Across the street from the building was a small park with several benches. Alice crossed the street (after carefully looking both ways even though there was not a car or bicycle or anything in sight) and sat down on one of the benches. "At least I can rest a while," she thought. She sat there feeling quite miserable.

As she sat there in thought, she noticed a quick movement out of the corner of her eye and heard a scratching sound. When she turned to look, she saw a tiny mouse scurrying through the grass at her feet.

"You really are so cute," she said aloud. "How could anyone not like a bright-eyed little mouse?"

The mouse halted in its tracks and peered around at Alice. "Did somebody say I'm cute?" it asked in a squeaky voice.

Alice, of course, did not really expect the mouse to reply when she said something about it, but she answered as if it were the normal thing for a little girl to carry on a conversation with a strange mouse. "Well, I did," she answered, "And I really meant it!"

"Oh, thank you!" the mouse replied. "Around here there aren't too many people who like a poor mouse. They say horrible things about us. For example:

"Hickory, Dickory, Dock.
   The mice ran 'round the rock.
The rock struck one.
   The rest escaped with minor injuries.
Hickory, Dickory, Dock."

"Oh that is horrible!" said Alice. "It is almost as bad as the rhyme about the three blind mice."

"What about three blind mice?" asked the mouse looking at Alice curiously.

"Haven't you heard what happened when they ran after the farmer's wife?"

"No, can't say as I have," replied the mouse. "I do have some mechanical cousins that are blind."

"Oh! Well. It doesn't really matter. Ah... ah.... I just came from the building across the street, and the man practically threw me out because he thought I was a 'mouse lover', as he put it," Alice said to the mouse in an attempt to change the direction of the conversation.

"Typical! He goes around muttering 'I hates those meeces to pieces' and 'I am going to set a jinx on them.' I have come to the point where I try to avoid him, if possible; although I can really make the work load on him easier, if he would only let me. He is so old-fashioned"

"He did complain that he was overworked," said Alice. "Why wouldn't he appreciate the help?"

"It's a long tale. I have tried to be friendly with him, but he really got angry with me one day. I guess I shouldn't have asked what a space bar really is—I was just attempting a little levity."

"Oh, I have heard of that," said Alice. My sister showed it to me on the key...."

"Naw!" the mouse interrupted. "The space bar is where the crew members of the starship 'Enterprise' go to get something to drink!"

Alice smiled at the joke. "I suppose next you will tell me the 'Caps Lock' is used to 'keep your hat on'?"

"Oh, I like that," replied the mouse. "I will have to remember that, 'the Caps Lock is used to keep your hat on!' Of course, he..." and the mouse tilted his head toward the building across the street, "... wouldn't like it! He has no sense of humor. He is not only a key board, but he's also boring! He tried to hit me with a mouse club. It's a good thing my name isn't Mickey! Then he tried to catch me by throwing a net over me—an Italian one, of course, but I was too fast for him and ducked out of the way. "

"Exactly how can you help him?" Alice asked.

"Oh, that's easy. I can point to things very quickly—you know how fast a mouse can scurry!"

"Oh yes!" Alice said. "I have seen them run so fast."

"And, I can make menu selections."

At the reference to a menu, Alice once again remembered how hungry she was. "Oh, could you please tell me where I can find a menu? I am so hungry."

"Hmmm, I don't know what being hungry has to do with a menu...."

"But doesn't the menu have food items and things to drink?" asked Alice.

"Of course not! Only actions are listed—things to do. You know, you can make a choice of what to do."

"Maybe there is a choice on one 'TO EAT'?" Alice asked hopefully.

"I've never seen one with that on it," replied the mouse.

"Well, do you know where I could go to get something to eat? It has been such a long time since I have had a bite," Alice pleaded. "Surely you know where there is some cheese."

"Nope. I never touch the stuff. I understand you can get trapped by it. Oh, that reminds me, it's time to go," said the mouse. "I have to go find something. See you real soon! Why? Because I like you!" And with that it looked at Alice and with a tiny mouse tear running down its face continued, "You are a real friend. It is hard to find one. I will certainly miss you." It wiped its face with a paw, took a deep breath and scurried away, leaving Alice once more alone.

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