A Short Story on the Website of
the Red Dirt Writers Society

The Christmas Present
by Beth Stephenson (Feb 2012)


Here I sit in this dark, cold box with nothing but shredded newspaper to sit on. The box is too tall to jump out and the walls are too slick to climb out of. I turned that bowl of water over an hour ago and howled for room service, but nobody came. I have been whimpering and crying most of the night just like a little girl and just because I am one, doesn’t count.

I want you to know that only yesterday I was ripped from my mother’s warm side, picked up with gloved hands that were rough and cold, fondled and nuzzled and then talked to like I was a baby. I am over six weeks old and I have my eyes open. I am able to eat from a bowl, but I still like mother’s milk better. I have been able to run and wrestle with my brothers and sisters for hours. Where are they now when I need them? I remember mom, she was a tall, good looking blond that was warm, caring, selfless, and she loved me the best

Well, how do you like that, the sun is finally coming up and all those strange shadows have disappeared and I don’t have to worry about them anymore. I just can’t seem to keep my eyes open any longer, but my stomach is growling so loud now it is keeping me awake. I am so hungry and I have been spoiled, I use to be able to eat any time of the day or night by just following the smell of milk. I could get my meals in bed when I wanted. Now there is no smell of milk or the warm bodies of my mom or brothers and sisters to snuggle with. I just can’t stay awake any longer.

Hay! Someone just closed the top of the box. Now what is going on? Is it an earthquake? Nah! It is no earthquake just some inconsiderate person moving my box just when I got to sleep and no, it was not me snoring. They are bouncing me around so much that if I did have something in my stomach it would have come up by now. Hay! Take it easy on the turns.

 I am sliding all over this box and I am not wearing a helmet or a seatbelt. Wham! They must have dropped my box from waist high and that hurt. Watch it! The top of my box is being opened. One eye is looking down at me and now there is a nose added then suddenly the whole face appears and behind the face there seems to be a tree with some lights on it.

Now he doesn’t look so bad. Maybe if I whimper just a little he will let me out of this box? Well that did not work. Look out! He is reaching out to buckle something around my neck. Well now would you look at that, it is a red leather collar with a red bow on it. He is waving at me and smiling. Say, buddy, if you like what you see take me out of this box and I will really show you something. Oh! No! He is closing up the box again. Once more here I sit in this dark, cold, box with just a little flashing red, blue and green lights leaking in through the cracks in the cardboard box. Footsteps are moving away and a door closes.

There is someone bouncing down the stairs. No, it is two people and their footsteps are coming closer and now I can hear them whispering. It sounds like a young girl and an older brother. Now I can feel some one staring at my box and the voices are getting louder. I am scratching furiously on my box. I am sure they can hear me, but no one comes. The girl’s voice spoke loudly “Mom, Dad come here and see what Santa Clause brought us.” A woman’s voice coming from another room said, “Jasmine you and your brother sit on the couch until we get there.”

I can hear someone bouncing on the couch and in the background another pair of footsteps is coming closer. “Jasmine, you and Ben quit jumping on the couch and sit down,” the woman said coming into the room. “Our tradition is that we open only one gift before breakfast, right,” the man said. The children said in unison “Right.”

Then the mother said “All right Ben you’re the oldest you get to choose first.” Then I heard the fast movement of feet and soon the tearing of paper then a shout of “Hurray! It’s an official Red Rider lever action B.B. gun”. Dad was quick to say, “There will be no shooting in the house”. Ben’s quick replay was, “Ah, dad,” as he ducked his head and hugged his official Red Rider B.B. gun to his chest. Mom then added, “Do not point that at any one right son?” Ben responded with “Right Mom.”

“Ok, Jasmine, now it’s your turn,” Dad said. Now, I heard footsteps heading right for my box, and mom was saying, “I wonder what it could be? The sound of my whimpering with joy came from the box. Soon the tapping of my tail as it hit the side of the box could be heard. Now the great moment arrived and the face of my new life time partner appeared as the box opened and loving hands reached down for me. Jasmine said “Come here, Sarah,” as she picked me up from that box and giving me a big hug and I responded by giving her a wet tongue licking on her cheek. Now I have a new home, a new family and a name, Sarah.

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