Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Maxwell and the Map

Here's the first story from the January Writing Prompt!                         

This story is by Susan Wicker, from Writing Straight From the Heart.
I enjoyed her story, and I think you might too.                                      

The Map by Susan Wicker 

Rays of brilliant sunshine flooded the balcony, making it impossible to  hide. Maxwell peeked around the corner of the French doors and sighed.

“How am I ever going to get to that map?” He asked. He retreated to the mouse hole under the buffet in the dining room.  His stomach rumbled in hunger.

Why had he ever agreed to come to visit his cousin? At least back home on the farm there was plenty to eat.  The barn there was filled with all kinds of scraps as well as puddles of warm milk from the cows. The farmer’s garden was paradise!  One could eat until it felt like one’s stomach was going to burst and nobody cared.

Here, in the city, it was slim pickings.  The maid cleaned off the table immediately after the family ate and left not a single crumb . Maxwell knew because he tried, many times, to find a snack in the dining room but had absolutely no luck at all.

To add insult to injury, there were all kinds of huge steel and wooden traps placed around the house that could do some serious damage or even kill!  If Maxwell ventured anywhere near those death machines, his whole body went into a massive tremble.

He was sulking in the mouse house living room when his chunky  cousin, Matilda, came waddling through the mouse hole to visit.

“Where’s the food?” she asked. 

“I couldn’t get any,” Maxwell said, tears suddenly stinging his eyes. He felt like a failure.  He had tried to get to the patio where Cousin Hector Mouse had left a map to the house pantry but it was too sunny out there to chance it.

 “Come on,” ordered Matilda. “Show me the balcony.” 

Maxwell and Matilda quietly made their way to the French doors in the dining room.

 “Where’s the map?” she said.

 “The map is taped to the underside of the chair on the balcony,” Maxwell whispered.

Matilda then asked Maxwell to do a very daring thing. Out on the balcony railing sat Westminister, the family’s tom cat.

“You distract Westminister while I get the map,”  Matilda told Maxwell.

Not wanting to seem like a wimp, Maxwell  started tiptoeing out to the balcony.  His heart was beating so hard it sounded like a drum in his ears.  He looked around to make sure Matilda was heading toward the chair with the map.  It was all systems go.

Westminister was sound asleep but could spring into action at the slightest sound.. Matilda made her way up the leg of the chair with the map.

Rrrrrrip. Rrrrrrrip.  She began to untape the map to the pantry from the underside of the chair.  Westminister shifted his big gray body on the balcony edge. Maxwell felt beads of sweat  forming above his eyes. He kept swallowing, praying that the big cat would stay asleep. 

“All this for a meal,” he thought.

Maxwell sat right near Westminister’s tail, ready to bite it with all his might if the cat woke up.  He nodded to Matilda to let her know everything was under control.

Matilda had the map in her mouth and inched her way back through the French doors and scurried to the mouse hole under the buffet. 

Suddenly Westminister stirred.  Maxwell turned around on the balcony ledge and ran faster than he’d ever run in his entire life. Down the ledge he went with Westminister right behind him. That doggone cat  heard the mouse and was determined to have a nice, mid-morning snack.

Maxwell made it to the mouse hole just in the knick of  time. Westminister’s whiskers where sticking into the mouse house dining room but there was no way he could go any farther. Westminister retreated in defeat to the balcony ledge.

Maxwell and Matilda, both now ecstatic as well as famished,  followed the map’s underground tunnel to the pantry and their efforts were well rewarded. Fat round cheeses, freshly baked cherry and blueberry pies, a big bowl of chocolate pudding, and a tray of sandwiches were all there on only one shelf. All kinds of other treats covered other shelves.

Nibble, nibble, nibble. The two mice ate until they could eat no more. They crept back to the mouse house with very full bellies.

Maxwell laid down on his mound of straw and patted his tummy. 

“Matilda, I’m sure glad you got that map,” he said but Matilda never heard a word. She was fast asleep and snoring, almost as loud as the cat. And that's how Matilda and Maxwell spent the entire afternoon.

Copyright 2010, Susan Wicker. Used with permission.


  1. Susan, I absolutely LOVE IT! Bravo!
    Beatrix Potter...move over.

  2. Carol, I agree. Something totally different from what I was expecting from this prompt - but great and so much fun! :)

  3. Delightful story! Congratulations.

    Susan :)

  4. I thought so, Susan. Thanks for stopping! :)

  5. This is such a delightful story. Love those little mice. Well done Susan! :)

  6. I know, Raymonde, I love those little mice. I especially like Matilda wanting to know where the food is:)

  7. Brings back happy memories of the country mouse and the city mouse! What a cute story! Thanks for posting, Karen!

  8. Wow. Super cute story. I love it. Maxwell and Matilda are wonderful. Cheers Susan! Karen wonderful isn't it? :0)

  9. Robyn,
    Yes, it is wonderful! And I love the characters; they already have their own personalities. So cute.
    Thanks for stopping in:)

  10. Precious story! Maxwell is delightful!

  11. Tamika,
    I agree! Maybe we'll need to hear another story about Max the mouse one of these days:)


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