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  • The sounds of the moment are interrupted by the voice of the mouse, who has finished his portion on the spoon.

    “I'm ready for desert.” he asked in a demanding sort of way.

    “Desert?” she replies. “What makes you think I would provide a desert to an uninvited guest, let alone a talking rodent?”

    “You said it was my last meal. Condemned men are allowed a last request, aren't they?”

    She thought about it for a moment and decided it would be perfectly right to grant a last request. So she reached into the porcelain cat next to the stove and took out a few crumbs of oatmeal cookies, laying them unceremoniously on the cutting board.

    “There you go, my furry nemesis. Desert.”

    The mouse eyed the crumbs with suspicion, his whiskered nose sniffing the proffered treat. He stepped up to them, took a tentative
    nibble, then asked, “Milk?”

    Impressed and appalled by his cheekiness, Helen rose from her chair and headed to the fridge, but the sound of the baby interrupted her train of thought. She turned in its direction to discover a cradle now stood where the television set ought to be. As she tried to approach the cradle to see whose baby was there, she discovered every step was like walking through a bog.

    “Have you forgotten my milk?” said the mouse, who was nearly done with his crumbs. “Its not like I have a lot of time, you know.”
    She tried to answer the mouse, but her voice wouldn't work. As she turned her head toward the mouse, it looked as if it had traveled a thousand miles away. As she turned back to the cradle, it too was further away.

    “What in the world is happening?” she thought to herself.

    Suddenly the room was twisting and turning and she was floating about. The world was no longer her room or her house, but some weird concoction made of of Escher and Salvador Dali ideas of reality.

    The mouse, who was now the size of a Cocker spaniel, was sitting up on his hind legs with an evil smile. “Excuse me, but if I don't get my milk soon, I will die of thirst instead of the poison in your stew.”

    She could barely hear him over the sound of the baby crying, which was now as loud as a freight train when you stood next to the railroad tracks.

    “Get it yourself!” she yelled to the mouse, rather petulantly, as she turned back to the cradle to silence the screaming baby.

    She trudged through the molasses-like air and boggy ground to the side of the cradle, but when she arrived, she found her cat, curled up sound asleep and snoring. She reached down to pet the cat, and the cradle disappeared.

    When she looked back at the kitchen, the mouse was now the size of a man. Apparently he had found her husbands overalls hanging on the hook near the back door, since he was wearing them and sipping a cup of coffee.

    “I've poured you a cup” the mouse said, pointing to a cup and saucer from her favorite china at a chair adjacent to his own. “Won't you join me?”

    The smell of the freshly brewed coffee wrapped about her like a warm blanket and she could not resist the invitation. Her feet were no longer bogged down, and she took three quick steps to the seat and quickly took a sip of the hot brown liquid.

    “Mmmmm.” she cooed as she swallowed that first sip. “You have to admit, I do make a splendid cup of coffee.”

    The mouse simply smiled and said, “Its poisoned.”

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