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The Lonely Mouse

If you thought this story was about a little furry creature with whiskers, a long tail and an appetite for cheese, you’d be wrong. This story is about a mouse that lived on a computer desk at Brinkley and Co. in the big city.
After six o’clock, when everyone had left the office for the day, the stationery items were off duty and would come to life. On managing director Mr Brinkley’s desk there was Snap and Punch the stapler and hole puncher, the rubber bands, the pens in the pen pot and the paperclips.
But Click the mouse, the latest addition to the desk, did not feel welcome at all. Oh, she had been delighted when the humans had taken her out of that horrid dark storage box with all the other snooty office equipment, then packaged and posted off to Brinkley and Co. and had hoped that she would go to a better place. But if anything, it was a whole lot worse.
None of the other members of the desk would talk to her. Snap and Punch were far too loved up to bother with anyone else, the rubber bands only talked among themselves, the paperclips were too skittish and jumped at everything and the pens looked disdainfully down at Click as though she was rubbish.
‘Look at that fancy new wireless mouse,’ Miss Fountain said snootily to Mrs Biro, ‘She thinks she’s all it because you don’t have to plug her in like the old one.’
‘Well, you know technology,’ said Mrs Biro, ‘Always improving with time. Sooner or later even we pens will get replaced with something fancier.’
‘Don’t say that!’ cried Miss Fountain, ‘Humans will always need pens.’
‘And me,’ piped up Percy the pencil. ‘At least Mr Brinkley can rub me out if he makes a spelling mistake. He’ll never get rid of his old faithful HB.’
‘After he’s sharpened you enough, he will!’ taunted Miss Fountain. ‘There’ll be nothing left of you but shavings!’
‘Don’t be so horrid,’ said Click, who was sitting near the computer screen and had been eavesdropping. ‘Don’t you pens have anything nice to say?’
‘Who asked you?’ scoffed Mrs Biro. ‘Do us all a favour and butt out, rodent.’
‘I’m no rodent!’ Click retorted. ‘I’m actually very useful. Without me, the boss wouldn’t be able to use his computer. Then there’d be no business, and you’d all be out of a job.’
‘She’s got a point,’ said Mr Rollerball.
‘We had a perfectly good mouse until she came along,’ said Mrs Biro. ‘Now the poor old fella is wedged at the back of the drawer, probably never to see the light of day again.’
‘Well that was the boss’s decision, not mine,’ said Click indignantly. ‘So I think you should all make your peace with me. I’m not going anywhere.’
‘Humph!’ snorted Mrs Biro. ‘The attitude of young ones today.’
Click sighed; if only she could get across to one of the other desks and make friends with another mouse. She was sure they would be nice to her, instead of rude and resentful like the pens.
‘So what do you do?’ Click dared to ask Punch, who stood proudly next to the pen pot.
‘I help keep Mr Brinkley’s paperwork in order,’ Punch replied haughtily, ‘by putting holes into it. Now buzz off before I put a hole in you.’
‘I don’t think that would be possible,’ Snap pointed out. ‘You can only punch paper, dear.’
‘You’re quite right,’ said Punch with a silly smirk. ‘Well, you know what I mean.’
Just then Click felt something hit her hard. One of the rubber bands had catapulted a drawing pin right at her and was about to do it again. Click scuttled away and hid behind the computer monitor, feeling sad. Why wouldn’t anyone talk to her? She hadn’t done anything wrong, at least not intentionally.
Just then she heard what sounded like gentle sobbing. At first Click thought she might be hearing things, but sure enough there came the sound of distress emitting from Mr Brinkley’s top drawer. Click was unable to open it because she had no fingers like a human. Just then she had an idea.
‘Excuse me,’ she whispered to a nearby paperclip. ‘Yes, you. Would you please come and help?’
The little paperclip quivered and stammered, ‘the others told me not to talk to you.’
‘You shouldn’t let others push you around and tell you what to do,’ said Click. ‘Why not stand out from the crowd? There’s someone trapped in this drawer, and only you can pick the lock.’
‘I guess I could,’ said the little paperclip. ‘But how would I open the drawer once I’ve picked the lock?’
‘I could do it,’ said a stray rubber band, appearing out of nowhere. ‘But don’t tell my dad, he’ll go spare.’
‘Of course I won’t,’ said Click. ‘Thanks, both of you. Now let’s get to it.’
So Polly the paperclip and Ping the rubber band both put their skills to use by picking the lock of Mr Brinkley’s drawer and pulling it open. Click was impressed. ‘You’re both amazing!’ she applauded, much to Polly and Ping’s delight. ‘Thank you so much.’
‘We can be useful by ourselves, as well as altogether,’ said Polly triumphantly.
‘May I shall tell my Dad after all,’ added Ping. ‘I bet he’d be proud.’
‘Now let’s see who needs our help,’ said Click as the three of them peered into the drawer. It was dark and full of papers. A grumpy bulldog clip griped at them, ‘Hey! Some of us are trying to sleep in here!’
Click used her laser to see better – and there at the back of drawer was a sad old mouse, wrapped up in its cord and covered in dust.
‘Hello,’ she called out. ‘I’m Click. What’s your name?’
The old mouse looked back at her and sneezed, much to the bulldog clip’s irritation. ‘I’m Drag,’ he replied gloomily. ‘And I’ve been here all week with nothing to do. The boss has deserted me.’
Click felt terribly guilty, because she realised she had replaced Drag. ‘Well,’ she said after a pause, ‘he can’t have completely deserted you, or he’d have thrown you away, wouldn’t he? At least you’re safe here, in the desk. Perhaps he’s saving you for a rainy day.’
Drag stopped crying because she had a point. ‘I suppose,’ he replied. ‘But I’m old news, with this long trailing wire and heavy ball inside me. Why would he want to use me when he’s got you, all fancy and new?’ On that note, he couldn’t ignore how very pretty and sleek she was.
‘Well, you could be the spare when Mr Brinkley runs out of batteries,’ said Click optimistically. ‘I’ll make a deal with the batteries, and tell them to hide every so often so he has to order new ones when I run out. Until they arrive, you can take over as the boss’s main mouse.’
‘You’d do that for me?’ said Drag, enchanted. ‘Pretty and kindhearted, I reckon I’ve hit the jackpot.’
Click was charmed; he was old-fashioned and sensitive and she instantly fell in love with him. ‘These are my new friends, Polly and Ping,’ she said after a shy silence. ‘They helped me to rescue you.’
‘Well I never!’ Drag grinned at the paperclip and the rubber band with appreciation. ‘Thank you all, for being so kind and thoughtful. Now I suppose I should come on out of this drawer and see what’s been going on the past week.’
The pens, who had all been chatting among themselves, were rendered speechless when they saw Drag and Click together. The paperclips were stunned to see Polly out on her own, and Ping’s dad was equally astonished.
‘We should all get along,’ said Polly to all the stationery, ‘because we’re all useful in our own special way, together and individually. Mr Brinkley could never do without any of us – even grumpy old bulldog clip!’
‘She’s right,’ agreed Mrs Biro. ‘We are truly sorry for the way we treated you, Click. Can you ever forgive us?’
Click pretended to think about it. ‘Of course,’ she said at last. ‘All I ever wanted was to have real friends to talk to. And now I’ve got all that and more.’
And so from that night on, the stationery of Mr Brinkley’s desk lived in perfect harmony. And if that wasn’t enough good news, Mr Brinkley had even bought new members of the desk, a propelling pencil pal for Percy and a letter opener called Leonard.
Every so often the naughty batteries would go into hiding and Mr Brinkley would scratch his head and wonder where they’d gone, then while he ordered and waited for new ones Drag would do his bit as ‘the mouse of the house’. At least then, Click could have a break and enjoy some leisure time! She was a lonely mouse no more.

Diana Hunt © 2015

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