The mice thought they had me cornered. They did. But not in the way they hoped.
I watched as whiskers twitched and beady eyes squinted; I’d never seen a mouse squint having always kept my distance. They stood there like six-inch tall gods in their genderless, purple uniforms. I hated them, all dapper in their finery. Their little peaked caps were a natty addition, though, I’d give ‘em that, but they only antagonised me further. Enough was enough!
It was odd, but despite being in a Mexican standoff with a dozen rodents, their polished, silver ray guns pointed at my chest, I wanted to laugh. So, I did. At first it was a snigger, then a chuckle, then a great belly laugh that rolled up from deep inside to burst out of my mouth past dry lips. The mice didn’t like that, but what could they do about it? I possessed what they needed. Those little, wannabe rats just had to know if it was true. I could see it in their every straining neck, every squinting eye, with every agitated flick of their oversized ears. They were desperate to see the contents of the package I so desperately clung to, as though my very life depended upon it, which it probably did. Their fetid breaths stank of suppressed anticipation.
They waited until I’d finished, the tap-tapping of their booted feet giving their impatience away. One, who I presumed their leader, stepped forward of his comrades, gestured to my prize and snarled like a rabid dog, his whiskers twitching with angry intent.
He didn’t scare me. Oh, I knew his gun could put a hole right through me if he chose to use it. My gamble, roll of the dice, was that he wouldn’t.
I looked the tiny fellow up and down through narrowed eyes, impassive and calm. It unnerved him. I knew that because he peed in his Lycra shorts. All that genetic engineering and they couldn’t stop a mouse with a super mind and attitude to match from befouling the floor. How many millions, billions even, needlessly died in the Rodent Wars, both human and mouse, for it all to come down to this one moment? Almost two centuries of needless genocide and I had the power to end it all, asleep in a box. Cradled in my outstretched arms was salvation.
I didn’t have chance to make my move. Neither did the gun toting vermin. The package stirred. It unfurled from its slumber, licked its lips, a razor-sharp incisor slipping out from concealment with languorous ease. As if aware of his importance, the creature loosed a purr of epic proportions. The effect on the mice was instant. They saw the box vibrate, dropped their weapons, and legged it. For all their superior firepower, and all their genetically enhanced brainpower, they were still petrified of a cat. Instinct, what a bummer!
I didn’t know if there was more like him. I’d found the fellow living in the same barn that I was hiding out in. However, the mice didn’t know that. He could have represented a feline nation for all they knew and they couldn’t take the chance. The cat opened its eyes and jumped to the tiled floor, its sharp claws clipping on the tiles. It looked at the fleeing mice then back to me. It was so nonchalant. That cat oozed style. He meandered over to the dropped guns, bent to pick one up, no easy task for a cat, and then turned to me.
I didn’t like the look in his wild, green eyes, as he opened his sharp-toothed mouth and growled, “Get me some milk, punk.”