The thing worrying Maude was: did Deidre actually count?
If they went all the way to Paris, would she be turned away for not being real enough?
The Tigon nipped out of her glass case one night – very carefully, so she didn’t actually shatter anything and make a mess. She padded through the museum halls to consult with one of the oldest of the revenants in the whole collection. They called him Stan, and he was a T Rex towering two stories high. He was frozen forever in an attitude of ferocious attack (which he actually found rather taxing. All that constant attitude.) Visitors to the museum loved to take selfies with him, and so it was imperative he always looked his most ferocious.
Maude had paid him a number of visits and they enjoyed the camaraderie of high class carnivores. The instinctive rapport of those who had once shared the topmost point of their respective food chains.
‘Hallo, there!’ he roared down the airy gallery, spying Maude’s approach.
She greeted him fondly and wasted no time in explaining her quandary.
‘Oh, I see,’ mused Stan. ‘Well, I think you’re quite right to worry. I only ever attended a couple of those French shindigs and I never felt quite welcome. Not that they could complain, though. I mean, you can’t get more extinct than me, can you? But I’m not exactly what you might call stuffed. And the Parisians can by so snooty. There were raised eyebrows about my being fossilized and not being in actual possession of any of my original fleshly-parts, as it were… Well, I didn’t mind. I don’t bruise easily. But poor old Deirdre might be upset by them. I’d hate that to happen to the poor old duck. She’d be mortified…’
Maude nodded her shaggy head. ‘Perhaps it’s best if I stopped encouraging her? Maybe I should never have started her off on these mad thoughts about Christmas in Paris..?’
The next night Maude was woken at dusk by Deidre. ‘How are we going to get there anyway?’
‘Oh, well,’ said Maude, feeling shifty. ‘That’s to do with magic. You know that giant crab spider downstairs in the main hall?’
‘He can do magic. Any sort. He was always a dab hand. Back in the old days he did amazing things at Christmas. One year he turned us all invisible. We caught the train and then the ferry and another train. It was a hoot! And then another year he cast a spell so that we could fly all the way to Paris! That was the best. Can you picture it? Dozens of stuffed animals, streaming through the starry night…’
Deidre’s eyes were gleaming.
‘Another year he commandeered a Manchester tram and hypnotized the driver. We climbed aboard and then the whole thing took to the air and soared through a blizzard…!’
‘It all sounds wonderful,’ said Deidre.
Maude gulped. She was only making the Dodo worse. She was getting her hopes up.