It was agreed that Peter would have a good talk with his parents that evening and report back to Max. The latter was working on a secret plan to throw a Christmas coming-out party for Peter in one of the trees in the main square and was busy compiling an invitation list. As the majority of the guests would be cats and birds, it could prove a logistical nightmare if insufficient food could not be laid on. However, he’d noticed quite a build-up of meat in the fridge, purchased in anticipation Christmas celebrations, and reasoned that, with luck, it could prove a sufficient distraction. He could get Jools to pile it on the trugboard and ship it down to the square.
Whistler, Ziggy and Missy were dispatched with invitations while Max waited anxiously to hear from Peter. He imagined that coming out was a very difficult thing to do, requiring much courage because you didn’t really know what the reaction would be. Shortly after dinner, Peter re-appeared on the roof, breathless with excitement.
“It’s alright, it’s alright,” he gasped. “They don’t mind. My mum’s known for ages, she said, and dad says as long as I’m happy, he is. I can’t believe it. So many of my friends have been thrown out of their homes and rejected by their families. I’m really lucky. Thank you, Max, for giving me the support I needed to tell them”.
“It’s a pleasure,” said Max. “Now you can invite them to a Christmas party, especially for you, your family and friends and all our friends. The guests will be an interesting and possibly tricky mix, but I think I’ve found the solution.”
“I love parties,” said Peter. “We’ll have loads of fun. I’ll start working on the decorations tomorrow.” He flew off in a purposeful manner, looping the loop as he went. Trails of tinsel drifted behind him in a joyous and colourful way. It felt good to be alive.
Sooner than you could think, it was the Christmas party night. The square was already alive with lights and decorations, but there was one tree that was particularly vivid. It had a plastic pink flamingo perched somewhat precariously on top and was adorned with extra fairy lights, masses of tinsel, and the music was pumping out of it so loudly that the leaves were vibrating in time to the beat. Jools was DJ for the night, had managed to open the fridge so that there was plenty of beef, duck, ham, sausages and quail for all the carnivores. Charlie was on guard in case of feline nature taking over. The Hotel cats had turned up, as had the Banana Bunch, and Vincent and Edwina clattered down at about midnight. Edwina had brought a pair of trousers to keep her spirits up, which fortunately no one else was interested in, otherwise, things could have taken a violent turn. Vincent gave rides to the cats and sparrows (not at the same time). It was a fantastic night. Arthur and his wife kept an eye on things from the head of the pink flamingo, and Peter kept on dancing.
By four o’clock in the morning, most of the guests were so full of food that they were falling asleep. They wished each other a Merry Christmas and staggered home to sleep it off. All agreed it had been the best party ever and resolved to do it again soon.
There were questions to ask when The Gozo Cat Detectives got home to the empty fridge, but, as usual, they pretended not to understand anything and retreated under several duvets for a well-deserved Christmas sleep.