The Mouse Ran Up the Clock

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
An old tale retold, perhaps wearing its mother's high-heeled shoes...

Submitted: August 29, 2012

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Submitted: August 29, 2012

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Dick was good at his job and was proud that he did it so well. He wasn’t a captain of industry or an airline pilot.  He had never been to university—to his friends he admitted that he hadn’t even completed high school—and was happy to settle for a job rather than a profession and, although it held no promise of promotion, for there was no ladder to climb, he was content.

Dick was a barman.

He well remembered his mother’s warnings when, as a child, he preferred playing football with his friends to studying or doing his homework. “You’re like a character in a nursery rhyme,” she would say. “Always playing, never working. Remember the tale of the mouse running up the clock. When it struck One he ran back down again. That’s how your life will be if you don’t study. Up and down, up and down, but always coming back to the same place. You’ll never get anywhere like that, young man!”

She had been right of course, Dick thought, but financial success wasn’t the only road to happiness and he earned enough money to provide a home for his young wife and baby daughter, although he hoped little Julie would prove to be a better scholar than her father.

Friday afternoon’s crowd was always bigger than the rest of the week. There were the TGIFers who thanked God it was Friday and the POETS who believed they should Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday. And, of course, there were those who came every afternoon for a drink or two. Or three.

One of the regulars was a surgeon from the emergency room at a nearby hospital and Dick certainly understood his need for a drink after long days spent patching up patients in what was virtually a human repair shop. The stress must have been enormous but the doctor was aware of his responsibilities and never had more than one drink—a drink which he sipped and savoured while the tension leached from his body. Of all the regulars this man’s drink was unique—he would drink only a walnut Daiquiri: that is, a Daiquiri with a walnut in it. He claimed that the walnut added a subtle flavour and Dick always kept a bag of mixed nuts under the bar. Some he nibbled if he became peckish, but the walnuts were saved for the surgeon.

So, that Friday afternoon when Dick saw the man working his way toward the bar, he reached for a glass, poured a Daiquiri, and looked in the bag. He was chagrined to realise that there were no walnuts left and, after considering his options, he slipped a hickory nut into the drink. He pushed it across the bar.

The doctor picked it up, anticipation on his face, and took a small sip. His face wrinkled a little and he took another, touching his tongue to his lips, tasting it thoughtfully. He looked puzzled. “Is this a walnut Daiquiri, Dick?:”

“It’s a hickory Daiquiri, Doc.” 


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