Bill O. farmer Bill O. farmer
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I love the way this paragraph is crafted-just drags me backwards while giving me directions.

Don Yarber Don Yarber
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That's the first time I've heard cartoons called "funnies" since I was about 10 years old! LOL>

Jason Dookeran Jason Dookeran
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The "And..." to start that sentence sounds a bit...odd. I'd advise not starting a new one, just letting it run on, but that's just my two cents.

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Daniel Bird Daniel Bird
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A Gerbil's Tale: The Mystery Of The Missing Crumbs

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She had a friend.

I came up with this idea while my sister, brother in law and their kids were talking about 'Wiggles' escaping his Gerbil Cage over and over again, until they found him hiding out under the fridge.

      “Ooh...just look at him Vinnie! He makes me sick, him and his high horse, and his stupid colourful Penthouse suite and his stupid shenanigans! And what kind of a stupid name is ‘Wiggles’ anyway?”

     Vinnie, a towering Goon for a mouse, replied, “Uh... I think its French Lennie.”

     “Oh shadaaap you big lug!” And the two mice kept their eye on Wiggles in his Penthouse far across the kitchen, past the sofa, just beyond the coffee table at the far end of the living room, way at the top of a towering Book shelf. And there he was, as usual, leaping around his cage, working on another escape plan, his fourth this week. 1 comment

     And further back in the darkness, over a game of cards, near the warmth of the humming motors of the fridge, ten tiny eyes blinked out in their direction, when a raspy voice called out, “Why don’t you leave him alone guys. He’s nothing. I mean, look at him hopping around like a flea! He’s friggin nuts!”

     Lennie turned back, convinced otherwise, “Sammy, it’s just an act! Can’t you see?” Rubbing his chin, a look in his beady eyes rang of distrust while his mind rang through with caution, well I don’t trust him. He’s a shady one that one. “Naw...Sammy...this one’s got something planned, I just know it. Wiggles is gonna be trouble! We better just keep an eye on him.”

     “Suit yourself, but I say it’s a waste of time.”

     And while Vinnie – standing guard – kept a good eye on Wiggles, a curious thought broke through Lennie’s mind causing him to interrupt their card game, “You remember when those cracker crumbs vanished last week? And the Froot Loops? Not to mention the three Puffs of Wheat over the weekend!” He looked to them all garnering their full attention, his little claws flat on the table, which was actually a Peanut Butter jar lid, “I think it was a Friday...” He pondered it seriously, running it over in his mind. “Wiggles got here on Wednesday.” He looked to them all, “We were out Friday taking care of that thing... When we came back, the crumbs mysteriously vanished and Wiggles was gone from his Penthouse! Nowhere to be seen!” Thinking on it, he was almost certain, it had to have been him... Who else?

     “Git attah here!” Sammy said, thinking him out of his mind. “It was a Saturday the Crumbs went missing. I remember because the Funnies were on.” He exhaled dreamily, taken away a moment, sighing deeply, “Ahhh... I love the Funnies.” 1 comment

     “Well, whatever day that was, I’m sure he had something do with those things going missing.” And from that point on, everybody knew Lennie wouldn’t stop. There was something about Wiggles he didn’t like. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but it was there, even if nobody else saw it. And Lennie decided he was going to get to the bottom of the missing Crumbs, the Froot Loops and the three Puffs of Wheat that went missing. Reluctantly letting them back to their game he walked off, his mind unable to let it go. Joining Vinnie under the shadow of the fridge – the light nearly touching their feet – Lennie said, “So what do you think?” 1 comment

     His eyes, seeming mesmerised by Wiggles’ nonstop leaping and jumping like a maniac, Vinnie said, “Uh...about what?”

     “About the missing crumbs you idiot!”

     “Uh...” He stopped and scratched his head, “Uh...I’m hungry! What’s for dinner?” He turned around, “I hope its crumbs!”

     “Good grief!” He slapped his forehead. And there he stood watching Wiggles wondering how he did it – how he escaped! It was then that he knew he had to make a stand, and since nobody else seemed to care, and nobody else had the brains to pull it off, the job was his alone. Leaving Vinnie to watch his favourite show “Jersey Shore,” Lennie walked back into the darkness, past the guys and their cards and out into the light and onto the front door where he disappeared back behind the wall.

     Back at his place he turned the light on, took a good long seat in his desk and got to work, mumbling to himself, going over the facts, writing them down as they came to him, “Wiggles arrived on Wednesday...” With his tongue sticking out in deep concentration, his pen writing furiously and his mind reeling with wild theories, he was certain he would get to the bottom of this, and then they’ll see that I was right all along. And he mumbled more, his pen doling out the facts as he saw them. “Saturday we headed out early. When we came back...the pile of crumbs – almost the whole stock – went missing. On Sunday it was the Froot Loops...”

     And like that, it struck him hard up in his brain that the perpetrator was there fiddling around in the stock-pile moments before they returned home. A sudden sigh stole from his lips and he slammed his fist into his palm, “That explains the awful mess on the floor!” And like that he followed the clues, going back to the scene of the crime, looking for anything that might give him that edge, might tell him who the perpetrator was. But he already knew it was Wiggles. Not for a fact, but just the same, it had to have been him.

     And for the next few hours his little mind worked the mystery, crawling along with very little clues to go on. There were too many tracks in and out of the pantry to gain anything conclusive. Too many claw marks. And the mess that was left behind – the same one that had signs of intrusion – as though a sneaky critter dashed out only moments before they arrived back was already cleaned up. It was then that he decided that he would have to do a little surveillance on his own. Tired and exhausted, and no closer to the answer than when he started he crawled deep into his bed and fell asleep.

     At exactly 3:33 a.m. his alarm roused him from a deep dreamless sleep. He rubbed his eyes, threw on his coat and prepared for his mission, collecting those most necessary items in a small back pack: knife, fishing line, grappling hook and flashlight. Oh yeah, and some cookie crumbs, just in case he became hungry. And with his Mouse Avenger mask on good and tight and his black gloves snug and fit he was out the door, soon racing across the carpet, racing past the nose of a giant black Mongrel named Baxter whose breath reminded him of what Dragon’s must spew in the deep of their sleep.

     And on he went, past the sofa, tip-toeing past another mangy – much smaller but equally terrifying Mongrel before racing underneath the coffee table and on through a maze of stacked movies and games until he was standing before the towering bookshelf. With that, like a tiny Ninja, he opened the pack and retrieved the grappling hook. After a moment, when he was satisfied that the coast was clear he began twirling it in his hands before letting fly straight up. And like a seasoned pro the hook grabbed good and tight. And after three such tries – one for each shelf – he stood in the shadow of the Penthouse Suite, tip-toeing closer and closer in the night.

     The Penthouse – Wiggles’ Gerbil cage – was fancy and colourful and much larger than it appeared from across the apartment. And from somewhere nearby he could hear a tiny little snore. Creeping along the side, he reached up grabbed a bar and hoisted himself up. The moment he took sight of it, his jaw dropped and he let out a thick gasp, immediately lost in awe! “Wow!” He was absolutely taken by the Penthouse Suite! “The guys are not going to believe this!”

     With his eyes roaming about he became instantly swept up in dreams of wealth and posh living, his little fingers holding tight to the bars. “Who woulda guessed?” The Penthouse was filled with all the luxuries one could ask for, jabbing at his heart, filling his mind with dreams of easy living, and there it was...the goldmine...a great big blue bottle of fresh water, complete with a nesting box overflowing with soft pillowy blankets of corn cob bedding and a shiny exercise wheel! Immediately Lennie hated it, a slight jealous tone sounding in his whispers, “This is supposed to be escape proof!” And it certainly looked escape proof. “How the heck does he do it?” It was right then and there that Lennie saw it: tiny specks of Froot Loops leading right up to the front door of the nesting box. I knew it!

     Taken up by the need to investigate a little further Lennie climbed straight up to the top, marvelling at the view, taken away momentarily, unaware that his sleeping quarry had stopped snoring and seemed to have magically vanished from his nesting box. Stuck in a daydream with thoughts of bathing, running on the wheel and digging and diving in and out of the corn cob fluff that laced the entire floor of the Penthouse, Lennie became thirsty suddenly before being taken up by the spectacular view. From here he could see the fridge and the top of the stove and the cupboards and... His eyes lit up! Cereal boxes... Great big colourful tasty sweet dreamy Cereal Boxes. A dreamy glaze took him away, and he was beaming at the sight of them, as though he were living his very own television show right here and now. And even from here, so far across the apartment, he could almost smell them. Almost taste them too!

     In a moment of weakness, his hands went out slowly in the direction of the Cereal Boxes (which, from this distance looked rather small and able to carry,) as if he could reach out and snatch them up and take them away and eat like a king for a long while. And then – like a sudden whip – it came to him: the sound of snoring had stopped. Directly beneath him, a pair of eyes stared right back at him while little claws hung precariously to the ceiling. Locked in a gaze with his prime suspect Wiggles, who, up close did not seem so frightening, and not to mention not very bright, Lennie stood frozen in fear.

      And like that, Wiggles spoke, “Hello there!” Big eyes, brown fur, he looked like a mouse. Not a street savvy, cool talking, quick to action mouse like Sammy or Petey, no, but rather like...Vinnie. A big fat stupid dummy, with a few marbles loose up in his brain. Unable to process the ordeal – the ordeal of coming face to face with a super-genius escape artist of a thieving loony – Lennie fainted right there, falling into a quick dream of running on the wheel, tiny white towel on around his neck, music blaring in his ears and a fresh bowl of water to take a dip to wind down before plopping onto the softest, most amazing fluffy bedding he had ever rolled around on in his life!

     Coming around, his eyes beginning to open, he saw a shadow hovering over him; a dark, googly-eyed wild fuzzy shadow! In a moment that caused his heart to dash off, he saw Wiggles reaching out for him which made his legs bolt forth with all their might, sending him straight over the edge of the book shelf, actually flying through the air in a slow-motion ‘movie-like’ special effect before landing on the carpet, instantly racing off at tremendous speed. On through the maze of movies and games, underneath the coffee table, past the little Mongrel and the big Mongrel he raced across the carpet and over the kitchen floor heading straight to the safety of the fridge where he slid into the shadows.

     Sammy, Petey, Bruno and Vinnie suddenly came around – still in their chairs, still holding the cards, suddenly disturbed from their sleep and good dreams of winning hands packed with aces and kings... “Whoah, whoah, whoah...! Lennie! What’s going on!” Sammy said.

     Lennie, out of breath and unable to speak for a moment, looked back in the direction of Wiggles’ Penthouse, making sure he was not followed. He turned to them, still gasping, his words racing out in incoherent babbling, his hands coming to life as though he had just come face to face with a cat, “Wiggles! Wiggles did it! Crumbs! Froot Loops! Nesting Box!” Pant! Pant! “Penthouse! Beautiful Penthouse! Wiggles...!” Looking at each other, Sammy, Petey, Bruno and Vinnie were quite shocked to see him donned in his Mouse Avenger mask.

     Sammy approached him, hands out, soothing him down, “Calm down Lennie...catch your breath and tell us what happened.”

     He began, “Wiggles did it. He stole the Froot Loops and the Puffs of Wheat. I saw the crumbs for myself. Musta happened when we were gone.”

     Sammy said, “So you were right all along. Good stuff kid. are we going to teach this Wiggles a lesson about what happens when you steal from us...?” Entering a slow methodical pace Sammy wandered back and forth, circling the others at the table, his mind working, wondering how to handle this situation. “Hmmm...” A thoughtful finger scratched his head and then tapped his chin before both hands went to the air as if weighing his options. And then he said, “I got it!” In his eyes was that same old fierce toughness that drew keen and serious from running crews in the walls of the apartment. “Listen up...” He told them the plan, ate a snack and went to bed, his mind still seething with revenge; his mind saying it bold and clear, Wiggles, Wiggles, Wiggles...we’re just going to have to teach you a lesson about stealing from us. Nobody steals from us and gets away with it. Nobody! He fell into a deep comfortable sleep.

     The next night Wiggles crept under the fridge seeing that the coast was clear. On he went, sniffing the air, listening intently for the bunch. After a time, only when he was absolutely sure they weren’t home he raced deeper beneath the fridge and into the light and back into the hole in the wall and down the hall a little ways before entering the pantry where, to his amazement an even larger stockpile of Froot Loops, Puffs of Wheat, Cookie and fresh bread crumbs seemed to call his name, like funny little whispers, tickling his senses and his belly. Unable to help himself he raced in and began to fill his face, truly loving the moment, the feel of the sugar entering his blood, the food settling in his belly. What a grand escape!

     It was then that the door slammed closed behind him, startling him to jump straight up, bumping his head. Slowly turning around, he backed into the corner, his heart racing, his nerves flighty. Before him stood two of the largest mice he had ever seen, pounding their fists in their palms while three more closed in around him; a mean streak in their eyes, coming closer with every second that passed. He dropped the Froot Loop, let out a submissive smile and gulped a huge chunk of fear that rose up from his stomach.

     “So...” Sammy began, “You’re the one who’s been stealing from us.” With a single finger he gave the command to attack. Vinnie and Bruno, fists still pounding their palms went in.

     In that very same moment a quick telling image rose up in Lennie's mind, revealing to him some incredible secret of the ages. In a moment that passed very slowly, just as Vinnie and Bruno’s fists went forth, a series of images had taken Lennie by surprise – images that he did not notice at first, images that could very well mean saving them from... The first image was of a small Kung Fu Gi hanging on the walls of Wiggles’ Penthouse. The second image was of the Nunchuks hanging on the wall. The third image was the most revealing. It was a poster of Bruce Gerbil Lee. Everyone knew he was the best!

     And like that, before Lennie could warn them, a big ol’ can of ‘five point palm exploding heart’ technique opened up, and all Lennie remembered were the colourful sounds filling the room with action! BAM! POW! CRACK! THOCK! CRASH! And like that, he fell into a nice little dream, going back to Wiggles, leaping around his Penthouse like a maniac. And now that he thought about it, the more he looked into Wiggles’ strange behaviour, it did not so much appear as though he were simply jumping and leaping, no. It now became very clear that Wiggles was leaping about in wonderful tornado kicks and tricky somersaults and incredible feats of martial arts!

     When he snapped back awake, Sammy, Petey, Bruno and Vinnie were struggling to their feet, while Wiggles stood in the corner, still hopping about lightly, still able to deal out a special hand of death, his Bruce Gerbil Lee Kung Fu ready as ever. Lennie, put his hands up, “Easy there Tiger.” Sammy, Petey, Bruno and Vinnie  raised their hands, as if to say ‘Okay, win.’ Sammy, rubbing his chin, while the others rubbed their faces, said, “I didn’t know you knew Karate Wiggles!”

     Wiggles, though not unscathed, returned back to his funny smile and big eyes, as if the moment had passed on out of sight, “I like Froot Loops!” A special kind of dumb, Wiggles began helping them back to their feet, wiping them off and standing them up straight. He looked down to his feet, where a single half eaten Froot Loop begged him to rescue it. He did. He picked it up and ate it. And to Sammy he said, “I’m sorry I was thievin’ in your pantry Mister.” He lowered his head in shame, “I’m just so...” he dropped to his knees in dramatic fashion, his hands shaking to the heavens, “weak... I’m just so weak...” With his head dangling, eyes looking straight into the floor, he said, “I smell em and I just gotta have em! I’m sorry Fellas. I need help. I’m gonna get help! You’ll never see me ever again!”

     Sammy, the wisest of them all, wondering how he might exploit Wiggles’ unusual talents, said, “No, no no...” He looked to them all, “You go on and take em. Take as much as you need. There’s enough to go around.”

     “Gee mister that’s really a nice thing to do. I mean after-”

     “Forget it Wiggles.” He looked to the others who were already on board, “Who are we to deprive you of your favourite food in the whole wild world?”

     Smiling big and wide, his hands filled with Froot Loops, Puffed Wheats and Cookie Crumbs, Wiggles said, “You guys wanna come to my house! I got a great view of the t.v. and Jersey Shore will be starting soon!” Excited and happy once again, he said, “I don’t have any friends. Would you guys like to be my friends?”

     And Lennie, rubbing his nose, his mind rushing back to the Penthouse and all its luxuries, said, “Sure Wiggles! That’s a fantastic idea! We were looking for someone to take Paul’s place in our gang anyways. We think Ert and Bernie of the fifth floor crew got him.” And he winked back to Sammy, before throwing his arm around Wiggles, “Say...that stuff you do...” his hands becoming a mash of Karate chops and slices, “you think you could teach us to do that?”

     And Wiggles was only too happy to have made friends, “Sure I can! It’s real easy!” And on they went to party in the Penthouse, filling their bellies with pure fresh water and racing on the wheel, flinging each other far across the cage and diving and digging in the corn cob bedding, the softest pillowy stuff they ever had the chance to play in. And they had put the fight long behind them and th missing crumbs too, and just then they became quiet, settling into their most comfortable spots, Jersey Shore began. And so the case of ‘The Mystery Of The Missing Crumbs’ was solved and all was good and well in their world; all but the fifth floor crew. But that is another story for another day.

The End

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