his own bed at Taylor Tailorson’s. He yawned and stretched and tried not to disturb the three other little bodies that were curled up on his puffy red pillow bed. He went towards the kitchen and saw Taylor siting at the table and reading the North Pole Post newspaper.
“They are still writing about you four.” Taylor said.
“Which one of us is an alien this time?” Jingles asked.
“You do realize that the New York Times is a not a real paper?” Taylor said, and then added. “You are still on the front page; Hometown Hero Rescues Three Forgotten Waifs.”
“I can’t believe they are still writing about it a whole month later.” Jingles said sadly as he shook his head. “And they still have it wrong. Tinker saved us not the other way around.”
“Well, He will be rewarded for that today.” Taylor stated. “Do the kittens have any idea?”
“Nope.” Jingles said happily. “I can’t believe what Santa and the Elfs have arranged for us. The kittens will be so surprised.”
“Remember that you have to be at Holly, Holly, Holly and Jolly at nine o’clock sharp to get the kittens’ papers finalized.” Taylor said.
“I know.” Jingles replied as he lapped at his morning cream. “We have to be finished by eleven.”
“Eleven.” Taylor said excitedly. “Eleven precisely.”

“What’s eleven?” A little voice squeaked from the hallway.
Jingles and Taylor turned to see Myrrh sitting sleepily in the middle of the hall leading to Jingles room.
“Eleven is the time when everything changes.” Taylor said as he got up and walked over to the tiny orange ginger kitten. “Now come and have some breakfast. I think Jingles left some cream for you.”
“Did someone say cream?” a little tabby with four white socks asked as she peered into the hallway from Jingles room.
“Yes, Cookie.” Taylor smiled. “There is some cream for you as well.”
“Can you put cookie bits in it again?” Cookie asked as she hopped up onto the stool Jingles had just vacated.
“Yep.” Taylor laughed. “There is some Elfin blood in all of the kittens.”
A small black kitten walked out of Taylor’s sewing room. He was covered in dust and soot.
“It’s all fixed.” Tinker said as he hopped up onto the same stool as Cookie. “The drive pedal screw was loose. It shouldn’t wobble anymore.”
“Well thank you very much, Tinker.” Taylor said as he winked at Jingles.
Jingles looked at Tinker and then at Taylor. Jingles knew that Taylor had loosened the screw himself yesterday and then pretended to complain about it in front of Tinker. Tinker responded quickly with his “Me fix” declaration. Jingles chuckled at Taylor, who had been loosening and detaching things all over his house so that Tinker could fix them.

As the four cats walked down the cobblestone street towards their very important meeting at Holly, Holly, Holly, Holly and Jolly, they were greeted and congratulated by every Elf they met. The three little kittens began to realize that something exciting was happening at the North Pole. They stopped following Jingles in an orderly manner and began to chase and tumble over each other as they walked.
“Everybody is so happy today.” Myrrh noticed.
“I smell freshly baked cookies and cakes.” Cookie mentioned as she sniffed the air.
“I smell fresh paint.” Tinker added. “And freshly cut timber.”
“Well.” Jingles stated as he looked over his shoulder at the three rambunctious kittens. “Today is special. Today you become citizens of the North Pole. Just like I did last year. The Elfs are extremely excited and happy because it happens so very rarily.”
“Oh.” All three kittens replied in unison.

Soon Jingles and the kittens were in the Law offices of Holly, Holly, Holly, Holly and Jolly. An impeccably dressed elf sat across from the cats and carefully arranged the papers on his desk. Jingles was happy to see the senior partner of the firm, Evergreen Holly, Sr. , Esquire again. The patriarch of the North Pole’s only law firm had also been the Elf who handled Jingles’ citizenship.
“It appears that everything is in order.” Evergreen Holly, Sr. Esquire stated as he sat back in his chair and then tucked his thumbs under the lapels of his jacket. “Now we just have to wait for Santa to come and give these youngsters the Oath.”
The kittens looked nervously at each other and then at Jingles and Evergreen.
The door to Evergreen’s office open and Santa was ushered in by a pretty young Elfin lady.
“Jingles.” Evergreen said proudly. “I don’t know if you have met my daughter, Judicious Jolly, Esquire.”
“Congratulations, Judicious.” Jingles said with a respectful nod of his head.
“You may call me Judy.” The young Elf smiled.
“Judy is now in charge of our Immigration and Citizenship department.“ Evergreen boasted. “We had to do something. Nothing like a four-hundred percent increase in business to encourage the younger generation. Now where are my manners. Greetings to you, Santa.”
“And to you, Evergreen.” Santa replied. “good morning to you Jingles, Myrrh, Cookie and Tinker.”
“Good morning, Santa.” The three kittens replied.
‘Good Morning, Santa.” Jingles said as he glanced at the clock on the wall.
Santa, Evergreen and Judy followed Jingles’ glance. The clock read three-quartermarks past ten.
“We better get this ceremony going.” Santa said as he picked up each kitten and placed it on Evergreen’s desk next to the paper that bore their name.
“Now repeat after me…” Santa began the kittens’ citizenship ceremony.

Now it must be said that the Oath of Citizenship of the North Pole is very strong Christmas magic. It cannot be written down anywhere. It resides only in Santa’s memory. Once spoken the words disappear from the oathtaker’s mind and are replaced with the feeling and presence of the magical connection to the North Pole. It gives the oathtaker knowledge of the exact location of the North Pole and a deep understanding of the Christmas Magic. In the wrong hands, much greed and evil could be done. As such, the exact wording and intonations are strictly guarded.

“Now place your pawmark here.” Judy instructed each kitten. She had to help Myrrh who seemed very reluctant to put her clean paw on the inkpad.
“It tastes like peppermint.” Cookie said happily as she licked and groomed her paw feverously.
“I name you, Myrrh. Friend to All, Citizen of the North Pole, Beloved One and Trusted One.” Santa placed a kiss on Myrrh’s forehead, and as he did so a faint blue arc crossed from his lips to her head.
“I name you, Cookie; Friend to All, Citizen of the North Pole, Beloved One and Trusted One.” Santa placed a kiss on Cookie’s forehead. The same faint blue arc crossed from Santa to Cookie.
“I name you, Tinker; Friend to All, Citizen of the North Pole, Beloved One and Trusted One.” As before, Santa placed a kiss on Tinker’s forehead and the blue arc appeared between him and Tinker.
“Welcome you three to the North Pole.” Santa beamed. “You are now citizens, friends and family to all at the North Pole.”

The clocktower at the Toy Factory began to ring out. Eleven chimes of the great bells sounded throughout the North Pole. Santa, Evergreen, Judy and Jingles all looked at each other.
“I have to get going.” Santa said quickly. “All that paperwork is not going to finish itself.”
“We have some contracts to get drafted up as well.” Evergreen and Judy nodded.
“We have taken up enough of you time.” Jingles said as he tried to herd the kittens towards the door.
“We shall see you later.” Evergreen said. “Congratulations and welcome once again to the North Pole.”

Jingles tried to get the kittens to hurry up. Unfortunately, all three were still very excited from their citizenship ceremony. Cookie was not walking properly as she kept trying to lick more of the peppermint ink from her paw. It took a little longer than Jingles had wanted to get the kittens from the third floor offices to the main lobby of the building. As soon as the four cats reached the main floor lobby, the three kittens sensed something big was happening outside the building. Jingles tried to get the kittens to ignore the distractions.
“Let’s go.” Jingles prodded and nudged the kittens. ”We can’t be here all day.”
“There is something happening.” Tinker stated as he regarded the scene outside the main doors with a little cant of his head.
“It looks very important.” Myrrh added.

As Jingles and the three kittens exited the building, the scale of the disturbance was evident. The street outside the building was packed with Elfs all waving banners and ribbons. Jingles felt a warm tingle grow in his stomach. The kittens were stunned into open-mouthed silence.
“Come along.” Jingles lead the kittens towards a tiny gold and red sleigh.
“Hello Jingles.” One of the tiny yearling reindeer turned his head to look at Jingles and the kittens.
“Hello, Blizzard.” Jingles replied. “And Good Morning to you too, Snowdrift.”
“Good Morning, Jingles.” The other yearling reindeer replied. “Are you ready?”
“As ready as I ever will be.” Jingles admitted. “Now everyone hop into the sleigh. We have a bit of a ride ahead of us.”
Jingles was soon peppered with questions from the three kittens, who bounded from one side of the sleigh to the other.
“I think we are ready, Blizzard; Snowdrift.” Jingles tried to calmed the kittens down.
“Nope.” Snowdrift stated. “You have to say it like Santa. Just because we aren’t full fledged reindeer yet doesn’t mean you can skip protocol.”
“We’re not going to be flying.” Blizzard said.
“I am a reindeer and this is a sleigh.” Snowdrift stated emphatically. “Jingles has to do it properly.”
“Jingles.” Blizzard turned his head to look at Jingles. “Please. Just to keep him happy.”
“On Blizzard, On Snowdrift.” Jingles called out with a gentle snap of the reins.
“Thank you.” Snowdrift replied and he began to pull the sleigh forward.

Jingles and the kittens rode the sleigh though the streets of the North Pole. Everywhere they went, throngs of Elfs cheered and waved.

The sleigh made a final turn onto quiet little street. It drove past several houses. From each window, an Elf greeted them. Blizzard and Snowdrift slowed the sleigh down in front of a small little house surrounded by a large catnip garden. At the front door there were two elfs standing patiently, Taylor and Sammy.
“We are here.” Blizzard stated.
“Thank you, Blizzard and Snowdrift.” Jingles said.
“Where are we?” Tinker asked.
“What is this place?” Cookie asked.
“Home.” Myrrh said simply."It is Home."
“Is it a fixer-upper?” Tinker asked hopefully.
“Home.” Cookie sighed. “Home is the sweetest word.”