2020_07_29

The Day the Mice Figured it Out

There once was a cat named Mr. Whiskers  (his real name was Charlie). One of Mr. Whiskers’ favorite pastimes was catching mice. And so it should come as no surprise that one afternoon Mr. Whiskers spotted a mouse and bolted after it. To his pleasure he was able to catch the mouse and he immediately began toying with it: Letting it go, catching it, turning it over with his paw, letting it go again, catching it once again. But then the mouse suddenly realized something. He had had just about enough. He turned towards Mr. Whiskers and said

"Hey. Stop that."

Mr. Whiskers was a bit taken aback.

"Why?" he asked.

"Because," said the mouse, "if you don’t then I’ll put a curse on you."

This stopped Mr. Whiskers in his tracks. He had to pause and think about this. All this time he’d been playing with mice, torturing them, even killing them, just for the fun of it. For years. And why? Just because he was bored, that’s why. And he had never, not even once during all that time, considered that a mouse might be able to throw a curse on him! In that instant Mr. Whiskers made a decision, and without another second’s delay he turned and bounded off, leaving the mouse in peace. It turns out cats are deathly afraid of curses. Who knew? When the mouse got back to his den he told the other mice about it. They all crowded around him cheering and hoisted him on their shoulders. He had figured it out. He had finally set them free. They paraded him down through their tunnels,  laughing and cheering.

"Wow," said one of the older mice, a bit too old for cheering and parading and all that. "We should have thought of that years ago!"

Now you might be thinking, ahh, what a nice happy ending! Happy for the mice anyways; they would no longer be persecuted by their enemy the cat. And as for Mr. Whiskers, he was deprived of one form of amusement, but that’s not so bad, really.  In fact maybe he’d turn out a bit better himself for giving up all this senseless cruelty. All in all a happy ending. Well, I’ve got some sad news for you. You see, the story doesn’t end there. Oh no. Once the mice realized their freedom they began roaming the house with impunity. At first it was only at night. But soon, so overflowing with joy were they, they became more and more brazen, running all throughout the house, over every surface and at all hours of the day or night.

Things came to a head one afternoon when the family of the house were sitting down for a bit of lunch. The mother was just about to lift a bite of sandwich to her mouth then what should scamper up the table leg, across the table, and over the very sandwich she had just begun to pick up! A mouse of course. Perhaps the very mouse that had started the whole thing by threatening to curse Mr. Whiskers. The poor lady shrieked and stood up, knocking her chair over. Well you just can’t have that. Mice running across the table at lunch time? Running their filthy little legs over the lady of the house’s sandwich? Unacceptable. Later that day the exterminators arrived. They put poison down into all the cracks, crannies and crevices they could find. Delicious poison, of the type that mice find irresistible. All of the mice ate the poison, without a second thought. And not a single one survived. The whole tribe was wiped out. As for poor Mr. Whiskers, well it turns out his family wasn’t of the most sentimental variety where pets were concerned. If he wasn’t gonna pull his weight, keep the mice at bay, then what was the use of keeping him around? They ended up taking him to the pound. Not quite the happy ending you were expecting, now was it? Quite a downer if we’re being honest.

But wait. The story is not over yet. Oh no. You see, Mr. Whiskers was lucky. A family came in to the pound the very next day. They brought their little girl so she could pick out a kitty. She looked at all the little kitties, all the older cats in their pens. And for some reason, when she looked at Mr. Whiskers, she knew he was the one. Her parents tried to talk her out of it. They wanted a young healthy kitten that would live for years and years. They didn’t want to have to grieve with their kid over the death of a pet too soon. But no, she wouldn’t change her mind. The family returned home with Mr. Whiskers and he had a happy new home with a young girl that would keep him entertained for hours. Bet you didn’t expect that, did you? Really not too bad of an ending, as long as you’re not the type to get too sentimental about a bunch of filthy mice.