Once upon a time there was a city mouse named Wanky. He was snooty, and he thought that Big City was the best place in the whole world. He was even conceited enough to think that one of his local coffee shops was the center of the known universe. He owned a fancy bicycle and only wore designer bicycle clothing.
Wanky had a poor country cousin mouse from Bakersfield named Lem, who had a cousin named Cletus. Although Lem and Cletus were cousins, like most Bakersfield mice one never inquired too closely as to the consanguinity because it often turned out that “cousin” was a euphemism for “illegal relationship in the lower 48 except Texas.”
One day Wanky called up Lem on the Twitter. “Lem, why don’t you come down and do our Donut Ride. You country mice will learn a thing or two about how to ride your bicycles.”
“Why thanky, Wanky,” said Lem the country mouse. “That’s mighty nice of you. Do you mind if I bring Cousin Cletus?”
“Cletus? Is he the one with the saggy tummy and stumpy tail?”
“That’s him,” said Lem. “But he would like to come and see what all that Big City riding is like. He don’t get out much, except for when him and me get over to Fresno ever now and agin for chain lube and clean underwear.”
“How often is that, Cousin Lem?”
“Oncet or twice a year, for sure.”
“That would be fine,” said Wanky. “Be sure to tell him that our Donut Ride is the most glorious and fame-inducing ride in Big City. All the Big City mice will be there, as well as one or two Big City rats. They will more than likely gnaw out his entrails.”
Glory or fitness? Glory.
“Will us’n get a good piece of training on your Big City donut?” asked Lem.
“No,” said Wanky. “My third cousin twice removed on Uncle Theodosius’s sister’s side, Jack from Illinois (not his real name), says that the Donut Ride is the dumbest and worst preenfest of wankers he’s ever seen. And he’s from Illinois, so he knows a thing or two about wankers.”
“Me and Cletus was hopin for some training.”
“We have lots of training in Big City,” Wanky said snootily. “You can train with Roadchamp at 3:00 AM and break every Strava record known to mice and men.”
“I kinda think we’d like to do that ride,” squeaked Lem.
“Only problem is that no one will ever see you. You’ll be invisible, eating your pre-ride cheese at Peet’s Cheeseshop in the dark. You’ll have done a hundred and ten with 8k of climbing by the time we even get started on the Donut Ride.”
“What do mean by ‘glory’?”
“Glory?” Wanky said with a condescending squeak. “When you roll out on the Donut Ride in Big City, you’ll be surrounded by rodentia royalty. The Italian Stallion might even be there.”
“You might as well ask me ‘Who was Ratty?’ in the Wind in the Willows,” Wanky said. “Or ‘Who was Stuart Little?’ Or ‘Who was Mickey?’ Crikey, Lem, the Italian Stallion is the most famous rat in Big City. When he shows up on the Donut Ride, it’s Katie bar the door.”
All aboard for the Pussy Riot
“Katie bar the door?”
“Yep. Katie Donovan, a/k/a Razor, will slice you into thin little ribbons of mouse meat and feed you to the cats. She did the Leadville 100 walking all the descents and still finished in under four hours. She even carries around an ego bag.”
“A what?” Lem’s voice quivered on the other end of the Twitter.
“And ego bag. It’s a giant bag hooked up underneath her saddle. Bigger than Dallas, even.”
“What’s it for?”
“She fills it up with all the broken male mouse egos that get shattered on the Donut Ride. Starts the ride empty, goes home full to busting.”
“But she’s a girl mouse?”
“Not a girl mouse like you have out in the country, Lem. She’s a Big City mouse. She’s pretty, and smart, and well educated, and knows how to use a napkin, and only blows snot out of her nose when there’s no one on her wheel.”
“Holy Gouda!” squeaked Lem admiringly.
“But when the hammer comes down, she’s the one with her fingers wrapped around the handle. And it’s all the little boy mice’s testicles who get smushed.”
Lem squeaked in terror. “Are you sure she’ll be there?”
“Pretty sure. And even if she’s not, Tink will be.”
“Who’s Tink?” Lem’s squeak was so soft that Wanky could hardly hear it.
“She’s the climbingest mouse in the South Bay after Razor. Lots of big tough boy mice have tried to pin her in a trap, but the only way to get Tink’s attention is to finish with her on the top of a climb. And none of the boy mice have been able to do that yet.”
Beware of fools bearing gifts
On the day of the big ride, Lem and Cletus showed up at the Cheese Bean and Cheese Leaf in Big City. Wanky met them and introduced them to much of the Big City royalty. New Mouse was there. Sparkly Mouse was there. Polly Mouse, Douggie Mouse, Jensie Mouse, Gussy Mouse, Junkyard Mouse, Friedrich Mouse, Pilot Mouse, and a host of other rodents assembled to greet the out of towners. The only big rat missing was G$ Rat and Mighty Mouse herself.
Lem reached into his homespun carryall and pulled out a pair of pink unicorn socks. “Here y’go, Cousin Wanky. These here magic unicorn socks will give you extra special riding powers. Plus they are so loud and ugly and bright that I will be able to find you no matter how far back I am.”
Wanky pulled on the magic unicorn socks and felt a special strength surge up into his incisors. “Thank you, Cousin Lem and Cousin Cletus!” His long and greasy and hairless tail quivered in anticipation.
All rats great and small rolled out, an armada of rodents more than one hundred strong. Even the evil and nasty Big City police cats and Deputy Knox cat were afraid to approach the rolling entourage of cheese eaters.
Country mice squeak strongly
On the dreaded Switchbacks, the selection occurred with the Italian Stallion, Razor, Tink, Dentist, Stathis the Wily Greek, John Mouse Hall, and Petey Mouse. Lem lasted for a while and was then fed to the cats. Cletus had his entrails gnawed out. Wanky wanked in no-mouse-land after getting his head caught in the mousetrap after the third turn.
Lem rode well through Homes and Gardens, finished mousefully on the Domes, sprunted well at Hawthorne, and dusted Wanky on the final climb up Zumaya. Cletus was honored at a roadside burial later that afternoon.
Back at the cheese shop in Big City, Lem and Wanky talked over the day’s events. “You Big City mice sure ride hard.”
“You country mice are no slouches.”
“My tail and haunches are pretty sore.”
“Wait ’til tomorrow.”
“What was that big lake thing on the left the first part of our ride? Was it the Big City sewage pond? Only body of water that big in Bakersfield is the sewage pond.”
“It’s called the Pacific Ocean, but China calls it their sewage pond.”
“Well, someday soon we hope you’ll make it up to the country so’s we can return the favor. Big City mice was shore nice to us. That John Mouse Hall feller told me where the turns was. And that Polly Mouse feller did the same thing for Cletus afore he up and died on us.”
“I’d like nothing better, Lem. When’s a good time?”
“In December it gets down to the low hundreds. Which is good because the sewage pond don’t smell so rich.”
“I’ll put it on my calendar.”
“And bring some Big City mice with you. We’d like to see if they ride as quick on our roads as they do on yours.”