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Christmas Spirit

A Mrs. Flanagan, Barry, and Oisín Mini-Flash Fiction Story



“Yeah, mum?”


“What is this?”


Oisín looked to the place that his mother was pointing and said mildly, as if he had not a care in the world, “it’s a dog.”


“I can see that, Oisín. What is it doing in my clean kitchen!?!”


“Barry and I found it over by that field next to Mr. O’Neil’s junk shop.”


“You cannot keep that animal in my house, Oisín!”


“Ah, mum! Barry and I don’t think it belongs to anyone! And Barry has a yard and anyway he’s going to keep it, not me. But Barry doesn’t have a bath tub and we do. Please, mum!”


Anne eyed the dog warily, as it sniffed around her feet, and finally came to rest in a filthy heap on the floor.  She saw fleas crawling in its fur; “dog dirt,” she thought to herself, and shivered.  


“Oisín, get this dog out of my house right this minute and do not bring it back.  If Barry’s mother wants a filthy, hairy, flea ridden animal that is her business, but I will not have it in my home. And that is final!”


“But mum, what about Christmas spirit? You always said we should be kind to others and now you’re going to throw out a dog that doesn’t even have a home? Look at it! He knows you’re talking about him and you don’t care! Look at those eyes of his, mum! Please!”


Anne looked.  And this dog put on its best show for her, cocking its head in a cute, inquisitive way and looking up at her with limpid, pleading eyes.  Anne felt herself waver.


Barry rounded the corner at that very moment, talking to her, “uh, Mrs. F, could I, uh, use your bathtub?”


Anne turned to him and they looked at each other.  Anne saw the same pleading need in Barry’s eyes that she had seen in the dog’s.  She was a goner then, and knew it. 


“I want that tub cleaned from top to bottom, do you hear me?” she said, eyeing the boys sternly. 


“Ah, thanks mum!” cried Oisín, excitedly.


“Yeah, thanks Mrs. F,” said Barry, beaming. 


Anne watched as the boys scooped up the dog.  Her heart was full.  The kitchen floor was a mess, but she had taught them both to be kind to every living thing; secretly that was all that mattered to her.




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