Jessie looked at the sign posted in front of the Claus park. It said welcome to the Monday Madness Masquerade Ball. She wagged her tail under her polar bear costume and licked Molly’s hand. Molly had spent all weekend sewing the costume after Santa had declared that the Pole needed a holiday. She had pinned and tucked and resewed until the costume was comfortable enough for Jessie to wear indoors. Jessie thought she looked rather smart in her costume and was excited to go to the ball.
Santa was dressed as a pirate. He wore a patch over his right eye and somehow he had managed to attach a peg leg to his left leg.
Molly wore a princess gown made with emerald tulle, sequins and satin. Her ruby hair was shaped in a braid and twisted around her head. Jessie thought she was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.
As the trio entered the town hall it was packed with people in all sorts of costumes and the Elves stared at Santa in anticipation. Santa chuckled and yelled, “Ho, ho, ho me friends May the Madness of Monday bring a little joy to everyone’s heart. There’s food and dancing for all.” Santa gestured for the band to start playing.
There was a great cheer from the Elves and a rambunctious tune began to play from the speakers. “Molly, may I have this jig?” teased Santa as he led his wife to the dance floor. He turned back to look at the dog. “Jessie, have fun but try to stay out of trouble.”
Santa led Molly to the dance floor and soon the pair were hopping back and forth to the delight of the children in the room. Within minutes a circle of children surrounded Santa and he took turns running at the littlest and yelling “ARGH” as they ran to the edges of the room giggling.
Jessie thumped her tail and watched curiously. It looked like they were having fu,n but she didn’t like dancing, and Santa had once told her she was to big to jump on the children. She’d have to find something else to do with her time.
Jessie raised her nose and sniffed. Roast beef and biscuits! Somewhere in the room she could smell the glorious scent of supper. Jessie slipped through the crowd passing a toppling lobster, a teddy bear, two arguing angels and Cleopatra. She slunk up to the banquet table and took a look.
Jessie’s mouth watered at the mounds of food on the table. She sat at the end hoping that someone would drop her a bite of food.
The dog stayed at the table for fifteen minutes without getting a morsel of food. The Elves were busy talking to each other and didn’t notice the white polar bear against the shiny white floors. Disgusted, Jessie sat up and barked as she saw Karen Molly’s friend come down the line.
Karen stopped and looked down. “Is that you, Jessie. You look very fierce in that polar bear suit. I’ll tell you what. If you bark like a bear I’ll get you a plate.”
Jessie thumped her tail against the ground and moved her head side to side curiously. How was she supposed to bark like a bear. She didn’t even know what a bear sounded like. She barked as loud as she could hoping it would be good enough and looked at Karen expectantly.
“You can do better than that, Jessie. Bark lower and with a rumble in your throat.”
Jessie sighed and then tried to do as she asked. She barked more deeply and barked longer. The effect was that she sounded like a hound dog howling at the moon.
Karen laughed and felt an arm go around hers. “I see you’ve been teasing Jessie. From that sound you would think I never feed her.” Molly’s eyes twinkled and her cheeks were rosy. “Here, girl. I’ll get you a plate of food.”
Molly turned to the table and filled a plate with roast beef and ham and led the dog over to the corner of the room where she wouldn’t be stepped on. She put the plate down and patted Jessie’s head as the dog gobbled down the food. “I’ll never get used to the fact that you are always hungry, girl. I guess it comes from living on the streets. But you do know that you don’t have to worry about being hungry again, right?” Molly looked directly into the dogs eyes hoping for an answer.
Jessie raised her paw and shook Molly’s hand. Molly grinned. “I’ll take that as a yes. Now, I’m going to teach you to dance. Come join our circle.”
Molly led Jessie to the dance floor and moved the dog from side to side. Jessie moved to the sound of the music. The dog wasn’t sure if she enjoyed hopping back and forth, but Molly and Santa were having fun and that’s all that mattered to her. Santa and Molly were so kind that if she had to hop on one foot to entertain them she would. They were her people and this was their dance. A pirate a princess and a polar bear dancing the night away at the north pole. She couldn’t think of anything better.