New year, new plans. I’ve challenged myself to share my work publicly, at least once a month, for the coming year. I’ve challenged myself before, but this time I hope my goals for 2017 are a little more concrete. More achievable because they will be measurable.
So, without further ado, I am going to share with you the first chapter of my early chapter book, Wire: Messenger Mouse. My current work in progress stars the intrepid little mouse messenger, but before I share the new stuff, I thought it would be best to take you to the beginning of his story. Enjoy!
Wire Brown: Messenger Mouse
“Wire! This is the third time I’ve called you! You’re gonna be late! Don’t make me send the little ones in there!” Wire groaned and threw the covers off his head, rolling over to glance at the clock.
“Holy cheese!” he cried, jumping out of bed. “Now, where did I leave my pants?” Wire absently rubbed his right ear as he searched amid the clothes and books scattered across the floor. Geesh, I really do need to clean this place up, he thought. Pants located, he scurried into the kitchen, to find all six mouselings and Aunt Violet seated at the breakfast table.
Honey coloured morning light streamed through the window and cast everything on the table in its warm glow. Wire could see a slice of blueberry coloured sky at the top of the hill their nest was on. It’s going to going to be an awesome day!
“Nice of you to join us, Wire,” she said. The mouselings tittered. “I packed you a lunch so you can sit down and have some breakfast before you go.”
“Thanks, you’re the best!” Wire gave his auntie a quick hug as he slid into his spot at the table. “Did Uncle Cobble leave already?”
“He left at sunrise, sleepyhead.” Aunt Violet passed Wire a basket of cheese rolls. “He didn’t want to be late his first day as union leader. He told me to tell you everyone at M.P.S. is very pleased with how well you’re doing.”
Wire groaned, and Aunt Violet looked at him, one brow raised. “It’s just so boring, Auntie! The same flat, local route every day! I swear I’m gonna be able to run it in my sleep by next week.”
“Be patient, Wire Brown. Your uncle had to run the local route for a full year before he got the chance to do the trans-yard routes. Do your best, and you will get the chance soon enough.” Violet noticed the mouselings had finished their breakfast and were trying to sneak away from the table. “Hey you six, just what are you supposed to do with these?” She pointed at the chaos of cheese roll crumbs and empty glasses on the breakfast table, and the little ones returned, reluctantly, to clean up.
Wire walked with his aunt and cousins to the bottom of the slope and then gave each of the mouselings high fives and Aunt Violet a quick hug before turning towards the headquarters of Mouse Postal Service, or M.P.S. for short. The citizens of the tri-county area counted on M.P.S. to deliver everything from food, to medicine, to birthday gifts and letters to family and friends. “We’re the lifeblood of the mouse world, Wire.” Uncle Cobble always said. “We are the glue that keeps the counties together.” The employee entrance bustled with the coming and going of messengers ready to start a new day and Wire hastily lined up to receive his morning deliveries. He nodded hello to the many messengers waiting in front of him, preoccupied with thoughts of the long boring day stretching out in front of him.
“Wire Brown?” an elderly vole, small eyes hidden behind the thickest glasses Wire had ever seen, tapped him on the shoulder. “Mr. White would like to see you.” Wire nodded, and followed the chubby old vole into the head dispatcher’s office. In trouble already! Uncle Cobble’s going to kill me! The office door closed with a thud, as Mr. White looked up from the morning paper.
“Wire, we’re short of runners, what with your uncle away at that blasted conference and that clumsy oaf, Mickey, getting injured the other day. You’re the only flat runner I’ve got with any talent. I need you to cover your uncle’s trans-yard route, but just for today. If you show some talent, maybe we can fast-track you for the next route that comes up. What do you say?”
“Awesome! You won’t be sorry Mr. White! I’ll rock that route!”
Mr. White shook his head and frowned slightly. “Good luck son. Please close the door on your way out.”
Wire left the boss’s office and hurried down the dimly lit hallway to pick up his messages from Sol, the route dispatcher. Sol perched on a stool behind a battered desk made from a piece of fragrant cedar and flat rocks stacked on top of each other. Her fur was a grizzled grey, her whiskers curled and her dark brown eyes sparkled. Wire rocked back and forth on his paws as he waited for the mouse in front of him. He couldn’t believe his good luck. Sure, he thought, the trans-yard routes are dangerous, but he was a Brown. He had the postal business in his blood! The mouse in front stepped away from the desk. Man, I hope she doesn’t give me a hard time, Wire thought. Soleil Dew was a legend as far as trans-route dispatchers were concerned. It was Wire’s turn with the legendary mouse. She made him so nervous! He took a deep breath.
“Mornin’, Wire. I see you’ll be filling in for your Uncle Cobble today.” Wire looked up at the grizzled mouse behind the beat up counter and nodded. Sol squinted at a sheet of paper “Couple of tips. Watch out for the dog in yard one, that thing barks like mad. I’m getting reports of a garter snake in yard three.” Wire whiskers trembled at this news. Snakes gave him the heebie-jeebies! “We haven’t received any intelligence on Yard 5- guess you’ll have to figure it out on your own.” Sol was all business, staring at the young messenger seriously as she relayed all her doom and gloom.
“You worry too much, Sol. Relax, I’ve got this covered.” Wire blustered.
“Don’t you get too big for your britches, Wire Brown! Your aunt and uncle would be heartbroken if something happened to you.”
That hit home. Wire looked down at the scuffed floor “I’ll keep my ears and eyes open, I promise.”
“Well, I s’pose those ears could be an asset, for once,” Sol said, smiling.
Wire brought a paw up to touch his right ear. “What’s wrong with my ears?”
Sol chuckled as her assistant loaded letters and parcels into Wire’s arms. Then she waved to the next runner and Wire left dispatch, jamming his armload into his battered messenger bag. Wire pawed at his ear, as he paused in the early morning sunshine. ”So they’re a little bit on the big side, he said indignantly. “It runs in my family!”