The Search for Lost Mice and Other Valuables
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Emma here, coming to you from Deborah’s bedroom, just outside that mysterious realm she calls a walk-in closet. Winston and I have just loped and bounded into our current positions (Winston’s particularly good at bounding) from the kitchen in less than a second flat. That’s a record, I’d like to point out.

We got here so quickly that we nearly beat Deborah, who was walking fast around the corner and down the hall into her room, around the computer, where she stopped, just short of the closet. She, whose legs are some million times longer than ours. And we didn’t come so close to beating her because we got underfoot, either—I’ve learned from experience that those shoes aren’t too soft when they land on you, so I’ve gotten good at avoiding them. I
t was just because we’re that good. We should be—we’ve been practicing a lot.

We’re now standing here in our carefully planned identical stances—since we’re twins this comes naturally to us, but we also try to freak Deborah, The Roommate, and all apartment visitors out with our twinnish poses on a regular basis—just for the fun of it.

We’re not here just to freak Deborah out, though—the pose is just an added touch. We’re here primarily because we love following Deborah around when she’s up and about in the apartment. Since she rarely lets us go anywhere outside the apartment, we’re always keeping track of what she’s doing, because it’s bound to bring variety to our lives. Humans do the oddest things sometimes—they often make us fall down purring with glee.

Deborah thinks the reason we follow her is that we’re merely curious, though. And though this is part of the truth, she doesn’t make the connection with the real reason. The real reason is: we’re looking for our toys.

During our two-year residence here, Deborah’s given us dozens of little pom pons, pipe cleaners, film cases, and—my personal favorite—little fake 1 1/2 inch long mice, among other more bizarre things like red-yarn-topped black and yellow stuffed carrots. And yes, we’ve managed to lose every one of the dozens in the 1100-square-foot apartment.

See, the thing is, it wouldn’t be fun to just bat the toys in a quiet manner in the open areas of the apartment. It’s much more daring—and fascinating—to pretend the object is alive and trying to get away and hide. That it’s leaping up in the air. That it’s jumping on top of a bookshelf trying to hide from me, the mighty jungle cat crouched under it on the floor. (Little does it know that my paw’s just a swipe away.)

Doors and crevasses are the most fun of all, and that’s been our downfall. There’s an extra challenge when you can’t actually see the prey—when you have to swipe your paw just within reach to throw it to another spot just within reach. Like I said, the mice are the best for this, because they fit perfectly in the cracks under doors (both regular and accordion closet), under the stove, under the entertainment center, and behind bookcases.

The problem is that with the most fun parts of these games there’s always an element of risk—the possibility of losing the toys in such places. And through this risky play, we’ve lost them all.

But there’s hope. Every time Deborah opens the closet door, there’s a possibility for a rescue operation. If we can’t get in ourselves to look for them, Deborah, like the good owner she is, might just shift aside a pair of shoes to find three or four mice and a wadded up pipe cleaner and throw them back out into the open spaces for us, thus providing entertainment for a few more minutes, hours, or days, depending on how skillful we are at losing them again.

Oh, look! She’s finished checking her email (those humans get so distracted sometimes from important closet openings) and she’s finally opening the door to the closet. Oh, Winston, quick, feint right…I’ll try to slide in to the left. Seems to me there should be at least a couple mice in there from the other morning….

Oh, denied. Deborah’s gotten way too good at quickly shutting the door behind her. So our only hope is that while changing her clothes, she’ll find that purple mouse that still rattles—it’s my favorite. We’ll just have to stand identical guard until we find out. And then, hopefully, we’ll have some more cat-and-mouse play time today, keeping us way too busy to talk to you. So, until later, it’s Emma, signing off for “The Cats’ Eye View of Entertainment.”

*Are Winston and Emma just followers, or are they rebels at heart? What kinds of things do they do when Deborah’s not paying attention? Find out on April 18 in the next installment of “The Cats’ Eye View of Entertainment.”*

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