|This is three women with paintings on their body parts that created this image.|
It wasn't that Lily was evil.
At least as Gerald saw it.
But she sure was a grouchy cat, prone to howling whenever she was displeased or slapping anyone in her path to include humans, dogs or other cats.
Lily did not like Gerald, a rescue cat the humans brought into the household after the other calico, Lucy, passed on. Lily never much liked Lucy either, she barely tolerated Matthew, the big orange cat who was a little scared of everything, and Lily despised Lisa, a long-haired cat who Lily forced to live under a chair.
As Lily viewed her world, it was Gerald who was her biggest challenge for all things cat, to include food, catnip, cat toys, places to sleep and soft human brushings.
Matthew avoided Lily for his constant fear of everything though he'd fight back if Lily pushed him too far. Lily swatted Lisa to submission, making her stay under a chair though Lisa came out at will whenever Lily was asleep. Which was often.
Gerald had been in his new human home over a year by the Christmas of 2012. But he didn't remember his first Christmas in the home all that much as he was just a kitten and was busy dealing with Lily and the big dog.
Lily told Gerald about this Santa Claus human but Gerald thought the silly stuff about a big, fat human dressed in red and white was just Lily lying like she always does. Especially that bit about coming down the chimney, sheesh, Gerald figured Lily must think he was born at night, LAST night.
"It's an eating contest," the human female called Nan shouted out to her human male, called Jim. Gerald knew the human voices as he'd learned them through the years. He understood the human language a little bit but mostly only words that had something to do with food.
Gerald had learned, over his first year in his new home, words such as "eat", "food", and other words referring to hunger and consumption to avoid. His ears did naturally perk up at the human female's mention of an eating contest.
"You know you can enter," Lily whispered to Gerald.
"I can enter an eating contest?" Gerald responded, though his usual norm was to ignore Lily and her words which would bait him.
Of course the contest to which the human female referred was for humans only but Lily much cared about facts. Besides, she had a plan that might get rid of Gerald forever.
"Why don't you and Matthew enter?" Lily said. Gerald pondered the concept of entering an eating contest and he rather liked the idea. Although Gerald could not imagine Matthew ever eating more than him, assuming there was a winner to such a thing. "I'll enter too," Lily said, a catty smile encircling her face.
Lily figured out how to squirrel away food over the week before Christmas. She told Gerald the contest would be on Christmas Eve and that if he won he might get to go on a trip on Santa's sleigh.
Lily had never seen Santa Claus in her home but she'd seen him on TV and such. She knew Santa wouldn't likely come by her humans' home as he concentrated on homes with children. But a lie will do should it come to getting Gerald out of her home on a permanent basis.
Lily did not know that the human grandchild was spending Christmas Eve in her home, that Santa Claus, would, indeed, be coming down the chimney to enter the home of Matthew, Lily and Gerald.
The humans piled a bunch of those gift things under that Christmas tree thing….Gerald couldn't get over the concept of a real tree actually inside a human home. He was excited about Christmas, the lights, the presents with the crinkly paper, the tree. And Lily says the Santa Claus person will be visiting though Matthew was a little bit scared.
Finally there was the eating contest. Lily assured Gerald that there will be plenty of food and if he should win he would have complete access to any spot on the human bed for the entire year then coming up.
Gerald was left off of the human bed because...well Lily would howl and hiss every time he tried to wiggle in between Lily and Matthew and he felt it wasn't worth the hassle.
But to have first choice at a sleeping spot on the human bed? Not to mention eating all the food he could at one sitting, Gerald was psyched. His dreams were filled with banquets of Temptations, Friskies and human food he adored, to include shrimp, chicken and bits of beef.
Gerald was positive he'd win the eating contest, no problem.
Gerald knew it was Christmas Eve as the human grandchild was around and was noisy as human children can be. Also the humans were all busy running back and forth, cutting stuff, slicing stuff, busy, busy.
"Meet me in the dining room after the humans have all gone to bed. I have the food ready. Matthew is all ready and so am I. Good luck."
With Lily's words Gerald got excited. He remembered his days as a kitten, walking the streets with his mother, eating whatever could be found. The thought of all the food he could eat thrilled Gerald. He was sure he'd beat scaredy cat Matthew and Lily's just a little thing while Gerald was as big as a panther cub.
The house was quiet as the three cats met in the center of the home. Stockings were hanging on a door hook while the tree flashed bright to welcome Santa. Gerald did hear some rumbling on the roof but the world was filled with strange noises as Gerald figured, most of them caused by humans.
Lily had laid out three piles of Meow Mix. When Lily nodded all three cats dug into their pile. Gerald got through the pile within four seconds. Matthew got scared of some chimney noises and came in late. Lily didn't even half finish her pile and Gerald asked her why.
"I'm taking it easy," Lily responded with a somewhat evil smile. Lily had no intention of making herself sick like Matthew does from time to time via over-eating of food entirely too rich for a feline belly.
But Lily knew that Gerald had never yet met a quantity of food he would not consume. At some point Gerald would eat until he got so sick that….
….well Lily didn't know what would happen but she figured the upshot will be one less Gerald in her home.
Lily kept putting out plates full of food, some Temptations, some Friskies, Gerald didn't know how Lily did it, but she managed to get some of the dog's food as well and laid it out. Matthew gave a loud burp and was visibly slowing down. Lily seemed to never eat a thing yet her food disappeared. Gerald figured she was cheating somehow but it was no mind, he was too busy enjoying endless amounts of food with the possibility of having first choice human bed rights very close to a win.
But Gerald was also getting a bit...let's just say Gerald wasn't as hungry as before. In fact, Gerald was…..
"Ho, Ho, Ho," a loud human male voice shouted, loudly. Gerald was not feeling so well but Lily was out-eating him and he couldn't have that.
Suddenly Matthew ran off for fear of the big human in the red and white outfit. Lily too backed off in fear but before Gerald could turn around and see who was behind him, a big red-gloved hand picked him up by the scruff of his neck.
"What do we have here?" the big human in the red and white suit said, lifting Gerald by his scruff then settling him comfortably in the nook of his warm red-sleeved-lined arms.
While in the animal shelter, one volunteer used to lift up Gerald and nestle him warmly in her arms. This Santa human's action made Gerald automatically cuddle up and start purring.
"So you like being held, huh?" the Santa human said.
Oh Gerald knew he was the Santa human; he had the red and white suit Lily described. Even more identifying, there was a glass of cold milk and a plate of sugar cookies, both safely covered by human Tupperware lids, sitting on the side table. Gerald had earlier in the eve pondered perhaps getting a few licks of the milk, maybe a taste of the cookies.
Now, as Santa settled down to his milk and cookies, after settling Gerald in his ample lap, Gerald was not interested in cookies and milk at all.
"I don't know what you cats were doing down there with all that food," Santa said after taking a big bite of cookie and a long swallow of milk. "I see all sorts of things when I make my rounds but this is the first time I found a bunch of cats participating in some kind of eating contest."
"I'll tell you what," Santa said after finishing his milk and cookies. "How about you race Santa in the food-eating contest?"
Santa placed Gerald on the floor. There were piles of Friskies, Temptations, Meow Mix all around but Gerald simply was not interested.
Gerald didn't want to hurt Santa's feelings. He seemed like such a nice human guy once you got used to that loud HO HO HO thing. But Gerald had no more room in his stomach for food and besides, Lily was peeking out from behind the bathroom door and giggling like a kitten. The last thing Gerald wanted was to get sick and make a fool of himself in front of Lily.
Gerald turned from Santa and started to slink away.
"My goodness!" Santa shouted to startle Gerald to a complete stop. "Little fella, you ate all the food! There's no food left for me! I guess you win!"
Gerald looked over where the food had been spread all over the floor and noted it was all gone.
"And here's your prize, little one!" Santa said, grabbing his big bag and pulling out a cat toy.
It was a round plastic circle, not completely joined together in its circumference. Inside the opening in the circumference was a white ping pong sized ball. A cat could get its paw barely inside of the circumferential opening, enough to push the ball further around its round path. The circumferential opening would not, however, allow the ball to escape.
Gerald eagerly put his paw inside of the opening and gave the trapped ball a push. The ball moved around the circle noisily. Gerald was enthralled. What a fund game this was!
Matthew came out from behind the couch for his fear. Lily pranced right on over to the toy, demanding that Gerald get out of the way, that SHE wants to play.
"Nope, sorry calico girl," Santa said, lifting Lily away from the toy. "Santa watches all year and knows who's been naughty and nice. You, Lily, have been naughty. Here's your gift, calico one."
With that Santa sat down a bag which did cause Lily a cat's curiosity. She sniffed inside of the opening and a billow of black dust came flying out of the bag.
"It's a bag of coal, calico one," Santa said. "It won't hurt you and by morning not a trace of coal powder will be left. But you will remember it, calico girl. For this upcoming year, always remember Santa's bag of coal and be a good cat."
With that Santa bid adieu and disappeared out of the home some way. Gerald continued to tap the ball in the round toy, Matthew smiled and watched, now totally unafraid. Lisa came out from under her chair prison and Gerald let her tap the ball in play.
Lily was now covered in coal and if a cat could cuss Lily showed how it's done.
That's the story of the time Gerald beat Santa Claus at an eating contest, proving that there is not enough food in the world to stop Gerald.
This, Gerald always knew, was the truth.