Catalog Christmas

"Ready to open the presents, Big Guy?" Blair asked his lover. It was Christmas morning, and the breakfast dishes had been washed and put away. Now they could open the packages under the tree.

"Sure, Chief. Here's one for you." Jim handed his lover a large, heavy box wrapped in gold paper.

"Thanks, Jim." Blair smiled at his partner and pulled the paper away from the box. He removed the lid and, reaching into the nest of tissue paper, pulled out a mug with a wolf on it. There were four of them nestled in the box. "Wow. These are great, man. When did you have time to buy these? You never went to the stores."

"I decided to shop smarter this year, not harder. I got everything out of catalogs," Jim revealed.

Blair nodded. "I wondered what was in those packages you'd been getting lately." Holding up one of the mugs, he looked at the picture of a howling wolf and asked, "Where'd you find these? They're great."

"In 'National Wildlife'. They were sold as a set, and I figured you could keep one here, one at the station, and two down at your office."

Blair started. "That's…amazing. I got you something from there, too."

Jim blinked, surprised. "You did?"

"Uh-huh." Blair reached for two packages, one small, one larger, both wrapped in read and gold striped paper. He handed them to his lover, saying, "Here. Open the big one first, the other one won't make sense without it."

Tearing the wrapping off of the larger box, Jim pulled out a folded plastic sheet. He shot his partner a bewildered look. "What's this?"

"It's a shower curtain. I know you never found time to replace the old one; we've been using the liner. It's got a beach scene on it and I thought you'd like that." Gesturing at the smaller package, he said, "Open the other one."

Jim smiled at his Guide and pulled the paper off the box, finding a dozen shower curtain hooks. They were shaped like seashells, two of each type.

A thoughtful look came over Jim's face. "You know, I think I remember seeing these in the catalog – they were on the page opposite the mugs."

Blair looked surprised. "You know, I think you're right."

"Oh!" Jim quickly grabbed a large, flat box wrapped in shiny green foil. "I got you something else from there."

"Oh, Jim, you didn't have to get me anything else."

Looking pointedly at a large envelope under the tree, with his name on it, Jim said, "Like you didn't get me a second gift."

Blair looked abashed. "I guess you're right, Big Guy." Pulling the paper off of his gift, he asked, "This is also from the catalog?"

"Uh-huh. I got those fly-fishing tree ornaments for Simon from there, too. And the camping ones for our tree."

Removing the lid, Blair pulled out a large pile of folded gray fleece. He spread it out on his lap. "What is it?"

Jim cleared his throat. "A, uh, 'Wolf Cuddle-Wrap'," he said, flushing slightly. "It zips and snaps around you, sort of like a robe. I thought it would help keep you warm if the heat goes out again this year." Growing thoughtful, he continued, "The funny thing is, I almost got the Wolf shower curtain and matching pawprint hooks."

Blair grinned. "I'm glad you didn't, Big Guy. We don't need two shower curtains." He punched his lover on the arm. "Now, quit stalling. Open your present." He pushed the envelope towards Jim.

Sliding his penknife under the flap of the envelope, Jim broke the seal and opened it, pulling out the contents. "A $30 gift certificate to Wonderburger? Chief, this is great." He pulled his partner into a hug and kissed him.

"You're welcome, Big Guy."

Jim grinned as he looked at his certificate for 'grease burgers' as Blair liked to call them. Laughing, he said, "Now this is true love."


THE END