Thunk-thunk. Thunk-thunk.

Life wasn’t looking so bright this morning for the field mouse. This year’s litter had all grown and gone looking for mates in neighboring fields. Yesterday, the last of his old cow friends had just been loaded into the slaughterhouse trailer. An hour before sunrise, a barn owl had scooped up the mouse’s last living relatives and carried them shrieking into the night.

This left him with nobody but his wife, whose cute figure had packed up and left with her sense of humor last summer. She had just sent him out for some nuts and seeds, complaining that the pile he’d collected last night was already stale. “And hurry up, slim,” she cackled, “I’m starving here!” This field mouse had had enough.

He was walking along the road to the farmer’s storehouse, enjoying the wind from the rushing cars, when he got a bright idea. “If I could just get a ride to the next county,” he thought, “I could find a new girlfriend and forget about my fat, bickering wife!”

The little mouse spent an hour trying to thumb a ride but nobody seemed to notice him there by the road. Was it his size? There was a prison nearby; maybe it was that nobody wanted to pick up an escaped convict by mistake. The cries of his wife, which had been carried faintly on the wind a few minutes before, were growing louder. She must have tracked him!

Desperation gripped the little mouse. He leapt into the road to evade his wife. A car was rolling toward him in the opposite lane; it seemed low enough that he could grab hold of some part of the undercarriage and speed away from his mate. Hadn’t he seen it done on TV? He darted into the path of my car and was squashed under the left tires. The next car hit him, too.