Thursday, June 7, 2012

"A Tale of a Mouse's Foot" in the Making

Last month, after I heard a mouse escaping from a trap we had set, I posted a Facebook comment about it.  Beginning below is the resulting story.  It is a rough draft, not finished yet. But for those who helped me write the story by commenting on my post, I present this as is.  Please let me know what you think.  How can I make it better?  If you who commented before do not see your piece of the story, it is coming next time.

A Tale of a Mouse’s Foot
How Big, How Strong does a mouse have to be to pull a mousetrap up and out of a drawer and drop into the space below before escaping on three feet? Well, let me tell you all about it.
          To get away from the wind a cold, Father and Mother Mouse decided to squeeze into a cozy area just under the Big House.  “This will be the perfect place to set up housekeeping,” exclaimed Mother as she waddled about.

          “I’ll begin making a cozy nest right away so you can rest,” replied Father as he scurried around looking for bits of this and that.

          “I hope there are no cats around,” worried Mother.  “It would be nice to not have to worry about being caught as we forage for food.”

          “When we run out of the seeds I brought with us, I’ll go scout around at night.  It will be safer under cover of darkness,” Father offered.

          A few days later Father ventured forth, climbing up into a drawer lined with soft cloths.  “Ahhh,” he said, marking his territory.  “These may come in handy.  I wish I would’ve known they were here when I was building the nest.  Oh well, future reference and all that.”

          Father climbed over the side of the drawer and into a cupboard full of cleaning supplies.  “Not much here,” he commented sourly.

          On he went into the adjoining cupboard where there were a few crumbs to be had.  “Enough for tonight,” he commented as he retraced his steps with a mouthful of crumbs.

          The next two nights foraging wasn’t much better.  “These Two-leggeds are way too clean,” he complained to Mother when he returned with a pittance of crumbs.  “You need more food after all you are eating for many.”

          That night Mother Mouse welcomed their new young into the cozy nest.  Father was very proud of the brood; but worried about food, he left on another foraging trip without any more success than earlier in the night.  He didn’t tell Mother he had smelled Cat.

          The next few days proved difficult indeed.  Father, left the cozy area under the Big House and went foraging elsewhere, but the wind always drove him back before he had found much food.  “Poor, Mother,” he worried.  “What, oh, what can I do to ease her hunger pangs.  She has all those mouths to feed.  Oh, dear, oh dear…”

          Finally Father decided to go through the drawer again, which proved to be a decidedly wrong decision.  As Father stepped into the drawer, he noted the soft cloths were gone but saw there in front of him the biggest piece of cheese he had ever seen.  “This is more like it!” he muttered going for the cheese which proved to be fake.  “OUCH!” he screamed and something hit his foot.

          It was a metal bar that had caught his foot and held it tight.  Excruciating pain shot up through his leg.  Using his front feet and his one good back foot, Father crawled to the edge of the drawer.  He was being too noisy, he knew.  The strong smell of Cat just on the other side of the drawer drove him onward.  Up over the edge banging the trap as he climbed.  Something banged on the drawer and Father smelled a Two-legged.  He panicked and in that moment went hurtling over the side of the drawer into the space below.  As he landed the metal bar released the tiniest bit and Father escaped leaving behind his toes and a pool of blood.

          As Mother nursed his poor damaged foot, he wondered aloud, “Do you think I could write a story and become famous like the one we saw in that book we used a while back to make a nest in the other building?”

          “What book?” Mother looked up from washing his mangled foot.

          “Ouch.  Umm, please could you be a little gentler?”

          “We have to get it clean!” scolded Mother.  “Think about that book to take your mind off the pain.”

          “Oh right.  I think it was called something like Between a Rock and Hard Place or something like that.”

          “Oh that one,” stated Mother.  “It did make a good nest.  It was big enough to just snuggle right down inside once you chewed out a good place.  Did you actually read some of it?”

          “Yes,” admitted Father.  “That Two-legged who wrote it, Aron Ralston, he cut off his arm to save himself.  It was a cliff hanger.  I wonder if I could tell the story of my narrow escape and have a movie made about me?  Other mice have starred in films!”

          “Don’t be silly.  We have more important things to do like feeding our children!  With you in no condition to go look for food, I’ll go see if my brother can help us out.  You mind the children!”  And with that Mother slide through the opening into the blustery night.

          When she returned she had good news!  “My brother says he found a wonderful source of food in the other building, he’ll bring us some tomorrow night.  Brrr, it’s cold out there!” she snuggled up against Father as warmth seeped back into her delicate bones.

          Brother Mouse brought some food the next night and suggested, “Go looking for some little sticks you can use to fix up his foot.  Most Two-leggeds have some lying around.”

          “Good idea!” pronounced Father.  “Why don’t you two go see if you can find some while I watch the youngsters?  Just don’t try to get any of the monster cheese!”

          So off went Mother and Brother in search of sticks the Two-leggeds call toothpicks.

          A few days later, Brother didn’t show up with food.  “Oh no,” sighed Mother.  “I wonder what happened to him.  We must listen to see if we can learn anything from the Two-leggeds.”

          All day the mice listened carefully every time they heard the Two-leggeds conversing.  Laughing, one of the Two-leggeds said, “Another piece of the Mystery of the Mice.  But this one had all its toes.  I think it might have been stealing the birds’ food to help the injured mouse.”

          “Do mice have Mousey Hospitals?” asked another voice.  “Maybe the injured one is there learning to use his artificial limb made from toothpicks!  Ha, ha, ha!  Let’s check and see if any toothpicks missing?”

          “How do they figure these things out,” asked Father.

          “I don’t know,” sighed Mother.  “But it sounds as if Brother won’t be bringing us anymore of those seeds.  Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to make our home here.”

          Above their heads, the Cats, Comet and Shadow were planning a party to which they texted a message to their friend Quandary who lived far away: “Dinner Party – Informal Dress – Menu: Mouse Pate” Quandary texted back: “Mouse Pate? Drool… I’ll be there even if I have to drag L along!”

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