I opened one eye. Standing before me was a little grey mouse. "Awww... Not again. MOUSES!"
"So you're awake, Mr. Cat?"
I opened my other eye. "Well I am now. Again I say, MOUSES!"
"Good. Please follow me, Mr. Cat. You assistance is required."
I stood on all four paws, stretching first my front legs and then my hind ones. Letting out a big yawn, I glared at the little mouse standing before me, clutching his mouse-sized clipboard. "Seriously mouse, I was having a good dream involving cheesy nip pizzas before you woke me up. You need to stop doing that. MOUSES!"
The little mouse whom I assumed to be M1 although, truth be told, looked identical to all the other mice of Mouseland, save one, raised an eyebrow.
"Every time I snack on cheese..." I studied the mouse before me. "Hmmm... Maybe I should start snacking on mice instead."
Narrowing his eyes, M1 leaned forward to whisper, "We're not nearly as tasty as you might think. Stick with the cheese, Cat. MOUSES!" The little mouse's eyes grew wide as he covered his gaping mouth with both paws. His mouse-sized clipboard clattered to the ground and off in the distance I heard the whispers of the Grammar Mice correcting him, "Mice. The plural of mouse, is mice."
"Hah! Even the mice are using MOUSES! now," I said with a smirk. "Worth being awakened to hear that. Lead the way, M1. What's up? What's going on in Mouseland now? Cat got your cheese? The Big Cheese doing cheesy stuff? Is he still eating that cheese with the stink?" M1 ignored my questions as I followed him out of the room.
Turning the corner, the air grew thick and hazy. Neon-coloured swirls swirled before my eyes and there were flashes of blinding light. All of a sudden, a wave of icy cold water splashed in my face. "What the mouses?" I wiped the water away from my face with a paw but it left an odd taste in my mouth. A taste akin to salt water and Gorgonzola cheese. "That's new," I sputtered. "What's up with the cheesy water, mouse? And - And are we on some kind of boat or something? Where's the great hall of Mouseland?"
"We've entered the Gorgonzola Stream!" yelled the mouse, trying to be heard over the sound of waves crashing against a rocky shore. "Hang on! We're in for a rough ride."
My paws were slipping and sliding on what appeared to be the oily deck of a trawler of some sort. At the helm, I could see a larger mouse with a suspiciously long tail whom I immediately recognised as The Big Cheese. "Where are we headed?" I yelled.
M1 was clinging for dear life to the guard rail of the trawler, his clipboard long gone. "JUST HANG ON!" he cried back to me. "We're caught in the stream. If The Big Cheese can't steer us clear, we'll hit the shore!"
I could hear bells ringing in the distance and a deafening fog horn that sounded as if it was getting closer and closer by the minute but even louder than the foghorn was the sound of The Big Cheese's voice yelling, "STAY THE COURSE! WE HAVE TO STAY THE COURSE!"
"Why did you bring me here, M1?" I yelled at the little grey mouse. "We're headed towards those rocks. You couldn't have chosen a worse time for a cruise."
"STAY THE COURSE!" The Big Cheese continued to yell. I could see the ship's wheel spinning out of control beneath his paws. M1 was right. We were caught up in this Gorgonzola Stream - whatever that was - being taken to places unknown.
The foghorn was still blasting its warnings of the rocky shores ahead and bells were incessantly ringing off in the distance. I desperately wanted to cover my ears with my paws but didn't dare release my grip of the trawler's guard rails.
I looked over my left shoulder. Off in the distance there appeared to be a series of locks and further beyond that, a peaceful cove where the sun was shining and there was not a storm cloud in sight. I briefly questioned the logistics of what I was seeing before realising that the laws of physics and whatnot in Mouseland differed from those in the rest of universe.
"Big Cheese!" I yelled at the top of my lungs. "Steer to the left or the port side or whatever you want to call it. There are peaceful waters over there."
"He can't hear you," little M1 yelled over to me. "He hears nothing but the cries of the Gorgonzola Stream."
"Cries of the stream? What are you talking about M1? Is the stream alive or something?"
"No, it's just a stream. A current, actually. A powerful current of melted Gorgonzola cheese."
I shook my head in dismay and looked longingly over the port side of the ship. If I could just make it to those locks. "Are those locks Canadian Cheese Consortium infrastructure?" I asked M1.
"They're not what you think," the little mouse cried back.
"STAY THE COURSE!" the Big Cheese continued to cry.
"It's not water in those locks," little M1 explained. "They're holding areas for various other cheese streams. From when the Canadian Cheese Consortium was more diversified. The Big Cheese has ignored them for ages."
There was no doubt in my mind that we needed out of this stream of Gorgonzola Cheese as its course was clearly unclear. Dangerous and unacceptable and as The Big Cheese appeared to be either unwilling or incapable to steer us away, I knew I would have to take on the job, myself. Bravely letting go of the trawler's guard rail with one paw, I dug my claws into the oily deck. "It's going take me weeks to clean this mess off my paws," I growled to myself. I managed to make my way a few feet across the deck before experiencing the sensation of being lifted into the air. Had the trawler collided with the shore? Was I being tossed overboard? "CAT OVERBOARD!" I cried, trying to be heard over the ringing of those stupid bells in the distance, the foghorn that was now proving to be quite annoying and the cries of The Big Cheese to stay the course.
"There you are, Seville. Time for bed. Did you have a bedtime snack?" Peep #1 asked me.
"As a matter of fact, I helped myself to a little cheese earlier in the evening," I explained to the peep. "Maybe I should have gone for the Temptations."
I glanced over the peep's shoulder and into the kitchen. All evidence of Mouseland, the raging waters and the ship that was clearly off-course had disappeared but I knew with certainty that not only would the sun rise in the morning but that Mouseland would appear, once more, too. Probably the next time I snacked on some cheese. MOUSES!