"And then there was this time," he was saying, "that she took me to the vet because she found what she so elegantly termed 'these weird growths' on my abdomen." He looked at Chris with narrow eyes. "They were my nipples."
Chris smiled sheepishly. Stanley and Helen, who were author avatars, shared her embarrassment and smiled in exactly the same way. Ishtar's laughter drifted to their ears like honeyed absinthe. Santa gave his customary "ho, ho ho!"
"And there was that other time," Kitten continued, "she took a day off work because while she was getting dressed she thought she found a cancerous tumor in my nose." He gave Chris a disgusted look and turned away. "It was a booger."
Ishtar smiled politely and her smile was a glowing light that quickened every male heart. Santa patted his washboard stomach as he laughed, then patted Ishtar on her perfect rump. She gave him a wink and bumped him with her hip. "Maybe we should find a nice place to put your toy sack," she said, managing to make it sound dirty.
"No, no. I'm giving out presents," he said. The huge man took the red bag off his shoulder, the massive muscles rippling on his arms, and put it on the floor. Then he drew his great broadsword and slashed it open. "Here we go," he said, handing out gifts. Even Kitten got one.
Santa gave Ishtar a squeeze. "I'll pass out the rest of these, then I'll show you what I've got for you," he said, managing to make it sound dirty.
"Don't wait to open them," Santa said as he and Ishtar turned away. "You might need them."
Chris and the others looked at their gaily wrapped gifts.
They were rather heavy.
Down in the basement, Grease had just finished putting himself out. He pulled off the last of his smoking, ruined clothes and assessed the situation. The fire had ruined his flashlight and walkie talkie and the trapdoor to the crawl space had fallen shut. Other than the small circle of light from the room above, he was in total darkness. He had second degree burns over most of his body, he had lost communication with his accomplices and he was naked.
"Huh, not too bad," he thought. "It's usually worse."
Then the trapdoor opened, framing the shadowed figure of a cat in its opening. Grease saw the light glint off fiery golden fur and emerald eyes, and winced as a tinkle of urine seeped onto his burned inner thighs. Warrior Cat had recovered from his encounter with Twitch more quickly than Grease expected.
The big tomcat glided to the stricken man. "Guess what," the cat hissed. "It's worse."
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