Bloody hell! Look what’s comin’ up the drive…the Richardsons, with eleven bloody kids. I’m outa here. Not stayin’ on the veranda with that lot round for pats or bones. Those kids think a dog’s job is to fetch balls they throw into prickly bushes and the babies have no respect for eyes or mouths. Somebody should tell ‘em I’m a cattle dog. I’ve got a real job. My job is to round up the herd mornin’ and evenin’ and sleep as much as I can…but I don’t mind helpin’ the Missus with the chooks though I can’t nip ‘em. I’m not kid-tainment, but. Kitchen’s the place to go. The Missus often drops bits on the floor. I help her clean it up. That’s another part of my job.
Cripes, the bloody kitchen’s hot. Too hot for a sensitive bloke like me to stay in. And it’s filled with women who won’t shut up. Surely the Missus knows it’s summer and she doesn’t need the range goin’ full bore. Aaah! I know that smell—puddin’, Christmas puddin’. Don’t mind a bit of that, just don’t know what to do with those hard silver bits that the Missus always puts in. Where”ll I go for a bit of a kip? Can’t stay in this furnace. Maybe the cool room if someone’s left the door unlatched.
Perfect spot for the cool room, under the tank. That rain last night filled the tank to the brim so it’s still dripping and the Boss has hung wet sacks around the walls so the under-stand room stays extra chill. Door’s ajar. Can just squeeze in. Will ya look at that…five cockerels all in a row, pinkly plucked, and a monster ham and a hogget and a mountain of sausages. Dog’s paradise! Fella’s hungry too but this tucker’s for the mob not for me. Missus will give me the scrag ends pretty soon. Heaven. Cool resting place and tucker to come.
What’s that bloody noise? Ratty. Get outta here ya mongrel. This ain’t your tucker. How’d ya get in…aaah, the open door. Damn he’s up on the bench, after the sausages, no doubt, cause they’re easy to get at. If I get up on the bench I can get round behind the hogget and get…
People oughta be careful where they shove their boots. Me backsides not the place for footprints and I was only tryin’ to stop the dratted rat. Won’t be able to walk proper for a week and I didn’t even get Ratty. Wonder what he’s eatin’ now. Is he shut in with the cool room feast or shut out?
Fella could starve round here. Feed shed’s the only place to hide from the mob…Richardsons, Adams, Hoppers, McCreaghs, Humes…even people camped in the big shed. Nobody ‘ll camp in the feed shed but, too many bloody mice and snakes. I’ll get Ratty yet.
The Missus is a good woman. She musta figured I was starvin’ cause here’s me dinner and Ratty’s only taken a bit. She’d know I wasn’t after the sausages. At least the feed shed’s a fair distance from the pianny. Maudie’s flat and the pianny ‘s out of tune, but Maudie’s havin’ a fine time beltin’ out Christmas carols. None of the rest of all those visitors can sing either. I can help ‘em out with me special howl, learned it from Mum. She was a dingo.
Cripes that was close. Somebody should tell that bugger with the 22 that it was only me. Don’t think I’ll sing again. Sounds like the Boss is toweling up the shooter, givin’ him what for. The Boss wouldn’t want to lose his best dog.
It’s quiet now. The kids said some joker called Santa Claws was gunna break into the house and leave presents cause they were good. They’d be hopin’, unless their definition of good is different to mine. Sides which I’ll be watchin’. No swaggie’s getting in this house with all these sleepin’ kids. If they woke they’d kill him with kindness, force feed him cake, shove rum down his throat, rummage through his worldly goods until they found what they wanted, specially the Richardsons. Poor fella’d never be the same again.
What’s that? Tap dancing on the roof. Can’t be goats hooves. The Boss doesn’t like goats. Night’s clear. It ain’t hail. Something’s comin’ down the chimney. Any half-way decent cove’d come to the front door and knock. Cripes he’s stuck. He’s calling me. By name. Ya gotta be suspicious of some sweet-talking, red-suited, fat cove stuck in the chimney in the middle of the night. Should I get the Boss?
He wants me to pull his boots, drag him down the chimney like. The Missus wouldn’t be pleased if that chimney black stuff rained out on her carpet. I’ll just sit. Mornin’ will come soon. The Boss will get up and solve the problem.
The whiskery guy’s telling me 4, 826, 377 children in Australia are waiting for their Christmas presents. This was his first stop. That’s a laugh. Why would any household let a strange man slip down their chimney in the middle of the night to leave presents for the kids? Hasn’t he heard of Stranger Danger and how nasty people bribe kids into their cars and…He reckons he’s been slippin’ down chimneys and through keyholes for nearly two thousand years and everyone is pleased he does. I ignore him.
Then he talks about big juicy bones that good dogs get for looking after their houses. Ain’t heard of that but I could go a good bone. I’m definitely interested.
I sniff his boots a bit to see if he’s telling the truth. Can’t get at his backside so boots will have to do. I can smell bonza bone inside the leather of his left black wellington and it’s not his shin bone. I give his left boot a bit of a pull. Black stuff almost suffocates me. He tells me to keep pulling. I oblige. Suddenly he’s in the lounge room with a sack the size of a mining truck. Lord knows how that got down the flue.
He unpacks enough presents to keep even the Richardsons happy till Boxing Day when, thank heavens, they’ll be going home. Lastly he pulls out a bone bigger than the leg bone of a brontosaurus, just for me. I give his hand a bit of a lick and drag his sack to the chimney. He leans over and tells me that dogs always have it hard at Christmas then he looks up. The Missus and the Boss are standing at the door watching. They call me over and I get the biggest pat before they take me to a new kennel just outside their bedroom door. I look back over my shoulder as I’m going and the man in the red suit sucks all the black soot sprinkled over the Missus’s clean floor up the chimney as he goes. He calls something as he disappears, sounds like Merry Christmas. Not really too interested. I’ve got a bone that will keep me happy for many tomorrows and a hidey place safe from the exuberant Richardsons.