Amos takes up jogging

By Gary Mitchell

amos the churchmouse:

a view from under the pew

Editor’s note: Amos is a church mouse who types by hurling himself at the keys, but he can’t use the shift keys, and he shuns punctuation marks — except for hyphens and dashes.

amos takes up jogging

boss i guess you heard
about my holiday cheese
binge the mouthy magpies and
busybody blue jays can t
seem to find anything
else to talk about this week

they could chirp and
chortle all they wanted to
about my eating habits
boss but it wasn t a problem
for me until just the other
day when i nearly got stuck
in the mouse hole in the
corner of the choir loft

it was an ugly sight
boss my rear end was jiggling
to beat the band just to
get my body unstuck from
that hole in the wall

i finally did get unstuck –
thanks to louie the songdog
who lassoed my foot and
yanked with all his hairy
might i m not sure boss
but i think my left hind
leg is now a bit longer
than my other three i feel
a little like the drunk guy
walking along the curb – one
foot in the street and one
on the curb – and wondering
why the world is tilted

i tell ya boss i needed to
go on a super-dooper
exercise program one that
would trim and tone my
little fat mousy hide

i recalled flashbacks
from the past – running
around a mousetrack in
high school – scenes of
fellow runners cavorting
in the bugtussle marathon –
what scintillating specimens
of athletic prowess exclamation
point here boss

so running became my goal
in life i was going to get
in shape no more flubby
tubby for me i had visions
of myself as a supercharged
lean mean mouse machine

come on boss humor me
at least quit snickering
under your breath

early the next morning
i donned my cheesecloth
jogging suit and charged
around the loop in the
church s fellowship hall –
for about twenty paces
that is – i tripped over a
wadded-up church bulletin
and landed smack dab on
my chin whiskers

so i decided to run a
loop around the church s
rose garden but i kept
being bombarded by a
band of nose-diving
mosquitoes i ran harder
but it was no use i was
too easy a target

i cowered behind an
old dead tree stump
and tried to retrieve
my breath and any
movable muscles i can t
make it i muttered to
myself when i thought
no one was listening

about that time sammy
salamander waddled by and
says why don t you try what
the indians used to do when
they ran long distances

what s that says me in
a wheezing whisper

each runner would put a
small smooth round stone
in his mouth and suck on it
to keep his mouth moist
while he relaxed and ran
says sammy matter-of-factly

okay says i and boss i tried
it but while i was running
and turning a corner marcellus
the ugly ungodly cat pounced
at me out of nowhere – and i
swallowed the little round
pebble – it choked me up boss

the next sunday morning pastor
leroy beetle preached on first
timothy four-eight that says –
for physical training is of some
value but godliness has value for
all things – exercise is good but
seeking god is greater says he

and all i could do was mutter a
resolute and contrite amen