There, I found a couple bowls of dry kibble. Meah, not what I had in mind. I sniffed around the bowls, thinkin' I might find a stray Treat Temptation or somethin' but I came up empty-pawed. Just as I was about to go back into the family room and tell Ol' Peepers I needed her assistance with the treat jar, I spotted a plate up on the island. Hmmm.... wonder what's up there, I thought to myself. Moments later, I had my answer... cheese.
You know, a lot of us cats are really into the cheese but not I. There is at least one variety of food the peeps give us that contains cheese. It's okay, I guess, but not my favourite. Then I thought to myself, the peeps eat all sorts of cheese and quite like it. Perhaps I should give it another try. Turns out, cheese can be pretty tasty.
So after my snack, I figured I'd take a little nap but since it was gettin' pretty late, I just went to bed. Curled up on the floor in the family room, I drifted off to sleep, bein' serenaded by some news on the television while visions of sugar plums - I mean cheese - danced in my head.
When I awoke, the room was in total darkness. The peeps had gone off to bed. Mason was snoring. Yes, snoring. My sister, Mason, snores. I could hear someone purring off in the distance. Beatrice, I believe. None of that stuff was surprising but somethin' that was a little odd was the mouse sittin' up on his hind legs and starin' into my eyes. MOUSES!
"Shhh! You'll wake up the other cats," said the mouse.
I blinked. Then I winked. Then I blinked again. I shook my head. MOUSES! We had a mouse in the house. Unbelievable.
"Get over it," said the mouse, as if he knew exactly what I was thinking. "Need your help. Follow me."
So I followed the mouse out of the family room and into... into... Well, that route should have taken me into the kitchen but for some strange reason, it didn't. Time and space had morphed or somethin' and I was suddenly in a completely unfamiliar room that I am sure had never existed in my house before that night. A great hall of some kind, filled with row upon row of seats and in each seat, sat a mouse. "MOUSES!" I cried.
"Mice," said a mouse. "The plural of mouse is mice."
"And here was I, thinkin' it was snacks," said I to the mouse and said mouse nervously retreated behind some of his pals in the second row.
I looked directly at the first mouse who had requested my assistance and said, "So you want my help gettin' down to the bottom of this corruption at paw. You're in need of my investigative skills, you say. My enquiring mind. Hmmm..."
"Your investigative skills are well-known. You're a bit of a celebrity around these parts, Nerissa. May I call you Nerissa?"
"Sure, why not? You have a name?" I asked the mouse. M1 was his answer and lookin' around, I had to wonder if the others were named M2, M3, M4 and so on.
"Er-hem..." and a little mouse in the first row spoke up gingerly. "My name is M24, Sir. I believe I can fill you in on the details. This is the information the Royal Canadian Mouseland Police have collected so far," and he pointed to a stack of files, ten mice high. MOUSES!
I pawed through a few of the pages and oddly enough, after doin' so, knew the contents of each and every file. "I will need to question this mouse you call The Big Cheese," I told the mice.
"He doesn't like to answer questions," piped up several mice in unison.
"Well you tell him that I, Nerissa the Cat, expect him to answer MINE."
At that very moment a large, rather pompous-looking mouse appeared in the room. He slowly and deliberated walked over to an empty seat in the centre of the front row. I sniffed the air as he walked past. It smelled of cheese.
I narrowed my eyes and stared at this new mouse. The mouse stared back at me with eyes of steely blue. MOUSES! those eyes were unnerving. I crouched low and wiggled my tail a little. That did the trick. The mouse known as The Big Cheese sat down in his chair and fiddled with his tail nervously. I eyed that tail. Exceptionally long for a mouse, I thought to myself. Little rat-like, in fact. Hmmm...
I stood tall on all four paws, lookin' down at the mouse known as The Big Cheese. I cleared my throat. "My first question for you, Mr. Cheese, has nothing to do with the case at paw but I'm curious. I'm curious as to why you are known as The Big Cheese when all the other mice have names that are... well... numbered."
"Because their days are numbered," was The Big Cheese's reply.
Jaws dropped and gasps were heard throughout the room. I must admit, I let out a little gasp, myself. Never in my nine lives had I heard such arrogance uttered from a mouse. MOUSES!
"They're all disposable," continued The Big Cheese. "If they work with me, they're safe but if not, they have to go to that big mousetrap in the sky."
"Work with you, Mr. Cheese? Is that an admission that you have some sort of plan at paw? A plan for the country's cheese supply? Yes, that's right... I, Nerissa the Cat, know all about the Great Canadian Cheese Conspiracy. I know about the missing cheese. I know about the alleged misuse of cheese. I've read all the files." I pounded the mouse with questions. "Is this a plan which you have devised? One of which you are in control? One of which you, and only you, a mouse stinking of cheese, knows all the details?"
The Big Cheese's eyes darted back and forth like the eyes of a rat. He was breaking.
"As I've said, I've examined all the files. I've read all the reports. Investigative mice have found evidence of a massive cover-up of misused cheese supplies from British Columbia to Newfoundland and back again. There have been undeserving mice being allocated unfair portions of cheese, here, there and everywhere. And every single mouse given extra cheese was working on a project known as Le Grand Fromage. NOW JUST WHAT, MR. BIG CHEESE, DO YOU SUPPOSE IS THIS PROJECT, LE GRAND FROMAGE?"
The Big Cheese sank in his chair, melting like Mozzarella on a nip pizza. Then he pulled himself together and cleared his throat. "I do not know," he stated. "I know nothing of this Grand Fromage project. Others might," and his eyes darted furtively around the room, looking for someone else to blame. "Nowhere in those files is there evidence of my guilt!"
"Of your guilt?" I repeated, quietly. Your... guilt, you say? So you admit that you are guilty?"
"I ADMIT NOTHING!" he cried but before The Big Cheese could continue, the lights in the family room came on and Peep #1 walked over to me.
"What's going on in here? she asked. "Did I hear voices? Come on Nissy," and she scooped me up in her arms. "You come sleep with me tonight."
I squirmed and I wormed in her grasp, tryin' to get down and make my escape into the kitchen to find those mice. Then I realised that it all must have been a dream. A cheese-induced dream caused by late-night cheese snackin' in conjunction with television news. It was too bad the peep had awakened me when she had. I was just gettin' to the good part of that dream. Darn it all. MOUSES!
"Mice," I heard a little voice say, off in the distance. "The plural of mouse is mice."
And with large eyes I cried, "MOUSES!"