The first time Arielle met Sammy was a sad occasion. She was crying in her bedroom when Sammy appeared and asked her what was wrong. Arielle was astonished to see the little boy in his blue suspenders. Arielle asked, ”Who are you ?” The little boy replied, ”I’m Sammy, I live in the mouse hole in the upstairs hallway” (in Sammy’s world this was prime real estate). Arielle lives in a big country farmhouse and was surprised she’d never met Sammy before. “So why are you crying?”, Sammy inquired again. “I lost the cameo my mommy gave me”, she replied in-between her sniffs and sobs. She went on to say, “I looked everywhere in my room and it’s no where to be found. My mommy got the cameo from her mommy and it’s so very special to me.” Sammy then asked, “Where was it the last time you saw it?” Arielle pointed to her dresser and said, ” I’m sure I left it right on top next to the earrings.” Sammy further questioned, “You’re positive you left it there and you looked everywhere on the floor?” “Yes!”, exclaimed Arielle, “I’m positive, I heard a funny noise and when I turned around the cameo was gone.”

It was this last thing that Arielle said that made the light go on in Sammy’s head. He now had an idea where her cameo was and he was determined to help the little girl. Sammy proclaimed, ”I think I know where your cameo might be.” “Where?”, exclaimed Arielle. Sammy replied, “I get along with all the mice in the house and I believe most would call me a friend also. All except one and he’s certainly no friend of mine.” “Who are you talking about?” asked a now perked-up Arielle. “His name is Spencer and you’d be hard pressed to meet a more shady character.” Sammy continued, ”he’d take the kitchen sink if it wasn’t bolted down.” Arielle asked, “Do you really think he took the cameo?”, then added, “and if it was Spencer, do you think you can get it back?” Sammy thought to himself for a minute and then answered. ”For such a nice little girl like you I will do my best!”, and with that off he went. Just as Sammy rounded the corner of the bedroom, Arielle called off to him, ”Be careful!”

Sammy went back to his well-furnished mouse hole. Sammy sat down at his kitchen table and started to think. He knew it wouldn’t be easy getting the cameo from Spencer. Besides, Spencer lives in the cellar, a place Sammy tries to avoid if possible. The cellar is a dark gloomy place and the big spiders live there. Sammy thought to himself, what is the best approach for dealing with Spencer. Force was quickly ruled out, for Spencer has big sharp teeth. Next he thought of burglary, but who would be harder to steal from than the biggest thief himself. Trickery had a nice sound to it, if he could trade Spencer something he thought was better than the cameo, he’d have a shot at getting the cameo back.

The first thing that popped into Sammy’s head was cheese (no he wasn’t hungry) he just knew Spencer would do anything for a big piece of tasty cheese. So off went Sammy to procure a nice big piece of cheese. It wouldn’t be hard to find the cheese, the big people left it all over the place on funny wood and metal serving trays. Sammy knew these trays were dangerous since they’d snap on you if you weren’t careful. Sammy being a smart little fellow had no problem with the trays since he’d simply drop a stick on them and then for fun try to catch the catapulted cheese in the air before it hit the ground (as you can tell Sammy is a baseball fan). Sammy returned home in short order with an especially nice piece of cheese.

Next he’d need a story to tell Spencer of why this piece of cheese was better than some old cameo brooch. Aha!, thought Sammy, he’d tell Spencer it was magic cheese. He would tell Spencer that if he didn’t eat the cheese right away the piece would grow larger every day he kept it. Sammy knew he’d never get caught in his lie because Spencer wouldn’t last a single day before nibbling off a piece. Sammy now thought of where would be the best place to find Spencer. He certainly wasn’t going in the cellar, then he remembered how Arielle said she heard a funny noise before her cameo vanished. He recalled there was an old mouse hole under Arielle’s bed that had a squeaky door hinge (yes, some mouse holes have doors). Spencer must be hiding out in Arielle room looking for new things to take and hopefully eat. So off went Sammy to set his plan in action.

Sammy told Arielle his plan and she agreed to bring some empty shopping bags into her room and placed them on the dresser. This way Spencer would think Arielle has new things for him to take. Sammy with Arielle’s assistance tied a long piece of string to the end of a pencil and place the cheese at the other end of the string (ending up looking like a fishing pole). He climbed atop the dresser and waited for his prey to appear. It wasn’t long after Arielle put down the shopping bags on the back of the dresser that he heard that funny squeaky noise of the little mouse hole door. Sure enough Spencer’s scruffy head peaked around the corner of the leg of the bed. He tip-toed his way towards the dresser when the piece of cheese at the end of the string swung out of nowhere and hit him in the head.

“Hey, what was that!”, came squealing out of Spencer. “Oh, I’m sorry”, said Sammy from atop the dresser. I was just trying to tie-off this magic cheese in a safe spot. You know how some of the mice in this house can be.” “Yeah, you can’t trust any of em.” agreed Spencer. “Um, did I hear you say magic cheese?”, inquired Spencer. Sammy knew he had him now and coyly answered, “Yes, that’s right, magic cheese.” Spencer’s ears stood at attention, “What’s so magical about that piece of cheese?”, replied a somewhat skeptical Spencer. “Oh, it’s a secret, but I’ll tell you if you promise to keep it to yourself”, said Sammy. “Yeah, yeah, yeah”, said Spencer nodding his head up and down nervously. “Well, if you don’t eat even the smallest nibble, the piece will grow larger everyday you keep it”, said Sammy with his best poker face. “Wooooow!, I’ve got to have it.”, exclaimed Spencer. “Not so fast Spencer, I’m planning to keep this cheese for at least a week. Just imagine how big a piece it will be then”, replied Sammy. By now there was a complete glaze over Spencer’s eyes as he stared at the dangling cheese. The saliva was drooling down his chin and he was completely mystified. “What do you want for it?”, pleaded Spencer. “What, what, what”, blurted Spencer not even waiting for Sammy to answer the first time. “Well, for something this special you’d have to have something really nice”, explained Sammy. “I, I, I got plenty of nice things to trade”, stammered Spencer. “Like what?” inquired Sammy. Then Spencer recited a long grocery list of items he’d acquired from throughout the house. Several items from Spencer’s list were things Sammy believed belonged to him, but he didn’t say anything. After a good long time Spencer was done listing his items for trade, but no mention was made of the cameo. This puzzled Sammy, he tried to think of why Spencer would hold back the cameo. “No deal, don’t you have anything else for trade?”, prodded Sammy. Spencer now paced back and forth very agitated and blurted out, “A cameo brooch with a pretty ladies face on it!”, a lamentful Spencer then continued, “I didn’t want to part with it because she reminds me of my dear departed mother.” Sammy trying not to laugh said, “Okay deal, but you throw the cameo up to me and then I’ll lower the cheese.” The exchange was made without a hitch and Sammy knew Spencer wouldn’t be able to hold out long before sampling his newly procured treasure.

Later that day when Arielle returned she was greeted by Sammy at her bedroom door. She could tell something was up by the big ear to ear grin on Sammy’s little face. She bend down and picked him up and carried him to the dresser. From behind his back Sammy produced the cameo. Arielle's eyes opened wide and her face lit up. “Oh, thank you so much!” , exclaimed Arielle. She gave him a big hug (one he’s recovering from to this day) and they have been best friends ever since.

By the way, just as Sammy thought, Spencer didn’t last long with that piece of cheese...

Annette Herrmann Originals
780 Milton Oaks Drive - Alpharetta, GA. 30022
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