"Sorry," he yawned. "Yeah, I'm here."
I gave Andy the ol' stink eye on account of his takin' so long to answer me, then went back to the business at paw.
"Okay, so now that I have everyone's attention - FINALLY - I'm lookin' for a volunteer."
*silence, once more*
"Oh for mousin' out loud, will NO ONE volunteer?"
"Uh..." Andy drew a circle in the dirt with his paw. "A volunteer for what, Seville? Treats? Are you wanting a volunteer treat taste tester or something similar? Because if you do, I'll definitely volunteer for that," and my long-haired freak of a brother smiled from ear to ear.
"For the love of mouses. No, Andy, I'm not lookin' for volunteer treat taste testers. Unless... Hmmm... Unless you want to taste...."
"I'LL VOLUNTEER FOR THAT!" and my other long-haired freaky brother, Rushton, raised a paw.
"It's not a treat taste-testin' mission, I informed the freaks. It's a mission requiring speed and stealth and..."
"OUT WITH IT!" Mason cried. "Seville, I haven't got all day here, you know. The Crow Show is starting in less than an hour.
"FINE." I crossed my front paws and scowled at my fur-sibs. "Okay, I need a volunteer to go into the garage and catch the enemy within."
My fur-sibs just stared at me, clearly not comprehendin' the task at paw.
"THERE'S A MOUSE IN THE HOUSE!" I yelled. "I mean, there's a mouse in the garage. Peep #1 spotted it this morning."
Mason pulled a pen and notebook out from underneath her... butt. "Describe this mouse, please. Any identifying markings or characteristics?"
I stared at my sister, tryin' to figure out just where she had been hidin' that notebook and pen. "It's a mouse, Sis. A mouse. Looks like a mouse, squeaks like a mouse, drops you-know-whats like a mouse. It's a mouse."
"A mouse," my sister wrote down in her notebook. "A run of the mill, ordinary mouse, with no identifying markings or characteristics."
"Like I said," I scowled. "IT'S A MOUSE."
"And it's in the garage?" Mason asked.
I narrowed my eyes. "LIKE I SAID BEFORE, yes, it's in the garage. Spotted there 'bout eight o'clock this mornin', I believe."
Mason looked up from the notebook in which she was writing. "Spotted by the peep?" she asked.
"YES. YES! Spotted in the garage by Peep #1. JUST LIKE I SAID. MOUSES!"
My sister wrote, "One witness: Peep #1," in her notebook, before slowly returnin' it, and her pencil, back under her... butt.
"So... Anyone wantin' to volunteer?"
"To do what?" asked Andy. "To taste-test the mouse?"
I buried my head in my paws and took a moment to pull myself together before answerin'. "NO TASTE-TESTIN' IS REQUIRED!" I hollered. Calming down, I continued. "I need a volunteer to go into the garage and catch that ol' mouse."
"So the mouse is old," Mason said, pullin' out her notebook and pencil once more. "Exactly how old is the mouse?"
I bit my lower lip and growled, "I have no idea how old the mouse is. The peep did not ask him."
"It's a male mouse, then," and Mason added that to her notes.
"OR HER. The peep didn't specify," I told my sister.
"And how, exactly, are we to find this mouse, when given such a poor description?" Mason asked.
"BECAUSE IT'S THE ONLY MOUSE IN THE HOUSE!" I yelled. "I mean, garage. IT'S THE ONLY MOUSE IN THE GARAGE. Male, female. Big, little. Old, young. I DON'T CARE! There's only one mouse hidin' in there, and that mouse is the one I need someone to find. And catch! And take out of the garage."
Rushy raised a paw. "Yes, Rushton? You have a question?" I asked.
"How did the mouse get inside the garage?"
"That I can answer," I replied. "The peep, bein' a peep, went and left the garage door open all day yesterday."
"Ahhh..." my three fur-sibs said in unison, noddin' their heads, knowingly.
"Why?" asked Andy.
"Why what?" I asked him.
"Why did she do that?" he answered.
"Because she's a peep," I replied.
"AHHH..." and my three fur-sibs nodded their heads knowingly, once more.
"So..." I began. "So which one of you is gonna volunteer?"
Everyone looked at each other.
No one volunteered.
"SO WHICH ONE OF YOU IS GONNA VOLUNTEER?" I asked once more.
Finally, Mason spoke up. "Might I make a suggestion?" she mewed. "I suggest that Peep #1 should go into the garage and catch that mouse, herself. After all, she IS the one who left the door open in the first place. She, and only she, is responsible for that mouse."
My long-haired freaky brothers both nodded in agreement.
I thought about what my sister was suggestin'. I thought about it long and hard. For at least a full forty-two seconds. "WORKS WELL FOR ME!" I cried aloud, smackin' my front paws together. "Peep #1 shall be responsible for catchin' the perpetratin' mouse and puttin' him - or her - back outside."
My fur-sibs smiled with satisfaction.
"You think the peep is a good mouser?" Anderson asked.
"Probably not," I sighed. "After all, she is MERELY a peep. MOUSES!"