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Rat Pack

We caught up with Fred, our favorite talking mouse, in Vegas this week. We found him sunning himself by the pool at the Bellagio, wearing some oversized Ray-Ban sunglasses.

What’s with the shades?

”Too much neon. It’s messing up my Circadian rhythm,” he said.

”Besides, I’ve got to keep a low profile. CIA may want me to take over for their chief Congressional briefer. The last piece of limburger they sent over there to testify had more holes in his story than a wheel of Swiss.”

When we last left Fred, the loquacious rodent was tucked away at a secret government lab in Wisconsin. As you may recall, Fred granted his first exclusive interview to us after he was successfully implanted with the human gene that governs language and speaking skills.

This time, Fred was not alone. He was accompanied by six other mice, who like Fred were hidden behind Ray-Bans and reclining on miniature lounge chairs.

”I like to think of them as my grad students, but one of the Vegas papers is already calling them the Rat Pack. The one with the crooked tail over there is Dino. The clueless one is Joey, and the guy spreading clotted cream on his cracker is Lawford.”

The three other members of Fred’s crew suddenly produced top hats and canes and began tapping their way around the pool, humming what sounded like a cross between Motown and Alvin and the Chipmunks.

”They’ve got an audition at the Mirage. Calling themselves The Three Blind Mice. The showstopper is a Four Tops medley.”

Fred shrugged his little shoulders and sighed. ”Yeah, I know, it’s pretty cheesy. They can sing, but they can’t count. Maybe they’ll get eaten by Seigfried’s cat.”

We asked Fred what he was doing in Vegas. Without missing a beat, he replied: ”Economic stimulus.”

We told Fred we had a hard time believing he could write off a trip to Sin City as part of the federal recovery effort.

”Are you kidding? Those bozos are falling all over themselves trying to figure out how to spend it fast enough. I had six federal agencies begging me to come up with a project.”

We asked Fred what he came up with. He took a sip from his frosty drink, pausing to flip the lever on a poolside poker slot machine with his tail.

”Small-Scale Urban Infrastructure Survey for HUD. Assessment of Climate-Change Variables in a Dry Desert Environment for DOE and NASA. Swine Flu Casual Contact Vector Threat Level for DHS and NIH.”

We must have raised our eyebrows, because Fred got exasperated.”You don’t believe me? Go ahead, ask me how many germs you can pick up at a blackjack table. It’s 3.4 trillion per shoe, wiseguy.”

As in our first interview with Fred, this interlude was interrupted by the ringing of his iPhone. We assumed it was Fred’s lawyer, so we asked him for a progress report on his legal battle with the Disney people.

”Nah, we dropped that. Statute of limitations expired,” Fred said. ”Besides, we got bigger fish to fry.”

Bigger than the Magic Kingdom?

”The Big Cheese himself. Thought he was being cute fessing up to smoking in the White House. When my ambulance chaser finishes calculating the impact of second-hand smoke in mouse years, we’ll be rolling in cheddar.”

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