Sunday, 22 February 2015
under the bus
Settling in on the family room couch and muchin' on a piece of cheese, I slowly drifted off to sleep. CPAC... Best sleepin' aid ever invented.
"Psst... Cat. You asleep?"
I raised one eyebrow. "I was. Thanks for wakin' me up, by the way," I answered.
"You're very welcome," replied the mouse, staring me in the eye.
"Actually, I was bein' sarcastic. I..."
"No time for trivial chit-chat, I'm afraid," interrupted the mouse. "Your assistance is required." Grabbin' me by my tail, the mouse attempted to haul me off the chesterfield, clearly ignorant of the laws of physics. No way, no how, was a little ol' mouse gonna have the strength to pull me, Nerissa the Cat, off a piece of furniture.
"Hey!" I yelled at the mouse. "You wanna watch it there? I'm comin'. Just give me a moment to straighten my whiskers."
Bein' familiar with the routine after havin' been visited by these Cheese Consortium mice before, I followed the mouse out of the family room. I recognised him as M1. At least I thought he was M1. Truth be told, they all kinda look alike. We turned the corner and entered what should have been the kitchen but once again, the kitchen had been transformed into a great chamber with rows upon rows upon rows of seats, most of which stood empty. "Where is everyone?" I asked the mouse.
"They missed the bus."
I looked at the M1, not really understandin' what he was talkin' about. Did he want me to go lookin' for all the missing mice? I asked him if that was the reason for calling me in.
"Oh no, there's no need for that. Absenteeism is quite the norm around here. One could say it's par for the course."
I nodded in agreement while tryin' to figure out why anyone would be golfin' in Mouseland in the middle of winter. MOUSES!
"So why am I..." I stopped dead in my tracks. "That's new," I whispered under my breath. I walked to the end of the chamber to inspect the new renovations. A large revolving glass door had been installed where there had once been a solid brick wall. On the other side of the rovolving door was the street and on that street were a number of buses, all lined up and with their engines running. "Don't they have no-idle laws here in Mouseland?" I asked M1.
"Why on Earth would we have those?" was his reply.
"You know, on account of global warmin' and whatnot," I answered.
M1's eyes darted back and forth, looking to see if anyone was listenin'. "We don't talk about that. The Big Cheese says it doesn't exist. We've been forbidden to even utter the words."
"MOUSES!" I cried.
A pawful of mice exclaimed in unison, "Mice. The plural of mouse is mice."
I decided to ignore the grammar mice coalition and, instead, get to the bottom of why I had been summoned. "Are these the buses all those other mice missed?" I asked.
"No, no.. Don't be silly," chuckled M1. "These buses are waiting for.."
All of a sudden a mouse dressed in suit and tie came scurrin' down the chamber. Dragging behind him was a briefcase that had been so clumsily shut that pieces of paper were sticking out here and there. I grabbed one of the papers as he passed.
The mouse darted through the revolving door and out onto the street. The lead bus began to move, slowly at first but then picking up speed. For a moment I thought the bus was going to run over the mouse but before I could utter a cry of warning, the mouse instinctively jumped back onto the curve. The bus sped past, seemingly out of control. Suddenly a taxi miraculously appeared. The mouse hopped inside, making his escape. I strained my ears to hear where they were heading but the only thing I heard the mouse say was something about tires. Either he was referencing the screeching tires of the bus that had just attempted to mow him down or he was commenting on bein' tired. Either scenario seemed more than plausible.
I glanced down at the paper I still held in my paw. It was from the desk of The Big Cheese, himself. Had his logo and everythin'. Scrawled across it were the words, Top Secret and at the bottom was a reminder to not allow it to get into the paws of the Royal Canadian Mouseland Police. Quickly scanning the page, I immediately realised it was a memo containing details of Le Grand Fromage Project. The very same project about which The Big Cheese had previously denied havin' had any knowledge. And yet this paper came from his office. From his very own desk. MOUSES!
I sat back on my haunches and thought for a mo. Could The Big Cheese be truly unaware of what was goin' on in his very own office? Could he be so oblivious to the comings and goings of the little mice around him? Could someone else, smarter and more devious than he, have masterminded this entire affair?
And why were all those buses lined up outside this gigantic revolving glass door? What were they doin' there and who had ordered 'em up? And for goodness sake, why did no one have the sense to tell the drivers to turn off their engines while they waited? Did no one at the Canadian Cheese Consortium understand about global warming? MOUSES!
There were so many questions and all I had were suppositions and suspicions. Nothin' that would hold up in court. My paws were tied. Tied up with somethin' a whole lot stronger than string cheese. String cheese... Mmmm...
"M1," I began, "Why am I here? Why was I summoned? Why now? What is it that you need?"
"There's nothing for you to do at this very moment, Nerissa the Cat," M1 replied. "But we needed you to bear witness. We needed you to see what was happening for one day in the coming months, your assistance will most definitely be required."
I finally understood. Tonight's visit to the Canadian Cheese Consortium was only one piece of the puzzle. A puzzle being put together by the Royal Canadian Mouseland Police and investigative reportin' cats like me. I folded over the piece of paper from the fleeing mouse's briefcase, thinking I would read it more thoroughly once back at home. Perhaps it contained more pieces of the puzzle. Perhaps I could use it to track down that fleeing mouse. Perhaps...
"Nerissa," I heard Peep #1 say. "Nissy, time for bed. I'm turning off the television. You can watch CPAC again tomorrow."
I rolled my eyes in disgust. Did the peep not understand that I was usin' that show to help me fall asleep in the first place? Why did she have to go and wake me up? Why? "MOUSES!" cried I.
I then heard the whispers of a multitude of mice. "Mice," they all said. "The plural of mouse, is mice."
Darned grammar mice, I thought to myself, before drifting off back to sleep. I had a memo to read. Now where did I put that thing? MOUSES!