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A Christmas Story

By Gary Bogue
Monday, December 24th, 2007 at 6:44 am in Uncategorized.

I wrote this little Christmas Story 37 years ago and have printed it annually ever since — on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day — in my Contra Costa Times column.

I’ve never printed it in my blog before, but there’s a first time for everything. My wife thought it would make a nice Christmas card for those of you who don’t read my daily newspaper columns.

Be of good cheer!

The little gray mouse lay there on her stomach, panting, gasping, her sides heaving up and down under the terrible strain.

She was fat, not with the fat of food but with the gift of child, or in her case children — the fat of life. The fat of the land.

She lived in the hollow walls of a large house, in a nest made of rug nibbles and chewed-up pieces of the morning news. Outside, it was frosty cold and hazy with rain. Inside, where the people lived, it was toasty and a bit warm.

In between the walls where the little mouse lived, it was just right.

It was nearing her time. She groaned — yes, even a mouse can do that — and her eyes squeezed tightly shut. Her fat little sides pulsed with the living rhythm of new life fighting to escape its confines.

She gave birth to nine this night of nights.

The effort and pain of her actions were almost more than she could stand … but there was no hesitation … and finally, beside her … entangled in carpet swaddling … was a squirming little handful of nine, blind, hairless, rosy little mice.

Inside the mother was an emptiness she had not known for 16 long, lonely days and nights. Now there was just a limp exhaustion and a little glow that only a mother could really understand.

It was evening now, and all was stark and still. Outside, the frost was forming in little sparks on the grass. Inside, the fire crackled softly and reflected warmly from the little red stockings hanging on the mantle.

On top of the little fir tree was a small glass star that twinkled brightly and lighted the way to a little hole that had been gnawed beneath the bookcase.

And there, in the comfortable darkness in between, it shone down upon the tiny nativity scene.

The mother mouse lay stretched atop the nine little babes, her eyes closed, her body asleep and unmoving, except for nine tiny pulses on her breasts.

And again, like maybe once upon a time, a long time ago …

“Twas the night before Christmas,
“And all through the house,
“Not a creature was stirring,
“Not even a … “

Merry Christmas, everyone! /Gary

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No Responses to “A Christmas Story”

  1. Pat in Antioch Says:

    I look forward to reading this every year Gary; thanks for putting it in the blog also. (Although I can’t imagine why ANYONE who reads the blog doesn’t read your column as well!) You’re the first thing I read in the morning either in the actual paper or online. (Followed up with Pearls Before Swine in the comics!! :-)

    Hope you and the family had a great Christmas!!

    Pat in Antioch

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