The Rat Race

The Rat Race
By Steve Balmer

Far beneath the VIBRANCY, COLOUR and ENERGY of the big outside World was Rodent Village, a place occupied by all manner of long tailed furry animals. Rodent Village was ran by the Wise Old Rats who over time had created a safe, friendly, albeit DULL environment for the occupants to live in. The Wise Old Rats lived in palatial style properties high up on the drain pipes looking down over the occupants of Rodent Village.

To keep the masses happy they employed the services of Mrs Mouse. They had entrusted Mrs Mouse with this task as she was hard working, HONEST and TRUSTWORTHY. She also wore her HEART on her sleeve and was never scared to share her life experiences which created an aura of RESPECT from her staff. Her days were spent managing the Mice Workers, who kept Rodent Village clean, tidy and just how the Wise Old Rats liked it. The Mice Workers were often young and inexperienced and were happy to go that extra mile to work for Mrs Mouse as they enjoyed listening to her life stories and the fact that unlike the Wise Old Rats they actually believed what she said. You see the Wise Old Rats constantly preached a message to the masses that the big outside World was a DANGEROUS, UNPREDICTABLE place for Rodents to live and that the SAFETY of Rodent Village was where everyone’s long term future belonged. Why would anyone want to RISK what they had for the UNKNOWN?

Mrs Mouse although content with her role as manager of the Mice Workers and well rewarded with whatever cheese she desired, always had a GUT feeling that something was not right. You see she wanted to see what the big outside World was actually like, rather just rely on the Wise Old Rats version of what it looked like. Although common sense suggested that she stay in her job that gave her SECURITY and much happiness to others including her family, she always FELT she was missing something.

The Wise Old Rats regularly invited Mrs Mouse to their huge homes, as they too enjoyed her company and stories. As time went by she began to decline their offers of an evening of opulence to spend more time with the Mice Workers after work in their humble dwellings. She had more FUN with the inexperienced younger Mice Workers, spending many an hour after work sharing stories, LAUGHING together and despite having nothing on the face of it in common with them, other than no understanding of the outside big World than the one portrayed by the wise old Rats, the mutual RESPECT for each other GREW and GREW.

As the relationship between Mrs Mouse and the younger Mice began to BLOSSOM so did their work in changing the overall surroundings of Rodent Village. Gradually the once DULL, DANK surroundings seemed to BRIGHTEN, so much so that the Wise Old Rats would look down from their lofty perches and surprisingly want to spend more time with their people, to experience this new found VIBRANCY. Despite this initial acceptance of change in Rodent Village, the Wise Old Rats gradually begun to feel sceptical and threatened by it. They were also SCARED that it may begin to look like the BIG BAD World to which their ancestors had told them so many BAD things about.

One night during conversations with her Mice workers, Mrs Mouse began to discuss what they all thought the outside World looked like. Various ideas and thoughts flowed like a RIVER, ranging from SCARY and DANGEROUS to COLOURFUL and FUN, however everyone was RESPECTED and listened to. Over hearing the RICH dialogue was one of the Wise Old Rats and angered by these discussions he scurried quickly up to his colleagues homes to tell them.

The very next morning Mrs Mouse was summoned to the Wise Old Rats homes and in no uncertain terms asked to stop spending so much time with the Mice workers or putting such thoughts in their heads. Instead of feeling upset she suddenly felt the WEIGHT had been lifted from her shoulders and standing up as a TALL as a GIRAFFE THANKED the Wise Old Rats for their KINDNESS and asked to be relieved from her duties. She quickly packed her bags and without chance to say goodbye to her Mice Workers was escorted to the train station.

Looking at the destinations board she considered the various other Mouse Villages listed that she could go to. She walked up to the ticket office and confidently asked much to the dismay of the ticket master for “A one way ticket to the big outside World please”.

Sat waiting on her own at the platform Mrs Mouse smiled at thought of the new LIFE that was in front of her. Suddenly her silence was broken by the LOUD noise of TINY footsteps and EXCITED voices coming toward her. She looked to see all of Mouse Villages Mice Workers coming onto the same platform; bags packed all holding one way tickets.

From their palatial homes the Wise Old Rats looked down onto the now DESOLATE Mouse Village and smiled knowing that it was back to being a safe, friendly, albeit DULL environment once again…………………………………..