The mist clears before a Door.
Christopher is unsure what he’s going to find behind it, but he opens it.
An old-fashioned kitchen awaits beyond. There’s a table with a platter of cheese upon it. A mouse scampers up its leg, ready to pounce upon the platter.
Madam Mousenip: (it is she) Squeak! (She runs behind the mound of cheese, whiskers quivering.)
Christopher: It’s all right. (He steps into the kitchen.) I don’t live here. It’s not my cheese.
Madam Mousenip: I should certainly say not! (She sticks her nose out with a regal sniff.) Cracktooth left us this cheese especially. It’s ours.
Christopher: Ours? (He glances around the kitchen for anyone else.)
Madam Mousenip: Mousetrick’s and mine.
Christopher: Where is Mousetrick?
Madam Mousenip: Oh, who knows where? (She steps out, wringing her paws.) He’s been dashing about, trying to ready his seven tricks before the twelve days of Christmas are up.
Christopher: He’s got quite a bit of time, doesn’t he? It’s only the beginning of December.
Madam Mousenip: There’s never enough time for a mouse, human. (She raises her nose with great dignity.) We must scamper and scramble for all our short lives are worth, enjoying what cheese and gingerbread we can.
Christopher: There’s never enough time. And I’m not a human.
Madam Mousenip: Not a human? (She relaxes a bit.) You certainly look like one.
Christopher: I don’t always act like one. (He gazes at the cheese a little wistfully.) Is that really good? Our scribbler seems to like it, too.
Madam Mousenip: (gravely) Cheese is one of the greatest pleasures in life as our scribbler knows. This may be why she’s been honored with the nickname of “Mousewife”, due to having a little of our wisdom and taste.
Christopher: (a tiny smile playing at the corner of his mouth) I’m sure.
Madam Mousenip: I do pity you, you poor creature. Not only are you hideously ugly, but you cannot enjoy cheese? Our scribbler must have been feeling sadistic when she created you.
Christopher: I often wonder if she wasn’t. (He gives the mouse a sideways glance.) Am I so ugly?
Madam Mousenip: Oh, my dear giant, that’s not much of a snout you’ve got. Not to mention your jaw is non-existent. And all you’ve got is one patch of fur on your head!
Christopher: (reaching up to touch his hair) That’s true.
Madam Mousenip: I do pity you. I’d bite you, giving you a face of astounding beauty, but my teeth no longer have the magic they once did. (Her paw twitches.)
Christopher: I’m very sorry to hear that. Thank you anyway.
Madam Mousenip: Well, I must be off. I’ve got a warren filled with the laziest of wastes of fur lying around, sleeping. That Cheesecurd is the worst. (She sniffs again.) I almost think being chased by a cat might be good for him.
Christopher: (gravely) Surely not. The cat might kill him.
Madam Mousenip: Yes, you’re right. I suppose that’s too cruel a fate, even for Cheesecurd. Still a mouse’s life is full of peril and opportunity. You can’t waste too much of it, hiding in a pile of tissue.
Christopher: No, I suppose you can’t.
Madam Mousenip: Well, I must scamper. (She nibbles at the block, filling her mouth with cheese before dashing down the table leg, running off.)
Christopher: (watching her go) Peril and opportunity, huh? I guess they do go hand in hand.
Somewhere outside the kitchen, a grandfather clock chimes, almost as if it’s agreeing with him.
If you’d like to read more about Madam Mousenip, Mousetrick, and the perils of a mouse’s life, check out Seven Tricks!
Nine Star Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/seven-tricks/