Melvin squatted over the cheesy moon river.
“Mmmmm,” he opined as he dipped his paw into the flowing yellow rivulets of cheesy goodness.
“Hey,” said Marvin (aka mouse number 2). “Don’t stick your hand in there. We just got here, and the first thing you want to do is contaminate our best source of running cheese?”
Melvin ignored him and continued to splash the viscous liquid into his mouth.
“You’re incorrigible. Here, take these.”
Melvin sat up and looked at the square crackers Marvin had thrust into his hand. He nibbled on one and his eyes lit up.
“Mm! Tasty.” He dipped a cracker into the estuary and used it as a vehicle for carrying more river into his mouth. “Even better! Crackers and cheese on the moon, who woulda thought. Hey, where did you get these?”
Marvin’s eyes avoided Melvin’s. “Um. I brought them from home.”
“They don’t seem like earth crackers,” said Melvin, sniffing the air suspiciously. Catching Marvin looking askance at a cave off to their left, Melvin sprang to his feet and began scurrying towards it.
“Hey!” shouted Marvin, racing to catch up with him.
The two mice tumbled over each other as they approached the entrance to the cavern, tripping and falling into a deep pit and landing with a loud crunch at the bottom.
Melvin blinked in the dark and felt behind him for whatever had broken their fall. He pulled out a loose piece of rubble and took a nibble. “Mm. So this is where you got them.”
“It seems to be some kind of calcified moon sediment,” said Marvin.
“It’s delicious. I can’t believe we found this place. It has everything we need.”
“I found it,” said Marvin.
“Okay, fine, you found it. It still has everything we need.”
“It has everything I need.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Marvin pointed toward a blue and yellow flag pointing up over the cave entrance. “You see that? That’s my family flag. I claim this cave.”
“You can’t claim the cave.”
“Says who? I put my flag on it.”
“Well in that case…” Melvin dashed out of the cave towards the river. Using his foot he scratched out the letters of his name on its banks.
“I claim this river.”
“You can’t just write your name in the mud to claim something. In fact…” Marvin pulled out another flag and placed it right over Melvin’s name. “My river!”
“Why, you greedy, scurrilous rodent you…” Melvin launched himself at Marvin and they began wrestling with each other in the moon mud.
“Hey!” The third mouse, Arnold, ran down from the spaceship to where the other two were fighting. “What is WRONG with you guys?” He pulled them out of the river, covered head to toe in liquid cheese.
“Great. Now the river is going to taste like mice.”
“Marvin was trying to claim the whole moon for his own.”
“So was Melvin!”
“Only because you started it!”
“You two.” Arnold shook his head and pulled out an official-looking scroll. “Did you never pay attention in mouse history class?” And he began to read:
“‘The Treaty of 1469. All terrestrial and extraterrestrial environments are heretofore declared the common heritage of mousekind, to be reserved for the sustainable, responsible use of all mice, equally, without discrimination, in keeping with the harmony and preservation of nature.’ In other words, we may have discovered this place, but there will be no individual claiming of any kind.”
Marvin and Melvin looked down at their toes. “Oh.”
“But that doesn’t mean we can’t stuff ourselves sick on cheese and crackers in the meantime! Come on!” Perking up, the two previously warring mice followed Arnold and had a nice, civilized meal on the banks of the river, relieved of their temporary desire to institute individual property rights on the moon.
- For the full recipe, check out Best of Flash Fiction Kitchen, available here.
This post has been shared on Phoenix Helix’s Paleo-AIP Roundtable.