D eep in the heart of the Rodentville Research Institute, a five foot tall grey mouse in a white laboratory coat was explaining research procedures to an attractive rabbit. This individual was Bunnicula Twitchnose who had recently joined the laboratory's staff after obtaining her Ph.D. at the prestigious Tittlemouse University of Rodentville.
"Ooh, Professor Mousekopf," cooed Bunnicula, as her instructor carefully extracted a live testing model from its cage. The ten centimetre by five centimetre figure was the latest in the Institute's technology, an advanced and revolutionary organism: the human being. ("The beauty of this model is that it is available in two sexes," Mousekopf had told his staff when the humans were originally introduced. "No more experimenting on flowers that can't decide whether they are male or female!") "For what are we testing?" Dr. Bunnicula Twitchnose demanded excitedly rubbing her paws together.
"The uses of Thalidomide for terminally ill rodent patients," explained Mousekopf, matter of fact. "Ooh Professor!" exclaimed his rabbit colleague, "doesn't it cause grotesque birth defects in humans?" "Of course, my dear," Mousekopf confirmed, "but it's development is absolutely necessary for the progression of the rodent species. It is definitely possible that many human infants shall be born limbless or maybe even blind if all goes according to plan. Three blind humans, three blind ..." he hummed the popular nursery rhyme absently. "Da da da da da da da da, three blind humans ..." He mercilessly stabbed a syringe loaded with a concentrated dose of the newly discovered wonder drug into a tender area of the gestating human's body.
"Ouch!" protested the tiny creature tenderly rubbing her bruised behind as a sniggering Mousekopf locked her into a tiny wire cage to await the results of the experiment.
At this point in time, Senior Research Assistant, Rabbitina Carotene entered the laboratory, the tap of her high heels irritating Mousekopf as she hopped across the linoleum. She paused before a cluttered workbench to inspect a vital experiment that was in progress. A male of the human species had been saturated with a sticky substance and placed under an ultraviolet lamp a few hours earlier. "Aha!" announced Rabbitina gleefully. "This experiment has been extremely successful!"
"Oh?" enquired Mousekopf with not totally unselfish interest. He always became excited when a new discovery was made in his laboratory, thinking he could claim it as his own. This is how he planned to win the coveted Mousington Memorial Prize for excellence in research. The experiment presently taking place with the sun lamp appeared promising.
"Tell me, Dr. Carotene," Mousekopf prompted, "what progress have you made?"
"Well," began the rabbit, daintily patting her ears which were neatly arranged in a bun on top of her head and secured with a colourful ribbon. "We can now prove conclusively that the Rodentious Protection SPF 650+ brand of furscreens is totally ineffective against the sun's rays. Why, this human subject was literally fried alive!"
Mousekopf lost interest when it was revealed that this experiment was not revolutionary. Curious new recruit, Bunnicula was unable to resist the temptation to poke and prod the charred remains of Rabbitina's experiment.
While this minor commotion was taking place, Cheesington McMousetrap, a Scottish patriot and a long time cleaner at the Institute, unobtrusively entered the laboratory with a broom.
"Och, tut, tut, tut," he scolded the scientists in a disgusted whisper, when he noticed the remnant of Dr. Carotene's experiment. "'ave yas barbarians no mercy?"
Preoccupied Professor Mousekopf and flustered Dr. Carotene didn't even acknowledge the eccentric mouse's presence with a nod. The Institute's staff were accustomed to Cheesy's meaningless chatter and had unanimously decided to humour him about the peculiar ideas that he often shared with them.
"Whatever are you on about, Mousetrap?" snapped Rabbitina short temperedly. She was disappointed that her superior, Professor Mousekopf had not hailed her experiment as extraordinary and was taking her frustration out on poor Cheesy.
"Leave him alone, Rabbitina," Bunnicula defended the mouse for whom she had a soft spot. Ever since she had begun to work at the Research Centre almost a month ago, she had felt indignant on Mr. McMousetrap's behalf at the manner in which his coworkers and the Institute's scientists behaved towards him. They merely regarded him as a simpleton and treated him as such. "Let the Mousetrap have his say," she demanded of her colleagues. She turned towards the cleaner. "Go ahead, Cheesy; what should we all be ashamed of, dear?"
"Aye," drawled the Highlander, "it's what yas do to them poor lil' 'umans 'at worries me."
"Are you referring to the medical breakthroughs that take place in this laboratory, McMousetrap?" snapped the professor, suddenly intrigued.
"Och, indeed I am, sir," replied the Scot politely, sweeping his plumed highlander cap off his head and bowing in the professor's direction.
"My dear fellow," Mousekopf enquired, "what has brought about this sudden change of heart? You have been employed at the Institute ever since your arrival from the old country. Our methods of research have never troubled you in the past."
McMousetrap drew himself up to his full height and cleared his throat importantly. "I 'ave recently joined the 'uman Lib'ration Org'nisation!" declared Cheesington proudly.
"The Human Liberation Organisation?" echoed Bunnicula Twitchnose in a whisper of shocked disbelief. "That group of radical rodents and rabbits whose aim is to free all laboratory humans?" "The very same," confirmed the activist.
Dr. Rabbitina Carotene moved instinctively to protect the cage where her experimental humans were housed. Although Dr. Twitchnose's newly trained scientific mind tried to fight it, the attractive rabbit was overcome by an overwhelming curiosity about the Human Rights movement. She was unable to contain herself and asked Cheesy, "Are you a vegetarian, dear?"
"D'finitely, me lass," McMousetrap assured her. "I 'ave'nt tasted 'uman flesh for many months now."
Dr. Twitchnose was convinced that her sweetheart was not a lost cause. Her maternal instincts surfaced. "What about protein, honeypie?" she asked, suddenly concerned about the mouse's nutritional intake. "Your muscles will simply waste away!"
"Do not fret, lass," Cheesy advised. "There's no ch'nce of that ph'nomenon 'ccurring. The nutrients in plant foods're of exc'llent quality."
Professor Mousekopf was silently evaluating the safety of his precious laboratory with a traitor on the premises. "If you have such strong convictions about your cause, Cheesinton, my lad," Mousekopf began, doing his utmost to maintain an amiable tone, "perhaps it would be in our - I mean your - best interests to resign from your position."
"I'm sure we'd all be terribly saddened by your departure," a tight lipped Rabbitina commented dryly, envisioning the blessed event.
"Oh Cheesy!" wailed Bunnicula, overcome with emotion. She took one of her ears and used it to dab delicately at her streaming eyes.
Suddenly, some powerful force surfaced in Senior Cleaner Cheesington McMousetrap. A determined gleam lit up his eyes as he opened his mouth to deliver one final, shattering speech to the staff of the Rodentville Research Institute. "One day," he prophesied, "be it t'morrow or a million years from now, the tables'll be turned. 'uman beings' intelligence'll pr'gress at an unprecedented rate. They shall undoubt'dly 'scape from our clutches and settle in large colonies. When ev'lution 'as its way, and 'uman beings are as tall as the trees, they will consume our brothers and become strong while we grow weak. They will aim to develop futuristic technology and engage our species in cruel and tort'rous experiments to 'dvance their own species. The suffering that they endured at our 'ands'll linger in the depths of their subconscious and return to 'aunt the animal kingdom."
When Cheesington's speech had reached its conclusion, Bunnicula giggled nervously at his ridiculous ideas. Rabbitina chuckled wholeheartedly as she prepared to vivisect a tiny human being, unheeding McMousetrap's warning. Professor Mousekopf's reaction startled young Cheesy most of all. His cruel weasel like face was contorted in a merciless snigger. He simply tossed back his head, and as his staff looked on, he laughed and laughed and laughed...
Copyright © 1992 Ilanit Tof , All Rights Reserved.