I was lying on the chesterfield in the family room, pondering some of life's great unanswered questions, with the television droning on in the background.
Right at the top of my questionable list was why I called the piece of furniture upon which I was lying a chesterfield and not a couch or a sofa. Who exactly was Chester and what did he grow in his fields? If smart, he grew nip but truth be told, chesterfields aren't known for their intelligence. I had no evidence at paw of this Chester fellow havin' grown nip in his fields, at all. MOUSES!
Lyin' alongside me on said chesterfield was a piece of cheese. I had spotted it earlier, while waitin' in the kitchen for Peep #1 to give me my meds, and snatched it before she knew it was missin'. Havin' hidden it safely away from any other cats, I now had my opportunity for an evenin' snack, in peace. I gave it a sniff. Cheddar. Yum. Mmm...
Down the hatch went the cheese and I curled up on the chesterfield and yawned the mightiest of yawns. The television continued to drone on in the background.
I awoke with a start at the sound of a squeaky voice sayin', "Psst... Cat! Are you awake, Mr. Cat?" Opening one eye, I spotted the intruder sitting next to me on the chesterfield. He appeared to be the mouse I had previously met known as M1, although truth be told, the mice of Mouseland all look alike to me.
"There's more cheese in the kitchen," I said to the mouse before rolling over in an attempt to go back to sleep.
"I'm not looking for cheese, Mr. Cat. I'm looking for you. Your assistance is once again required."
"Awww... MOUSES!" I cried before slowing standing up on my paws. "If it isn't one thing, it's another..." I muttered as I followed M1 through the family room and into the kitchen that had mysteriously morphed into the Great Red Hall into which we had both travelled before.
There were rows upon rows of seats and in each seat sat a mouse, one looking just like the next. In futility, I shook my head to clear it. Didn't work. Dozens of mice still sat there, staring at me with mousy grins. MOUSES!
Pursing my lips I asked little M1, "So what has the Big Cheese done this time?"
As if in answer to my question, I heard an approaching commotion. Peering through the rows of mice and over to the back wall, I saw the Big Cheese, himself, being coaxed out of a cupboard where he had apparently been hiding. "I'm coming!" the Big Cheese cried with indignation before snatching a piece of Gorgonzola from another mouse's paw.
I narrowed my eyes and looked coldly at the Big Cheese. He faltered for just a moment before collecting himself. "Don't look at me like that, Cat," he spat. "Believe it or not, I was the one who called for your help."
My whiskers twitched suspiciously. The Big Cheese asking for my help? Somethin' smelled fishy, for sure.
"Don't look so surprised, Cat," said the Big Cheese. "Even I can see where your expertise in these matters might be warranted."
At that very moment the oddest thing happened. A black limousine appeared right before my eyes, driving straight through the red hall at the greatest of speeds. It screeched to a halt before the Big Cheese and me and out hopped several staffers carrying trays of crystal goblets filled with orange juice, I do believe. One placed a goblet in my paw and I noticed that hanging from its stem was a tiny little tag. Turning it over I saw a price of sixteen dollars. "Sixteen dollars for a glass of..." I stopped myself short. Sixteen dollars seemed like an awful lot for a glass of orange juice but then, I had no idea what the going rate of orange juice in Mouseland was. Might actually be reasonable. I didn't want to say anything more until I had all the facts.
Mesmerised, I watched the mice from the limo, walking down each of the rows, passing out glass after glass of orange juice to the mice of the great red hall. My fascination was interrupted by the sound of the Big Cheese's voice. Apparently he had been talking to me the entire time. MOUSES!
"And I want you to investigate HER." The Big Cheese pointed to a little female mouse in the back row.
I padded toward the little mouse who was trembling with fear. Her whiskers were quivering and her paw shook uncontrollably as she held out some receipts. "These are all I have," she sobbed. "I didn't keep every one. I was told I didn't have to. Or was I not told that I did?"
But before I could reach said little mouse, my paws hit a wet patch and slid in opposite directions. I found myself lying in a pool of sixteen-dollars-a-glass orange juice. "Awww... MOUSES!"
Several mice from the back row cried in unison, "Mice. The plural of mouse, is mice, Mr. Cat."
Those darned grammar mice police.
I picked myself up and continued toward the back row but felt something soggy sticking to my now wet paws. I lifted one only to find it covered in bits of broken cracker. Looking around, I saw that there were broken crackers scattered all over the floor. How had I not noticed them before?
There were broken crackers here and broken broken crackers there. There were broken crackers just about everywhere. And buckets of ice containing Camembert. MOUSES!
Why was the Camembert on ice? Why where the crackers broken? And why-oh-why did no one else seem to care?
I could feel the Big Cheese pushing me forward towards the little mouse with the paw full of receipts. I could feel his steely fingers prodding my spine.
Realising he wanted me to overlook the broken crackers and ice cold Camembert and knowing that I couldn't, I spun on my tail and pointed right back.
Before I could question the Big Cheese any further, the second strange sight of the evening occurred. A pizza delivery car came hurtling through the red hall, driving right through the pool of orange juice and splashing mice in the front row. "Free pizza!" cried the driver before doling out slices of pie.
"Do you have any with Parmesan and nip?" I asked, finding the aroma quite enticing.
"No nip pizza," he answered, "but all of our pies are partisan."
"No, Parmesan," I clarified.
"Yes, partisan," he replied.
"Never mind," I said, once more shaking my head. "Thought we were talking 'bout cheeses and pies. Sorry 'bout that. MOUSES!"
And once more I heard the cries of those mice sittin' on benches way at the back. "Mice!" They cried in unison. "The plural of mouse is mice, Mr. Cat!"
I rolled my eyes, gettin' ready to give those grammar mice police a piece of my mind but decided instead to sit back on my haunches and enjoy a free piece of pie. "Partisan pizza is actually quite tasty," I murmured, "but would be better with nip as everything would."
Then just as I was about to grab a second slice of pie, the lights in the family room turned on and Peep #1 stood before me. "Time for bed," she informed me before scooping me up. I looked around for the pizza man but alas, he was gone.
Please remember that throughout the month of April, a portion of all sales of the book Rescued: The Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes will go to the wonderful Anjellicle Cats Rescue of New York, helpin' them to help save cats' lives. You can purchase your very own copy at your local book store or on Amazon by clicking right HERE. You'll wanna stock up for holiday gift-giving, for sure. PURRS.