Mouse That Lived In The Vacuum
by Tom Zeibig
Once upon a time, there was a young Mouse who lived by himself in the woods. He was looking for a new home, a warmer home, a home where the rain didn’t flood him and the snow wouldn’t find him. He hoped to raise a family one day, and he thought some cozy dry corner would be just perfect.
One day he came to a little cottage in the woods. He decided to see what was inside.
When he crawled under the door crack, and went inside, he couldn’t believe his eyes. Nobody lived there. It was just what he was looking for, a warm dry house.
He spent the day going from room to room, trying to choose the perfect place, but each of the rooms were so big that he didn’t feel very comfortable. “I need a cozy corner somewhere” he thought.
Finally he found a small closet upstairs. “This is a little more like it” he thought. He sat in the closet for a while, but even that was a little big for him. “I need something really cozy” he thought.
He was about to leave the closet, when he came upon the hose of the vacuum cleaner sitting on the floor. “Oh, a nice little tunnel” he thought. He went right in and climbed up thru the tunnel all the way to the top, and then slid down right inside the vacuum. Puff.
He landed in a great pile of dust inside the vacuum. “Oh great! there’s already bedding here! This is just perfect, I think I’ll live in here” he declared.
Soon he had all his belongings moved into his new bedroom inside the vacuum. He made a nice comfy bed, with a marshmallow pillow, and a little wrapper for a curtain stuck over the tunnel entrance. “Just Perfect!”
But, the best part was his tunnel. From his bed, he would climb into the tunnel, and a little ways to the top, then with a great squeak, he could slide all the way down the tube right onto the closet floor. “Oh what fun” he thought. He spent many hours that day, just sliding down his new tunnel.
The little Mouse lived in the vacuum thru the whole winter and into the following spring, but everything wasn’t quite perfect. He had a terrible time finding food, as all the cabinets were locked, and he couldn’t work the can-opener anyways. It was the same with water. Oh, there was plenty of water in a big white bowl that he had found, but there was a heavy lid on it, so he couldn’t get at it. “Quite sinister!” he thought.
The people that lived here before hadn’t left much. Each day the Mouse had to slide down the tube, jump down the stairs, out the door crack, and into the woods to find food and water. It was a lot of work.
But that was all about to change.
One day, in the late springtime, he was sleeping in his vacuum just as warm as he could be, when he heard a great commotion downstairs. He heard a door opening and closing, and a whole bunch of thumping around. The little Mouse didn’t know what to do, so he just listened to see what would happen next. He felt safe inside his vacuum.
“Ah it’s nice to be back” exclaimed Grand-pa(the Greater), as he put some suit-cases down on the floor, it had been a long drive.
Bella(the Charming) and James(the Inquisitive) slammed the door on their way in the house.
“Hmm, what nice sub-titles they seem to have” the Mouse pondered.
“I’ll race you to the top of the stairs” called out James(the Inquisitive). What a ruckus. James(the Inquisitive) was in front, but Bella(the Charming) had him by the shirt tail, and holding on tight. They were about half way upstairs when they were called back.
“Wait, come back here you two! You need to carry your trunks to your rooms first!” called out Elizabeth(the Expressive). She had little Thomas (the ponderous) in her arms.
“All right mom” and they both trudged back to get their suitcases and drag them upstairs.
The Mouse’s home shook as the children bumped their suitcases on each stair coming up. “Wow, what a lot of noise” thought the little Mouse as the children ran about, “I may have to move out!”
Just then the little Mouse heard the mother call to the children again “Kids, we need to clean this place up, can you bring down the vacuum from the upstairs closet?”
The Mouse was thinking “I wonder what that’s all about”, but just then he heard his closet door open. Suddenly his whole bedroom began bouncing around as James(the Inquisitive) picked up the vacuum. “Oh no!” he thought. He didn’t feel so safe anymore.
The children dragged the vacuum down the stairs, thumping it on each and every step on the way down, Thump, Thump, Thump….and finally at the bottom of the stairs a mighty WHUMP! The little Mouse room was now a mess, the wrapper curtain had fallen off, and his bed was all rumpled up wrong.
“Wow, I’m glad that thumping stopped. He tacked his curtain back up, and re-fluffed his marshmallow pillow. Seems to be quiet for a moment, maybe I should go out and see”. But, just as he started his slide down the tunnel, a HUGE noise started up and a huge wind came in thru the tunnel. It was such a strong wind, that it blew him right back up the tunnel and into his bed! VROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM…
“Wow, what a wind” he thought. It was the most horrible noise he had ever heard. The little Mouse just cringed in a corner, covering his eyes and ears as best he could. Oh the wind and noise just went on forever, and all kinds of things were flying down the tunnel and hitting him right on his backside. Soon he was just covered in gunk.
Finally the wind stopped, “Whew, *cough*cough” from all the dust. But, the little Mouse was just too frightened to move. He sat still a long time.
Soon he heard “Bella(the Charming), can you take the vacuum back upstairs for me?” called out the mom “we’ll start supper after I take a shower, I’ve worked up a bit of a sweat here with all this vacuuming.”
“Wow, shower!” the Mouse said “that’s a good idea, I’m kind of sticky, but I think I heard the word ‘Supper’. That sounds even better.”
Just then the Thumping started up again as Bella(the Charming) and James(the Inquisitive) dragged the vacuum back upstairs and into the closet. They made sure it made a nice thump on each and every stair – thump, thump, thump… until finally, SLAM, the closet door was shut. “Whew” they both sighed.
“Oh this is just awful” the Mouse thought. He sat for a long time in the dark of his bedroom. “I must try to get out of here before the terrible wind comes again.” Slowly he climbed into his tunnel and he slid down to the closet floor and rolled out into the hallway, coughing and choking on all that dust.
He sat there for a while in a pile of dust that seemed to be falling off of him. He was a real mess. There were cheerios stuck in his ears, a lollipop stuck under his arm. There were candy wrappers and old pieces of gum stuck everywhere. His fingers were all sticky, and there was something slimy all over his toes. His nice fur was covered with dust bunnies, and the marshmallow pillow was stuck on his head! “Oh my” he thought “What am I going to do! I’ll have to move out if these giants decide to stay here!”
But, just then he heard water running. “Water, inside the house here! Maybe the giants can lift the lid on that water bowl, and just in time, cause I really need a bath!”
He followed the sound of the water under a crack into the bathroom. At first he couldn’t find anything but the porcelain bowl with the lid, but then he found the tub. “That’s it!” he thought “That’s where the water is”. Without thinking, he jumped right over the rim and slid right down into the tub, “Yahoo!” he squeaked, and fell right onto someone’s big wet foot.
“EEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKK! A Mouse!” Elizabeth(the Expressive) screamed as she grabbed a towel and jumped out of the tub.
“What’s that sound” he thought, “why is someone screaming!” Quick he looked for a hiding place, and dove into the little drain hole which was full of water. He sat there in the hole and looked up at the screaming lady. “What a set of lungs on that one!” he thought.
“Grand-pa(the Greater), come quick! We have a Mouse! Come QUICK!” she called Elizabeth (the Expressive) as she leapt out of the shower and grabbed a towel.
Grand-pa(the Greater), came bounding up the stairs two or three steps at a time. “What’s that babe? Oh, a Mouse, OK, I’ll take a look. I’ll call you when it’s gone.”
Grand-pa(the Greater) stepped into the bathroom, and looked all over “I don’t see it babe, are you sure?” “Of course I’m sure, it ran right over my foot, and jumped in the drain hole!@#$”
Grand-pa(the Greater) calmly looked into the tub, and sure enough, he spotted a little Mouse nose just peeking out of the tub drain.
“A little cream rinse, if you don’t mind” squeaked the Mouse, but apparently Grand-pa(the Greater) couldn’t hear him with the shower still running.
“There you are little guy, It’s a wonder you didn’t drown in there little fella” he said.
It took a while, but he finally convinced the little Mouse to come out. He felt he should give that little Mouse a stern talking too. “Now look little Mouse, I’m sure you lived here a long time, and I hate to kick you out, but you can’t be taking showers with my wife ok?” Well maybe not that stern.
“But I really needed a bath after that vacuum trouble” the little Mouse squeaked, but still wasn’t heard.
“Ok” said Grand-pa(the Greater), “no harm done, just be careful, and stay out of the Vacuum”. The Mouse thought that was a good plan, and scampered out under the bathroom crack.
Just at that moment, Bella(the Charming) was in the hallway, and saw him. “Oh what a cute little Mouse, daddy can we keep him?” “James(the Inquisitive), what shall we call him?”
She thought out loud. “Mouse(the small)?, no, Mouse(the little)?, no”
“How about Mouse(the Piddling)?” said Grand-pa(the Greater) looking at the wet floor. Then James(the Inquisitive) thought for a minute. How about just plain old Mouse(the BeLittled)? Both children liked that name, and so it was, Mouse(the BeLittled).
“Good Grief!” thought the Mouse. While they were discussing his name, he saw his chance to run, so down the stairs he flew. “Catch him, Catch him!” Bella(the Charming) called to James(the Inquisitive). They both chased him for a while, but soon lost him under the Kitchen cabinets.
“Oh well” said Grand-pa(the Greater), “he probably made it outside somewhere”. But the Mouse just watched from under the sink, where he could see everything. “Whew, that was close!” as he caught his breath.
Mouse(the BeLittled) was kind of sad about leaving the house for good. “But, living here has become a problem” he thought, “It’s just too loud and busy for a little Mouse, too many giants. I wonder if I can keep my new name though – mouse (the BeLittled)”.
However, he soon found out that his nose would not let him leave. “Wait!” it called out. It smelled supper cooking!. “Oh Wonderful” thought the Mouse “I guess I could stay for just a little longer.”
Well it was a good thing that he stayed. He saw that the children were wonderful eaters, dropping all kinds of bits and chunks onto the floor. “Oh, this could be a good place to stay after all!” thought Mouse(the BeLittled) as a piece of bacon just missed him.
He sat there until supper was over, and everyone had left. “Ugh, who’s going to clean up this mess” Elizabeth(the Expressive) exclaimed, as she went up the stairs, “I’ll get it in the morning, I’m just too drained after that whole shower with the Mouse thing.” she concluded.
The coast was clear. The Mouse squeaked with joy, then covered his mouth quick, so the mother wouldn’t hear him.
The Mouse was alone now. He ventured out from under the sink, Oh what a feast he had.
“Ok, I’m staying, that’s it, final answer.” he thought.
He had cheese and chicken bits, beans and sausage. The boy had spilt some milk on the floor that was just delicious. “My what a night, and I definitely smell bacon in the fridge for tomorrow, wow!”
While he was just lapping up some after dinner coffee, he heard Grand-pa(the Greater) coming down the stairs. But the little Mouse was too busy eating to run away, and besides he felt kindly towards the big giant.
Grand-pa(the Greater) went to the fridge, and pulled out the milk, poured a glass and sat down at the table. Soon he noticed Mouse(the BeLittled) cleaning up the floor. “Hey little guy, find everything to your liking?”
The little Mouse looked up, but didn’t say anything because it’s not polite to talk with your mouth full.
“What did the kids decide your name was? hmm Mouse the something…” he mused.
“My new title is Mouse(the BeLittled)” the Mouse squeaked proudly, but the giant couldn’t understand him with his mouth full.
Then after a long pause “Oh, yes I remember, it was Mouse(the BeLittled)” he said.
“Just pretend you can’t hear me ok?” squeaked the Mouse, but again, nothing.
“Well, I guess you can stay if you’re going to help out like this all the time. Can we count on you to keep the floor clean?” “Yes sir!”, thought the Mouse. He knew he had found a home with this family.
So, Mouse(the BeLittled) set up a new bedroom right under the kitchen sink, and from that day forward, he would keep a watch on the kitchen floor. If anything fell to the floor, and it often did, he felt it was his responsibility to clean it up. He was a very busy Mouse. And he never went inside the vacuum ever again.