14

Ranger Bob – Part 2

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So far: Four raccoon kits have met a bear at the park. The bear turns out to be the beloved Ranger Bob. However, when they go back to invite Ranger Bob to dinner, he has disappeared. You can read the details here.

Mama: Did you find out when Ranger Bob is available for dinner?

Sally: We couldn’t find him at the park.

John: And they made me go into the forest to look for him.

Anna: It wasn’t dangerous. We hid from all the big bears. We talked to a cub.

Mama: Did the cub take you to Ranger Bob’s den?

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Anna: No. He said that Ranger Bob had gone away and didn’t tell anyone where he was going.

Sally: It sounded like he was sad when he left.

Mama: That’s too bad. I hope he’s OK.

Sally: We still want to find him to thank him. Where do you think he might go?

Mama: I’m not really sure. He was always around when I was little. We didn’t need to look for him. Let me talk to Papa and some of the other parents.

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Mama and Papa talked to some of their friends. They were embarrassed to realize that no one had noticed that Ranger Bob wasn’t around much anymore. In fact, no one could remember the last time they had spoken with him.

The parents wondered when the last time was that he had given a safety talk at school. Mama and Mrs. Squirrel decided to talk to the principal.

Mama: Thank you so much for seeing us, Ms. Porcupine. We won’t take up too much of your time.

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Ms. Porcupine: It’s no trouble at all. How can I help you ladies?

Mrs. Squirrel: We were wondering if you know why Ranger Bob doesn’t visit the school anymore?

Ms. Porcupine (puzzled):  Who is Ranger Bob?

Mrs. Squirrel: You know. The big black bear who explains safety to the school children.

Mama: You didn’t grow up around here, did you Ms. Porcupine?

Ms. Porcupine: No. I moved when I got this position.

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Mama: Ranger Bob taught us all about safety when we were little. We recently discovered that our children have never met him. In fact, he startled my kits a few days ago.

Ms. Porcupine: Was he an employee at the school?

Mama: No. They invited him to speak at the beginning and end of the school year. We all loved him. He was particularly popular at the “Fun in the Sun Day” at the end of the school year.

Mrs. Squirrel: Yes, and we’d see him all summer at the beach and river.

Ms. Porcupine: I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I’d been overlooking such an important part of the teaching team. If you’ll tell me how to reach him, I’ll explain what happened and invite him in.

Mrs. Squirrel: That’s the problem. We can’t find him. We thought maybe you’d have some ideas about where to find him.

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Ms. Porcupine: I’m afraid not. But let me talk to some of the teachers. I’ll let you know what I find out.

 Ms. Porcupine asked for any information available about ways to reach Ranger Bob. The only thing she learned was that he had a daughter on the other side of the river.

She left a message at the number listed, but got no response.

Mama: I guess we’ll have to try going over there.

Papa: I would like to find him and make sure everything is OK.

Sally: Can we come too? Please?

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Papa: All right. But we have to stick together.

The raccoons left early the next morning. They weren’t sure how to find a bear among strangers, but hoped for the best.

The animals on the other side of the river were all friendly. One of the local raccoons said that a strange male bear had passed through a few days earlier looking for a female named Emily.

Papa found a bear and explained the situation. He asked for directions to Emily’s den. The raccoons walked on, paws crossed.

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Before long, they saw a bear sitting on a rock with his head down.

Papa: Excuse me, sir.

The bear looked up. Papa ran up and hugged him.

Papa: Ranger Bob! We’ve been looking all over for you. Why did you leave?

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Next week: What the future holds for Ranger Bob.

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

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12

Ranger Bob

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Mama Raccoon called the family to dinner. The four kits raced to the table. After everyone had settled down, she brought out the food and the dipping bowls.

Mama: How was your day?

Sally: Great! After school, we went to the park to play ball and run around.

John: It was great until this huge old bear started yelling at us.

Papa: What huge bear?

John: I don’t know. I ran away when he started coming toward us.

Mama: Why was he yelling? Was he growling too? Do you think he was trying to eat you? I knew I shouldn’t let you go there by yourselves.

Anna: Calm down, Mama. John’s just being a scaredy-cat.

John: I’m not a cat! I’m a raccoon!

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Anna: I just meant that you didn’t need to run. He wasn’t coming after us. He didn’t want Jimmy to jump into the river.

Papa: Why were you going to jump into the river?

Jimmy: I was hot.

Papa: What was the bear saying?

Jimmy: He said that it wasn’t safe to swim by myself because an adult needed to be close in case I got a cramp or something. Besides, the river has a current.

Anna: The bear was afraid that since we’re so small, he might not be strong enough to swim against the current if we needed to.

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Papa: Wait a minute. What does this bear look like?

Anna: He was tall with glossy black fur. And tan all around his muzzle

Papa looked at Mama, and they both started to laugh.

Sally: What’s so funny?

Mama: John, you don’t have to worry. That’s Ranger Bob.

John: Who’s Ranger Bob?

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Mama: Ranger Bob has been keeping the children of the forest safe for years.

Sally: Why does he do that?

Papa: Years ago, there was a big fire. A lot of the children got separated from their parents. They were frightened because they didn’t understand what was happening.

Mama: Ranger Bob gathered them together and made sure they were safe. Then he explained the fire and how dangerous it was. He also told them how to tell when a fire was approaching and what to do.

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Anna: That’s a great idea. And it was so nice of him.

Mama: He was a hero to all those parents and children. He loved being around the children. He made sure nothing happened to them.

Papa: The children loved him too. He’s been protecting us for years. I’m surprised he hasn’t been to your school.

Jimmy: Some of the other kids talk about Ranger Bob, but I didn’t know who he was.

John: He’s still a little scary. He’s so big. And he yelled at us.

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Anna: He yelled because Jimmy was going to do something stupid, and he wanted to make sure he got our attention.

Jimmy: Hey! It wasn’t stupid. I was hot.

Anna: OK. You were going to do something unsafe. It’s the same thing.

Jimmy looked offended.

Sally: I’ve got an idea. Let’s invite Ranger Bob to dinner to thank him for stopping Jimmy from doing something stupid.

Jimmy: It wasn’t stupid!

Sally: Whatever.

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Mama: That’s an excellent idea. After school tomorrow, you kits can ask him when he’s available.

The kits really didn’t know where he lived. They started at the park. No luck.

They decided to get up their courage and go into the woods to find the bears.

John: I am not going into the woods. It’s too scary.

Jimmy: Fine. Stay here.

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John: By myself?

Jimmy: Yes. By yourself.

John didn’t like that idea either. He looked at Anna.

John: Anna? Will you hold my hand?

Anna: Of course.

The raccoons went into the woods. They ran across several bears. But they all seemed so big that the kits hid. Finally, a cub came along.

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Jimmy: Hey, can we talk to you?

Cub (surprised): We don’t get many raccoons in this part of the woods now that you guys are semi-domesticated.

John: That’s because you guys are so scary.

Cub: We’re not scary. We’re just big. We wouldn’t hurt you.

Anna: We’re looking for Ranger Bob.

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Cub: Good luck. He left this morning. He seemed pretty upset.

Anna: Where did he go?

Cub: He wouldn’t tell any of us.

The kits thanked him and left. They were disappointed. How would they find him now?

Sally: We need to go home and think about this. Maybe Mama and Papa know where he might go.

The kits went home to talk to their parents.

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Next week: Why did Ranger Bob go, and why did he leave?

Pictures courtesy of Google

13

Humans in Cheeseland

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We recently received an email that we found a little puzzling. The writer was a human who accused us of not paying appropriate attention to people in our writing.

What puzzled us wasn’t the question. Rather it was how they had found us in the first place.

Generally speaking, there are only a few people who would go to a blog that openly proclaims that it is edited by mice. For some reason, there is a prejudice against mice in many parts of the human world.

Additionally, it seems to us that there are enough magazines, blogs, videos, and so on dedicated to humans. There are magazines for potato farmers, croquette players, and lighthouse keepers, and everyone else (it seems).

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However, humans are mammals. In light of our non-speciest pledge, we decided to speak with this person. We sent Lexi, our language specialist.

Lexi: Welcome to Cheeseland. I’m Lexi.

Human: Hello, Lexi. I’m Charles. Thank you for meeting with me. I hope you don’t mind that I brought along someone to document our meeting.

Lexi: I guess not. Why is he wearing protective gear?

Charles: I was hoping to meet someone a little more, um, exotic.

Lexi: Really? Like what?

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Charles: I was thinking a crocodile or hippo.

Lexi: You realize that we’re not in Africa, don’t you?

Charles (embarrassed): I didn’t think I was going to be meeting with an actual animal.

Lexi: Excuse me?

Charles: You know. A non-human. I thought this was a gimmick for some type of animal rights group. You are an actual dog, aren’t you?

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Lexi: Of course I am.

Charles: You wouldn’t mind me touching you just to make sure, would you?

Lexi growls.

Charles: OK. Don’t get excited. Just let me talk to the humans who work here.

Lexi: What are you talking about?

Charles: You know. The people who write the articles.

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Lexi: Have you actually read Cheeseland?

Charles: A little. You don’t expect me to believe that cats and a mongoose and an elephant write articles do you?

Lexi: Why not?

Charles: What do they do? Use their furry little paws to type? And their furry little brains to think?

Lexi growls again.

Charles: OK, OK. Let me see the newsroom. I can decide who to talk to there.

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Lexi: Fine.

They walk down the hall and enter the newsroom. There are a few cats, a couple of dogs, a hedgehog, and a couple of ravens.

Charles: Very funny. A room full of animals making a bunch of noise.

Lexi: This is the newsroom. And these are the reporters. The editors are next door.

Charles: There aren’t any real computers in here.

Lexi: Those are real computers. They have voice recognition technology instead of keyboards. That way we don’t have to use our “furry little paws” to type.

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Charles: Let me talk to one of the reporters. I want that cat over there.

He points to a gentle-looking mixed breed. Lexi talks to her.

Lexi: Dar, this man would like to speak to you. He has the strange idea that we’re all humans dressed up like animals. You’ll have to listen carefully, he has a very thick human accent.

Dar: Hello. My name is Darlene. How may I help you?

Charles: Will you please take me to the humans who are running this place? I don’t understand all the animals running around thinking they’re people, but I’m going to get to the bottom of this.

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Darlene: Why would we think we’re people? We’re happy the way we are.

Charles (frustrated): Just show me any human.

Darlene: We don’t have humans, just other species.

Charles: There has to be a person somewhere.

Lexi: The only human we know is Cat. She pays for the blog.

Charles: I knew it! Take me to her office.

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Lexi: She doesn’t have an office. She doesn’t live in Cheeseland.

Charles: Fine. I’ve had enough. You get all of this, Willy?

Willy: Yep. But people are never going to believe it.

Charles: That’s OK. It’s not fake, so they’ll know there’s something weird out here.

Charles and Willy returned home. They posted the video to YouTube and waited for the response. The only comment they got was “???”. When they looked at the video again, all it showed was Charles talking and a German Shepard barking. Then Charles talking and a cat meowing.

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12

Is Sammy Squirrely? – Part 2

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Where we are: All during the fall, Sammy had been acting oddly. Rather than working with the other squirrels to get ready for winter, he spent all his time on the computer. His friends and neighbors think he might be losing his mind.

It was a hard winter. It started snowing in November and didn’t let up. Soon it was higher than the squirrels. The families relied on the nuts they had stored in their trees for a long time. Finally, it was time to go out and get the nuts they had buried in the ground. It wasn’t easy.

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Sarah: Three squirrels in my class missed school today. They had to go hunt for food.

Peter: There were five gone from my class.

June: This is the worst winter I can remember. I’m glad we built our nest in such a huge tree and were able to fill it. Spring is almost here, so we should be OK. Especially since your cousin was nice enough to send us all that food for Christmas.

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Peter: My new favorite nut is the pecan.

Sarah: Those were pretty yummy. But I liked the dried fruit.

Sammy: We need to do something nice for Joey in the spring. Living in Georgia is good for food, but we can think of something.

June: I wish we could do something to help our friends.

Sammy knew it was time to see if his idea worked. He was extremely grateful to Princess ERin for telling him about the Global Peanut Positioning Satellite (GPPS). It was a little odd that a cat would be so helpful, but it sounded useful.

Between the GPPS and the data he had collected, he should be able to find the nuts the family had buried.

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Sammy: We can share the nuts we buried last fall.

Peter: If the other squirrels could find their nuts, they wouldn’t be hungry. How can we find ours?

Sammy: The project you were all laughing about last fall should tell us where the nuts are.

Sarah: Do your really think it will work? That would be wonderful.

 Sammy: There’s only one way to find out. I’ll go load my data into the positioning system.

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Sammy leaves the room to work on the computer. He finally comes out when June calls him for dinner.

Peter: How’s the system coming Dad?

Sammy: Pretty well. It looks like all of the data transferred. Now we have to wait for the next sunny day.

Sarah: Why does it have to be sunny?

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Sammy: The way the GPPS works is to get the position of the nuts from a satellite in the sky. It has to be sunny for the information to get to us.

Peter: OK. Whatever. Let’s wait for the sun.

The next few days were overcast. Finally, there was a good day.

By that time, the neighborhood knew about the experiment. A crowd gathers to see if it would work.

Sammy: OK, here we go. No promises.

He calls up the first location. The GPPS gives him directions to the nuts. The other squirrels follow him as he tracks the nuts.

Sammy: The first nuts should be here. Peter, you and your friends dig down and see what you find.

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The young squirrels quickly burrow through the snow and the hard ground. Just under the surface, they find a large stash of acorns.

The squirrels watch in amazement and applaud.

Dan: I admit it, buddy. I thought you might have gone off the deep end. But this is incredible.

Kelly: June, you’re married to a genius!

Sammy blushes in embarrassment.

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Sammy: It’s just a little technology, not genius.

Dan: Whatever. You’re set for the winter.

Sammy: We were already set. These are for you folks.

The other squirrels look at Sammy. They go back to thinking he had lost his mind.

Sammy: I’m serious. We have enough nuts. We have piles like these all over the place. We want to share them.

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Kelly: How did you get so many nuts?

Sammy: We probably don’t have any more than your family gathered, but ours are buried in piles instead of one by one. Besides, I have an excellent team of hunters. (He looks at Peter and Sarah.)

Kelly: Are you sure you don’t need them?

June: Absolutely. We’re set for the rest of winter.

Sammy: Dig in. We’ll get the rest of the nuts later and you can divide them up. Next year, we can track everybody’s nuts and won’t worry about starving.

The hungry squirrels devour the nuts in the first hole and take the rest home. Luckily spring arrives before the acorns are gone.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images

 

12

Is Sammy Squirrely?

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Sammy and his family live with a scurry (group) of squirrels in an oak grove. It’s fall – time to gather nuts for the winter.

The group has planned a “nut gathering party,” and everyone is invited. Sammy’s family is getting ready to go.

June (his wife): Sammy, are you ready to go?

Sammy (at the computer): You and the kids can go ahead. I need to finish what I’m working on.

Peter: Dad, you never gather nuts anymore.

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Sammy: I’m retired. That’s what I have you for.

Sarah: Daddy, be serious. It’s embarrassing. All the other fathers are there.

Peter: Besides, it’s a party.

June: Honey, you can take a break for one afternoon, can’t you?

Sammy: Sorry, I really can’t. I need to finish before winter. Remember to bring the nuts home instead of burying them.

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Sarah: That’s just weird, Daddy. Why? My friends are all going to laugh at me.

Sammy: I’m working on an idea to make it easier to find our nuts this winter. Did you know that some squirrels never find more than a few of the nuts they’ve buried?

Peter: We always have enough to eat.

Sammy: I know. But I think we should know where ours are.

June (sighing): C’mon kids. Let’s get going before all the good ones are gone.

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The three of them leave the nest. It’s a beautiful afternoon, and there are nuts everywhere. The kids run off to search with their friends. June finds her friend, Kelly.

Kelly: Hey, June! Great to see you. Where’s Sammy? I haven’t seen him around much.

June: He’s working on some top-secret project about the acorns.

Kelly: That’s strange. It seems like he’d want to be out here in the sun. But I guess if it’s that important, he should be doing it.

June: I suppose. But I think the rest of the scurry is beginning to believe he’s crazy.

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Kelly doesn’t answer. She’s looking at the other squirrels gathering and burying acorns. She spots Peter and Sarah. They each have a pile of nuts near them.

Kelly: Are Peter and Sarah all right? It looks like they are just piling the nuts up instead of burying them. Aren’t they feeling well?

June: They’re fine. It’s part of Sammy’s plan. He wants to know where each one is buried.

Kelly: That’s a little strange. Why does he want to know?

June: I have no idea. He just said it’s vital to his project.

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Kelly starts to feel sorry for June. She thinks the other squirrels may be right. Sammy’s mind was starting to go. He was becoming “squirrely.”

Before long, the sun starts going down and the squirrels return home.

Peter: Hi Dad. We’re home.

Sammy: Did you get lots of nuts?

June: It was a good afternoon. A lot of the squirrels said they were done for the season.

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Sammy: That’s great! So where did you put ours?

Sarah: They’re still where we found them. In piles.

Sammy: I thought you were bringing them home.

Sarah: It was way too embarrassing. Everyone else buried theirs. The other squirrels thought we were just being lazy. Mom said we could bury them from where they are.

Sammy: I suppose she’s right. Let’s go.

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Peter: I’m tired. I’ve been hunting nuts all afternoon.

Sarah: Besides, it’s getting dark.

June: I’m sure they’ll be fine until morning.

Sammy finally agrees, disappointed.

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The next morning, the family starts burying the nuts. It’s a slow process because Sammy wants to write down exactly where each nut is. Several hours later, they finish.

Sammy: Great job, everyone! Thanks for your help.

They return to the nest, where Sammy immediately goes onto his computer. He works intently for the next few weeks. Running between the computer and where the nuts are buried. He finally has to stop when the snow starts to fall.

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Next week: Is Sammy crazy or is he a squirrel with a plan?

Pictures are courtesy of Google Images

18

A Mouse in the House – Part 2

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Where we are: John and Josie Mouse had been renting space with Matt and Sandy Manx until Josie’s brother Mortimer had accidentally alerted the homeowners’ association to the prohibited arrangement. John and Josie have been forced to live in a field until they find another arrangement.

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John and Josie have built a nice den on the edge of a corn field. The weather is warm and there’s plenty to eat.

John: Well this isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

Josie: I agree. Although I could do without the dirt everywhere. We need to figure out what we’re going to do.

John: I’ve been thinking about that. How do you feel about joining a co-op out here and just staying? We don’t have the money to afford to buy a house.

Josie: I don’t know. I’m a house mouse.

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One of the neighbors comes to the door of the den.

Neighbor: I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this. The older lady mouse who came with you was just taken by an owl.

Josie (horrified): That’s why I like being a house mouse.

Mortimer: I’m so sorry. I know it’s my fault you’re out here.

John: That really doesn’t do Aunt Gertrude much good, does it?

Mortimer: I’ll find a way to fix this. I promise.

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Mortimer leaves the den to think. He doesn’t really understand the appeal of being in the suburbs. The field mice had dens. The city mice had their own communities. But Josie wanted to live out here. With cats!

He knows there’s only one way to fix the situation. He walks over to the homeowners’ association president’s house.

President: Hello. I thought I made it clear that you are not welcome here. You made such a fuss at the meeting that the animals are still talking about it.

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Mortimer: I came to apologize for that. I didn’t realize I was going to get everyone in trouble. I come from the city, and that’s the way we communicate. I feel terrible about what happened.

President: Thank you for coming. I appreciate your apology. What can I do for you?

Mortimer: I need to find a way to make things right for my sister. She’s never lived outside, and she’s scared. Can you help me?

President: Let’s see what we can do. Come inside and we can talk things over.

Later in the day, Mortimer returns to the den.

Mortimer (excited): Hey everybody! I’ve got great news!

John (sarcastically): You’re going back to the city?

Josie: John! Give him a chance to talk.Image result for working animals

Mortimer: I went over and talked to Mike, the president of that association where you lived. I told him how sorry I was about what happened and asked for his help.

Josie: What did he say?

Mortimer: He looked through all the rules those animals have to follow for that place. He said that there was one exception to the rule prohibiting having non-family members in the house. Employees of the owners can live there.

Josie: Employees? What kind of employees would people have at home?

Mortimer: The agreement said that there would be exceptions for nannies and housekeepers.

John: That’s great. But how does it help us?

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Mortimer: Well, it turns out that those cats missed you guys. Mike called them up, and they would be happy to have Josie as their housekeeper. And you can stay too.

Josie: That’s wonderful! Thank you, Mortimer.

Mortimer: After I got you kicked out, I had to make it right. There’s just one condition.

Josie: What’s that?

Mortimer: They won’t let me back. I guess I caused too much trouble at that meeting and upset everyone.

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Josie: Mortie! Where will you go?

Mortimer: That Mike is a pretty amazing guy. He has friends all over. Turns out a local church is looking for a librarian. I can live there too.

Josie: Good for you! So we can still be together.

Mortimer: Yep. As long as I can make it through probation.

Josie: What does that mean?

Mortimer: I have to make it through ninety days and not eat any of the books. And follow the most important rule. I have to be “quiet as a church mouse.”

John and Josie start to laugh.

Mortimer: Hey! I can do it.

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13

A Mouse in the House

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The homeowners’ association meeting was near its’ end, when the President asked if there were any issues someone wanted to raise.

Mortimer Mouse: I have a complaint to file against the cats in my neighborhood. Some of them stay up all night and hunt right outside my windows. It’s very traumatic.

President: You must have known there were cats in the neighborhood when you moved in. And cats do hunt at night.

Mortimer: They don’t have to do it right outside my window.

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President: You are aware that we don’t generally sell homes to mice in predator neighborhoods.

Mortimer: I don’t actually own the house. I’m visiting.

President: Are you visiting cats?

Mortimer: No, I’m staying with my sister. She lives with cats.

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President: Why is your sister living with cats?

Mortimer: I have no idea. They’re horrible creatures with no sense of humor. I tried to take a piece of kibble from one of the kids, and it tried to eat me. As far as I’m concerned, she should have bought her own house.

The room starts to respond angrily, but Mortimer doesn’t notice.

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Mortimer: It’s probably her stupid husband’s idea. He’s one of those ‘live and let live’ types. I think they should be in an all-mouse place.

President: Your sister and her family are staying with a family of cats?

Mortimer: That’s right. So, will you fix the problem?

President: We’ll definitely look into it.

Matt Manx quickly left the room and went home.

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Sandy: Matt, you’re home early from the meeting. How’d it go?

Matt: Some obnoxious mouse got up and started bad-mouthing cats. Then he said that he was visiting his sister who was living with cats. How many cats do you know who have mouse boarders?

Sandy: But our mice are so sweet!

Matt: I know, but you know the rules. We’re not allowed to have boarders, and they’re obviously not relatives.

Sandy: You mean they have to leave? I’m sure they don’t have anywhere to go.

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Matt: I’m afraid so. This mouse really got folks riled up.

Matt went downstairs to talk to John and Josie Mouse. He explained what had happened at the meeting and told them that they would have to leave.

Matt: I’m really sorry this happened. If that mouse hadn’t made such a fuss, no one would have known. But we’ll get kicked out if they verify that we have boarders.

John: I understand. It’s not your fault. You’ve been more than kind. We’ll get our things together and go.

Matt: Do you know where you’ll go?

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John: Not really. Probably into the fields for a bit so we can think it through.

They shook paws and Matt left.

John: I told you not to let that moron stay here. Look at what he’s done! We don’t have a home and Matt and Sandy are in trouble.

Josie: I’m sure Mortimer didn’t cause trouble intentionally.

Mortimer comes in.

Mortimer: I can’t believe you live in this neighborhood. They didn’t care that cats come around at all hours disturbing us.

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John: Of course there are cats around, you idiot. We live with cats! Or rather we did, until you moved in. Now we’re homeless.

Mortimer: What do you mean, homeless?

Josie: Matt and Sandy Manx let us live here as a favor. They aren’t supposed to have non-family members stay for more than a few days.

Mortimer: Well, you’re better off without them. These animals are rude and thoughtless.

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John: You didn’t have any right to go to that meeting. We’re going to have to live outside. Are you happy that your sister will be living a field because of you?

Josie starts to cry. She had always been a house mouse and now she was going to have to live in a field.

Mortimer: I’m sorry, Josie. I guess I didn’t think it through very well. I haven’t been getting much sleep lately.

John: A lot of good that does her. We’d better pack.

Mortimer: I’ll fix it. Just give me a little time.

Next week: find out what Mortimer has in mind.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images