Vol. 2, Issue 13, March 30, 2004
Be Careful What you Ask
I wandered into our News-Room the other Morn, thinking to give the lads a bit of Encouragement as they labored diligently on our next Issue; when I was surprised to see a bowl of Milk, partially spilt upon the floor by the Sofa where my Nephew was pondering some journalistic Inquiry with his Eyes shut.
"Ephram," I said with a polite prod or two in the less sensitive Areas; "Ephram, have you given up on Civilization altogether and forgone the use of Cups? Are you now drinking from Bowls?"
"Why, Uncle Zeke, that's not mine," he replied with a yawn. "That's for the cat."
Ah, of course, the cat. What was I thinking. I made to return to my Office when it occurred to me I did not Know of any Cat in our office. But turning around, I spied a spot of orange Fur amidst one of our larger Difference Engines. Closer examination revealed that a portly Felis domesticus had taken up residence therein, and seemed, in point of fact, to be snoring.
"Ephram," I added with a less polite Prod of the walking stick. "Why is there a Cat in our Office? Surely you have not taken to employing Animals for Assistants!"
"Well, we needed him to help take care of the mice," he murmured as he rolled over. "They were getting out of hand."
Simplicity itself, of course. What better remedy for Mice than a fierce Tom-cat. I could not Help but agree that Ephram had acted most Logically in this instance, and returned to decant my pre-prandial Scotch.
Only to return a moment later as a Thought occurred to me. "Ephram," I said with a vigorous Prod of the Walking Stick to the Head. "Why are there Mice in our News-Room? There have not been Mice before, by Jove! We are a News-Room, not a Barn!"
"Well," he said scratching himself rather Uncouthly, "I think the mice are here after the cheese we keep under the couch."
That of course is perfectly Sensible: we are each creatures of Appetite, and surely a Mouse is but following its Instincts when it pursues its natural Food source, be it in Field, House, or Dwelling. That is not to be Wondered at, I thought sitting back at my Desk. Except...
"Ephram!" I boomed as I Prodded Left and Right with my Walking Stick. "Why is our Couch serving as a Larder for your Cheese?"
"Hey, what was I supposed to do?" replied Ephram as he Deftly rolled onto the Floor to escape my o'er-zealous Prodding. "There was no room in the filing cabinets because of all the crackers."
I know when to Fold my cards, and strode Forthwith to the Club for an early and large round of Brandy. I had learned all I desired to learn - Much More, in fact! I should, of course, have known Better than to cry Foul over Spilled Milk. The simplest Lessons in life are among the hardest to Remember. Well, Live and Learn.