The Adventures of Cake and Crumb: Schemes and Secrets and things that go clickity-clack in the night
Cake was progressing in his Scheme. He was a little more groggy in the mornings, and took a little more honey in his tea, and of course there were the mysterious dark smudges that sometimes appeared behind his ear or under his nose which he couldn't quite account for, and which nearly drove Crumb to distraction. But he was moving ahead with his work and no one was yet the wiser.
Cake was usually a very sound sleeper, but he, along with the rest of the family, had lately been finding his nights disturbed. And while he was sitting in the dark one night listening to the Baby fuss upstairs, something of an idea came to him, which Cake began to call his Scheme. A Scheme that he was trying to keep secret from Crumb for as long as he could. He hoped he would have a good deal of it worked out before Crumb caught wind, as Crumb had a way of squelching that Cake didn't appreciate. She was a very small creature with a very great ability to squelch.
Some time ago, an old typewriter had been gifted to the family, and as neither the Lady nor the Man had found time to begin cleaning and repairing it, Cake adopted the project. In the back of his wooly brain, Cake had an idea that he might like to be a poet. He had not been exposed to a great deal of poetry in his life, but he had heard just enough to be intrigued.
The typewriter was essential to his Scheme, as Cake was a rabbit with very short arms. He had no elbows at all, to speak of, or wrists or thumbs for that matter, so writing by paw was nearly impossible for him. He was only now learning to read little by little, mostly by way of eavesdropping during the Baby's story time, and by looking over the Lady or the Man's shoulder, he was gaining a small vocabulary. He hoped that by the time the typewriter was in working order, he would know sufficient words to begin writing short verses. Perhaps some "high coo." He was not yet perfectly sure what "high coo" was, but he knew they were short and mentioned often on public radio. And humble creature that Cake was, he assumed that if he wasn't up to high coo right away, he could write some low coo to begin.
So he spent a few hours each night tinkering and cleaning. It was a touchy business since testing the typewriter made such a racket. Luckily, Crumb was very often absent from their usual perch on the shelf. Cake was surprised by this, as Crumb usually maintained a strict bedtime and sleep routine which was not to be altered for any reason, unless PBS was showing an Andre Rieu special. Cake had not been able to divine where she went to every night, and didn't much care to, as long as it left him more freedom to carry out his Scheme.
While Cake was tinkering, Crumb was up to her own secret doings. But in Crumb's case, the goings-on were secret even from herself. In fact, the only body who had caught wind of her new nocturnal habits was the Lady, who had been finding strange scenes in the kitchen in the morning, and had not yet divined who in the house was responsible.
In her sleep-deprived state, Crumb had begun somnambulating, which is a fancy Latin word for sleep-walking. And she was not only walking in her sleep. She was eating. Not just a small something. Jars of peanut butter and loaves of bread were disappearing at an alarming rate. Now Crumb had noticed that her sweater seemed a little tighter over her hips, but she credited it to the Lady's poor laundry skills and the fact that she never took enough care with the hand-washables. Also she sometimes woke in the morning with little dabs of stickum in her whiskers or sometimes a piece of nut tickling her throat and of course she thought this very odd, but assumed she must have been remiss in her bedtime hygiene the night before.
Now I cannot tell you just how such a very small mouse managed to open very large jars of honey and peanut butter, or consume whole loaves of bread in a night. I only know that Crumb was a mouse of great determination, and that even in a state of unconscious, she possessed a very large force of will, which accounts for much.
So the nights were full of secrets, some of which were beginning to spill over into the day: Cakes's smudges, the disappearance of several small screwdrivers from the Man's toolbox, and the unaccountable appearance of small, greasy rags in the hamper. The Lady accused the Man not only of snacking too much before bed, but of becoming quite slovenly, leaving the kitchen in a disaster, with crumbs and smears of peanut butter and honey everywhere. The Man accused the Lady of using his tools and then losing them, and of cutting up one of his favorite old shirts to make rags.
The Lady and the Man couldn't make sense of it, but there was one person who had seen what was happening at night, and she wasn't talking. Yet.