‘Twas the night AFTER Christmas

Liberty Henwick

by Liberty Henwick

‘Twas the night after Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, especially the mouse.
As he lay on the sofa he rubbed his fat belly.
He barely could stand as his legs felt like jelly.
While visions of sugar plums danced in his head
He groaned, “please no more, I’d rather be dead!”

Mama Mouse frowned, she felt vaguely hurt
and she sniffed as she flicked tiny crumbs from her skirt.
Truth been told, she’d been stirring while cooking that meal,
“It really don’t seem that you care how I feel.”
And she dumped the plate down and turned on her tail
off to the study to check her email.

Somehow she’d lost the spring in her tail; she blamed her own life which was boring and stale.

But just as she turned, behind her she saw
Her once curly tail lying limp on the floor
Lank and lifeless it lay, not at all curly.
Not like it was when she was a girly.
Her tail was her pride in her maiden mouse days
the multiple coils ‘tracting masculine gaze.

But somehow she’d lost the spring in her tail
She blamed her own life which was boring and stale.
Now that the children had all the fled the nest
Mama Mouse found she had more time to rest.
But to great consternation, she also did find
She had nothing but domus to fill up her mind.

Instead of relaxing or pursuing a craft,
she realised her home was way understaffed.
She busied her paws with dusting and baking
and went to bed nightly her joints all a-aching.
She was fed up, quite frankly, she’d long had enough
It was high time she found some reliable staff.

It was all very well being a masterful cook
and feeding him every meal in the book
but she felt undervalued, her life had no meaning.
Tho’ she’d achieved the heights of the house cleaning ceiling.
She’d like to try stitching or dabble in painting.
She’d love to do bookclub, herself reaquainting
with hobbies and leisure and even herself
to bring down the music books up on the shelf.

“A butler!” she breathed, “Oh golly! Oh gosh!
My friends will believe I’m terribly posh!”

So she’d decided to cast off domestic fetters
and quietly sent out a number of letters
to The Lady Mouse Magazine employment pages
for a couple of maids she’d wanted for ages.
Eagerly now with bright button eyes
she scanned her inbox for any replies.

Dear Madam, she read, I’m delighted to say
I can begin my service the very next day
I have references aplenty, I’m most certain that
you’ll find me efficient,
Master Cat

“A butler!” she breathed, “Oh golly! Oh gosh!
My friends will believe I’m terribly posh!”
Her little straight tail started to tremble and twitch
as she felt a long forgotten familiar itch.
Her heart started racing, her mind was a whirl
and slowly the tip lifted up in a curl.

She sent a reply immediately then:
Come in the morning to Briar Terrace, Number 10!
And flicking her tail she traversed the house
to tell her good news to the corpulant mouse:
“We now have a butler, he comes in the morning,
I’m going to bed.” He looked at her, yawning.

The new butler was making a terrible noise—
he’d hoped for a gentleman with elegant poise.

Early next day as the birds started singing
Ma Mouse was awoken by the doorbell ringing
She leapt out of bed and patted her hair
She put on her robe, taking especial care
To apply some lip gloss and pinch her grey cheeks
While trying not to wake Mr. Mouse with her squeaks.

When she got to the door her eyes opened wide
She squeezed to the left, Master Cat stepped inside
He was handsome and dark and awfully tall
beside him she felt rather girly and small
“Please follow me in Mr. Cat,” she giggled
and she turned as her new curly tail gently wiggled.

Master Cat smiled as he purred to the mouse,
“I totally love your sweet little house.
Pray tell me m’dear, do you live on your own?”
She coyly replied, “I do feel alone.”
He sighed as he said, “Such a shame, what a waste
Of a trip for one mouse!” then he acted in haste.

He leapt on the mouse and swallowed her down.
Mr. Mouse lay upstairs and his brow it did frown.
The new butler was making a terrible noise
He’d hoped for a gentleman with elegant poise
But all he could hear was coughing and choking.
As if the man had spent all his years smoking.

And where was his wife? Her voice had gone quiet.
And where was his tea? He’d expect she’d supply it.

And where was his wife? Her voice had gone quiet.
And where was his tea? He’d expect she’d supply it.
He heaved his heavy wee bod out of bed
And walked to the landing scratching his head
And there in the hallway he spotted the cat
Lying with his tongue out flat on the mat.

He gasped with surprise but then oh alack!
He tripped on the stairs and fell on the back
Of the cat and the force of his overweight bloat
Caused the cat to eject Mama Mouse from his throat
Who hadn’t been swallowed her tail with its coils
Had saved her from being Master Cat’s spoils.

And quick as a flash Mister Mouse drew a knife
From the brolly stand then and ended the life
Of the butler, the cat who was gasping for air
At the foot of the Briar Terrace, Number 10 stair.
Said Mister, “My Dear! Thank the Lord! Let us hail
The beauty that saved us, the twist in your tail!”

Mama Mouse with a curly tail and Mr. Mouse asleep on the sofa

Liberty Henwick is a South African mother of four living in Ireland. She is a graphic designer, but has loved writing and the beauty of words since she wrote the first poem she remembers when she was nine. Now she writes a blog at libertyonthelighterside.com, where she speaks candidly about being a woman in her forties, as well as her loves, which include her family, faith, creativity, and travel.

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