The Christmas carolers stood outside the apartment building, their sweet harmonies carrying through the frigid air and rattling the sides of Oscar’s trash can. Let them call him Scrooge if they wanted, but he had rights too! He hated all the holiday hubbub and couldn’t stand the noise one more minute.
“ENOUGH ALREADY!” the Grouch shouted, shooting out of his can. “Go spread all that sickening Christmas cheer someplace else. I’m trying to sleep here. If I’m lucky, I won’t wake up till after the new year.”
The singing screeched to a halt. Oscar almost smiled. “That’s better,” he said.
He started to crawl back into his can, when a tall, furry, green fellow, wearing a red hat pulled the lid up again.
“Excuse me, dear fellow,
but I think you should know,
it’s our job to sing carols,
we can’t possibly go.”
“SCRAM!” Oscar tugged on the lid but the giant green fur ball wouldn’t let go.
“Oscar the Grouch,
we’re related – it’s true!
It’s not just green fur,
once I thought like you too,
until one Christmas when its meaning came clear
and now I love celebrating year after year.”
“I know you,” said the Grouch with a sneer. “You’re that turn-coat, Grinch! You used to be my hero! Then you went all gooey and sentimental–you even hugged that little Cindy-Lou Who! YUCK!”
The Grinch grinned, removed his hat, and bowed deeply.
“At your service, my trash-scented friend.
If you give me a chance, we might start a new trend,
for grouches, like grinches, aren’t really all bad;
we’ve just got a reputation for acting real mad.”
“Listen, you big lug, it’s NOT AN ACT! GO AWAY!”
“I will go away,
when I’ve done what I came for;
I’ve brought you a present,
from the heart, not a chain store.”
Then the Grinch dug deep in the hat he still held and pulled out a dirty blanket. The edges were jagged, like someone had been chewing on them, and there were several moth-holes in it too. He held it out for Oscar to see.
“This is a gift from your Granny Grouch.
It’s a coverlet she made for your couch,
monogrammed with black magic marker–
she tried but couldn’t find anything darker.
She said to tell you, Christmas is good–
so try to enjoy it, she thinks that you should.”
Oscar grabbed the blanket and held it up for inspection. Then blew his nose into it. Green goop was smeared from one end to the other.
“Ahhh,” said Oscar. “That was fun.”
The Grinch said nothing, just stood there grinning.
“Oh, all right! Sing if you want to!” Oscar shouted, then he wrapped Granny Grouch’s gift around his head to block out the noise, and retreated into his trash can, slamming the lid behind him.
“Merry Christmas, Oscar!” the Grinch said, and then banged on the can.
©2008, revised 2015–all rights reserved