“That looks like a mouse trap to me,” said Marcus, wary. Since joining up with the mouse nest in this house, he was the new guy, and always picked on. He had to stay on his toes constantly.
“Whatever, dude, you’re totally paranoid,” said Norman. He was the worst of the bunch, and was always trying to set Marcus up. So far, he’d convinced Marcus to dart across the kitchen floor in broad daylight, sun shining and people awake and everything, just to bring back a forgotten piece of toast for Norman to eat. Norman shared with his buddies, and the only bite Marcus got was the tiny crumb left in his mouse after Norman grabbed the toast from him.
Just yesterday, Norman and his friends had gotten Marcus to run back and forth in front of the tiny mouse hole they’d chewed through the wall. He’d told Marcus to make as much noise as possible to distract the cat while Norman et al feasted on an unprotected bag of cereal in the pantry. Again, Marcus got nothing for his trouble except for an extremely near-death experience when the cat’s questing paw had gotten too close for comfort.
So, he was not taking anything Norman said at face value. They were all facing a huge, delicious gob of peanut butter. The only problem was, the peanut butter was attached to a flat wooden platform with metal and a spring. Marcus was pretty sure it was a mouse trap. He wasn’t a psychic mouse, but he could see into his not-too-distant future if he were to do what Norman wanted him to do. He’d be dead, head and body sandwiched between the metal and the wooden platform, while Norman and cronies licked peanut butter off his lifeless form. These guys were brutal. No mouse mourned another mouse’s death, especially when food was involved. It was a mouse-eat-mouse world, and peanut butter upped the ante considerably.
Enough was enough. He’d been the under-mouse for too long and it was beyond time to stand up for himself. Taunting a cat was one thing, as was darting across a kitchen floor, but a mouse trap meant the end. No escape. The grande finale.
“What did you say??” Norman demanded.
“No. If you want it so badly, you taste it.”
“All you’ve been doing is complaining that I never let you eat anything. You’re upset about the toast and the cereal. Now, when I let you go first, before any of us get a chance to dig in, you’re saying no? You’re the most bi-polar mouse I’ve ever heard of!”
Marcus didn’t know what a bi-polar mouse was, but he wasn’t about to let name-calling goad him into a mouse trap. “You’re right, Norman, you’re always right. I have been whining, and it’s time to defer to your leadership. You’re the head of the gang, you’re our leader. You get to go first.”
Marcus was met by silence. Until then, he didn’t even know that a mouse could look that surprised. “Eh, I bet there’s something better in the pantry. Wanna come?” asked Norman.
“I think I’ll be better off searching for food on my own, thanks,” said Marcus, and walked off, sure that he had just avoided death by mouse trap.