Genre: Fantasy, Holiday, Short Stories
What risks will you take for the perfect bounty?
Mice have no business jumping in parachutes, you say?
I couldn’t agree more.
And yet, here I am, about to throw myself into the void with nothing but a piece of cloth tied to my back.
But at the other end, if we succeed on this suicidal mission? The mythical Christmas cheese platter with its deliciously creamy Morbier.
Join the adventure as our hero faces his fears in his quest to put his paws on the perfect Christmas dinner.
I hadn’t really thought I was afraid of heights before this moment. The kitchen table never fazed me, the kitchen counter was easy play, and the top cupboards were easy peasy so long as I stayed away from the edge.
But here I am, in the rafters above the living room, my tail shaking from fear and my paws clutching nervously into the lines in the wood as Lana is explaining for the hundredth time how to work the parachute.
Yes, parachute. On a mouse.
Years ago, Bibi, one of our forefathers—I forget how many generations, I’ve never been good with numbers—came across a picture in the living room, one of a human falling slowly from the sky and landing safely on the ground. The man wore a helmet and goggles and a backpack for the parachute and was welcomed by his friends with open arms.
Bibi swore he would make the same thing for mice and that it would change their lives drastically.
It certainly changed his life; he died when he tested the first prototype.
But before moving into the afterlife of infinite cheese, Bibi passed on his passion for flying to several other mice. The crazy ones. The ones who wanted to get the humans’ food from the kitchen table instead of the trash. Who thought mice should have the best parts of the cheese and not just the crust or the moldy bits. The ones who thought baiting and running away from the cat was a game.
Unfortunately, having no survival instinct isn’t the same as being stupid and they figured out how to make it work. Only lost two more lives during flight tests.
And now, here, today, it’s me who’s supposed to fling myself into the void, with nothing but a flimsy piece of cloth to save me from splattering myself all over the tiled living room floor.
See, as it turns out, human napkins are the perfect size for making parachutes for mice.
The research department nicked a whole lot of them from the humans, in different sizes and materials. The paper napkins weren’t solid enough, which Huba discovered to his chagrin when he fell to the floor with a splat while the napkin gently flowed down after him, folding in on itself as it did a little dance in the air. The high quality linen napkins were too heavy and didn’t hold the air well enough. Cara was more lucky than Huba in that she survived her slow-motion fall but her right hind leg would never be the same.
The cotton everyday napkins were just right. Yuba did a victory dance and was allotted an extra piece of Josephine cheese when he elegantly landed on all four legs after jumping off the old fridge in the basement. The parachute had unfolded itself perfectly, and the strings attached to the four corners of the napkin and Yuba’s four legs held without a problem.
The prototype was validated.
Which is how it ended up on my back. I’m in the best team of hunters our family has seen in generations. Our team of four has pulled off the most impressive catches, going from an entire loaf of bread to two choice pieces of Roquefort blue cheese. That last one earned us our names in the hall of fame.
So it seemed natural—to everyone except me, that is—that our team should use the parachutes to pull off the heist of the decade.