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Moustache

There was once a mouse who thought he could escape my eye and so set to cowering behind a cabinet. I had pulled the cabinet out from the wall a few inches, having the idea that the mouse, who had been crawling through my old plastic grocery bags in search for crumbs, might himself have the idea to hide behind it. When I heard the crawling and the desperate search for anything in my drawers, I rattled them to no end, but the mouse, persistent, would always return.

I had been practicing my aim with the rubber bands for wont of nothing better to do - it were bad times. Nothing less than divine providence could have made that mouse hide behind that cabinet like that. O! The sweetness of his rump in my sights, the band straining. I took my aim well. It was also no chance that the projectile smacked the mouse in the bottom which sent him running to a safer place. He deserved it. He was stealing my crumbs. I tried getting him again, but to no avail. He was quick and dirty. I'd hate for him to crawl up my arm and attach himself to my eyelid.

It wasn't long after this event that my landlord, from Malta, saw the mouse run into a hole in the hall and said he'd get the poison. He may have noticed the sadness in my eyes.

"He is your friend?"

I nodded.

"I'll get the poison."

I left that vile house before I found out the results. My neighbour said after that he could hear the squeaking in the walls as the poison ran its course. The poison, like the desert, once consumed, took all hydration from the critter till it was nothing but an old man's moustache.

I wouldn't see the mouse again until a cold day in may, when, in a diner in a mountain town just off the highway, I saw a peculiar old man with a top hat and cane. I was immediately drawn to his moustache. He sat at the bar and ordered a deviled egg and a sifter of brandy. I took a seat nearer him to examine his moustache more closely.

"A fine day!" He said as he saw me sit beside him.

"Quite fine. Quite fine indeed," I said, as I peered at his moustache.

My inspection of his facial hair made him rather weary.

"As fine as they get, I do believe."

"They don't get much finer," I responded, but by this time it was more of a mumble since I was squinting, trying to get a closer look at his moustache. The man was delighted to see his food arrive and as it did so, for no longer than an instance his moustache winked at me! It was my old friend, Mr. Mouse, now being sported beneath some man's nose.

As the man enjoyed his deviled egg and sifter of brandy I exclaimed: "Where did you get that moustache!" Some of the other patrons in the diner turned my way at the sound of my enthusiasm.

Looking around, a bit embarrassed, the man replied in hushed tones: "Why, I grew this myself. You may say it came from God," and he tipped his hat.

"Liar!" I screamed and got to my feet, my seat falling to the ground. Zeke, the piano player, had stopped playing and turned to look at me. Big Earl, behind the counter, reached for his gun. I reached into my pocket for the rubber band.

"Calm down, good sir, have your seat. I can assure you the moustache is attached to my face naturally," and to prove it, he pulled slightly on it. But I didn't believe it for a second. And with great skill, like a hunter in the woods, I pulled the rubber band from my pocket and took aim.

"Well, what are you doing! You must be mad! Put that down!" He tried scrambling out of his seat, but he was a short man, and doing so was harder than it looked. Deviled egg escaped his mouth. My concentration was acute. And, just as it was no chance that day long ago when the band hit the mouse's behind, so it was also no chance that I smacked the mouse once again, but this time in the head.

The hit was so great it sent his moustache flying and was revealed as a mouse to those in the diner. The patrons gasped. I put the band in my pocket and, like a gentleman, picked the mouse up and left.

He now accompanies me where ever I go and often whispers words of advice. Just yesterday, for instance, he told me not to eat the goo coming from the battery. I am truly blessed.

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