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The mouse that roared

The New York Times reported today that scientists have successfully implanted inside a mouse the human gene that governs language and speaking skills.

The mouse already is talking, and he’s got a lot to say. We caught up with this impressive specimen at a secret government lab. We can’t disclose the precise location, but we can tell you it is in Wisconsin.

Our subject was working out in a makeshift gym next to his cage. He was doing some laps on a hamster wheel, a poster of a huge slice of Jarlsberg taped to the wall in front of him for inspiration. A Green Bay Packers ”cheesehead” hat rested jauntily atop the cage.

We asked the mouse his name.

”You can call me Fred. Call me Mickey and I’ll snap your tail!”

We immediately noted Fred’s New York accent.

”You got a problem with that?”

We asked Fred what was on his mind. Turns out he has been reading the newspapers that line his cage every day. He also watches a flat-screen TV on the wall. Fred has a remote he controls with his tail. He says he’s been switching back and forth between the financial channels and the NBA playoffs lately.

”What’s up with this Bernanke guy? He prints a trillion in new bills and then he warns us that inflation is going to ruin the economy? I could have told him that. You make too much Swiss and soon it’s gonna to be worthless. Then everybody is gonna start hoarding Jarlsberg and Roquefort.”

Fred was particularly upset about something he read in a copy of Crain’s New York Business the other day.

”That 35 percent vacancy rate in Manhattan office space is a killer. My cousin Vinnie doesn’t even bother to crawl onto the F train in Flatbush anymore. What’s the point of dragging your tail to the city every day if there aren’t even any crumbs on the floor when you get there?”

Fred said he was pleased with President Obama’s choice of a new pet.

”Dogs are loyal. Dogs are friendly. You can always count on a dog. Cats have an agenda, and it’s never yours.”

Fred stepped off the wheel and asked us to pass a small white towel over to him. While he was rolling around the towel, he told us he is disappointed the showdown between Lebron and Kobe didn’t materialize in the NBA finals.

”I was dreaming about it for months. Massive consumption of Doritos and nachos all over America. Coast-to-coast crumbs.”

”Well, maybe next year,” he sighed.

Much to our surprise, Fred said he caught Keith Olbermann’s critique of Detroit Economic Growth Corp. director George Jackson the other night on Countdown. Olbermann put Jackson on his ”Worst Persons” list for allegedly not working hard enough to keep the old Tigers Stadium from being torn down.

”The humans have enough stadiums, and those stupid luxury boxes are hermetically sealed. Leave the old dumps for the rest of us.”

Fred also told us he recently got an angry phone call from his cousin Sean in Beantown.

”He’s griping that Big Papi is stinking up the middle of the lineup like a piece of aged provolone. Says he can’t even bear to sit in the Fenway scoreboard and watch anymore. Besides, not much to eat in the scoreboard since Manny left town.”

We asked Fred if he is ready to become a global celebrity when word gets around about his speaking skills.

”I’m keeping a low profile right now because I’m doing some off-the-books work for the CIA. Those jokers finally realized that all those high-tech gadgets don’t measure up to some paws on the ground.”

However, Fred assured us that, when the time is ripe, he’s ready for what he called his “closeup.”

”I’ve got an endorsement package with Jarlsberg that’s gonna give me two points on every wheel, a book deal, two movie cameos, and they’re trying to work me into a Super Bowl commercial for a new cellphone camera. By the time I’m done, it’ll be bigger than Lebron and Nike.”

We had dozens of other questions for Fred, but his iPhone rang and we had to cut it short.

”Gotta take this,” Fred said, stepping on the touchscreen. ”It’s my lawyer. He’s trying to get an injunction to stop a screening of Fantasia at the Disney World IMAX.”

Fred made a face. Then he got really worked up.

”Terrible stereotype. A mouse wearing gloves. You ever see a mouse wearing gloves? We’re really fed up with it and we’re not gonna take it anymore. In this day and age, we don’t have to. Are we mice or are we — aw, you know what I mean.”

Something tells us we’re going to be hearing from Fred again soon.

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