Wire and Ario have taken Balsam Creek by storm! Their hard work is paying off, and business is booming. When you find your purpose and pursue it with passion, success will come your way. When what you do helps others, that success is even sweeter. Wire and Ario are making their community better for all creatures; how can you do the same for your community?
Wire was grumpy.
Aunt Violet had joked at breakfast that she’d needed a crowbar to pry him out of bed. Grey skies and persistent drizzle made the walk to work miserable. Waiting in line at dispatch, Wire rubbed his eyes and yawned so long and loud he squeaked. The grizzled old vole standing in front of him turned around with a harrumph.
I wonder who spit in his mouse flakes, Wire mused, but soon considered a fresh angle. Maybe he knows what I was doing last night. His stomach filled with ice and dropped toward the floor.
He and Ario had delivered dozens of packages last night- twice as many as the night before. There was a definite need for night delivery. While many of the clients were night creatures- spiders, moles, slugs- there’d been a few parcels from regular rodent customers too. Perhaps word was spreading? Wire’s stomach fluttered like a Swallowtail feeding on butterfly weed.
“Next!” Soleil’s voice boomed over the din of the early morning rush and Wire’s heart skipped a beat. “Earth to Wire Brown!” The vole was no longer in line before him. Wire shuffled up to the dispatcher’s rough bark desk.
“Sorry!” he squeaked; his snout warm with embarrassment. “Um, how’re you this morning Soleil?”
“Better than you young Mr. Brown. Burning the midnight oil, were we?” The seasoned dispatcher leaned over the well-worn desktop and winked.
“Um,” Wire spluttered, his nose growing even warmer. He prayed he’d be able to keep his cheese biscuit down.
“Don’t fret on my account,” Soleil chuckled, then lowered her voice. “I think what you’re doing is great. Mind you, have a plan, Wire Brown. It won’t be long before the head cheese hears about this.”
Wire swallowed hard, pushing the biscuit back down to the depths of his quivering stomach. He took a deep breath. “We’ve got a plan- don’t worry.”
“I’m not worried, youngling. Here’s your list for the day. Off with you.” Soleil waved a white paw, dismissing Wire and calling up the next messenger.
If Soleil Dew was on his side, maybe more of the MPS would support Ario and non-rodent delivery and they would change things. Wire felt a surge of energy course through his tired legs. He glanced at his list and smiled. Soleil had given him the easiest route.
Stepping out into the now bright morning, it thrilled Wire to see a shimmering double rainbow filling the sky above Balsam Creek.
His day was looking up.
Wire finished his route just after lunch, which meant he could go home and nap before he headed out with Ario again that night. The burrow was eerily quiet when he arrived home. Wire fell into his unmade bed with a grateful thump- asleep before his head hit his thistle-down pillow. He awoke to the sound of giggling, his eyes shooting open when little Bran pounced on his chest.
“Mama says it’s time for dinner!” Bran yelled before bouncing off his cousin and out the door.
Wire groaned and rolled over.
“Mama says now!” Bran shouted from the doorway.
“All right, all right. I’m up!” Wire croaked as he sat up. His shadow fell long and thin across the clothes strewn floor. He stumbled into the dining room, one paw absently stroking his ear.
“Glad you could join us,” Uncle Cobble teased as the mouselings seated around the table tittered.
Wire sat heavily in his chair. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to sleep so long.”
Aunt Violet entered carrying a steaming dish of seed and cheese casserole- Wire’s favourite. As she set the casserole down onto the table, she kissed the top of Wire’s head, and his snout grew warm.
“Never mind sweetheart, you’ve been working hard.”
“Thanks Aunt Vi,” Wire said, pouring a glass of dandelion milk for Clover.
Dessert was Uncle Cobble’s famous blueberry tart- almost as good as Gran’s. When he finished, Wire felt he could take on the world. The mouselings insisted on accompanying him to the top of the street and waved and blew kisses until he crested the hill. The first star blinked on in the eastern sky.
“I am one lucky mouse,” sighed Wire.
Ario was in high spirits at their meeting spot beneath the daylilies. There were several other slugs, and a gigantic spider, waiting in line with packages.
“Am I late?” Wire said, plunking down his bag in the tall grass behind their makeshift desk.
“Nah, dude. The customers are early. Excellent news travels fast,” Ario drawled. “We’re, like, totally popular!”
“I can see that,” Wire laughed, watching a frog and two moles join the end of the line. “Guess we’d better get a move on!”
Soon, there were twenty packages piled on the desk. If this keeps up, we’ll need a dispatcher and another messenger by the end of the week, Wire thought.
“We’ll have to split up tonight if we want to get his all out- think you’re ready?” Wire asked after the last customer left.
“Totally,” Ario nodded. “Load me up, little dude!”
“All right- meet back here when we’re done?” Wire asked as he adjusted the strap on Ario’s saddlebags.
“Yup, Good luck, dude!” Ario shot off downhill while Wire headed along the fence line.
As he slid downhill, Ario hummed. This was it; he’d found his purpose. These last few weeks had been the best days of his life. He couldn’t go back to being just another slug. He loved meeting new animals.
He loved being useful.
Balsam Creek looked brand new and beautiful as he glided from spider web to molehill delivering his letters and packages. A couple of young spiders laughed at his saddlebags, but deep beneath his mantle, Ario knew what he and Wire were doing would make their community better for everyone.
His last delivery of the night confirmed it.
“Hello! Delivery for Mrs. Black,” Ario shouted at the molehill beneath the crimson Japanese maple. An ancient mole poked her head out in answer to his shout.
“A delivery! Oh, how wonderful!” She scurried out to stand next to the splotched slug.
“Just reach into the bag there, that’s it. Last one for the night.”
The tiny mole squinted at the envelope and squealed in excitement. “A letter from my sister. How wonderful! Thank you so much!”
“No prob Mrs. Black, happy to do it!” Ario noticed the moonlight glinting off the tear sliding down the mole’s whiskers.
“Thank you for including us night animals. It’s been so hard to get deliveries through M.P.S- I never make it there in time. This delivery is so special.” Clutching her letter to her chest, Mrs. Black disappeared back into her molehill.
Ario waved his tentacles in farewell as a wave of warmth spread beneath his mantle. As he glided to rendezvous with Wire, a smile spread across his glistening face.