There was a mouse called Toya, he used to live with his parents, Mr. Oreo and Mrs. Nora, and a sister named Janice, in a small hole close to the Peckham Library. He was quite fond of nibbling at books, especially the older ones, in fact the entire family loved it. The older the book the more the fun gnawing it. Janice and Toya were pretty close to each other but she was quite distraught at her younger brother’s habit of keeping everything clean, which was quite opposite to the way rodents live. Toya would make sure everything around him remains clean and tidy.
One evening Janice told Toya that she wants to have something Mexican but doesn’t feel like going out, to which Toya immediately replied, “don’t you worry sis, I will get you what you want.” A bright smile came to Janice’s face but it was quite short lived as Toya told her to clean his sleeping area by the time he comes back with her favorite Mexican delicacies.
While Toya was out in the search his sister’s desired Mexican cuisine, he came across a café. It was pretty crowded and the aroma of delicious food stimulated his entire olfactory system. He wasn’t sure whether that café served Mexican food, nonetheless, he couldn’t resist and made his mind to get food from their only. He immediately found the drain pipe that was coming out from its kitchen and entered into what appeared like heaven to him.
There was food everywhere and the fragrance of enchanting food was coming from all the directions. He started from the first bin that he saw and then gradually chomped from each one of those bins. After having tasted food from all the bins in the sight and when he felt that he couldn’t eat anymore, he thought of getting the food for Janice.
While he was at the bin close to the kitchen door that led into the dining area, he peeped at the dining hall from the gap in the door. He saw people enjoying their food and drinks with their loved ones. The dining hall was almost full with no empty table, at least not in his line of sight. After having a good look around the dining area, his gaze stopped at TV. It was airing an advertisement of a Toothbrush brand. He saw a couple brushing and flaunting their sparkling white teeth. He was completely glued to TV when he realized that one of the cooks had spotted him and he must run in order to save himself. He quickly moved and hid behind one of the tables however, it was no use as the cook shouted “Rat” on the top of his voice and now the entire kitchen staff was after him. He had no choice but to save himself and therefore, he instantly scurried out from the same pipe, from where he had entered sometime back.
He felt miserable as he couldn’t bring food for his sister and the thought of enjoying his food in that café added to his guilt. Anyway, since it was getting late, he rushed towards the same old road-side vendor from where they all used to eat almost every day. He picked up some stuff for Janice and headed home.
Toya decided not to tell Janice about his café experience, as she still had to eat the same regular stuff, whereas he had enjoyed a completely new cuisine. He entered the hole and handed over food to Janice saying he tried his best but he couldn’t find any Mexican eatery in the vicinity, but tomorrow he’ll get it for sure.
Toya couldn’t sleep as it was for the first time that he was hiding something from his sister. While the family was asleep, Toya got up and inaudibly said something to Janice. She reacted by saying, “I knew it, there is something that you are hiding”. He apologized to her and they both went out and sat at one of the library tables where he narrated entire incident to her. He felt relieved after having shared it with Janice. But still there was something that he wanted to share, “I need a toothbrush”, he whispered. “What? a TOOTHBRUSH? Are you crazy??” yelled Janice.
“I always had my doubts but now I am pretty sure that you don’t belong to our family”, exclaimed Janice with a frown. She immediately got up and went back to the hole. Toya, now all alone on the library table, kept thinking about it. He thought, if Janice can’t be convinced, how is he going to convince his parents. He sat there for some more time and then headed towards his favorite shelf that had oldest of the books, he munched on some bits out of them and dozed-off in the library itself.
Next morning, when he reached back, he observed there were weird expressions on everybody’s faces. Assuming that Janice would have told them about his new fascination towards the toothbrush, he asked, “say what do you guys think about it. I know you don’t like it.”
Mrs. Nora quickly said,” I don’t appreciate it at all.”
Toya whispered, “I apologize…. but….I really…”
Mr. Oreo immediately commanded, “you’ll have to follow my rules, if you want to stay here.”
Toya with his face down and melancholy clearly reflecting on his face, went to his sleeping area and lied down. He reckoned that now the time has come to be on his own and a while later when he found that everybody has gone out, he also left the hole to never come back.
First few days were difficult as he badly missed his family, but in a few weeks, he adapted to the reality, but he was happy about one thing that he was able to manage the cleanliness the way he wanted and he owned a toothbrush also now, his proud possession.
Almost 3 months later, while looking for food, he crossed the same café. He couldn’t resist himself as he started salivating just at the thought of those dishes that he had enjoyed that night. A minute later he found himself inside the café but even before he could taste the first dish, he remembered everything that followed after he went back to his family. He immediately decided to go back to his family and convince them about “his” style of living. The moment he stepped out, he saw that his parents and Janice were waiting right at the other end of the pipe.
His father told him that he is absolutely fine with his idea of cleanliness and even using a toothbrush and he can come back home. He scolded Toya that he should have at least discussed with them before he decided to leave the house. His father went on to tell him that Janice hadn’t told them anything about their discussion in the library. Mr. Oreo said,” We reacted only to you being missing the entire night. We were really worried for you. We come here every night hoping that you will certainly come back to this café one day and we all can unite once again.”