Blues stared at his left hand, or rather, what was in it. Lying in his palm was a small plastic object that looked rather like a backwards number nine. From the small object a thin strip of plastic trailed to his right hand, where it began to loop around his fingers. Blues resisted the urge to shake his hand in attempt to get the sticky stuff off. He knew from experience that that would only make it worse.

Sighing as he looked at various objects scattered in front of him on the floor, Blues decided that once again he was forced to admit defeat.


"Good morning, Mrs. Barbara."

"Oh, Travis! Come in! And just call me Barb. Back again this year?" The elderly lady in front of him smiled, a knowing look on her face.

"Yup, tape got me again. Think you can help?"

"Of course, go ahead and put your packages and paper on the table." Barb clicked her tongue, hugging 'Travis' as soon as he put his armload down. "You're getting so big!"

Blues rolled his eyes, but smiled. She said that every year. "Thanks for the trick with the gloves, it helped."

"No tape on your hands this time?"

"Not this year. I see someone already shoveled your walk though, so you'll have to give me some other chores to pay you back this time."

"You can still do the walk in the back to the dumpster, and I'm sure I can find something else. Funniest thing though, I never found out who did it. My neighbor, Mary, and Sue across the street also found their walks shoveled. Some little angels in the Christmas spirit, I guess."

Blues hid a smirk by turning to pick up the snow shovel by the door, and stepped outside to complete the task. He'd been the one to do it, a kind way to force Barb to give him something extra to do in payment this year.

Last winter she'd quit the gift wrapping booth, but left a message with the other ladies at the station to send her 'favorite customer' her way. Then she hadn't let him pay. Blues had insisted on at least doing something to help, so she'd finally let him clear the snow from the pavement around her place. She then insisted she had nothing else that needed doing, just keep 'an old lady some company' and started chattering away about her old friends in the neighborhood.

"All done." Blues announced as he stepped back inside, tapping his feet and the shovel clear of any lingering snow.

"I'm in here, Travis." Barb called from a little storage room. "Could you carry this tub for me?"

Blues looked in and spotted the indicated tub marked 'Christmas wrappings' in large letters. Picking it up, he carried it to the table where he'd set his own supplies. "On the floor or on the table?" He asked as Barb followed him out.

"Floor's fine." Barb sat down and opened the lid revealing a varietly of shiny bows and bright ribbons in a myriad of colors. "What are you going to do with your presents without me?" Barb teased.

"Gift bags."


"Oh, Blues! These are gorgeous!" Roll gushed as she placed the presents under the tree. "I'm almost going to hate opening them, how do you get these so pretty?"

"Sorry." Blues smirked. "Trade secret."


For my Mom, who taught me how to gift wrap, my Grandmother, who taught her, and my older sister, who did an outstanding job wrapping gifts last Christmas.

(I don't own Blues or Roll.)