Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: STIR (11/12/15)
TITLE: Mortimer's Plight
By Donna Powers
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“Dear Mr. Clement Clark Moore,
I hope you're happy.
I wish you no ill will, sir - and am glad you have found notoriety with your poem. It must be gratifying to hear your words recited by countless persons each Christmas Eve. But, while I must admit it's a touching poem, and it tells a whimsical story of one such Christmas Eve, I must protest the way you have portrayed my own role in your story.
I know I have avoided your discovery (although I once made your wife shriek) but I have lived within the walls of your comfortable home for many years. I forage scraps or two from your refuse bins and, once in a while, am fortunate enough to encounter a scrap or two of cheese discarded by one of your children. It is my job to gather these sundry items for my family, and I have always done so in a most efficient manner. You may not be pleased to know you have a mouse in the house; but even the best of folks have them, and we are here to stay.
However, none will ever know the truth about me; due to your accursed poem. It talks of how no one in your home was "stirring" - not even me!
I beg to differ.
I was most certainly scuttling about; that Christmas Eve, doing my usual hunting and gathering. But because of your famous words, my dear wife now believes I was sleeping on the job. This has caused me months of tongue lashings both from my beloved; as well as from her mother. May I say: if you regard a mousey protest as ineffectual, you have never met my mother-in-law.
Since the publication of your poem, my reputation among my fellows has also suffered. My fellow patriarch mice have begun scorning my company at our local fondue bar, and even my membership at the Country Mouse club has been questioned.
You went to the trouble of describing that evening’s activities by your children, your wife and yourself. You named each of the flying reindeer who landed on your roof, and went into great detail concerning the appearance of your midnight visitor. I saw and heard him, too – as I was, indeed, “stirring” on the aforementioned night. His appearance and resounding laugh are accurately described, by your words. Yet, your inference regarding my own alleged lack of activity has caused me the aforementioned emotional damages.
Since my reputation as a provider has been irreparably maligned (directly due to the worldwide fame of your poem) I am asking you for appropriate reparations. Providing me with a weekly round of cheddar would be adequate; or perhaps a few baby Swiss chunks. Just leave them in front of the hole, which you will find back of your easy chair. Even if my reputation is forever besmirched, at least my family will know I have been able to regain my status as provider, with these gifts.
I expect your reply within the next fortnight, or you will be hearing from my solicitor. Believe me; you do not want to encounter Mr. Ratticus Finch.
Mr. Mortimer Mouse ”
(Clement Clark Moore is the author of “A Visit From St. Nicholas” – better known as “The Night Before Christmas”)
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