Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hello, 911? I Need Help -- Fast!

== Summary == http://www.genome.gov/15014549 g...

I was munching chocolate chip cookies drizzled with a thin, lacy, maple frosting when my stomach grumbled, dragging me out of a sound sleep. Cookies would be nice, I thought, savoring the fleeting memory of dreamland, except I haven't baked any in over a month. A muffin might do the trick or a banana, something to get me through until breakfast -- at 3 AM who's picky?

I started to throw back the comforter when I heard whispering. Now, since I'm the only human in the house and hadn't said a thing, you might regard this as unusual. So did I -- and there it was again, a surreptitious sliver of conversation coming from the left side of the bed. I slowed my breathing, trying to listen closely. "You go," said a tiny, authoritative voice, followed by, "No, if you're so brave, you go!"

Okay, I'm finally having a stroke. All those years of exercise and watching my diet and cholesterol have been a waste of time. I rolled over slowly, intending to reach for the cell phone on the night stand and call 911, when I noticed my cat sitting on the floor. He glanced up at me, placed a paw to his mouth and said (said?) "Shh." Oh, God, this is worse than I thought, first auditory, now auditory and visual hallucinations. I'm a goner for sure!

He must have noticed the panic forming on my face, because he sighed and crept to the edge of the bed as stealthily as only a cat can, leaned close to my ear and said softly, "I'll explain later -- watch and learn." Settling back onto the floor, he whispered with a deep, Darth Vader-like quality, "The cat's asleep. Old and decrepit, he needs his rest."

From beneath the metal heating radiator along the wall I heard a voice echo, "See? I told you, there's nothing to worry about. Go on, now's your chance."

"Wait a minute, don't rush me! Who said the cat's asleep, anyway? There's only you and me here."

The cat glanced up at me, smiled wickedly and winked. "It is I, the Great Mouse who rules over all. Before me felines fall to their knees and tremble!"

"The Great Mouse is a fable -- a fairy 'tail' for baby mice."

"Doubt if you will, but only I can assure you safe passage to the kitchen. Are you hungry? Then either you must starve or leap forward in faith. Come now, be bold!"

By this time I realized if I was really having a stoke, it was a doozy, and well worth a note to the New England Journal of Medicine, if anyone would believe me, that is. I eased up on one elbow to get a closer look, grateful for the night light in the hallway that shed enough dim glow to make things slightly visible. "We haven't got all night," said the first mouse (it was obvious from my cat's deception, what was going on), "get moving -- I'll be right behind you."

"Oh, all right, but if anything happens, tell Maybelle I was thinking of her." Maybelle? Maple? That's curious. Then a small dark figure darted from beneath the register practically running headlong into my cat who, naturally, pounced. Mouse in mouth, he looked up at me, snapped to attention like Snoopy and saluted with one paw, before trotting off with his prize. Without thinking what I was doing, I turned toward the heater and said, "Well, that was stupid. You're friend's toast. What are you going to do now, run home to Maybelle and offer 'comfort?' Don't you mice know anything about loyalty?"

"Loyalty schmoyalty," he said scornfully, "all's fair in love and war. Someone had to distract the cat and, besides, now he can be a hero -- if he lives."

"You give medals for this sort of thing, huh? Going above and beyond the call of cheese in the middle of the night? I'm glad I'm not a mouse. Now do us both a favor, shut up, get back in your hole and let me get some sleep."

At that moment, my stomach grumbled much louder than the first time. Startled, I sat up too quickly, scattering the bed clothes along with the cat, who quickly gathered his composure and began to wash. The dog just stared at me as if to say, "What is it this time?" I turned on the light and said,"Guys, you're not going to believe the dream I just had." They looked at each other and I swear, hand on the Bible, both winked.

"Hello, 911? I need help -- fast!"


(Public Domain image via Wikipedia)
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