Montgomery and Montgomery loved nothing more than going for long walks. Sometimes they would just spend the day walking aimlessly through the woods, and if it would take too long to walk back home before nighttime, they would just sleep wherever they were.
They particularly liked walking around the edge of the lake they lived on. They never made it all the way around – in fact they weren’t sure how big the lake was – but if they make it to the shore, they could always see how far they’d come; about two-hundred feet from the shore closest to their home was an island with one solitary tree, which they could see from wherever they were.
The island was small, and Montgomery the Mouse liked to joke that if they ever got out there it was just big enough for Montgomery the Moose to run around in circles chasing his tail. The tree itself was surprisingly large considering its small surroundings, although it was tipped at a slight angle. From their home, they could see some of the tree’s roots sticking up on one side. Montgomery the Mouse wondered if his Moose friend had ever been out there, because it definitely looked like the tree had been knocked or pulled up at some point.
For Montgomery the Mouse, walking around with Montgomery the Moose provided a whole different view of the world. He wasn’t walking on the ground, after all, but riding on the back of an enormous hairy creature hundreds of times taller than him. He could see further than ever before, and didn’t have to worry about getting stepped on – now he only worried about getting hit by things Montgomery the Moose walked into or knocked down.
But Montgomery the Moose also had a whole different view of the world now too, as if he was seeing everything anew through his small friend’s curiosity.
“What’s that?” he’d hear Montgomery the Mouse ask.
Of course, Montgomery the Moose could never see where Montgomery the Mouse was pointing, so the conversation always seemed to go the same way:
“What’s what?” he’d reply.
“That!” Montgomery the Mouse continued.
“That?” Montgomery the Moose replied, pointing his snout at the first thing he could think of.
“No, not that. That!”
And so on and so on. Eventually they would get around to talking about the same thing, but sometimes it would take five minutes or more. And usually it would end up with Montgomery the Moose saying, “Hmm, I don’t know what that is…”
One such time was when they’d been walking for about five hours around the lake and came across a building which was much bigger than either of them had ever seen before. They’d seen houses before, but this looked different – it was much wider than houses they’d seen, and taller too; three levels tall. The outside seemed to be made entirely of glass, and they could see people sitting inside, looking at things and occasionally hitting something with their hands.
“Whoah,” Montgomery the Moose said, “this is the biggest house I’ve ever seen!”
“Yeah,” Montgomery the Mouse replied. “How many people do you think live here?”
“I don’t know,” Montgomery the Moose answered, and looked around. Montgomery and Montgomery knew that most houses had one or two metal boxes with wheels that sat outside and would take people away sometimes, but this building had a hundred or more metal boxes. “Maybe a thousand!”
“Whoah,” Montgomery the Mouse responded in amazement. “I don’t know what a thousand is, but it sure sounds like a lot.”
“It is,” replied Montgomery the Moose vaguely.
As they stood at the edge of the forest, they heard a whirring sound, and they saw at the far corner of the building that there was another yellow machine. This one seemed to be stretching high up, and there were two people standing in some kind of cage at the top, holding something big and flat and shiny in front of an open hole in the building. Montgomery the Mouse thought they must be putting in a new window or a mirror, based on how much light was reflecting off it.
“Oh, do you think they’re the same people who had the other machine?” Montgomery the Moose asked. “Maybe we should go tell them about what happened.”
“Ummm…” Montgomery the Mouse replied.
“…So they can get it back,” Montgomery the Moose added, and started walking towards them.
“Wait,” his Mouse friend replied. “Stop.”
Montgomery the Moose stopped. His friend continued.
“Every time we do something like this, you end up breaking something. They’re up high in this machine, and it looks like they’re fixing this giant house. Shouldn’t we at least wait until they’re down?”
“Hmm, good point,” Montgomery the Moose answered.
“I mean, this building looks like it could break pretty easily,” Montgomery the Mouse added, thinking that that might only be true around his giant friend.
“Yeah, I suppose you’re right…”
Montgomery the Mouse gave a sigh of relief.
“Okay, we’ll wait until they’re down,” said his Moose friend. “But I want to watch what they’re doing.”
“Yeah, I suppose that can’t hurt,” Montgomery the Mouse responded, and relaxed to settle in and watch from a distance.
“Yeah, that couldn’t hurt,” said Montgomery the Moose vaguely, and moved with a lurch to get closer, sending his small friend tumbling off his back in the process.
As he fell to the ground, Montgomery the Mouse realized he should have been holding on tight.
He reached the ground with a thud, and shouted out “WAIT! Montgomery!” but his friend couldn’t hear him, and all he could do was watch as Montgomery the Moose got further away from him, and closer to the yellow machine.
He ran as fast as his mouse legs could carry him to catch up, but even his fastest run wasn’t enough to make up any distance with Montgomery the Moose.
Soon, though, he realized that Montgomery the Moose wasn’t running to the yellow machine after all. About ten feet away from the machine was a large sign for the building, and Montgomery the Moose was hiding awkwardly behind it, with body parts sticking out all around. His head and antlers were particularly obvious above the sign, even though he was trying his hardest to crouch down and hide.
Even Montgomery the Mouse, halfway across the parking lot and down at ground level, could see Montgomery the Moose’s head sticking out, looking right at the people high up in the machine’s bucket.
“Please, Montgomery the Moose,” Montgomery the Mouse said quietly, knowing that his friend couldn’t hear him even if he shouted, “don’t climb on the machine.”
Montgomery the Mouse watched as the people in the machine’s bucket worked slowly and deliberately to install the huge window pane on the top corner of the building. He kept moving in the direction of his friend, but he was also interested in what was happening up above, and he also found some scraps of food on the ground to nibble on, so decided to stay where he was and watch from there. He started to relax. The people seemed to be almost finished. It looked like everything would be okay after all.
This continued for another 20 minutes or so, with Montgomery the Moose crouching behind the sign and occasionally tripping himself and tumbling onto the ground before picking himself up again. Montgomery the Mouse was surprised the people in the bucket didn’t notice his giant friend down below, but thought that was for the best given that they were doing something delicate.
When the people were done, they put their tools away in a bag and Montgomery the Mouse felt pleased that he’d stopped his friend from causing any problems. But he saw his friend starting to get restless and he suddenly wished he hadn’t stopped to eat the food he’d found. He started to run over as fast as he could.
The people up above were pressing a button which moved the bucket away from the window, and Montgomery the Moose made his move.
“Hi!” He shouted excitedly and nervously. “I’m so sorry about the other machine – that was totally my faul-”
“WHOAH! A moose! And it’s grunting at us!” One of the men shouted.
“It’s okay,” Montgomery said, unable to understand their human language. “I’m friendly – I’m just trying to apologize.”
He thought it would help if he got closer to show he wasn’t a threat, so he moved closer to the machine and, being very careful not to press any buttons, he started to climb onto it.
“Montgomery, NOOO!!” Montgomery the Mouse shouted in panic.
But it was too late. One of the people was so panicked by a Moose climbing onto the machine that he tumbled backwards in the bucket, and when he pushed his hands down to steady himself he pressed two buttons. The bucket went lunging forward back toward the window.
“George, what did you do?” Shouted the other person in the bucket. “Quick! Turn it off!”
But before he could…
Crack. Crack. SMASH!
“Oh no!” The people, the Moose and the Mouse shouted all at once.
The people stopped the bucket, but at this point they were inside the building, where a desk and a chair were covered in broken glass.
The people were yelling at each other, and Montgomery the Mouse looked at his friend, who was making his way off the machine and walking back towards him with a look of complete confusion.
“I don’t understand,” he was saying to himself quietly. “I didn’t do anything… I tried really hard…”
As they caught up with each other, Montgomery the Mouse clambered up one of Montgomery the Moose’s front legs and back up onto his head, and he could tell his friend was feeling terrible about what happened. He decided that rather than yell at him, he should just be a friend.
“It’s okay, Montgomery,” he said to console him. “Sometimes these things just happen, I guess…”