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These pellets are stale. Did you hear me, Claudia? I said, these pellets are stale! Fine, walk away. You wouldn’t know a good pellet if dropped on your head. And your hands smell of cabbage.

What have we today, hmmm? I see Simon has installed himself before light-up box. Curious thing. They line up before that thing like moths to a bulb. I saw a moth once. Flew into the lab from someplace, and nearly beat its brains out against the lamps. He was later laid to rest in the garbage can. I held a vigil.

Claudia, dearest, you’ve got a spot upon your coat. A stain, perhaps of coffee. Yes, we must change our coat then, mustn’t we? And there’s no need to be coy, I know why you wear them. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Don’t think I haven’t noticed you all absolutely cooing over my fine white fur. Though, I agree, it is a thing of beauty.

While we’re on the subject, I have a bone to pick. There seems to be a growth upon my back. I don’t know which one of you did it, and I’m not pointing any fingers here, but we all know it wasn’t there a few weeks ago. And it’s starting to become a nuisance.

Now you all know me, I enjoy a good prank as well as the next mouse. I thought running Steven through an ever-changing maze was hilarious. And this isn’t nearly as bad as that time you grew a nose on Jeffery’s ass. Poor Jeffery. The layers of that joke certainly weren’t lost on him. But now I seem to have – what is this, an ear? An ear. Right up out of my back. So, I think we can all agree that this joke has run its course.

Not that I wouldn’t mind an extra ear so much, if I could actually hear out of it. Couldn’t you have given me some sort of special, ultra-sonic ear? I could have had a super power, but no, the damn thing is useless. Now, I’ll admit its sculptural qualities are sound, but who ever heard of a decorative ear? It’s absurd. The other mice are snickering, Claudia, and I won’t have it.

Fine, ignore my embarrassment. Pour over your papers and papers and books, the lot of you. I can take it. I’ll not be the grouch. But be not surprised if your fingers are nipped next time you reach into my bin. I lie in wait, oh yes I do. I shall burrow myself into the shavings, tunneling to and fro. Only the ear left aloft. Like a fin. Ba-dum. Ba-dum. Ba-dum-ba-dum-ba-dum-ba-dum.

But seriously, do bring fresher pellets, would you? Claudia? Look at me when I’m squeaking to you! You know, I’m starting to think that you need this ear far more than I do. Claudia? The pellets!