Keep It Under Your Hat
Written by: Kevin (KS) Sharbaugh

All the critters of the city's park were showing up for the Christmas Eve party being thrown by Mrs Squirrel.  As she entertained her guests, Bink went about snarfing up hors-d'oeuvres while Tammy did her level best to put up with the attentions of older relatives, hoping desperately that Chip would arrive soon.

All the Rangers had been invited.  Never ones to miss a party, Dale and Monty arrived early.  After having assaulted the cheese snacks, Monty was advised by Mrs Squirrel to remove his cap.  Not wanting to offend the hostess, he obliged and used the act as a pretext to delve into a long and colorful story for anyone who cared to listen about how that same cap had saved his life once in Bora-Bora.  In due time, Chip arrived.

"Where's Gadget?" Dale asked, "and Zipper?"

"Gadget was putting some finishing touches on her ‘decorato-matic' when it suddenly decorated her," Chip proceeded to recount, "A Gadget sized ball of tinsel hopped out of the workshop and asked me to leave without her to let everyone know she might be a little late, Zipper stayed behind to help un-decorate her."

Chip continued further into the residence, making sure to locate the mistletoe.  He wanted to keep a safe distance between it and himself lest he be suddenly ambushed by an amorous teenage squirrel.  Chip was on his way to find the eggnog when someone addressed him.

"It's so nice to see you could make it tonight, Chip," Mrs Squirrel greeted the chipmunk, "You can keep your hat in my bedroom until you leave."

"Uh, no," Chip replied awkwardly, "I think I'll keep it on for a while."

"Chip Maplewood!," the hostess chided, "I would think you of all people would have better manners than to wear a hat indoors for such an occasion.  What would your mother think?"

"Well, um, you see, uh," Chip stammered, searching his mind desperately for an excuse, "My hat- It was so cold on the way over that, um, the hat band contracted, so it's, kinda, well, stuck."   Seeing Mrs Squirrel cross her arms and peer down at him skeptically, he inquired, "No?"  The hostess calmly shook her head... she hadn't bought it for a second.  "It has to do with my ears," Chip began with a new story, "You know how it looks like they separate when the hat is on?"

"If my cousin Mortimer can tolerate removing his derby and reveal that bald spot he has to the whole world," Mrs Squirrel countered, interrupting him, "You should be able to part with your fedora."

"It's just until Gadget gets here," Chip nearly confessed, "It won't be that long.  Zipper already had her half untangled by the time I left."

"The hat comes off," Mrs Squirrel stated firmly as she clutched Chip's precious chapeau.  As the hat came off Chip's mistletoe dealy-bopper sprung forth.  The hostess stared in surprise as the sprig of plastic mistletoe danced gayly above the chipmunk's head.

The party-goers were all startled by the ecstatic squeal of an amorous teenage squirrel who flew across the crowded dwelling and plastered herself against the now hatless Chip.  Had he not planted his feet in anticipation of Tammy's assault he would have toppled over.

"Tammy!" the girl's mother scolded vainly.

"Thanks a lot," Chip tried to mumble from under Tammy's frantic kisses.

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