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."We'll grab breakfast at a drive-through window," Quentin said, "then take these other presents to Dexter and Nicole, and Paris.Hmm.there are even some gifts that have the names of Scruffy, Tito, and Ursa Major and Minor Larkin here, whoever they are--well, I know who Scruffy is, of course--the little pee machine--but, who are these other gifts for?""Dad, those are the presents Lily bought for Scruffy and the three 'dogs' next door," Celeste told him."She didn't want them to feel left out at Christmastime!""Oh, right--Lily bought them--I understand!" he said.We had to get our rears in gear, because we had to grab a quick breakfast and head to Dexter and Nicole's place next.I was still devouring my last sausage link from the MacSwinester's "Swine-All-The-Time" breakfast menu.As their commercials stated, it was "Lip-Smackin' Good Food," and "Swine-tacular!""Mom! Dad! Celeste! And Lily!" Dexter and Nicole said, coming outside to meet us as we pulled up."Let us help you with those presents!" They each took an armful, and we carried the rest into their house.It was beautifully decorated for the season, and their Christmas tree was almost as nice as ours was, which we had to leave at our house."We've already opened our presents to each other," Dexter said."I hope you don't mind.""Nah, we just got done doing the same," Triple Q said."Would you like some coffee and biscotti from our bakery while we unwrap gifts?" Nicole asked.Triple Q said yes, but both Clare and Celeste didn't drink coffee.They agreed to the offer of some warm chocolate chip cookies, though.Soon, we were once again digging into a pile of presents, and gave Dexter and Nicole the ones we got for them.I had bought, as I mentioned earlier, all of the Blue Man Group DVDs for Dexter, and a couple of XBox 360 games, and his face lit up when he opened them up.I think he really liked them.Nicole was also happy to get the Batman graphic novels I bought her, and as she likes Star Wars, I'd in addition gotten her a R2D2 robot that moves that I saw at the bookstore, of all places.Dexter thought it was pretty cool, too.Their presents for us were awesome, also.For Triple Q, they got the BBC series The Prisoner on DVD, for Clare, some wildlife reference books and the fourth season of The Big Bang Theory (which had just come out), and for Celeste, they had bought three Nintendo 3DS games.We had a fun time, but we were kind of in a rush, as we next were going to Paris, Arkansas, and were supposed to be there by noon for dinner and to open up more presents.We piled back in the car, with our loot, and Dexter and Nicole got in theirs, and we took off.I was wondering how Scruffy was doing, and how well his attempts to start up a new branch of PAWS had been going so far.Somehow, I didn't have the highest level of confidence in him, but who knows? Maybe the Scruff-meister would surprise me!****At Celeste's grandparents' house, we could detect the delicious odors of turkey and ham cooking almost before we left the car.My poor figure would never be the same.but, you only live once, they say, so you need to grab the brass ring and take the smorgasbord by the plateful and carpe the turkey leg and pumpkin pie while you can!Everyone was in the livingroom, the television was on to football, and the Christmas tree was in the corner, looking wonderful with thousands of twinkling lights and decorations on it.The tradition had been to draw names out of a hat at Thanksgiving, and then buy just the person whose name you drew out of the hat a present for Christmas; now, with so many kids and teenagers in the house, the tradition had changed to drawing the name of one of them for each child a family had from a hat, and just buying the people whose names you chose one present, at around twenty-five dollars.This year, we had picked TayShawn's and Lauren's names, and had got TayShawn a Razorback football jersey and Lauren a CD she'd wanted.Lonnie and Daisy always had a contest for their grand- and great-grand children for an additional present of money.They would be given clues to where the money was hidden in the house, and they would then have to solve the clues in order to locate where the money was.Clare would sometimes use her computer to make up crossword puzzles containing the clues as to where the money was hidden.The contest was a fun way for the teens and kids to get cash they could use to then buy whatever Santa might have forgotten or not had room enough in his sleigh to bring them.Scruffy seemed to enjoy the gift I got for him, an elephant brush (elephants loved to be brushed, just like horses loved it when you used a curry comb and brush on them, or so I've been told).He gave me a baseball glove, which wasn't a very good sign that he'd completely understood what his role as the leader of the Paris branch of PAWS actually entailed.Celeste had the gifts for the neighboring PAWS members in a festive holiday bag, and held onto my leash with her other hand."Scruffy, old pachyderm!" I said to him in the yard after a splendidly grand belly-busting feast fit for a king."How're things going with Paris PAWS?""Well, we're in first place in our division!" he replied."I got five other animals to join the team, and we're hittin' 'em out of the ballpark! We may be on our way to an intercity championship!" he replied."I thought I'd made it clear.Scruffy, that I wasn't making you the leader or captain of a baseball team, but of a crime-fighting organization!""Yeah, you did.But, I had a problem with that [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]