A smouldering cauldron bubbled and spat in the corner of the room. Beside it, an old man in long robes clutched a long handled spoon. He stirred and stabbed at the gurgling pot. Outstretched on a nearby table lay a cat, ugly and grey, its skin crinkled and creased. It had china blue eyes that peered through small slits in its head, and strangely enough, had two opposable thumbs, allowing it access to a world unexperienced by regular cats. It haphazardly batted the remains of a mouse, occasionally picking it up for closer inspection.
Shelves over the table held various jars.
“Hand me that one,” said the old man. The cat reached up and took down a jar labelled ‘Humanity’, and handed it over. “You’re wasting your time on them, you know that,” said the cat, stretching itself into a perfect arch.
“Don’t be so dreary. Besides, its only once a year…” the man said, pouring a liberal sprinkling of humanity into the pot.
“How are we off for ‘Compassion’ this year, he added. The cat lifted a near empty jar from the shelf and inspected it closely.
“There’s a dram or two left. You want it?”
“Please,” added the old man – taking the jar from the cat’s outstretched paw.
“You better add some good will and cheer,” sneered the cat.
“Already in, thanks all the same,” the old man replied, detecting the note of sarcasm in his feline apprentice’s voice.
“S'pose you are the alchemist, not me. I just get to wash up. So, when are you pouring this puppy?” the cat asked.
“Nearly done. Should be set in about seven minutes. You want to help me?”
“Oh, I suppose so. You only want me for my thumbs,”
Together, they poured the mix into a large tablet shaped mould, and watched it set instantaneously. Flipping the giant pill from the mould, they rolled it outside. They stopped just short of a ledge, and curling their respective toes over the edge of their world, they peered down at Planet Earth.
“Ready?” the old man asked.
“Merry Christmas,” the old man cheered as he rolled the pill over the edge.
The tablet spun through space, and on impact, exploded into a cloud of white dust.
“Hmm, your aim’s improving. You think it will work this year?” the cat asked, genuinely concerned.
“Probably not… can’t knock a fellow for trying, though…”
“S’pose not. I’ll wash if you wipe?” the cat offered.