Something good

The brown mouse lived in a hole in the wall beneath the pantry, minding his own business, until one day a man came and patched up the hole with foam. Trapped within the cavity, with no other exits, he chewed the foam. It only made him sick, and thirsty, and so with no water he grew weaker and weaker, collapsing softly in the corner, resigned to die alone.

“Why the gloom snout?” said a cockroach, who had popped her antennae from beneath a miniscule crack along the wall.

The mouse groaned. “The foam. Can’t you see? They’ve trapped me in here, all because they’re too greedy to share their scraps. Do I eat so much that I deserved to die like this?”

The cockroach pulled herself through and put one of her six legs on the mouse’s paw. “There, there. Perhaps I can help in some way. You see, I am smaller and therefore able to slip through the wall.”

“But how could you bring me water. Your feet can’t hold water, which is what I need most. Even talking, like we’re talking now, is making my mouth so dry. I fear it won’t be long now before I shrivel up and turn to dust.”

“You are right, brown mouse, that I can’t bring you water.” The cockroach turned to scurry back through the crack.

“But wait,” said the mouse. “Please don’t just leave me here. I don’t want to die alone. You might keep me company.”

The cockroach chuckled. “Nobody’s ever expressed any interest in my company before. They usually scream and try to kill me. Why, just the other day a woman tried to crush me with a shoe.”

“We are the same, although more often than not people run from me. Running from someone so small! Can you imagine such a thing?”

“It is a cruel world.”

The mouse yawned. “Indeed, a cruel world, and now I’m afraid its time for me to close my eyes.”

“Good night then,” said the cockroach, again turning to leave.

“Before you leave though,” said the mouse, “please tell me something good, something that will make my passing less odious.”

“Well, okay then.” The cockroach came closer and looked into the mouse’s sad eyes. “You were the nicest mouse I’ve ever met. The only one, if truth be told. For the rest of my life, kind mouse—for the next two weeks or so—I shall always remember our time together.” The cockroach wrapped her two front legs around the mouse’s snout and kissed it on the tip of its nose. “You are my friend.”

“And you mine.”

At that, the mouse closed his eyes and fell asleep.

 

 

 

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