MERRY CHRISTMAS, FURBALL!
It was Christmas in Acme Acres. Frost was forming on the windows of the snow-covered houses, giving them a sugary appearance as they twinkled in the sunshine. Toons had to be careful as they walked along in case they slipped on some ice that was hidden beneath the thick white blanket. While the weather was icy cold, the atmosphere was incredibly warm, as it usually was during December. The shopping mall was packed full of people who were frantically buying food and presents for Christmas day. It was also a great tradition for every shop had turn into a wrestling ring when there wasn’t enough stock for the hundreds of customers.
For some toons, however, Christmas was a time where there was nothing but snow, sleet and icy wind, and Furball was one of them. There was nothing to celebrate for him. He had wandered all around the town trying to find some shelter, but he had had little to no success. He had often heard people say that Christmas was a time to be at home with a caring, loving family. The only problem was that he didn’t have a home…or a family.
All he did every year was struggle to survive. He couldn’t remember ever celebrating. The only thing that he could ever look forward to was trudging through the snow up to a fancy restaurant. Once he reached a particularly fancy one, he would drool through the window at the meals that the happy families and couples were tucking into. He used to enjoy ogling the food and drink before they closed the curtain with disgusted faces.
It was amazing, he thought, that Christmas was supposed to be a time for giving. For some reason, nobody seemed to give him anything, such as love and a home. It was true, he had friends, but they had their own families, and he didn’t want to be a burden to them.
It was then he decided something. He would celebrate Christmas on his lonesome. All he had to do was buy himself some gifts and a meal and he’d be celebrating in style. The only flaw in the plan was that he was flat broke. You couldn’t buy gifts or a meal if you were flat broke. Furball sat down on a snowy bank, pondering just what he should do. Try as he might, though, nothing came to mind.
Just then, his ears pricked up as he heard the dulcet tones of carol singers as they performed their renditions of traditional Christmas songs at the Carl Stalling Bandstand. He watched as a passer-by halted to drop a coin into their red bucket before moving on. Furball sighed as he watched the passer-by continue their journey without even looking at him. That guy had money. The one thing he needed in order to celebrate Christmas.
Then, something came to him: buskers got paid for singing or playing an instrument. And he could play an instrument: specifically, the violin!
His heart racing with excitement, Furball leapt to his feet and raced towards his trash can.
Unfortunately, as he did so, he slipped on the ice, slid on his behind and crashed into a torn cardboard box. Shaking his head so that he would stop seeing Christmas trees dancing in front of his eyes, he picked himself up and rummaged around in his house. It felt like an eternity but he finally found what he was looking for.
He cheerfully pulled his trusty violin out of the garbage…and it snapped in two, with only the strings keeping it from completely falling apart. His ears flopping with disappointment, Furball was about to put his damaged instrument back in the trash can when he had an idea.
Since it was the festive season, nobody would mind if his musical instrument looked like he had used it as a scratching post. He could still play a tune on it! All he needed was some more strings. With that, he ripped out several of his whiskers and expertly tied them to his violin, carefully tuning each one so that it sounded just right. A majority of them snapped, leaving only three strings left.
Furball watched, dumbfounded, as his plan to fix his violin began to fail. He suddenly felt like throwing it back into the garbage can as it was useless. No, he couldn’t give up! He wouldn’t be able to get a Christmas dinner if he just gave up! Besides, there just had to be a Christmas Carol that he could play with…three strings.
His heart swelling with renewed confidence, he rushed out of the alley towards the bandstand. The carol singers wouldn’t mind if he provided them with some music for their songs. Perhaps they would give him a meal as a reward! Taking out his violin, he prepared to play.
As his bow scratched and scraped away on the slackening strings, the many golden voices began to stop midway through their performance of O Come All Ye Faithful. Furball grinned to himself as he continued his violin playing. Perhaps everybody was so impressed by his skill that they were allowing him to perform a solo! Well, who was he to refuse some adoring fans an encore and give them some Christmas spirit? He continued his music, proud of the many people he was making happy.
In fact, he was so happy that he didn’t notice the lead singer pick him up by his tail and throw him into the air. It was when he plunged headfirst into a snowdrift that he realised he wasn’t welcome.
As he pulled his head out of the snow and shook himself dry, he turned just in time to see the Carol Singers glare at him, before taking the bucket of money and walking away. Furball glowered indignantly. Whatever happened to THEIR Christmas spirit?
His impulses getting the better of him, he hastily made a snowball and hurled it at the group of singers. It missed…
…And hit Arnold the Pit Bull square on the nose, causing him to drop several shopping bags.
Furball couldn’t hear what the furious canine was yelling over the sound of his heart pounding as he ran for his life. The only thing that he caught was “I vill put you in mein Christmas puddink!”
Suddenly, he ran over a puddle of ice, slipped and slid along on his bottom. The good news was that he slid so rapidly that he lost Arnold. The bad news was that he didn’t know how he was going to stop himself.
He zoomed along on his behind, until the buildings eventually gave way to snowy fields. Furball seemed to notice that the already bone-chilling wind had gotten stronger, and the snowflakes were beginning to grow larger and larger.
Furball’s slippery slide finally came to an end as he ran into a wooden pole. He fell back, dizzy from the impact, and passed out on a frigid blanket as the snow continued to fall.
To be continued...