Good Cheese

Good Cheese

“Nicholas, you over there?” called Hugh, a fellow always full of cheer and optimism.

Nicholas, who was in fact over there, gave a gruff, confirmatory squeak.

“I was thinking about getting some nosh,” said Hugh, patting his stomach with a paw.

“You’re always thinking about getting some nosh,” said a tired voice.

Nicholas gave another grunting squeak.

“You want some nosh too then, Thomas?” asked Hugh excitedly, a fellow never to be deterred by a dissenting voice.

A few moments’ silence passed between the three.

“What did you have in mind?” asked Thomas, a fellow quick to be deterred by optimistic enthusiasm.

“I was thinking we could pay the ol’ farmer’s wife another visit.”

Both Nicholas and Thomas gave an exasperated groan.

“I say the three of us have had enough of the ol’ farmer’s wife,” said Thomas, a fellow quick to be re-deterred when the notion of danger made its appearance.

Nicholas gave a perfunctory squeak that clearly articulated his agreement with Thomas.

Hugh contemplated their opinion on the matter for about a second, which actually amounted to quite the consideration considering his lifespan.

“Fair point, fair point,” Hugh conceded, his little mouth curling into a calculating and catlike grin.

The three lulled into a peaceful quiet.

“Boy, but that cheese sure did taste impeccable though,” said Hugh.

Fortunately for Hugh, neither Nicholas nor Thomas (or himself for that matter) could see the predatory look on his face.

“It was good cheese,” mused Thomas.

Nicholas gave a reminiscent, longing squeak.

As usual, Hugh led the trio as they scurried under the fence surrounding the farmer’s property.

“What’s the plan, Hugh?” asked Thomas, a fellow who often asked what the plan was well after the point when one should ask such a thing.

“Same as last time,” said Hugh, a fellow who never had the foresight to think of a plan. “We’ll go the cellar and get some of that cheese.”

Nicholas gave a squeak that suggested his approval of the plan. That’s how Hugh interpreted it anyways.

Whiskers and ears twitching like small motors, the three made their way to the side of the house where the cellar doors were located while only bumping into a few of the sprouting vines and dirt piles among the rowed garden. They pawed around at the ancient wooden doors until they found the small gap, and one by one they scurried through.

Hard, brown eyes watched them from inside the house.

Despite the impenetrable darkness, which was really no different than the darkness they experienced outside, the cellar came alive to their keen senses. The pungent aroma of their goal wafted past their twitching noses and their bodies shuddered with anticipation. They scurried over, jostling one another like racing children, and climbed the shelves. Without pomp or ceremony, the three bared their respective incisors and began to dig into the golden treasure.

Amid the chewing and ecstasy, they almost missed it.

Their heads shot up, mouths bulging with cheese, whiskers alert.

Footsteps?

The cellar doors were ripped open, rusty hinges angrily wailing. The farmer’s wife framed the door, a carving knife brandished in each of her rough, calloused hands. She flapped her large mouth, making a few of her bellowing, inarticulate noises, as she descended the wooden steps, each groaning under her weight. The smell of her sweat and the sound of her hissing angry breaths made the cellar feel tighter than it had any right to be.

“Hugh,” whispered Thomas shakily.

Nicholas let out a terrified squeak.

Hugh stood up on his hind legs, chest puffed out. “Alright, boys. Nothing to fret. This slow ol’ hag hasn’t caught us yet and I don’t see a reason why today should be any different. We know the drill. Head towards outside and make our way home.”

Bolstered by Hugh’s words, the other two nodded and prepared themselves for the mad dash to the exit.

At home, the three of them nursed the stubs that had been their tails.

Hugh patted at his experimentally, admiring the smooth, flat end. Thomas held his as if it were the hand of a dying comrade. Nicholas pawed at the empty space that once contained his tail and gave an indifferent squeak before laying down.

“She really had a pep in her step today, didn’t she?” asked Hugh good-naturedly. “Quick as a snake, I tell you.”

Thomas and Nicholas shot Hugh withering glares, which Hugh failed to feel appropriately withered by on account of not being able to see them.

“Did you ever see such a sight in your life?” asked Hugh, shaking his head in disbelief. “Three blind mice with no tails?”

“Shut up, Hugh,” snapped Nicholas.

The room fell silent, less on account of Nichola’s words and more because Hugh started pondering when he last heard Nicholas speak.

It was short-lived.

“Good cheese though,” offered Hugh in conciliation.

***

Three blind mice. Three blind mice.

See how they run. See how they run.

They all ran after the farmer’s wife,

Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,

Did you ever see such a sight in your life,

As three blind mice?