This is one of those that was meant to be simple… simple BG, 3 characters flat color… Let’s just say it got away from me in more ways than one! I can hardly help it when drawing (and now writing) about this sweet little family. Thank you Tugs for commissioning me again.
A commission for tugscarebear. Story also by me!
As Christmas Day drew near, presents began to show up under the tree at the Smith household –but only from Mom and Dad, aunts, uncles and friends. Santa, of course, came only on Christmas Eve. But for nearly that entire year, Kyle had been begging his parents for a red and blue rocket kit with white stars and a yellow lightning bolt on the sides, one that he and Dad could build and then set off together in the yard. He’d tried so hard to be good, and sometimes, he even managed it!
But alas –once a present of the just right size and shape showed up under the tree, wrapped in his favorite colors and with a tag that said: “To Kyle, With Love from Mom and Dad”, being good became a lot harder for the little wolf. He couldn’t bear waiting until Christmas morning to see if that promising package was indeed his dream rocket. Surely he could open the box when no one was looking, carefully tie it closed again, and then feign surprise at whatever it was on Christmas morning. Right? At least he would know (and if it wasn’t the rocket, he could hide his disappointment from his parents.)
The next Sunday afternoon, Kyle waited patiently until Cheryl left to go grocery shopping and Mike was busy in the garage with a noisy project before setting to his task. He went to the kitchen and opened the dishwasher without making any noise. Then he grabbed one of the sharper knives that were still inside, left over from the load of dinner dishes done the night before. This of course was another big no-no, but he was a pretty big boy now, and he knew how to be careful with it –besides, the scissors were out of his reach. Having returned to the tree, ever so carefully he cut the tape on the sides of the box, so perfectly that you could barely tell they had been cut. He undid the pretty bow. Ever so carefully he lifted only one edge of the top of the box to peek inside. All he wanted was to know… and so it was! Kyle had to contain a delighted gasp. His dream rocket was inside the package!
“Oooo, you gonna get in trouble,” said a little voice behind him. It was brimming with amusement and that certain dose of malicious excitement that precedes a toddler’s tattling.
Kyle jumped in alarm and turned around to see his delighted little brother, Caiden, peeking at him from behind the living room entryway. How long had he been there? Suddenly Caiden’s eyes fell on the knife in Kyle’s hand, and his face changed to one of surprise. “Ooooh,” he said again, this time with some awe.
“You’d better not squeal on me,” said Kyle in a furious whisper. He thought of the wonderful surprise his parents had prepared, now ruined by his naughtiness once Caiden tattled, and of the severe punishment he would get as a result of grabbing a knife without permission. At the very least, the rocket would be returned to the store, and most likely he would get a spanking, so close to Christmas! Did Santa even come to little boys who earned a spanking just days before Christmas? A lump hardened his throat, and he felt like crying. He must have looked like it, too. “Please, Caiden,” he pleaded. “I’ll let you play with the rocket too, on Christmas Day. I promise.”
“I won’t tell,” said the little cub, understanding the seriousness of the request. Besides, it never hurt to have big brother owe him a favor. Kyle put the top carefully back and tied the ribbon back into a bow, he thought, almost as perfectly as Mom had done. Then he put the knife back in the dishwasher, after making sure to tell Caiden that it had been naughty of him to grab it and he should never do the same, or Santa wouldn’t come. Caiden nodded solemnly: he wouldn’t.
Christmas morning came after two more weeks of Kyle wondering if Caiden would tell on him, if he looked guilty, if he’d put the knife back right side up. He was all nerves and had not asked about his rocket at all anymore. But now Christmas was here! Nothing else mattered. Kyle and Caiden ran downstairs to open their presents, followed by Cheryl and Mike. The cubs were quite unaware of the playful glances their parents were exchanging.
Kyle ran over to his package immediately and undid the bow, so excited that he knew he needn’t worry about feigning surprise. He marveled at how nicely he had tied it –it really looked just like Mom’s handiwork. As it turned out, it was! Imagine his dismay when inside the package, instead of his beautiful rocket, he found the paddle that usually hung on the wall as a warning to behave! Kyle looked back at Mom and Dad and knew from their faces that he wasn’t getting a spanking on Christmas morning, but he blushed deep red with embarrassment at being caught, and felt quite silly knowing that his parents had probably known all along that he had been naughty and taken a peek at his special surprise.
“It was a pretty slick job, son,” said Mike with a wink as he brought out the rocket from behind the couch, “We probably wouldn’t have found out were it not for your little brother here, who told us that you were being so extra good, because you said you would share your new toy with him.”
Kyle couldn’t help but laugh at Caiden’s misguided but well-meaning attempt to help him. And everyone laughed along as the paddle was put away. It made for a funny story that the brothers would share over and over at Christmas many years down the road.