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MOUSE1   9' A lame mouse and a blind cat learn symbiosis

When Mickey the mouse was just a little fellow, his mother left
the nest to go gather some food for her hungry family. But she
never came back. That meant that Mickey had to go out into the
scarey world on his own to gather his own food.

At his young age, Mickey was very small. He couldn't fight like
an adult and he couldn't run nearly as fast as an adult. But he
was very smart. He found out that a smart mouse could sneak
around and steal food better than mice who could run fast or
fight hard. He found that the most delicious food was found in
the bowls of cats and dogs.

Unfortunately, these same cats and dogs often slept next to the
bowl that Mickey wanted to steal from. So he practiced and
practiced being very quiet at sneaking food from dogs and cats.
He grew to be an adult mouse by sneaking and stealing food from
cats and dogs.

But one day, Mickey chose the wrong dog to steal from. He
happened upon a particularly large dog bowl. Big bowl means lots
of dog food nuggets. But then Mickey learn WHY the bowl was so
big. THIS was a junkyard dog! It was the biggest, meanest,
loudest, scariest dog Mickey had ever seen.

A junkyard is a place where old cars are stacked high and people
pay the owner of the junkyard to remove parts like mirrors and
lights. The junkyard dog's job was to keep people from stealing
mirrors and lights that they should pay for. But this junkyard
dog was really mean. He did more than scare people away, he
liked to bite. He even bit animals who strayed into the junkyard
but who weren't going to steal anything.

Mickey saw that if he was going to steal some dog food from this
dog, he would have to be the sneakiest he's ever been. He waited
until late at night, when everyone, including the junkyard dog
was fast asleep. Mickey stayed in the shadows as he worked his
way to the sleeping dog, stopping every now and then to see if
the dog was still snoring.

The dog was sleeping with his head against his dog dish. Mickey,
who usually climbed down into the bowl and ate several dog food
nuggets at a time, would have to sneak one nugget at a time out
of the bowl and eat them away from the bowl, because his chewing
sound might wake up the dog. So, this is what he did fourteen
times. But on the fifteenth trip back to the bowl, Mickey
accidentally dropped a dog food nugget, which hit the side of
the metal bowl with a clang.

The dog was await and snarling instantly! Mickey ran for his
life with the dog snapping at him all the way. He almost made it
to the fence surrounding the junkyard, when the panting dog
stopped to take a breath. So, Mickey stopped to take a breath.

Big mistake. It was a trick. The dog sprang at Mickey. Mickey
jumped toward a hole in the fence, but it was too late. The dog
bit him in the legs. And Mickey walked with a limp for the rest
of his life because of it.

Mickey spent the cold snowy winters in empty buildings, but he
soon found that the public library was a warm cozy place to
spend the night after all the people had gone home. He slept in
the open pages of the dictionary. (that's a book that tells you
what words mean.) Every night as he was falling asleep, he would
learn the meaning of a new word. By now he was the smartest
mouse in the whole world.

That's when he met another mouse who became his best friend. Her
name was Minnie. But one day, Minnie went outside to find some
food and she never came back. Mickey looked everywhere for her,
but he never found her. Finally, the snow melted and the weather
became warm, so, Mickey went back to his habit of eating from
the bowls of dogs and cats.

At one house a cat was lying beside his bowl. But he never
appeared to fall asleep and he never walked away. Finally,
Mickey decided to sneak up on the bowl and take a chance at a
meal.

"Who's there?" Said the cat.

Mickey crouched down and stayed still.

"I know you're there. I can hear you sneaking up on my bowl.
Who's there?"

Mickey peeked over the bowl. The cat was still lying on his
side. It wasn't like the junkyard dog. This cat didn't seem to
be angry. So, Mickey quickly jumped into the bowl, grabbed a cat
food nugget and scampered away.

The cat food was the tastiest Mickey had ever eaten, so he when
back for more.

"Who's there?" Said the cat.

Mickey crouched down and stayed still.

"I know you're there. I can hear you sneaking up on my bowl.
Who's there?"

Mickey peeked over the bowl. The cat was still lying on his
side. So, Mickey quickly jumped into the bowl, grabbed a cat
food nugget and scampered away, shouting, "My name is Mickey."

Since the cat still didn't even chase Mickey, he went back for
more food.

"Who's there?" Said the cat.

Mickey crouched down and stayed still.

"Is that you Mickey?"

Mickey peeked over the bowl, ready to run. "Yeah, it's me." He
said as he ducked down.

The cat said, "Have some more food, Mickey. Take all you want. I
never eat all they give me."

Mickey had been tricked before. This had to be a trick. So,
Mickey drummed his paws on the side of the bowl. The cat didn't
move. Mickey jumped into the bowl. The cat didn't move. Mickey
kicked around the food nuggets. The cat didn't move.

Finally the cat said, "Hey, Mickey, are you going to play with
it or eat it?"

Mickey replied, "Why don't you chase me?"

The cat replied, "I couldn't catch you if I tried."

"Why not?" asked Mickey.

"I'm blind." the cat replied.

Mickey said, "That's a good trick. I've never heard of that one
before."

The cat replied, "It's not a trick. I'm not faking. I'm really
blind."

But Mickey still didn't believe the cat. He sat in the bowl and
ate his fill while watching the cat with every bite. The cat
didn't move. Then, moving on his tip toes, he walked around the
cat to look at his eyes. They were wide open. Mickey prepared
himself to dive into the bushes at the cat's slightest move. He
was about to kick the cat in the foot to see if he would give
chase, but the cat asked. "Did you get enough to eat, Mickey?"

Mickey was very nervous. He asked, "I thought you said you
couldn't see me."

The cat answered, "I can't. We cats have a very good sense of
hearing. I could hear your every step."

Mickey asked, "So, you're really blind."

The cat replied, "That's what I said."

Mickey still didn't believe him. So, he crept closer and closer
waving his paws. But the cat never looked at him. Finally,
Mickey said, "Well, you sure look like you're blind. But why are
you being so nice to a mouse. Most cats EAT mice."

The cat said, "I get lonely. Nobody wants to talk to a blind
cat."

"Hey," said Mickey, "I'll be your friend."

"You will?!" asked the cat.

"Sure. What's your name?" asked Mickey.

"Felix." replied the cat.

So, Mickey and Felix became good friends. Then Mickey exclaimed,
"Symbiosis!"

"Excuse me?" replied Felix.

Mickey explained, "It's a new word I learned in the library. It
means that two animals can do together what they can't do
alone."

"I don't get it." replied Felix.

"Look," said Mickey, "You can't see, but I can. I can't walk so
good but you can. If we work together, we can do things together
we could never do alone."

"Like what?" asked Felix.

Mickey replied, "I could be your eyes and tell you where to
walk, and you could do my walking for me."

"You think that would work?" asked Felix.

"It will take a lot of practice. But I think we can do it!"
exclaimed Mickey.

With that, Mickey climbed up on the back of Felix's neck and
took hold of his collar like the reins of a horse, then, by
leaning left and right, Mickey got Felix walking left and right
all over the porch.

"Hey, this really works!" exclaimed Felix.

"Symbiosis!" Exclaimed Mickey "Two animals can do things
together that they could never do alone!"

Soon, Mickey had Felix running at a gallop all over the back
yard, around trees and bushes, avoiding the flower garden. They
got so confident that they were even able to walk on tip tow on
top of the fence!

They're next challenge was getting across the busy street over
to the city park. Mickey didn't tell Felix what he was about to
do but he had Felix jump eight times in a row, landing on the
hood of a moving car, the trunk of the next car, the roof of two
more, the truck of another, the windshields of two more and back
down to the sidewalk on the other side of the street.

"Did we just do what I think we did?" asked Felix.

"Symbiosis!" exclaimed Mickey.

The park was a fun place to play with other cats, and be chased
by dogs. And when Felix grew tired of being chased, Mickey
guided him up a tree, where they stayed and rested until the dog
went away.

"I love the park!" exclaimed Felix.

"Speaking of love," replied Mickey, "Here comes a female cat.
Let's go meet her."

"Oh, I don't think that female cats would be interested in a
blind cat like me." replied Felix.

"Don't forget symbiosis, baby!" said Mickey.

So, they climbed down the tree and ran over to the female cat.
She was a beautiful angora cat with thick fur.

"Say something. Introduce yourself!" said Mickey.

"Hello, my name is Felix, what's you're name?" asked Felix.

"My name is Felicia," replied the cat.

Felix passed by Felicia, then turned behind her to walk beside
her.

Mickey whispered, "There's something wrong, Felix."

Felix replied, "I told you, nobody likes to talk to a blind
cat."

"No!" said Mickey, "She has the same look I saw in YOUR eyes
when I first met you."

Felix replied, "You mean you think SHE'S blind too?!"

Mickey said, "Tell her you're blind. She may not know."

Felix said to Felicia, "It's nice to meet you Felicia. I want
you to know that I am blind."

"Me too." Felicia replied.

You could hear the warmth in their voices as they walked closer
together.

Felix asked, How are you able to walk around so easily?"

Felicia replied, "Symbiosis."

Suddenly, Mickey remembered his best friend from the library.
"Symbiosis" was the last word they learned together before
Minnie disappeared. Mickey cried out, "Minnie?! Minnie?! Are you
there?"

Then Minnie, Mickey's best friend from the library came out from
her hiding place in the neck fur of Felicia and cried, "Mickey!"

It turns out that Minnie was bitten by the same junkyard dog as
Mickey and was lame too. By the time she healed from her dog
bite and returned to the library, Mickey was gone.

And so the four of them found true love through SYMBIOSIS.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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