The tree is decorated, the stockings are hung, the Yule fire burns low and, according to an old tradition, at midnight on Christmas Eve … the animals speak.
COMET (Beagle, about age four): You think that’s Alex Trebek’s real hair? AJAX (also a Beagle, somewhat Comet’s senior, waking): What?
C: Alex Trebek. You think that’s a hairpiece? A: I’ll tell you who wears a piece is that Bob Barker. C: No way! A: Way! C: I don’t watch much TV. A: Me either. No smell. You’d think they’d make it smell. C: You know who smelled the other night? (Names a frequent visitor.) A: Tell me about it. Bacon and pancakes! C: Bacon and waffles. A: Really? I didn’t get waffles. Real maple syrup, though. C: The best. A: Hmm. What about this reindeer business? C: Reindeer? A: I mean, reindeer can’t fly. Why not use birds? Birds fly. C: It’s the North Pole. You think there are birds at the North Pole? A: You think there are reindeer at the North Pole? C: Huh. A: I’ll tell you what else: Those aren’t real squirrels. C: What are you talking about? A: Those little squirrels they throw around the house for you to chase. They’re not real. C: But they fly! A: They throw them. C: They squeak! A: They can make anything squeak. C: The squirrels aren’t real? They seem so real. A: Sorry. C: I feel like such a fool. A: I shouldn’t have said anything. You’re getting a couple new squirrels in your stocking. Try not to let on. C: They seem so real. A: That’s the spirit. And you’re probably right about the reindeer. C: I don’t know … A: Don’t beat yourself up. Took me three years to figure out the mailman is just a mailman. C: Grrrr! The mailman! A: Easy, buddy. It’s just you and me. C: You mean the mailman’s not real either? A: Real but harmless. Just doing his job. C: But he shoves things at us through the door. A: Trash. Except for Martha Stewart. C: Love Martha Stewart! A: Just doing his job. C: You’re telling me the squirrels aren’t real? And the mailman is, but not to worry? A: Merry Christmas. C: And the FedEx guy? A: Grrrr! The FedEx guy! C: Just checking.