Montgomery the Mouse was hard at work. Building a home always took a lot of effort. Digging a hole in the ground was the part that took the most time, and finding the right materials to go inside was always fun – leaves to keep in the warmth, sticks to use as beams to keep it sturdy, and if he was lucky, some nice soft fur that had rubbed off a bunny or another animal – something he could use to cuddle up to when he wanted to sleep.
But building a home today was harder than usual. The ground kept rumbling and there was a lot of noise. Usually he wouldn’t build a home somewhere so noisy, but this was where Montgomery and Montgomery were settling. It was otherwise perfect – right by the lake, but with woods all around them, and close to a campground where they would be able to find their favorite food on a regular basis.
Just as Montgomery was padding down the rabbit fur to make a nice, cosy bed, he heard a familiar moose-sized “Aagh!” and the entrance to his tunnel caved in, with a big hoof blocking his path to get out.
“Oh no! Montgomery, are you okay?” the moose said in a panic.
“Yes, I’m fine, but you kind of ruined my home,” Montgomery the Mouse said, disappointed to have to start over again.
“Oh, thank goodness,” Montgomery the Moose replied. “But did you hear it? Did you see it?” he added in a panic?
“Hear what? See what?”
“There’s some kind of giant yellow robot through the woods. It’s making so much noise! And it keeps crashing into the ground. I think it might be some kind of alien. You know, from space!”
Montgomery the Mouse was skeptical. A giant yellow robot? An alien from space? Those kinds of things aren’t real…
“Mm-hmmm…?” he answered, trying to clear the debris from what had been a lovely smooth entrance to his house.
“Yeah,” Montgomery the Moose continued in a panic. “Haven’t you felt the ground rumbling?”
“Are you sure that wasn’t you?”
“What? No!” Montgomery the Moose answered, offended. “I don’t make the ground shake!”
Montgomery the Mouse, who was hundreds of times smaller than Montgomery the Moose, kept his thoughts on the matter to himself.
“Look, come with me, I’ll show you,” the Moose offered.
“Okay, fine,” said the Mouse, knowing that his friend wasn’t going to let it go anytime soon.
He climbed out of his house, and up Montgomery the Moose’s leg, onto his back, and up onto his head.
As they walked through the trees, Montgomery the Mouse noticed that the ground really was rumbling. And when his friend finally stopped saying “See? See? I told you!” he noticed that there really was a lot of noise – and it wasn’t coming from his friend.
Through the trees he saw something yellow moving, and it looked big. As they got closer he could hear growling and banging, and occasionally he heard people shouting.
“What is that?” he asked.
“I told you,” Montgomery the Moose replied, “It’s a giant yellow robot.”
They got closer, and watched from behind a layer of trees as the robot moved more. As they looked, they noticed there was a person sitting inside the robot; in fact, they realized it wasn’t a robot after all, but a machine controlled by the person inside! And the shouting they’d heard was from a couple of other people telling the person inside how to control it.
The person inside moved a stick inside the machine, and the whole upper section of the machine turned towards Montgomery and Montgomery. Since the upper section included a long yellow arm ending in a scoop, they panicked a little and stepped back, but they found it fascinating to watch and couldn’t take their eyes off it.
“Woah!” they both said in awe, as the arm moved up and down, and the scoop at the end moved, filling up with soil from the ground, and transported it to a large pile on the other side of the machine, which they heard the people call an “excavator”.
As they watched, Montgomery the Mouse noticed that the people would occasionally go back to a nearby truck, and that they were starting to pack up for the day. On the side of the truck was a picture of a wooded area, just like this one, and in the middle, a beautiful large… house.
“Montgomery,” he said, directing his Moose friend to look at the truck. “Look. They’re using this to make a house.”
“Oh, wow,” Montgomery the Moose replied. “Do you think they’re making it for us?”
“Umm, no, I don’t think so,” Montgomery the Mouse replied, unsure how his friend could have jumped to that conclusion.
“Well, maybe they could build us one when they’re done here. I’d like ours to be a little closer to the lake anyway,” Montgomery the Moose reasoned. “Let’s go ask them.”
Before his little friend could respond, Montgomery the Moose started walking towards the giant yellow excavator, but the driver jumped out of the machine, and when the other people saw him they stood in place, a little unsure of what to do. Montgomery tried to ask them if they would build a home for him to live in with his mouse friend, but the people didn’t seem to speak moose language and looked a little scared, as if Montgomery had just grunted at them.
The one who had been driving the excavator looked like he wanted to get back in the machine, but after a few minutes, with Montgomery standing next to it to see how it worked, the people all looked at their wrists – and each other – and then got in the truck and left.
“Hmm,” said Montgomery the Moose. “That was a little rude, I think.”
“Yeah…” Montgomery the Mouse replied. But he knew his friend well enough by now to know that this probably wasn’t the end of it.
“Well,” Montgomery the Moose continued, “it was nice of them to leave the excavator here for us to use.”
Montgomery the Mouse covered his eyes with his paws, afraid of what was going to happen next. He scampered down on to the ground, and decided to get a little distance between him and the machine. Besides, he thought, how could Montgomery the Moose fit into the excavator’s cabin?
The next thing he knew, he saw antlers sticking out of the open sides of the cabin, and Montgomery the Moose was trying to fit the rest of himself in also – a sight which reminded Montgomery the Mouse of seeing someone stuffing a sleeping bag into a tiny carrying case after camping. With every push, a part of Montgomery the Moose got further into the cabin, but other parts – of him and/or the cabin – came springing out the other side. A seat came tumbling out, along with a clipboard, some broken plastic panels… Montgomery the Mouse could see this wasn’t going to end well…
“Montgomery!” he shouted. “I think you should get out! You don’t even know how to use it. And I’m sure the driver didn’t leave the power o…” CLUNK!
Uh-oh. What was that clunk?
WHIRRR! And with that, the arm came swinging round towards Montgomery the Mouse, way faster than it had moved earlier. But then it kept swinging, round and round, and it seemed to be getting faster.
“Aagh!” he heard Montgomery the Moose shout from inside. The arm stopped swinging. “Ah! That’s better.”
There was a pause.
The arm had raised itself up about 12 feet in the air, and came crashing to the ground with so much force that there was a small earthquake. Montgomery the Mouse noticed the trees around him all shook, and a few leaves fell to the ground.
“Uh, I don’t know what’s happening,” he heard an uneasy Montgomery the Moose saying from inside the excavator’s cabin. Montgomery the Mouse could see that the his friend’s giant body was smushed up against the controls.
SMASH! SMASH! SMASH!
“Montgomery!” the Mouse shouted to his friend. “You’re pressing the controls! Get out!”
“Huh?” Montgomery the Moose asked, looking around as much as his long antlers would let him. SMASH! He tried to readjust, but the whole cabin shook and as his body moved a lever the whole machine started moving.
“Uh-oh,” Montgomery the Mouse said, as he watched his friend scrambling to get out of the excavator, which was suddenly moving quickly away from the construction site and towards.. oh no! “THE LAKE!” he shouted to his friend. “Watch out!”
Montgomery the Moose squeezed and squeezed. His head was already sticking out of one side, and while he tried to pull the rest of his body out, his antlers caught on a large oak tree branch, and the excavator briefly slowed down. The tree and the machine pulled Montgomery the Moose in a tug of war, and Montgomery the Mouse wasn’t sure which was going to break first, but suddenly –
The metal cabin frame which was wrapped around Montgomery the Moose wrenched off the rest of the excavator, and Montgomery fell to the ground uncomfortably, pulling the oak tree branch down with him.
The machine picked up speed again, and seemed damaged but happier now that it didn’t have a moose sitting on it. It rolled on, and Montgomery the Mouse wondered if there was anything he could do to stop it from rolling into the lake, but it was too late. The giant yellow machine rolled straight down the gentle bank and into the water, growling at first and getting quieter the further it went in. Fairly soon it was out of sight under the water, but Montgomery and Montgomery heard gurgling sounds and saw bubbles for the next few minutes.
Eventually the forest returned to its usual peace and quiet, and Montgomery the Moose used the oak tree to pull the cabin frame off his back.
“Well,” Montgomery the Mouse started, unsure of what he would say next.
“Yeah…” Montgomery the Moose agreed.
After a few moments of silence, Montgomery the Moose realized his little friend wasn’t going to say any more, so he decided to sum it up for both of them.
“I don’t think we need that machine after all,” he said, and walked back through the trees.
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