#5 in the third series of Mouse stories. Read the others here.
My second undercover assignment is to the symphony, Mahler. Really?
My first was to a charity event with cello music.
Does someone really hate me or has my mother somehow stepped in? She would love to see me all dressed up and listening to classical music, even if it killed me. And it might.
The only good thing, besides clinging like some maniacal creature in an ugly seafoam dress to Tom’s arm, is that there is cheese. I even leave Tom’s arm to munch on Stilton with some thick graham cracker and Old Amsterdam on mini-pumpernickel slices and huntsmen with crusty bread. I eye the wines suspiciously, ever mindful of a previous incident of over-imbibing, but select a white wine that the server says is lovely, from Alsace, a Gewürztraminer. Yum. It’s hardly like wine at all. It’s almost syrupy with grapefruit overtones that accentuate the cheese. I’m pretty sure I’m in heaven.
As I load more Stilton on my plate I catch a glimpse of Tom watching me with what I can only describe as a mirthful expression on his face. No, he doesn’t stop me from enjoying my cheese, even though I know that he’ll make me work out fiercely next week to make up for it, even if I don’t need it.
I move off to the side and try to contain my mini-moans when I become aware that something seems off. Broad-shouldered men in ill-fitting penguin suits seem to be circling around the perimeter of the reception. I glance at Tom, but he’s talking to a willowy blonde and all I can think is: that figures. He’s smiling at her the way he never smiles at me, like she’s sex on a plate and he’d like a second helping, thanks so much. I’d like to stamp my foot and ask why I can’t be sex on a plate, but, for a change, I stick to being somewhat observant and somewhat objective.
One of the men has a bulge in his jacket near his underarm. A firearm, no doubt. I shuffle back a few more steps until I am flush against the wall and can see everywhere around me. The men send surreptitious nods to each other, positive that no one notices. No one except a mouse, of course. Certainly the guards stationed at the doors are unaware of what’s going on.
Suddenly the vice-president enters to some limited fanfare and I think I understand what’s going on, maybe, or well, not at all. All attention is on him, even that of the broad-shouldered men. No one notices as I drop to the floor and crawl under one of the linen tablecloths to hide under a table. With my pocketknife I pierce a slice through the tablecloth to look out of. If I’m wrong, I’m going to look insane…but when, really, has that ever stopped me?
All hell breaks loose then. Men converge on the vice-president. One of the broad-shouldered men shoots his gun toward the ceiling. Bits of plaster fall while residue wafts like fluffy clouds of smoke. Several women scream. Some of the men shout. People huddle together cowering. Tom is looking around, no doubt for me. I fire off a text, see him glance at his cell, but he doesn’t look toward me. He only nods once.
One woman’s wails reverberate through the room until one of the broad-shouldered men in a heavy accent says, “Shut it.” All the men are blonde and tall. Have the Swedes become terrorists? It seems hardly likely. Maybe it’s over cheese. Again, probably not likely, although I can’t immediately think of a single Swedish cheese.
I think our original undercover mission has just been derailed. Oh, goodie. Does anything ever go to plan? So far as I can tell, the answer is “no.”