“Well-ll, it’s like this, young feller me lad,” said Grandpa Mouse. His head had a fair bit of a wobble-up these days, a remnant from that near miss some time ago when the cat actually had him by the neck, shaking him all about. He stopped, ostensibly to give his specs a bit of a polish, but Montague knew he was secretly giving himself some ‘think-time’. Gramps had lost the plot… again! In his kindest tone of voice, Monty reminded the old fellow it was yet another tale from his illustrious past he was sharing.
“That’s exactly right! Like I was saying, when I was a whipper-snapper like you, I could sneak into that cursed dog’s kennel just like one of those ghosties you hear of that come floating out of the graves and tombs in cemeteries, you know?”
Montague nodded sadly, preferring to imagine his Gramps in his prime, rather than think about that one time he’d gone into the cemetery after dark on a dare. He wasn’t even going back there in his memory, for fear the nightmares would return. Nope! Concentrate ONLY on thoughts of the young Gramps. Montague was tremendously grateful for the difficulty level of this task, requiring all his concentration. After all, he’d only known this skinny, wrinkly old fellow for the few short months of his own life.
“Sad thing is, Monty me boy—human beings are a pretty ambiguous lot when it comes to us mice. I’m told there really are some who love us and keep us as beloved pets, fed on the tastiest treats, clean and smelling sweet – to them, anyway! They would treasure an old fellow like me and take him to a vet when arthritis reared its painful head—”
“And, and… let him lay on a hottie thing they have,” Montague interrupted. “Aunt Arabella told me about one she saw once. She said they called it a foot warmer and it had a cord thing that went into the wall. Their pet mouse would just scurry up to them and put its paws up like it was praying, and, and… they’d just turn it on for him, she said. And he’d smile and sigh and things, she said, and snuggle into a little ball.”
Grandpa sighed heavily. “I’ve heard of such things,” he said, and shook his wobbly head in wonder. “Maybe we’re the wrong colour. All the humans we meet reckon we stink. They call us vermin and shudder when they think of us…” and a tear glistened behind his specs as he thought of their traps. “They just want to get rid of us – ALL of us!”
“I know,” Montague’s eyes were huge. “And the other day I saw something they called a mouse and although it was on a lead, they held it all the time. Funny kind of mouse. All bald and shiny!”
The old fellow fetched a piece of tissue from his stash beneath the woodpile and snuffled heartily into it. “No accounting for taste, I guess!”