Modern Humorist - Rat, Racing
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Dear Country Mouse —

Hi hi hi! Sorry I wasn’t here to receive you last night, I was out late, but when I came in I heard the doorman say he’d seen a mouse, so I figured it might be you, and I notice your little torn, sodden handkerchief of goods here in the foyer, by the hole. I had some squirrel clients in from out of town, and they insisted on going to Central Park to beg pizza crusts till all hours. They’re thinking of burying some nuts indoors for a change, maybe in the floorboards here, and I want a piece of the action. Anyway, work disguised as fun! No, no, I complain, but I love my job. It sure beats that little wheel I used to run around on. And now I can travel.

Also, also, I’m also sorry I’ll miss you this morning. I have an early meeting. We’re thinking of opening a branch office behind the stove and I have to meet with the developers to see if prolonged exposure to the heat is an insurance risk. Then we have to see if there’s a way to keep the cat from sleeping back there. I’m on a committee that’s trying to solve the cat entirely, but it’s hard without funding. I’m up to here in feasibility studies — you don’t have to deal with those on the farm, do you? Anyway, I shouldn’t complain. I’m not in the trap yet, and I see so many delicious things every day, and — squeak, squeak, you know — busy all the time! Like, later I’m looking at some co-op garbage I’m thinking of gnawing at. I have to try to find some water today, too. There used to be a leaky pipe in here but they turned off the water downstairs after the tenants there were killed. Naturally the murderer spared their cat! How sick is that?

Anyway, make yourself at home. There’s some coffee cake in the bread drawer, but you’ll have trouble getting to it. If you can make it to the refrigerator and the door happens to have been left open — they’re both drunks and they have a perpetually stoned teenager — there’s some unwrapped foie gras that’s just about to turn, and some cheese, which I know you like.

Also, there’s some diet cola in there. I love it! I love it! I was introduced to it at this charming little lab I discovered downtown at NYU. It’s delicious, good and so sweet. Sweet sweet sweet and you don’t get groggy, you can still run from the cat.

As far as the cat downstairs, I don’t know. It’s a killer and the authorities can’t seem to do a thing about it. A bell would help, something. I think of you sleeping in the sun in that quiet old abandoned barn, and I actually envy — Anyway, here I am going on and on and I have to get out of here. I don’t mind admitting sometimes I get a little scared to go out that door, and I use any old excuse to keep myself safe in my hole for as long as possible. Not that writing this note isn’t a worthwhile task! I’m happy to have you here! I’ll be glad to have a decoy, I mean, a friend, to do the town with.

There’s Eek! — a fabulous new mouse spot, we’ll go! It’s very wild, all the mice try to have sex with each other in the middle of the kitchen floor before the cat gets them. It starts very late, like three a.m. It’s scary, but there’s the thrill. If I can, I’ll bring back some glue or bread crusts. Doesn’t that pie on the counter look good? Too bad it’s got that glass cover. Hope the police sirens don’t wake you! And just one tourist tip: Be careful not to make any noise anytime, ever, or to let yourself be seen, it may cause trouble.

By the way, I won’t be in till late tonight. I’ve taken on a little extra job, testing cigarettes for some people working out of a lab up at Columbia. It’s funny, I never smoked as a kid, now I can’t get enough of the stuff! I love it! I love it!

Secretly desperate,City Mouse

More by Mark O’Donnell:
If Only He Could Draw
For Those Who Demand Needless Expense

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