The Gerbil Crisis

“What on Earth just happened?” said Mrs Jenkins,

“Martin dropped a bag of flour on the floor” said Jessica.

“Ok, lets get it cleaned up shall we?”

There was a knock at the door, Mrs Jenkins quickly washed her hands and opened it. Three mice were stood fidgeting restlessly

“Hello you -” started Mrs Jenkins

“There’s Gerbils at number 12!” the three mice said in chorus.

“Oh how lovely”

“No!” said the mice, “It’s a disaster, there’s 18 of them”

“I see” said Mrs Jenkins

“You need to fix it.”

“Well I’m sure there’s nothing I can do about it” said Mrs Jenkins, “now, if you’ll excuse me I have an almighty mess of flour to clean up, good day.”

“Breakfast!” shouted Mr Jenkins for the third time. Martin and Jessica were always slow to arrive in the kitchen on a school day.

“Where’s Martin?” said Jessica

“upstairs”, said Mr Jenkins as he cut an orange in half, “MARTIN! chop! chop! its nearly time to go!”

There was a knock at the door

“Oh good grief what now” said Mr Jenkins

“There’s Gerbils at number 12!” said the three mice.

“so I understand” said Mr Jenkins, “I’m a little bus-”

“Its a disaster. You need to fix it”

“Yes, well, I’m sure that’s not my job, we have a town hall for that kind of thing”

“Town hall don’t care! It needs to be fixed!” the mice shouted in a desperate chorus

“And why would that be?” said Mr Jenkins

The mice looked at each other, trying to comprehend the ridiculousness of Mr Jenkins words. After what felt like half a minute, the black mouse stepped forward, and, looking calmly at Mr Jenkins, said

“You. Need. to fix it.”

The next day Mr and Mrs Jenkins arrived home from work and made the dinner. Martin washed the dishes, and Jessica dried them and put them away. After they had gone to bed, Mr Jenkins rose, and re-washed the dishes that still had bits of food on them.

“Those kids can’t wash for toffee” said Mr Jenkins

“Sit down you numpty!” she said and poured Mr Jenkins a glass of wine.

“Those dam mice have been at the door again” said Mr Jenkins, “always going on about the Gerbils, I wish they’d leave us alone”

“I know!” said Mrs Jenkins, “always at the most inconvenient time, lets watch some TV and forget about it”

Mrs Jenkins switched on the TV, a talk show flickered into the living room.

“Do you deny there is a Gerbil crisis?” asked the host

“Well of course not I-”

“isn’t it fair to say if you don’t think it’s a crisis then your not taking it seriously?”

“Well, I can assure you that we in the town hall take it very serio-”

Mrs Jenkins sighed and turned the TV off.

“Lets go to bed”

Mr and Mrs Jenkins sat in their conservatory. Martin played with his lego, and Jessica worked on her science homework.

“whats ionic bonding?” Jessica asked

“good lord, I’m sure I don’t remember” said Mrs Jenkins

“who are those mice that always come round?” said Martin

“they’re, um just local mice” said Mrs Jenkins

There was a knock at the door. Mr and Mrs Jenkins shared a glance and rose together. Mr Jenkins rolled his paper. “right”, he said “lets be having you”

“There’s Gerbils at number 12!” said the three mice

“We know” said Mr Jenkins, “but if its all the same to you, we’d rather you didn’t come around anymore. We understand there’s Gerbils at number 12, we saw on the TV that its a crisis, but quite honestly we’re not sure what we should do about it.”

“The Gerbils are thieves” said the mice

“Good lord, are the police involved?”asked Mr Jenkins

The red mouse looked at him incredulously, took a step forward and, in an angry whisper, said, “not that kind of thief.”

The next day Mr Jenkins slumped into an armchair after the school run when there was knock at the door. When he opened it there was a budgerigar waiting.

“Good morning!” said the budgerigar, his beak fixed in a warm smile

“Hello” said Mr Jenkins

“I’m a local Councillor for this area and I hear you have a mouse problem?”

Mr Jenkins visibly relaxed, “thank goodness” he said, “every day they come to the door and tell me I need to fix a Gerbil problem, its getting out of hand, and frankly, I find them a bit threatening”

“Yes, I’m afraid they’ve been harassing a number of people in this area” said the budgerigar, “I can fix that for you”

“How so?” asked Mr Jenkins

“Well I can make the the mice stop harassing people, but I need you to sign an agreement saying that’s what you want. If enough people in the town sign it, then the town hall will go away and I’ll be able to fix the mouse problem”.

“I see, and how will you get rid of the mice?”

“Simple”, said the budgerigar, “by fixing the Gerbil problem”

“That would make for a quieter life”

“Wouldn’t it?” said the budgerigar “I remember when a man could go a day without being harassed about blinking Gerbils!”

“Indeed!” said Mr Jenkins, “And the town hall would go away you say?”

“That’s right” said the budgerigar. “Between you and me, I don’t think they take the Gerbil problem seriously”

“Hmm, I see”, Mr Jenkins held his chin on his hand in thought for a second. “Never much cared for the town hall after they closed the library last year I’m afraid”, after a moment he looked at the budgerigar with a smile and said “Go on then, where do I sign?”

The next Sunday after Mr Jenkins had finished re-washing the dishes, Mrs Jenkins poured them both a glass of wine.

“Did those mice show up today?”

“Yes” said Mr Jenkins shuffling into the sofa, “but they’ve finally stopped complaining about Gerbils”

“Well that‘ll do I suppose!”, said Mrs Jenkins, “I suppose they’ll find something else to complain about next, haha”

“Ha! Quite!” said Mr Jenkins, “at least it won’t be blinking Gerbils!”