To all my Jonny Pals,
Thanks for stopping by this, the 22nd annual installment of the Jonny Christmas Story. Those of you who have been with me from the beginning are well-aware of the disgusting Yuletide adventures of the indomitable Jonny M., but newcomers are in a for a treat as they experience a holiday adventure that will make them consider converting to Sun Worshipping.
This year's version is by far the most elaborate yet. In addition to the usual idiotic story and advertisements, there are features like a detailed advent calendar that shows you how I spend the 25 days of Christmas, a new page dedicated to Jonny-themed online games, and even a special video Christmas message from me! Throughout all of it is the real reason you stop by: dozens of photos of you, my Jonny Pals, making up the characters of the story.
I hope this little micro-site gives you a few chuckles and this Christmas brings you all the joy of the season. Thanks for the gift of your friendship.
Special thanks to Donna Susskind, Glenn Simon, Joe Mullich and Winston Mullich
Hover your cursor over underlined text for an explanation of its meaning.
Once upon a time (back in the days when my explaining to some disinterested teenager about VCRs and the dawn of the Internet didn’t have the same morbid whiff of mortality that my parents’ reminiscing about listening to Amos & Andy on the radio did) there was an animal shelter tucked away in the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley. It was a bustling place where unfortunate dogs and cats who didn’t have a master could find refuge from the harsh elements and a simple daily meal to fill their empty bellies. And because it was a no-kill shelter, the lonely critters could be content in knowing that there wasn’t an odious clock ticking to signal their demise in a few days time if they weren’t lucky enough to have a new owner pluck them from their cages and deposit them in a loving home and family right away.
Everyone connected with the place hated the dump. The building was fifty years old and falling apart and so overrun with strays that they were stuffed into cells fifty and a hundred at a time. There were so many dogs and cats that it was impossible to keep track of any of them to try and match them with the right person; and on the rare times when someone came by to adopt a pet, the cages were so overrun with feces and fleas that the would-be masters would make a hasty retreat without bothering to take a new pet with them. The head administrator Ebenezer Spooge made sure not a penny more was spent than what was needed to run the place at minimum capacity so that he could line his pockets with whatever was left over from his enormous budget allotment.
“This place is a dump, Spooge!” yelled the veterinarian
“This place is a dump, Spooge!” yelled Dr. Skye Terrier, the harried but surprisingly hot female veterinarian at the miser when she made rounds at the shelter twice a month to provide what aid she could. “It’s gotten so bad that even animals in the worst shape don’t want to come here for relief. I try to explain to them that it’s a no-kill shelter, but many of them would rather die than enter these doors!”
“If they had rather die,” replied the unimpressed Spooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”
“Don’t quote Charles Dickens to me in a desperate attempt to give this idiotic story a connection to Christmas, which is usually tenuous at best!” responded the vet. “Either you make improvements to this place ASAP – and major ones – or I’ll make a full report to the government. The animals will be taken away and you’ll lose your massive funding that the state of California is famous for. Good Day, sir!”
“But, Dr. Terrier," pleaded Spooge’s unsavory henchman Uriah Creep, who sat nearby sweating like an obese sea lion in a sauna, “Can’t we…”
“I said good day!” interrupted the doctor, storming out of the office.
“What are we going to do, Mr. Spooge?” whined Creep as the two watched the shapely vet wiggle across the parking lot to her pink Cadillac convertible. “One word from that veterinarian would mean scandal and disaster for both of us. The only way we could afford to make the kind of improvements she’s insisting on without cutting into our graft would to get rid of all the animals. But this is a no-kill shelter, so there’s nothing we can do.”
“Yes,” replied Spooge, petting the stuffed giraffe he had picked up at Toys R Us so that he could have something to hold that wasn’t alive while coming up with evil plots, because the one thing he hated in all the world was animals. “Our license requires us to keep those foul creatures alive for as long as we can. Of course, our license doesn’t say anything about the disgusting beasts dying off because of the incompetence of a veterinarian who gave them the wrong injection.”
"Are you saying that we’re going to set up Dr. Terrier?” asked Creep, his eyes widening in terror.
“We aren’t going to do anything of the kind,” replied Spooge. “The good doctor wants us to improve conditions here. Very well, we’ll start by hiring a new assistant to look after the dear puppies and kitties. It would hardly be our fault if he accidentally gave the doctor a vial of rabies bacteria instead of rabies vaccine when she came by to inject the new animals. Sadly, once the poor darlings have contracted rabies they’d immediately begin insanely foaming at the mouth and viciously attacking the healthy animals and killing them all. When we got back we’d have no choice but to put all the rabid animals down as well. We’ll be grief-stricken of course, but we’ll somehow find the strength to make sure that Dr. Terrier is stripped of her license and sent to prison for professional incompetence.”
“Got back?” asked Creep, who was gradually realizing that he was only there as a device to set up the exposition for the story.
“We can’t be linked to the tragedy in any way,” said Spooge with a sinister smirk, “so we’ll have to be far away from the shelter when the injections are given. That means that it will all have to happen just after we’ve left for our annual holiday trip to Hedonism II on Christmas Eve. That will not only put us thousands of miles away from the plot, but it gives this ridiculous story its connection to the Yuletide, which is not quite as strong as it was in past stories like The Year Jonny Saved Christmas but it should be enough seeing as only about four people are still reading it up to here after they’ve scanned the illustrations to see if they’re included in any of them. I’m sure they’ll just be happy he didn’t crap out something like Jonny’s Prison Christmas again.”
“It’s the perfect crime!” rejoiced Creep, trying to get the narrative back on track. “But with all the animals gone, won’t we have to close our doors anyway?”
“We will,” replied Spooge. “Fortunately, I had the foresight to purchase a $50 million Rabies insurance policy. While that cursed veterinarian is rotting in prison, we’ll be lying on a tropical beach being served Mai Tais!”
“I love Mai Tais!” exclaimed Creep while doing a little dance which either meant that he was unusually happy or he had to pee really bad.
“There’s just one problem,” said Spooge. “The assistant we hire can’t have any idea of what’s going down because no one, aside from us, is so evil that they would be any part of this. And whoever we do find is going to wind up doing hard time for his part in this just like the good doctor. That means we’re going to need to get a complete idiot who has no idea what he’s being set up for. Who can we find who’s that stupid?"
At about this time, a young muse named Jonny M. was being fired from his job as a blogger for a popular online Enemies List. The noble muse was constantly over-stepping his boundaries making crudely sexual and offensive remarks about the people in his life in the blog and the management was tired of hiring extra cleaning crews to scrub the dried blood and teeth from off Jonny’s computer monitor every time a husband, wife or life partner of one of his targets stormed in the office to pummel him. After getting the news of his shit-canning, Jonny did the same thing he always did after being fired; he stopped off at a nearby liquor store to pick up a jumbo bottle of cheap wine and then trudge sadly back to his vile studio apartment to get hammered and stare at Internet porn until he felt better. But after he logged on to porn.com, he was annoyed to find an irritating pop-up ad suddenly covering the digitized perversions that he had coughed up a $29.99 monthly membership fee to see:
Jonny was set to close the offending ad when he studied his studio apartment and realized that the bowl of kibble that he had set out for himself that morning and the feces-laden floor which he hosed clean once a month made him uniquely qualified to work in an animal shelter. And, after looking at the calendar and realizing that he was once again caught up in the idiotic matrix of one of the retarded Christmas stories, he realized that he would probably be spending most of his time teaching some poor sap about the true meaning of the Yuletide anyway; so he grabbed a bottle of generic vodka from the pantry, printed out a couple of the more disgusting JPEGs on porn.com to divert his attention, and high-tailed it to the shelter for an interview.
When the muse arrived at the shelter that was marked by an odious graffiti tag which warned “SPOOGE IS A DICK”, he was shocked at the massive number of applicants who had shown up to interview for the minimum wage position. The economy had fallen to such a disastrous level that everyone from accomplished veterinarians with graduate degrees in animal husbandry to homeless vagabonds with graduate degrees in animal husbandry were desperate for a paycheck and came to apply. Jonny looked uncertainly at his own résumé whose only listing having anything to do with animals detailed his supporting role as a fluffer in a Tijuana donkey show in 1985, but he needed a job so he got in line behind Siegfried Fischbacher (who had been looking for a new gig ever since his partner Roy got mauled by a lion in 2003) and sadly poured the remaining contents of his vodka bottle down his waiting gullet.
As the applicants waited in line to interview, they passed an odious graffiti tag which warned “SPOOGE IS A DICK”.
“No, no, no!” screamed Spooge as an applicant whose last job was cleaning up microchips that had been pooped out of the birds at the Enchanted Tiki Room left the office. “Everyone we’ve seen so far has far too much experience working with animals to be a mindless pawn in our sinister plot! We need someone so brainless that he can’t possibly foil us!”
Just as the words tumbled out of his twisted mouth, the drunken figure of Jonny M. came staggering into the office. The muse had emptied the last dregs of the vodka into his massively enlarged liver a half hour before but had maintained his buzz by licking some toads that were sticking out of the pocket of a herpetologist that was ahead of him in line and was now experiencing psychotic dementia as he took his seat. Spooge studied the muse’s sloping forehead and absent gaze and thought that perhaps he had found his man.
“Can you tell the difference between these two?” asked Spooge as he held up vials of rabies vaccine and deadly rabies bacteria.
Jonny looked at the glass tubes carefully, knowing that his future depended on the answer. The muse focused as sharply as he could in order to discern the subtle differences between the two liquids. After staring at them for five minutes, he finally raised his head and responded with what he had observed:
“Is it time for my break yet? I really need to pee and have another drink.”
“Congratulations!” responded Spooge as his covered his face with a handkerchief to mask Jonny’s overwhelming stench. “You’re the new assistant at Spooge’s No-Kill Animal Shelter.”
Jonny found that he enjoyed the work. He was mainly cleaning up feces and doling out bowls of Alpo to the appreciative dogs and cats, but he bonded with each beasty who he quickly discovered had their own personality and soul. But Jonny was concerned that the animals were simply allowed to pile up in the already crowded cells without Spooge or Creep making any effort to find loving owners for these neglected creatures. Jonny did what he could, putting up ads on CraigsList and attending pet adoption fairs, but for every dog or cat that he found owners for, another two dozen would be brought into the shelter by the dog catchers. The muse gave each would-be pet as much love and attention he had time for, but he knew that his strength would be tested when the dog catcher’s van came screeching to the rear entrance and the cold-hearted public servants pulled a hungry and confused canine out of the back, still struggling within the confines of the net.
“This one’s a killer,” said the dog catcher as he released the hell hound onto the floor of the receiving cell. “It took the two of us three hours to trap it and get it in the net.”
“If you ask me,” said the assistant, “you’re wasting your time trying to find a home for it. It’s destined for the dog fight ring. Or medical testing!”
“You’re wasting your time trying to find a home for it," said the assistant. "It’s destined for the dog fight ring. Or medical testing!”
Jonny said nothing but shooed the hateful pair out of the shelter and back to their van. The muse returned to the receiving cell garbed in a chest protector in order to wrestle the poor animal into submission if necessary, but when he shone a flashlight on the beast he was stunned to see a friendly Pug enthusiastically wagging its tail.
“Why on earth would they say that you were trouble?” asked Jonny as he lifted the Pug onto the examination table to make sure it wasn’t injured. “You seem like a sweetie pie to me.”
“Because they don’t love animals as you do,” answered the Pug.
Jonny looked at the animal in shock, but took heart at the knowledge that there was already so much poop on the floor that no one would notice that a sizable brick had just slid from out of his pant leg. “You… you can talk?” the muse stuttered softly.
“Of course not,” replied the Pug. “You’re just so drunk that you’re having a hallucination. Even so, I know a good heart when I see one and only you can help me find owners for all the animals here by Christmas.”
“Christmas?” asked Jonny. “That’s a ways off yet. I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do for my birthday on December 15th in which gifts of alcohol are always welcome. I’m turning 50 this year, so anyone who doesn’t kick in a present is going to feel like a real asshole.”
“Christmas is these creatures’ only hope” responded the Pug, ignoring Jonny’s self-indulgent plug. “Millions of good little girls and boys ask for a dog or a cat as a present every year but Santa’s elves’ attempts to construct them at his workshop resulted in horrendous genetic mutations that currently live on a forgotten island near The Bahamas which no human being dares enter. If I could only get word to Santa of the existence of the lonely, loving animals that have been consigned to rot within these walls, it could mean a happy ending for everyone.”
“I worked at Santa’s I.T. department last year” replied the muse, referring to the immortal 2010 story Jonny’s I.T. Christmas, “but I never got a chance to talk to him. We need to find someone with an ‘in’ at Santa’s Village to make it work. I’ll see what I can do.”
“I knew that you could help us,” responded the Pug as he buried his nose up Jonny’s corn hole and took a massive snort. “Perhaps together, we can make this the merriest Christmas ever.”
“Perhaps we can,” answered the muse. “Hey, what’s your name anyway?”
The next day, the smoking hot Dr. Terrier stopped by the shelter to examine the new animals. While there was no denying that the building was still falling apart, she marveled at how much cleaner it was and how higher the spirits of the dogs and cats had risen since Jonny had come on board with an endless supply of pats on the head and warm hugs to make each critter feel loved.
“You’ve really made a difference here,” said the vet while Jonny enviously watched Winston receive the doctor's gloved finger up his trembling Pug rectum. “I was afraid that all the animals here would never see kind treatment again.”
“If only I could get word to Santa Claus about them,” lamented the muse. “But I left his employ under some unfortunate circumstances last year after they discovered I was using their Internet servers to house a fetish site I put up that showed pictures of the elves in the decontamination showers.”
“My teacher at veterinary school takes care of Santa’s reindeer now,” said the shapely vet, mentally blocking out Jonny’s last statement in order to carry on the conversation. “I could write to him and ask him to put a word in Santa’s ear.”
“What a fantastic coincidence!” exclaimed Jonny, responding with comically exaggerated enthusiasm in the hopes that it might deflect just how stupid this new plot twist was to the readers of this story. “Let’s celebrate by giving all the new dogs and cats rabies vaccinations!”
“Not yet,” replied the vet. “Mr. Spooge is so cheap that he’ll only budget for rabies vaccine a couple of times a year. “That means that I won’t have any to inject the animals with until Christmas Eve, just before Santa would come by to pick them up to deliver them to their new owners.”
“It’s a good thing that nothing could go wrong with the vaccinations,” said Jonny. “Otherwise that would make waiting for Santa’s arrival incredibly suspenseful.”
“Exactly,” responded the vet, staring intently into Jonny’s eyes in order to try and focus away from his overwhelming stench but which the muse chose to interpret as her being sexually attracted to him. “I’ll write my teacher tonight.”
“That’s great, Dr. Terrier!” replied Jonny as he hugged Winston, who was sitting contentedly on his lap. “Let me know when you hear anything.”
The veterinarian looked fondly at the sight of Jonny bonding with the little Pug. It was the first time she had felt the warmth of humanity while being within the walls of Spooge’s shelter. Suddenly, almost involuntarily, she put her hand softly on the muse’s shoulder.
“Call me Skye.”
In the weeks that followed, Jonny bonded with all the dogs and cats in the shelter; but with none more than Winston with whom he would have long philosophical conversations after he had consumed enough vodka to hallucinate hearing the Pug articulate his point of view. But even on the rare occasions when Jonny was sober, nothing caused his heart to soar more than walking into the shelter and having Winston happily bound onto his lap to display his unrestrained delight at the muse’s presence. In fact, the few times Jonny wasn’t happy at work were on the rare occasions when Spooge and Creep would slink out of the office to see what he was up to. This was never more true than when the animals threw him a surprise birthday party on December 15th which was a particularly wild blow-out because the muse was turning 50 and everybody he knew showed up with traditional gifts of alcohol because they all realized what assholes they’d feel like if they let the landmark event go by unobserved. Just as the party was reaching its wildest point, the muse was stunned to see Spooge walk into the holding cell where the animals and guests were playing Naked Twister and hand him a six-pack of Zima with a bow tied sloppily around it.
“Happy birthday, Jonny,” hissed Spooge through a twisted smile. “I hope you’re having a good time.”
“Uh…I am, thank you,” replied the muse, surprised that his boss remembered his name. "I was telling the animals that I was hoping we'd be able to make some improvements around here. Dr. Terrier told me that for every dog and cat you took in, the state of California gave you fifty pieces of gold from its overflowing treasury."
"heh heh," laughed Spooge weakly as he tried to hide his outrage over the accuracy of Jonn'ys estimate. "I wouldn't say it's a large a sum as that."
"She seemed pretty certain about it," replied Jonny as he cracked open a Zima. "I just think if we made these improvements, we'd get a lot more people to come in and take the animals home. Of course, that would mean less money from the state for you, but the animals would be so much happier. Isn't that the point?"
“Remember that Mr. Creep and I are leaving for Hedonism II in nine days time,” snapped the miser, anxious to change the subject. “That means you’ll be in charge when that ... nice ... Dr. Terrier comes by to inject the puppies and kitties with rabies vaccine. You can handle that, can’t you?”
“Oh, yes Mr. Spooge,” replied Jonny tensely as his boss placed his scaly palm on top of the muse’s scalp and scratched it with his skeletal fingers. “I’ve been assured that the vials of vaccine will be delivered just after you leave.”
“Good…good,” hissed Spooge as Jonny inhaled the Zima. “I’m expecting another delivery at the same time; a case of Petri dishes of rabies bacteria for my hobby of collecting rare microbes and fungi. You’ll be sure not to confuse the two, won’t you? The bacteria will be delivered by FedEx to the front door at 2:05 along with a gift basket of vodka and brown liquor and the vaccine will be delivered to the back door a half an hour later next to the Suffragettes who always preaching abstinence. It gets a little complicated because the bacteria will be packed in a box labeled ‘Rabies Vaccine’ and the rabies vaccine will be packed in a box labeled ‘1997 Tax Forms.’ But you’ll have no problem remembering that, will you?”
“A gift basket of vodka and brown liquor?” responded Jonny.
“Good…good,” replied Spooge with an odious smile. “Well I think I’ve said everything I needed to say. Enjoy your party.”
The old miser exited as Jonny tore into another bottle of Zima. As the last dregs passed his lips, Dr. Terrier came happily bounding into the party and made a bee-line to Jonny.
The vet said Santa would take all the animals to loving owners.
“I have wonderful news!” exclaimed the shapely animal doctor as Jonny focused in a vain attempt to remember who he was and why this woman was talking to him. “I just got a letter from my Veterinary School teacher. He told Santa about our animals and Saint Nick was so moved that he agreed to stop by the shelter at 6:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve and pick them up. That will give me just enough time to vaccinate them for rabies and then observe them in case we notice the onslaught of any unexpected diseases.”
“Rabies vaccine will be marked ‘rabies bacteria’…” slurred the muse as he drifted into a Zima-induced coma.
“Exactly,” replied the vet. “We would have just enough time to see the earliest stages of rabies kick in when Santa showed up. But that’s just silly; there hasn’t been an outbreak of rabies recorded in these parts in over fifty years. Anyway, by the time we saw the warning signs it would be too late to do anything about it and all the animals would have to be put down. But why are we even talking about that? For me to expose any of these creatures to a disease like that would be a criminal act on my part. And yours.”
The muse didn’t hear any of it as he dropped off blissfully to sleep and dreamt of the last image he had seen; the loving and smiling face of Winston the Pug gazing trustingly in his eyes.
Jonny loved everything about the Christmas season and it was never more true than this year. Whenever he walked the streets of the city and saw the brilliant lights and the happy bounce in the step of passersby, his face glowed at the idea that this time of year was unique from any other. And with his heart overflowing with happiness at the knowledge that the animals in his charge would soon be paired with loving owners made this Yuletide the merriest of all. That, coupled with the happy trend of even more gifts of alcohol than usual coming in throughout the month because everyone who was friends with the muse knew that they would feel like real assholes if they didn’t do something special for his 50th, made this Jonny’s best Christmas yet. With just a few days until Santa would be there to collect all the lonely pets and deliver them to loving new owners, the muse took Winston for a walk to visit their friend Skye at her office and watch her plying her trade.
Jonny and Winston visited the veterinarian at her office to watch her ply her trade.
“You brought Winston!” exclaimed the vet as she finished giving a lethal injection to a bloodhound with inoperable snout cancer. “He’s so cute! He reminds me of my old Pug; Pugsley P. Puggleton. He was the sweetest little…”
Skye’s voice suddenly cracked with emotion. The muse looked at her with compassion until he was forced to ask the inevitable question.
The vet’s eyes swelled with tears. She attempted to answer but her throat was closed shut with anguish. She stared at Jonny for a moment, desperate to finally unburden herself of the torment that now consumed her; but she was finally unable to speak and collapsed in tears. The muse didn’t know whether to console her or exploit her breakdown by ransacking the office for hidden bottles of alcohol when a familiar voice broke the tension.
“Pugsley died of rabies,” interjected Winston.
“Am I hallucinating again,” asked Jonny, “or can she hear this?”
“It’s another hallucination,” replied the Pug as he placed his jowly cheek on Skye’s fuck-me pump to console her. “I figured anybody who’s still reading up to now would appreciate another character in this scene because, frankly, you don’t have the charisma to carry it through by yourself. Anyway, Pugsley was the last pet Skye ever had. She became so distracted by her adoration for him that she forgot to vaccinate him for rabies. Then she was attacked by a demented raccoon who tried to sexually force himself on her. Pugsley came to her rescue and fought the beast off, but he was badly clawed in the process. And of course the raccoon had…”
“…rabies,” said Jonny ominously, finishing the sentence.
“I tried to treat him for rabies myself after that,” cried Skye, strangely seeming to have heard everything Winston had said in the muse’s alcohol-soaked mind, which I’m hoping you people will overlook so we can get on with this stupid story. “But it was too late! His mouth started foaming like Jenna Jameson after an oral gang bang and he quickly began viciously attacking people like Lon Chaney Jr. in The Wolf Man. I had no choice but to take him out with my sawed-off shotgun. He made for some delicious sandwiches after that, but I swore that I’d sooner die than see another animal under my care suffer from rabies. That’s why I’m so anxious for the vaccine to be delivered on Christmas eve so I can vaccinate Winston and all the other animals at the shelter. I’ve seen the madness that rabies brings and if I were to ever witness another case of it, it would kill me.”
The vet told Winston and Jonny about her rabid Pug.
”You needn’t worry about that,” replied Jonny as he eyed Winston suspiciously, wondering just how much the Pug was aware of what was going on and what was just his own booze-drenched fantasy. “The vaccine will be at the shelter on Christmas Eve and we can take care of all the animals. Then Santa will come and take them all to loving new homes. It’s going to be the best Christmas ever.”
”I hope so,” answered Skye as she absentmindedly played with her locket containing a portrait of Pugsley P. Puggleton. “I really hope so.”
Christmas Eve finally arrived and along with it came another shipment of gifts of alcohol from Jonny’s pals who didn’t want to miss the boat by overlooking his 50th birthday and then being haunted by the guilt of having acted like an asshole for the rest of their lives. The muse was in especially high spirits after seeing Mr. Spooge and Creep off at the airport as they took their trip to Hedonism II, with Spooge giving Jonny a final reminder about the rabies vaccine: it would be in a box labeled “1997 Tax Forms”; although as the muse inhaled a bottle of Grey Goose Vodka (his alcohol of choice for anyone who was still shopping for his birthday in order to avoid pangs of assholedom forever and ever), he became a little hazy on what he had been told. Whatever, Jonny finally determined. After all, what could go wrong?
Jonny didn’t give it much thought until 2:05 on the dot when a delivery man came ringing the doorbell. Jonny had been tying one on all morning and when he was confronted by boxes and boxes labeled “Rabies Vaccine,” he did his best to replay Spooge’s instructions in his confused mind.
”Is this rabies vaccine or rabies bacteria," slurred the muse as he regarded the boxes skeptically. “I can’t remember what Mr. Spooge told me.”
”What are you asking me for?” snapped the delivery man, thrusting a clipboard in Jonny’s face. “I’m just paid to deliver the stuff. Now sign for it - I’ve still got a bunch of bottles of alcohol to deliver to some muse in Van Nuys; whatever the hell a ‘muse’ is. I guess his friends realized it was their last chance to send him a present for his 50th birthday that was on December 15th and they didn’t want to be plagued with pangs of guilt for the rest of their lives.”
“I understand,” replied Jonny, signing the form. “I’m sure I’ll figure it out.” The delivery man took his leave and the muse looked down at Winston uncertainly, only to see the Pug’s demeanor suddenly flip a switch to unrestrained delight. Jonny looked up to see what had caught Winston's attention and saw Skye, decked out in her best holiday finery, beaming a great smile as she entered the shelter.
”Merry Christmas,” said the vet as she handed Jonny and the Pug gifts.
”Merry Christmas,” said the vet as she handed Jonny and the Pug gifts. “You’ve both become very special to me and I couldn’t let the holidays pass without giving you presents.”
Jonny gratefully opened his gift and felt a happy tear stream down his cheek as he beheld a bottle of Grey Goose Vodka.
“How did you know?” he asked happily as he popped the cap and poured it down his gullet
”Are you kidding?” asked the vet. “All I had to do was scan the last few paragraphs. I sure don’t want to feel like an asshole for the rest of my life. Now open Winston’s present.”
The muse smiled as he tore open Winston's package, but the grin gave way to stunned silence as he looked inside the box. There sat a lonely piece of paper labeled “Dog License”. Under “Name of Dog” was affixed “Winston,” and under “Owner” was inscribed “Jonny M.”
”With Santa bringing all these pets to new owners tonight,” smiled Skye, “I wanted to be sure that Winston got the most loving one of all.”
Jonny looked shyly down at the little Pug as Winston sat happily eating a puddle of his own vomit. “I guess we’d better not waste any time giving rabies vaccinations to these angels,” whispered the muse while unsuccessfully trying to choke back his tears. “Let’s start with Winston.”
”Whatever you say,” beamed Skye. “After all, he is your pet.”
Jonny held his Pug tenderly as the veterinarian took a bottle of rabies vaccine from the shipment and filled a hypodermic needle. Winston’s tail didn’t stop wagging even as Skye gently stuck him with the needle and injected the medicine into his system.
"That’s one down,” smiled the vet. “Now let’s do the others.”
Some of the animals were more certain about getting their shots than others, but Skye’s kindly manner and Jonny’s gentle touch relaxed all of them into receiving their injections without any fuss. And just as the vet was giving the final inoculation to a Polish Lowland Sheepdog, the pair could hear sleigh bells from the roof.
”Santa Claus!” exclaimed Jonny excitedly. “He’s here for the animals!”
The muse, Skye and Winston ran to the lobby to meet Saint Nick and help him load the animals into his sleigh. The sprightly old elf’s smile was even jollier than they had imagined, and they could feel their hearts soar at the thought of all the dogs and cats being delivered to boys and girls who had been nice all year in the hopes of getting a pet of their very own. But just as Jonny was about to have Kris Kringle back the sleigh into the loading dock, he noticed something wrong with Winston.
”Are you okay, boy?” asked the muse as he ran to his Pug. “What’s that coming out of your mouth? It ‘s some kind of foam.”
”It’s rabies!” shrieked Spooge's sinister voice as he and Creep suddenly burst into the lobby.
“You fools!” bellowed the miser as he pointed at Winston. “I gave you explicit instructions about the vaccine; but when I come back here after we were kicked off the plane to Hedonism II because the other passengers complained about Mr. Creep's body odor, what do I find? You gave them rabies bacteria instead. Even as I speak, the poor animals within the shelter have gone mad and are tearing each other apart. I’ll see you hang for this! Do you hear me? Hang!”
Just as the miser finished his rant, Skye opened the door to the shelter to show all the animals happily wagging their tails waiting to be loaded onto Santa’s sleigh.
”What the hell is wrong with you?” asked Saint Nick. “The Pug was only drooling a little because I gave him a Milk Bone. He’s a Pug; they do tend to drool, you know.”
”Buh…” stuttered Spooge. “But the vaccine!”
”I got it out of the crates labeled ‘1997 Tax Forms’ like you said,” answered Jonny with a puzzled frown. “What do you think I am, stupid? Your shipment of rabies bacteria is sitting in your office. I put it way in the back so none of the animals could get to it.”
The miser watched in stunned silence as Jonny, Skye and Santa loaded the animals onto the sleigh. After Saint Nick and his team of reindeer flew away into the Christmas Eve night, Spooge broke down in tears.
”So now my shelter has no animals and I won’t collect on the insurance policy. I’m ruined!”
”Oh cheer up,” said the muse. “It’s Christmas. Anyway, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there’s no shortage of dogs and cats who need a loving home; so your shelter will be filled up in no time for those fat State of California subsidy checks to start rolling in again. I only hope you’ve learned your lesson and will start treating the animals right from now on.”
”I have,” sniffled the miser.
”I hope so,” answered Jonny with a stern glance. “Here’s one to get you started.”
With that, the muse handed Spooge a little cat. The miser stared at the kitten in confusion for a moment but then broke hysterically into tears, hugging it closely to his chest.
”Good cat,'' he pursued, as down upon the ground he fell before it: ``Your nature intercedes for me, and pities me. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life!''
The miser looked up through the lobby window past the prostitutes that gathered there after dark and beheld the graffiti reading “SPOOGE IS A DICK” on the side wall.
``I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!''
”Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!''
As Spooge collapsed in hysterics in front of the disinterested feline, Skye sidled over to Jonny.
“How did you know he’d change his ways for a cat?” she asked.
”He doesn’t have a soul and neither do cats,” replied the muse, picking up Winston and holding the Pug in his arms. “I guess that ties up all the loose ends of the story. I don’t suppose you’d be interested in spending Christmas Eve with Winston and me? I’m sure we could probably ditch Winston at some point and think of some way to ring in the Yuletide; just the two of us.”
“Thanks, but my husband and I are going to Aspen,” replied Skye as a 2012 Porsche Carrera GT driven by a muscle bound Greek God came tearing up to the entrance of the shelter. “He owns a couple of the resorts there so we always spend six weeks skiing this time of year. Bye!”
With that, the vet bounded out of the shelter and into the arms of the man behind the wheel of the sports car. As Jonny watched them speed away, he stood in a daze and made a mental note to have it written into his contract that he gets the girl at the end of next year’s story or he’s walking. Then the muse looked into the loving face of Winston the Pug and realized that Christmas was for celebrating all the good things in his life and not worry about what he didn’t have; because he knew from experience that a lot of the time, the things you think you want don’t bring the happiness you thought they would.
So Jonny and Winston sat behind the desk of the office and waited for Christmas to finally arrive. Santa delivered the dogs and cats to all the children who asked for them and the pets spent the rest of their happy lives making it their business to lavish love on their lucky owners. Spooge changed his ways and went bankrupt in less than five years after being a soft touch for every con artist with a sad story to tell. Skye wound up splitting from her husband and getting a multi-million dollar divorce settlement, whereupon she set up house with her butch lesbian office assistant and they were both sentenced to prison terms for planting a bomb in a pet store that got its inventory from puppy mills. And everyone in the world – young and old, rich and poor – had the merriest Yuletide ever.
But happiest of all was Jonny M. As he held Winston in his arms, he thought of all the dogs and cats that were being united with loving owners and felt his heart swell with joy at the idea that he had played a part in it. So with a cheerful salute to his new friends, he unlocked Spooge’s office door, got out his corporate credit card and called an escort service to help him get through the loneliness of the next twenty-four hours.
And happiness to you, dear friend. Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa (I know it’s P.C. to give Kwanzaa equal billing to Christmas and Hannukah, but I have enough trouble in my life and don't need Jesse Jackson crawling up my ass right now), or Jonny’s 50th birthday on December 15th for which I guarantee that you’ll feel like an asshole if you don’t cough up an appropriate tribute, remember that you live in a world that is filled with love; not just from your fellow human beings, but from the creatures great and small who have been sent down to us as a gift - a Christmas gift - from God.
And know that you always have a loving friend in Jonny M.
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