Will Binky's Christmas Dinner Be Oh-So Merry? The Final Chapter.

7. And Binky Blowbottom’s Big Fat Belly, was Filled on Christmas Day

In which Binky considers himself something of a winner
When he has himself a very mighty Christmas Dinner.

It was 5.30am, and Lemington Soot was awoken by the sensation of a cat pawing at his face. Which was out of the ordinary, as Binky Blowbottom customarily greeted him in this manner at an even unholier hour ‘pon Christmas morn, invariably to complain about the dismal contents of his Super Special Binky Stocking.
‘Good morning, Binky,’ yawned Lemington sleepily.
‘Save the platitudes,’ came the curmudgeonly response. 

Read the rest of Chapter Six in Binky Blowbottom's Chrismas Spirit, available from Amazon now!

Part Six of Binky's Xmas Escapade!

6. Hark, the Terror Turkey Brings, Gobbling Sounds and Other Things… Including a Snood!

In which Binky’s thrilling adventure – and oh, so quirky –
Finds him face to face with a beserky Christmas turkey.

The snow was still falling but less of a blizzard now, as Binky Blowbottom pursued the pernicious proprietor of a steroidally-stimulated gizzard. Charting a course for Pobbleton, he realised he was too late for the train that wasn’t stopping; it had ripped through the village minutes earlier.
And there it was!
In the distance, thundering along the tracks. All it lacked was a plume of smoke, but sadly, this was not the days of yore, when cats were sent up chimneys to earn a hardy crust.
Binky had to assume the blasted bird was already aboard. And, if it knew the pecking order, it would be studiously avoiding an altercation with the ticket inspector, rail pass or no rail pass. So, Binky deduced, the winged freak would either be in a freight compartment or on the roof. Which was where he proposed to touch down.
Binky’s finely-honed sixth sense, the one that could detect a potential meal continental shelves away, had not deserted him. For there, indeed, atop the 21.30 from Porstock Point, was the brawny bantom.
Such was Binky’s single-mindedness, his passion for a plate of its palatable plenitude, that he had paid nary a thought to the logistics of arranging said feathered fiend in a manner that would facilitate roasting it.
In other words, he had no idea how he was going to shoot the turkey, or otherwise deprive it of life.
Now, as he came into a surprisingly expert descent, taking account of head winds, side winds and the rattling to and fro of the train itself, practicalities began to vie for attention. He had bitten of more than he could chew (metaphorically, of course –  Binky had the capacity for a turkey twice this one’s size, provided he showed perseverance and took the occasional breather or rest period)? How ever would he truss up this turkey like a turkey?
‘You’ve bitten off more than you can chew, gut bucket.’
It was Christmas dinner, rearing up before him, as yet uncooked and with a horrible, maniacal gleam in its horrible, beady little eye. It was a turkey possessed, so it was, and it was standing astride the roof like a great gobbling goliath.
Binky disembarked from the drone and inched gingerly towards his budding lunch. Having a low centre of gravity enabled him to keep his balance with relative ease. He figured, being the disarming and downright endearing personality he was, he would use his powers of persuasion on the looney bird. If that failed, he would try Plan B: pushing it off the roof and hoping the fall would break its gangly neck.
‘Me?’ said Binky, with an air of false bravado. ‘I’m not the one who just put an entire village’s noses out of joint. Speaking of noses, nice snood, dude.’
That one went out to Masticat.
The turkey was clearly immune to being buttered up with cheap compliments, and ignored the second part. Indeed, it launched into a tirade, as if it had a speech prepared. Which it had.
“It was a funeral pyre. For my fallen comrades. A mark of respect. And I’ll do the same in every town the length and breadth of this land ‘til they let my people go, I tell ye.’
‘You’d better hurry up, then. You’ve got a small window before no one much cares about turkey again for another year. Then you’ll be left whittling your wattle with nothing to do.’
‘There’s Thanksgiving.’
‘That still leaves ten months vacant. I think you need to face facts. You’ve been incredibly selfish. All that good, succulent, wholesome, nutritious, succulent–’
‘You’re drooling, cat.’
‘–scrumptious food gone to waste. And for what? So you can satisfy some misplaced sense of justice? You do know those turkeys sacrificed themselves willingly, don’t you?’
‘No, I do not. And neither do you. Did you go and ask them?’
‘Well, no. Not exactly. But if I was a lovely, fat, fulsome – not that I’m not lovely, fat, and fulsome – supremely tasty turkey, which I’m not, vis-à-vis the last part, then it’s what I would want. With all my heart and very soul.’
Binky crossed his heart and hoped not to diet.
‘And if you were shut in a cage, in a darkened room, fed detritus and plied with performance-enhancing chemicals, only to then have your neck wrung, would you still be so eager, do you think? Well do you, cat?’ The turkey’s beady little eyes were probably bulging in their sockets, but being beady and little, they betrayed no trace of a tremor. In sharp contrast, the veins on its neck were bulging, its snood was shaking and its wattle was wobbling. This turkey was terribly upset.
‘I concede, you have a point…’ Why didn’t this overfed pheasant just give up and accept its destiny? It was way past Binky’s bedtime. ‘Have you ever given a thought to going organic?’
‘And, if you, bred in top secret lab in Poultry Down military research base, to produce turkey-human hybrids…’
‘Coo, are you a turkey-human hybrid?’ Binky was intrigued now, but could see no signs of human identifiers. No Times crossword. No Apple watch. No flip-flops.
‘No, I am not.’
‘Then what were you doing there? Snack food?’
‘Budget cuts. They were breeding ever bigger turkeys, twice the size at half the cost, to fund their clandestine genetic experiments.’
‘Snack food,’ nodded Binky.
‘And if you had a chance to right these wrongs,’ continued the turkey, commendably undeterred by the constant interruptions, ‘would you not take it? Abso-definitely you would, as sure as my name’s Giblets O’Gravy.’
‘Now listen here, Giblets, it’s all very we–’
‘GIB! GIB-lets. ‘G’ for glottal stop.’
‘That seems like a pretty stupid name,’ observed Binky.
‘Oh yes? And what’s yours?’
‘Not sayin’,’ said Binky, realising the flaw in his line of criticism. ‘But you may have read my memoir, This Cat Chap Loves His Pie. It was written from the heart.’
‘Heart!’ spat Giblets, his snood shuddering and swaying. ‘Heart! GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE!’
‘Sorry, I didn’t quite catch the end bit. Did you say GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE? If so, well, that’s all very well, and you make a good case. But see, I’m famished. And it’s Christmas. And my belly is unequivocal and immovable on the subject. It takes priority.’
‘You represent EVERYTHING that is reprehensible about the world today,’ accused Giblets, furiously fanning out his tail feathers.
‘Oh don’t, you’ll make me blush.’ Binky wasn’t used to such high praise. He felt almost coy.
‘I dream of a future free from turkey dinners!’ proselytised Giblets, on something of a roll.
‘What about chickens?’
‘Chickens? Don’t talk to me about chickens!’
Binky appeared to have touched a nerve, for Giblets ceased speechifying and advanced on the tinsel-tousled kitty.
Who backed away in turn.
‘Oh, well, okay. Now, now. Easy now, Giblets. Just come quietly. We don’t want any fuss.’
‘And just what are YOU going to do about it, domestic pet? Enemy collaborator. You don’t have the stones to tussle with a regular turkey, let alone me!’
‘Why, I’m not having that!’ protested Binky, who actually was, and in no way envisaged reversing his retreat. He was, truthfully, reluctant to get his paws dirty. If only there were a helpful butcher on board, cleaver at the ready, up for doing the honours.
‘No?’ leered Giblets mockingly, towering over Binky, all but rolling up his sleeves (or wingtips).
‘No! I… I’ll have you know, I blew up a badger last spring!’
This remark seemed to momentarily off-balance Giblets, as well it might. What off-balanced him more precipitously was a rapidly approaching tunnel.
Binky ducked.
Giblets ducked.
A passing duck, bound for a cosy Christmas in Cotsley-on-the-Mould, didn’t. But wasn’t heading for the tunnel, so that was alright.
On the other side, Binky had already settled himself on the drone, fully revved up and raring to go, when Giblets, covered in soot – not of the Lemington variety – and chock-full of seething rage, charged him like an angry bison.
‘GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE,’ declared Giblets, lunging at the drone as it shot off the roof and accelerated ahead of the train, making tracks along the track.
The flight of the cat and his turkey hijacker was to be short-lived, however.
Drones, even ones that double as armoured assault vehicles, are not built for such burdens, and it spluttered to a landing some miles beyond with a decisive thud.
Binky jabbed at the control, but the drone was unyielding. It had no desire to move from its spot, believing a well-earned rest was in order.
‘Say your prayers, porky.’
Giblets was upon him once more, poised to pummel with muscled wing, peck with vicious beak, sink in spurred heel and sock it to Binky with his over-sized snood.
As the terrifying turkey neared, though, Binky raised his legs, a not insignificant feat for someone who, most of the time, could not even see them, and connected with O’Gravy’s breast bone. At the same time, entirely unintentionally but, for one of Binky’s proclivities, a daily inevitability at some juncture and especially during episodes of stress, as now, he blew off. The combined force was far from insubstantial, and through propulsively potent dual action, it flipped the bird. Giblets somersaulted backwards towards a train tootling in the combatants’ direction at a breezy turn of speed, landing in a harrowing confusion of legs and wings and snoods.
‘Oooh. Gor! What in Dante’s Inferno was that?’ he exclaimed, overcome with noxious vapours yet still finding it within him to strike an admirably literary tone.
Binky stepped on the gas, figuratively this time, and aimed for the trees on the verge as Giblets, waving away the toxic emissions encircling his beak, gave pursuit, gambolling and gobbling as he did.
Alas, Binky, being fat and oafish, tripped.
He buckled and crumpled onto the ground.
‘Keep back, you evil bird!’ he cried, swatting frantically with his flailing arms.
Giblets came up short, stunned at the cat’s castigation.
‘Why’d you say that? Why’d you have to go and say that?’ He sounded disconsolate. ‘I’m the bad birdie? When did that happen?’
Such are the vagaries of narrative, of protagonist and antagonist, of empathic response and point of view, that in answer to Giblets’ searching question, dear reader, who is to say? Certainly, Binky Blowbottom was not. Instead, he used this brief stay of execution to reveal an item he had appropriated from Reverend Gladhood’s kitchen. At the time, he merely deemed it might come in useful should a lovely, bronzed coating be called for. But now…
It was an item guaranteed to pour terror into the carunkles of turkeys far and wide. Even one with such far, wide carunkles as Giblets was not immune.
Giblets O’Gravy’s reaction was one of shock, dismay and, finally, pure, unvarnished fear.
‘Be off with you!’ rebuked Binky, thrusting the turkey baster under Giblets’ snood.
The effect was akin to gifting a vampire a garlic bouquet. Giblets recoiled, his neck shooting back and to the left – that’s back, and to the left – at precisely the instant the 21.30 from Porstock Point sped by the spot. The 21.30 had already struck drone, mangling it casually under wheel, and now it tangled with titanic turkey. Or rather, part of titanic turkey. Giblet’s head was sliced clean off, leaving a moderately stunned, decapitated body tottering around the tracks in the locomotive’s wake. My apologies for relating such a gruesome scene. I do so hope it doesn’t interfere with your digestion.
‘Coo!’ said Binky, impressed. ‘So it’s not just chickens, then.’
Presently, the turkey, who was toast, conclusively gave up the ghost, and collapsed in a heap of plumage.
‘Plucky guy,’ punned Binky unwisely, possibly owing to his Boxing Day affection for action-heavy spy films.
Dragging O’Gravy by the leg, he deposited the deceased on top of all that was salvageable of the drone, which amounted to a wheelbase minus the odd wheel, and pushed it along the tracks.
This had, as far as he could determine, worked out wholly agreeably. A touch more exertion than he had planned, but his appetite was now fully engaged. And the icing on the Christmas cake: Masticat’s present was obliterated. After all, if Binky couldn’t have nice things, why should anyone else be entitled?

Binky did his best to hide his glee when he arrived back at the Ratbridge Canteen.
Marmalade, however, barely gave the near-totalled assaulted vehicle a second glance. He had just closed a highly lucrative deal with the rodents, although any astute financial advisor on hand would have told him making a bargain with the denizens of the Ratbridge Canteen was liking doing business with the Wild Bunnies of Wilderfell; Marmalade would do well to watch his back, lest one morning he found himself sleeping with the fishes. Not nearly as attractive a prospect as it first sounded.
Binky and Marmalade set off for Pobbleton, serendipitously hitching a ride on the back of a tow truck, one with ample room for a turkey carcass and the remnants of a drone. A tow truck that was very slowly pulling an articulated lorry that had somehow had a nasty accident on Hazelby Road.
It was almost midnight when Binky hopped off at the turning into Palmist’s Path.
‘Merry Christmas, Blowbottsomate’ waved Marmalade merrily. ‘See you tomorrow avo.’
‘Yeah, whatever,’ replied Binky, rather ungraciously. But that was Binky Blowbottom for you. He cathandled the turkey along the path as best he could. It would only be a veritably merry Christmas when he had feasted on its flesh and accompanying tasty trimmings, and that would entail pressing his indolent master into service.

The conclusion of Binky Blowbottom's Christmas Spirit will follow
after a short (24-hour) intermission.

Part Five, and Binky's Holiday Hijinks Reach New Heights!

5. These Two Cats of Appetites are, Chasing Birds in an Aeronautical Car

In which Binky and Marmalade reach the Ratbridge Canteen,
There’s a close encounter with an HGV, and Binky vents some spleen.

Dashing through the snow
Atop an unmanned open drone,
O’er the fields they went…

And… you get the idea.
Yes, Binky Blowbottom, Esq., and his sometime partner in extraordinary escapades, Marmalade Masticat, were hot on the trail of hot turkey entrails.

Read the rest of Chapter Five in Binky Blowbottom's Chrismas Spirit, available from Amazon now!

What Seasonal Scrapes Lie in Store for Binky in Part Four?

4. O Little Town of Pobbleton, Look Out – Blowbottom's Nigh

In which Binky suffers a Yuletide backslide
And greets a fast-friend, one who’s not quite as wide.

As Binky’s eyes were tightly shut, he failed to immediately observe whatever it was that caused Ophelia Bloodgool to let out a startled whimper. All he knew for definite was that none of his extraneous appendages were in the process of being detached, or chewed to a fine paste between her ravening jaws.

Read the rest of Chapter Four in Binky Blowbottom's Chrismas Spirit, available from Amazon now!

The Third Plastered Part of Binky's Festive Frolic!

3. Ding-Dong, Binky is so High, Goodness His Head is Spinning

In which Binky Blowbottom butchers the English language
And Ophelia Bloodgool eyes an appetiser for her impending cat sandwich.

Binky Blowbottom was out of his giddy gourd.
There is a saying – you may be familiar with it, or possibly with the condition it describes, depending on your access to illicitly obtained liquor, and if you’re an adult reading this, well, you’re probably plastered anyway – ‘three sheets to the wind’. Binky was in such a state now, only multiplied by a factor of nineteen to the dozen. Who would have believed juicing up bird meat and French biscuits could have such a powerful effect?

Read the rest of Chapter Three in Binky Blowbottom's Chrismas Spirit, available from Amazon now!

The Second Instalment of Binky's Aberrant Advent Adventure!

2. Here Auberon Comes a-Hassling, in His Suit of Green

In which Binky Blowbottom is filled with Christmas spirit
Seven hundred and fifty millilitres of the stuff.

Binky Blowbottom sloped heavily onto the porch and immediately thought twice. Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow. As frozen tundras went, this one was less than stimulating.

Read the rest of Chapter Two in Binky Blowbottom's Chrismas Spirit, available from Amazon now!

Binky's Back! An All-New Binky Blowbottom Yuletide Yarn Begins Here!

1. Binky’s Dreaming of a Not-so-Slight Christmas

In which Lemington Soot delivers a Yuletide announcement
And Binky Blowbottom responds with a less-than-merry denouncement.

It was Christmas Eve in the Soot residence – that’s 11 Palmist’s Path for those of you who haven’t been paying attention – and Binky Blowbottom, Lemington Soot’s prominently-paunched, mustard-yellow cat, was looking forward to Christmas.
It wouldn’t be long now. He was quite beside himself with excitement. Why, he had even broken wind four times that morning in eager anticipation of the great event.
Binky loved Christmas. He adored it. He was particularly partial to celebrating its occasion by snoozing indoors in front of a roaring fire, now and again arising to eat, before resuming his spot for a spot more sleeping, then breaking off to munch some more morsels. And so on.
You get the gist.
All of which he could do at any time, of course – season permitting for the fire. Although, Lemington had once caught him pouring paraffin into the grate on a hot July afternoon. Summarily prevented from proceeding further and questioned on the matter, Binky had attested to feeling a slight chill in his hindquarters, conceivably brought on by the starvation diet his master had forced on him. Being inexperienced in all things inflammatory, he had simply been doing his level best to resolve the situation with the limited resources available.
Nevertheless, despite their being normal, reasonable and cherishable endeavours in Binky Blowbottom’s daily regimen, there was something extra special about snoozing snuggly and eating, and eating some more with concomitant snuggly snoozing, during the festive period.
Yes, Binky Blowbottom loved Christmas. He loved the Christmas tree Lemington could be relied upon to purchase. Not one of those fake, plastic monstrosities, but the real deal, cut down a long time prior to its prime and propped up in the living room entirely for Binky’s gratification.
There it was now, standing stoically several feet away.
One year, not long since being a kitten, Binky had spotted what he confidently categorised as a field vole in one of the upper branches. Spurred on to investigate, he discovered that not only was it merely a hideously disfigured angel – possibly owing to Binky having rapaciously chewed on it a couple of days earlier, having announced he didn’t like the way it was raptly venerating heavenwards, and ‘it smells funny’ – but also that the tree was ill equipped to accommodate his myriad dimensions and prolific proportions. Even as a nipper, Binky had been plenitudinous. The tree gave way under the strain, and henceforth Binky was under strict instructions to steer clear. He had given Lemington a contemptuous look, shooting back, “Suits me fine. Wouldn’t go up your stupid tree again if you paid me”. Which was somewhat childish. But he was, essentially, little more than a child.
And, really, he did love the stupid tree. He loved the multi-coloured lights that flickered off and on across its expanse. He absolutely could not understand those dullard humans who favoured plain old boring white lights. The same ones who invariably disdained tinsel. Tacky, they called it. Well, Binky guessed that just about made him a tacky cat. Why, at this very moment he was rocking a lovely silvery length of the stuff, tossed around his neck as a rather elegant, makeshift scarf.
Binky was also wearing his Special Binky Christmas Hat, which was actually your bog-standard Santa hat, distinguished purely by its being perched atop Binky’s bonce and having two specially tailored ear holes for his specially tailored ears. It fitted very snuggly-snug, and in combination with the scarf, he was sure he looked quite the raffish dandy. With a touch of the rakish. Raffish and rakish.
If such fashionable flourishes became too taxing, due to legions of female felines banging at his door and imploring him for a date down the local fleapit, Binky had the option of getting away from it all, climbing into his extra-large (it would need to be) Super Special Binky Stocking – for that special toasty effect.
Binky certainly did love Christmas. He loved the decorations, especially attempting to swing from paper chains that hadn’t the remotest intention of supporting his not insubstantial weight and would much prefer he quit with it already.
He loved the holly and the ivy, just as long as they knew their place and didn’t get too close when they were both full grown – wretched vegetation!
And he loved his Special Binky Advent Calendar. On the down side, it featured the same crummy pictures each year, of an itinerate array of clods sporting drab, rudimentary garb, sauntering about unspecified foreign climes – maybe Wales – and up to really rather inane activities: mingling with sheep, star gazing, loitering around stables. And not a TV in sight. Whatever did they do with their free time? Thank heavens for civilisation! Yet, on the up side, there were not only crummy pictures behind the doors to this calendar. These doors also concealed delights the like of which Binky’s digestive system dared not even dream. Delights that were inexplicably replenished every December. Delights that were, in point of fact, his most favouritest, most deliciousest, most scrumptiousest Tasty Treats. The one drawback being that his rotten, dirty, stinking, no-good master let him open a measly one such door each day. A right nativity Nazi, Lemington Soot was.
On the subject of which, there was the thorny annual issue of Binky’s Christmas list. While Binky loved Christmas – we may have established this detail by now, but I think it bears emphasising, given the tribulations to follow – he wasn’t best pleased with his master’s mealy-mouthed attitude to gift giving as it related to his truly. Lemington, a diminutive human-ish individual covered from head to foot in hair, and thus classified in Binky’s book as some kind of weirdo, seemed perfectly happy with the odd present from his Auntie Acacia, or some dusty volume of forteana courtesy of his fogeyish friend Orestes Senior. Fine. Fantastic. Fabulous. But that didn’t mean Binky had to suffer a similar shortage of Christmas goodies. What did Lemington think he was, an easily-satisfied simpleton? What was with those inferior pet stocking fillers, the ones with balls and bells and nauseating pet “snacks”?
There was also a banal ritual whereby Lemington would give Binky a mouse toy, and Binky would ignore it, not even deigning to sniff at it sniffily. Lemington would say, ‘Go on, it’s got catnip on it’, and Binky would reply, ‘Go on, boil your head. And while you’re at it, how about attending to my Christmas list?’ Lemington would reply that he lacked the funds to buy that much steak, and he most assuredly didn’t have a refrigerated warehouse to store it all in. Binky would call him a cheapskate, and his conduct proved what was patently clear: that Lemington didn’t care about his precious pet one little bit. And besides, what about out all the other items? That was only demand number one. Lemington would tell him it wouldn’t do to have a cat in the garden using an iPhone, or playing with a remote-controlled Batmobile (‘CAT-mobile!’ Binky would wail in protest), or doing the rounds of the canal on a pedalo (‘For the fishies!’ Binky would entreat). Binky would then, as a rule, signal his contempt for Lemington by being sick. Copiously. And would then add that he was sorry he didn’t have time to wrap it up and put it under the tree, but it was the thought that counted, and there was more where that came from if Lemington was on best behaviour. Binky being, unlike his master, a generous and tenderhearted individual.
The subject of presents also customarily initiated discussion of the delicate personage of Santa Claus. If you’re a small child reading this, well, you probably shouldn’t be for a start and most likely it’s past your bedtime, so I am duty bound to at very least advise you to inform your parents immediately and request due chaperoning, as this story gets unutterably ghastly in places. But apart from that, and if you’ve ignored my warning in the previous sentence, try not to be too distressed by the views Binky Blowbottom is about to express. They’re his alone, and do not represent the sentiments or opinions of management.
Binky’s conversations with Lemington on the status of Saint Nick usually went along these lines:
Binky: Santa Claus doesn’t exist.
Lemington: Why do you say that, Binky?
Binky: Cos he never brings me anything. I know for a fact, as the stuff I get is always rubbish, so it must be from you.
Lemington: Binky, have you ever considered that Santa might have very good reason for not bringing you any presents?
Binky: Such as?
Lemington: Such as, because you haven’t been good this year? Or last year? Or the year before?
Binky: Pah.
The ‘Pah’ commonly preceded a hacking, retching noise, swiftly followed by a flurry of feline throw-up: a luxury selection of hairballs and stomach contents that would find itself enveloping whatever section of floor, furniture, workspace or part of Lemington Soot that was within a three hundred and sixty-degree rotation of Binky’s head.
So, while Binky Blowbottom did so, ever so, very much love Christmas, there were also a few things that got on his wick about it. All of which were others’ faults. And, more specifically, the fault of that master of his. Who was about to foster further ill-will with his pet, and precipitate this particular escapade.
Binky was taking a load off, concentrating on the taxing task of reclining in front of the television, when Lemington entered the living room.
‘Merry Christmas Eve, Binky!’ he greeted seasonally.
‘SHHHHHH!’ snarled Binky, with an undeniable odour of the obstreperous. ‘I am trying to watch Scrooge. It’s my favourite Christmas film. Well, apart from the ending that is. Idiot has to go and spoil it all by being nice, cheerful and chummy to everyone.  And then, he adds insult to injury by buying a big turkey, the biggest there is, and giving it away to that useless doormat of an employee and his mewling brat. I mean, what kind of numbskull throws away a perfectly good turkey? What kind of numbskull doesn’t make sure the very best and biggest turkey available is cooking delectably in their oven on Christmas morning?’
‘I really couldn’t say,’ said Lemington, who really probably could, actually. He was amused by Binky’s acid reflux, but could already foresee a tempestuous exchange on the horizon, approaching fast.
‘Apparently,’ professed Binky professorially, ‘it has also been adapted into a novella. I’ve half a mind to see if it ends more satisfactorily, ‘cept I’ve got no time for any of that reading nonsense. It’s a good thing I can rely on you to feed me properly at Crimbo, that’s all I know.’
Binky was referring to how Lemington Soot, in the interests of peace on earth and goodwill to all men and their pets, even hirsute men and their heavyweight pets, made an exception to his ‘No Binkys at the table’ decree on Christmas Day, and allowed him to partake of dinner with all the trimmings. In part, this was because Orestes would also be visiting – although, this year he was in absentia, and Lemington still hadn’t heard what he was up to – and Binky could be trusted, out of his sneaking respect for the old man, to show a modicum of restraint and a minimum of table manners. He would even pause for Lemington to say grace before shovelling a great slab of turkey and stuffing and bacon rolls and roast potatoes and cranberry sauce and pigs in blankets and parsnip into his mouth.
Binky was not offered sprouts, however.
Binky shunned vegetables on principle, unless they were extremely appetising and in some way incorporated meat. Likewise, fruit. And yet, he was passionate about mince pies with rum butter. And Christmas cake. They didn’t count, since all that sugary sweetness and icing and pastry masked the dread taste and texture. He didn’t even feel the need to regurgitate the raisins and other root-based matter at a later date.
No, the reason for the sprout-free diet was entirely practical. Sprouts gave Binky wind like there was no tomorrow. So much so, they nearly blew him into next week. One Christmas – the one Christmas he’d tried them – the trumping had got so bad, Binky had been banished to the garden. Even then, the effect was as if a violent thunderstorm were wreaking havoc on the local ecosystem, in concert with a powerfully toxic gas leak or ruptured cesspit. A fine green mist hung over the surrounding fields, imploring the grass to give up the ghost and leading to a spate of emergency evacuations by hedgerow inhabitants who were all set to settle down for EastEnders. Such was the pervasive odour, the incident in turn gave rise to a cruel neighbourhood anthem, appropriated from a popular beat combo’s festive ditty: ‘Last Christmas Binky blew off a fart, By the very next day it had palpably decided to stay.’ Which didn’t scan and was rather vulgar. But then, it was a rather vulgar neighbourhood.
‘Yes. About that, Binky.’
Lemington’s tentative tone made his beloved feline instantly suspicious. Why did he expect some bad news was about to advance from his master’s imperceptible lips?
‘What? You’re not banning me from the table again? I told you I have no idea how the litter tray ended up face down in your bed. Or how that jobby got there. Certainly wasn’t me.’
‘No, no. Nothing like that.’ Although, now Lemington recollected, that was a significant black mark against Binky there.
‘Phew. You had me worried for a second.’
‘No, it’s something else. Nothing to be alarmed about. Just that I’ve decided not go with turkey this year. I’m having a nut roast.’
Binky could scarcely believe his ears.
‘NUT ROAST?!’ he exclaimed, before spitting his heartfelt sentiments over the carpet.
That was Binky again.
Then, once more with (additional) feeling.
‘Yes, I thought I’d go vegetarian, seeing as they didn’t have any organic birds at the butcher’s. So…’
‘NUT ROAST?!!!!’
‘Don’t worry, though. I’ve got you a tin of Catti-Patti. Turkey and Stuffing flavour. Mmmm. Yum-Yum. Eh?’
Binky was nonplussed. ‘I’ll tell you what. I’ll eat it if you do too.’
‘Don’t be silly,’ tutted Lemington. ‘You normally eat food out of the tin.’
‘Yes. Proper food. Like skipjack tuna. And sardines. I’m not having that Catti-Pukey. You think you can just serve me up any old muck? You’ve gone too far this time!’
‘Oh, do stop overreacting. You can have some Special Binky Gravy with it. And you’ll still get dessert. And some mulled wine later.’
‘Mulled wine! I’d rather drink from the septic tank.’
‘What’s this?’ Lemington was staring at the floor.
‘Eh?’ Binky couldn’t see anything.
‘Is this yours?’
‘Whassat, then?’ What was the Malignant Soot on about now? Binky was of the view that the topic under review had been unnecessarily side-tracked.
‘Yes, it is yours. Look.’
Lemington was holding out a humbug.
‘You’ll be laughing on the other side of your face when I hurl on it,’ warned Binky, with not inconsiderable vehemence. ‘Every Christmas you ruin things! You don’t even put an orange and an apple in my Super Special Binky Stocking, to go with my choccy lump-lump mixtures.’
‘If I did, would you eat them?’
‘No, you wouldn’t.’
‘Try me.’
‘Then you’d do it just to spite me. And then you’d suffer explosive diarrhoea.’
‘What nonsense,’ scoffed Binky, waving a dismissive paw. ‘I can’t even spell the stuff, much less have an attack of it.’
Lemington disappeared into the kitchen. He was back moments later, clutching a tin.
‘Look, Binky. Here’s the Catti-Patti. It’s gourmet, see. None of that nasty jelly. Proper, tasty food.’
He handed it to the discontented kitty.
‘Oh yes, so it is.’ Binky gave it a cursory glance and promptly hurled it as his owner.
He was impressed with the way it rebounded off Lemington’s forehead.
Then, coolly rolling off the couch so as to avoid its return trajectory, he stood chunky but firm. ‘Well, if it’s going to be like that, I shall simply have to procure myself a prize pullet.’
‘Be my guest.’ Lemington knew full well Binky was exceedingly lazy, and that there was fat chance of his fat cat making good.
‘You doubt me, huh?’
‘No, no. You go ahead. You’ll have to prepare it yourself, of course. If you do get hold of one.’
‘I, unlike some people living in his house with me, whose names begin with ‘Lem’ and end in ‘ington’, am an excellent chef. I merely choose to let my talents go unnoticed most of the time. You mark my words. Before the night is out, I shall return to this place with the largest, juiciest, most succulent turkey you ever did see, and you’ll be begging me for a solitary scrap of it!’
And with that, Binky Blowbottom, Esq., gathered himself up and propelled himself from the room, a trail of tinsel flowing in his wake.
A short interlude passed, and he poked his head back round the door frame, making venomous eye contact with Lemington Soot, who was now warming himself by the fire.
‘You’re the worst owner EVER!’ yelled Binky.
Then he was gone once more, slamming the front door behind him.
Lemington sighed. It was going to be one of those Christmases. Like every Binky Christmas.

Tomorrow: Chapter Two of Binky Blowbottom's Christmas Spirit!