Conversations with Christopher: Madam Mousenip

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. 

Christopher: Hello.

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

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