To Phat, 

one of my bestest friends who continues to inspire me every day,

love you forever and always.

It was a hot, sticky summer day in the forest, and to beat the heat, the forest animals did everything they could to remain cool. Some would sit under their favorite leaf and read their favorite book, while others would take a trip to the market and cool down with the help of some freshly scooped ice cream. 

However, Rat and Mouse took a different approach to staying cool in the summer heat; they preferred spending the day swimming with friends at their local creek. The two fuzzy creatures had been attached at the hip since they were just baby rodents, sharing blocks of cheese with each other during recess. They were best friends and did everything together — today was certainly no different. Under the beaming sun, Rat and Mouse had made plans to swim in the creek with their friends to fend off the most dangerous of rays.

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Rat was the friend who seemed to have everything in order; he was diligent, quick-witted and street-smart, while Mouse was a little more carefree, scatterbrained and book-smart. Rat always loved to tease Mouse about the one time he tried to make a delicious chocolate cream pie for their neighbors. He baked the pie that day so it would be extra fresh, following the recipe he wrote down step by step while listening to Rat talk about his new cooking class. But it turns out Mouse had misheard Rat. Mouse wrote down “mustard” on his notepad, but Rat had actually said “custard.” Even though Mouse thought the mustard request was a bit odd for a chocolate cream pie, he never bothered to double check with Rat to see if he misheard him. Instead, he went along with it and ended up creating a monstrosity of a dish. That’s Mouse for you.

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On this particular day, Rat jumped for joy as he made his way to Mouse’s home. He couldn’t wait to dive in the water and practice his new butterfly technique. But, unbeknownst to Rat, the day was going to take a turn for the worst. You see, everyone was responsible for bringing something to the creek — blankets, food and games — but of course, Mouse had forgotten the items he was responsible for.

Classic Mouse.  

“Today’s the day!” said Rat. “I can’t wait to swim, swim, swim!”

“Yes! I can’t wait to swim and relax as well,” said Mouse, wiping the sweat from his brow as he began to pack his backpack. Suddenly, Mouse realized his mistake.

“Wait, oh no! I forgot, I do need to get some things from the store before we head over.”

“What!?” screamed Rat. “Dude, you had all week to get your stuff!” 

“I know, I know,” said Mouse nervously as he started making his way out the door. “It was a really busy week at work, I… uhh… barely had time to cook dinner and do laundry! I couldn’t even call my mom, that’s how busy I was. And you know I always call my mom.”

Rat quickly followed Mouse out the door. “Sure… Wait up!” he shouted after him. “This better be quick,” he added in a mumble under his breath.

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The truth was that Mouse did not have a busy week at work. He did in fact have time to cook dinner, do laundry and call his mom. He simply just forgot about what he was assigned to bring. 

So off they went, under the striking sun. First stop, the Crumb Store, where the delicious bread crumbs were sold.

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“Alright, which flavor are we thinking of?” said Mouse as his eyes surveyed the shelf.

“It doesn’t matter to me! Just pick your favorite one and let’s get out of here. We’re already late!” said Rat, catching his breath and fanning himself with his tail. 

“Good idea! Okay, let’s see… hmm… favorite one?” said Mouse, rubbing his chin. “Everything Bagel crumb or Baguette crumb? Hmmm, this is hard, Rat. You know that I have more than one favorite!”

Mouse stood there for a second, thinking hard. The Everything Bagel crumb or the Baguette crumb? Two very delicious choices that had Mouse in a bind. The Everything Bagel crumb was savory, the spices’ many flavors creating a wonderful aroma, but the Baguette cru—

“Ahh you’re taking too long,” said Rat, throwing his arms up in the air.

Rat stood behind Mouse impatiently, before quickly ripping the money right out of his pocket and throwing it over the counter.

“We’ll go with the Baguette crumb! Thank you very much,” Rat said to the cashier.

So they bought their crumbs and out the door they went. But, as they made their way to the path leading to the creek, Mouse realized he forgot to get another item he was assigned to bring.

Classic Mouse. 

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“Ah, finally, all set, let’s get g—” Rat’s excitement quickly came to a halt.

“Ahhh! I forgot one more thing, Rat!” Mouse exclaimed. “Berries from the Fruit Stand!”

Rat was in disbelief. “You have got to be kidding me, Mouse, let’s hurry up and go! The water is waiting for us, I can’t stand this heat!” 

“This is the last one, I swear!” said Mouse.

Rat looked at Mouse and said, “It better be, because if not, all our friends will be done swimming in the creek by the time we get there.”

So off they went… again. Traversing through the heat, while the other forest creatures were keeping cool. Over the log, under the fence and through the grass, to make it to the Fruit Stand.

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Rat and Mouse walked up to the Fruit Stand vendor and to their surprise, there was only one fruit left on the shelves. This meant that Mouse didn’t have a chance to think hard about what to choose this time. It would have to be the lone strawberry. 

“Aw man, it looks like it’ll have to just be the strawberry this time,” said Mouse.

“Yeah, that’s really too bad, Mouse,” said Rat with a sarcastic pout on his face. “Let’s get it and go! The creek, our friends!”

“Yup, right, on it,” said Mouse. 

So with all their goods obtained, Rat and Mouse were finally able to start making their way to the creek to enjoy their afternoon swim. Again they went, over the log, under the fence and through the grass. Then they had to go over the rocks, watch out for the flying birds and jump through the coarse sand to finally make it to the creek. And right when they arrived, something was off…

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“Yeah, Rat?”

“Do you see what I’m seeing?”

“Yeah, the water is really clear! Looks great for a swim, don’t you think? This heat is unbearable.” 

“NO!” Rat shouted, “There’s nobody here! Oh no, I knew this was going to happen, the day is ruined. How could you forget the crumbs and the fruit!?” 

Rat fell on his back and put his paws over his face. He felt defeated because after a long day, all he had wanted to do was spend some time goofing off with his friends while they swam. 

“Hey Rat, it’s okay, let’s just go for a swim,” said Mouse.

Mouse walked up to the river and began dipping his toes in the creek to get a feel for the temperature. Mouse was trying to make the most of the situation even if his friends weren’t there. Suddenly, he heard a noise coming from the grass.

“Wait, I hear something, Rat! Getupplease,” said Mouse, squeaking out the words hastily.

The source of the rustling sounds from the grass revealed themselves to be Rat and Mouse’s friends, Chipmunk and Rabbit.

“Oh my gosh! Sorry we’re late guys, Chipmunk forgot to get the pie and carrots so we had to stop by the market to get them,” said Rabbit.

“I’m so sorry, it’s my fault. These things really do slip my mind,” Chipmunk said earnestly.  

Having heard all this, the only thing that Rat and Mouse could do was stand still while giving each other the slightest side eye. Rat was looking like he could explode in frustration at any second, while Mouse looked like he could scratch his head in confusion at any second. Even after a day filled with complications, Rat and Mouse were still the first ones to arrive and Chipmunk and Rabbit had encountered an equal amount of troubles.

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“Well, don’t just stand there,” Rabbit walked by Rat and Mouse, giving them both a slap on the back. “Let’s enjoy the water!” 

“Come on Rat, let’s enjoy the water! We’re all finally here, WOO!” said Mouse, running towards the creek.

“Yeah yeah yeah, I’m right behind you,” grunted Rat.

Rat stayed on the shore for a while, trying his best to keep his cool and not lose his temper on everybody. Then suddenly Rabbit said…

“Hey, wait a minute, Rat, where’s the sunscreen you were supposed to bring?” 

“Sunscreen?” said Rat, “I thought Chipmunk was supposed to bring that?!” 

“Woah, Rat, you forgot the sunscreen?!” Mouse asked, holding back a laugh with his paw over his mouth. “Looks like even you can be a little scatter-brained! C’mon Rat, let’s finally go for a swim.”

“Hey! …yeah, you’re right Mouse,” said Rat. “I guess we’ll all be a little more sunburnt by the end of the day.” 

It seems like silly mistakes happen to everyone, even Rat. Things may feel like the end of the world at the moment, but with time, everything will eventually fall back into place. At the end of the day, Rat was still able to swim in the creek with most of the necessary goodies and friends. So why not just enjoy his time? 

Rat would shortly get up and cannonball straight into the creek, finally getting to enjoy the water on a hot summer day.

Juan Pablo Marcos/MiC.


MiC Columnist Juan Pablo Angel Marcos can be reached at