The two friends stood in awe as they looked at the chocolate shop in front of them.
“Am I dreaming?” Montgomery the Moose asked.
“Oh, I hope not,” Montgomery the Mouse replied. “Because then I’m just part of your dream, and that’s really confusing.”
Montgomery the Moose wasn’t really listening, and was too busy looking at chocolate items of all different sizes and descriptions. The windows on the white-paneled building weren’t large, and there was enough light reflecting off the windows in the sunset hours that it was hard to see everything, but he could still make out displays of delicacies that he knew he could spend hours – maybe even days – making his way through.
“Ouch!” he shouted as he felt a bite on his leg. He shook his leg and Montgomery the Mouse came flying off, landing a few feet away.
“What was that?” he asked his mouse friend, who was recovering from his rough landing.
“I was just checking you weren’t dreaming,” Montgomery the Mouse replied. “I guess you’re not.”
“Yeah, I guess not. We probably could have figured that out in a way that didn’t hurt either of us so much, though…”
“Yeah… maybe…” Montgomery the Mouse answered as he rubbed his sore head.
“But hey,” Montgomery the Moose continued, “this is great news! I’m not dreaming! That means this place is real.”
He moved in the direction of the front door, and Montgomery the Mouse shouted after him to stop.
“Look,” Montgomery the Mouse reasoned, “if you go in there now you’ll probably scare the people who are in there. And you know that never ends well.”
“Hmmm, I guess you’re right,” Montgomery the Moose replied. “But then how…?”
“Listen,” Montgomery the Mouse continued. “We’ll just wait until the people in there have gone home…”
“But why would you live anywhere else if you could live with chocolate around you all the time?”
“Well, sure, that’s true for you and me, but I’m starting to think not everyone is like you and me,” Montgomery the Mouse said.
“I don’t want to break anything, though,” Montgomery the Moose added.
“It’s okay,” Montgomery the Mouse replied. “I’ll go in now, and figure out some way to keep a door open. Then when everyone leaves you can come in. You just wait in the woods behind.”
As with a lot of buildings in Maine, the store had a whole woodland area behind it, so Montgomery agreed that the plan made sense, and made his way into the woods. Montgomery the Mouse waited for someone to get out of a metal box in the parking lot, and ran alongside the edge of the building to follow behind them before the door closed. Once inside, he hid under a display case as quickly as he could; the last thing he wanted was to get noticed.
He thought it would be easier to keep a back door open, so he knew he had to make his way through the building. Unfortunately, that involved running past people. He heard an “Eek!” at one point, and went climbing up into a display case to hide. Then he noticed a very odd sight – dozens of mice, like him, but made out of chocolate! It was beautiful, but also very weird. He heard someone coming toward the case he was in and saying something about seeing a mouse, though, so thinking fast he bit the tail of one of the chocolate mice (“so good!” he thought to himself), and dragged it to edge of the case, where he dropped it onto the ground. Then he went back and lay down perfectly still in the mouse-sized bed where the chocolate mouse had been.
“Huh,” he heard the person say. “Well, thank goodness for that. I was sure I saw a mouse, but I guess it was just a chocolate one.” The person didn’t sound convinced, though.
“Weird how your eyes can play tricks on you, huh,” said someone else. “I just saw a moose around the side of the building, and I was sure he was looking right at me and then trying to hide behind a trash can. Like that could ever hide a moose!”
“Ha! I know what you mean,” said someone else. “It might have been the same moose I saw outside when I came in, but I could have sworn I saw a horse with it, but next thing I knew, the horse wasn’t there anymore. Crazy…”
Montgomery the Mouse saw the person throw the chocolate mouse in the trash, and soon after, there was enough of a distraction that he was able to climb down and through into a back area, where he saw a door!
But… how was he going to open it?
He hid in the shadows while trying to come up a solution, and eventually he had something. A doorstop was sitting next to the door. Now he’d just have to wait.
Sure enough, the store seemed to close soon afterwards, and the person who had almost caught him earlier walked towards the door with a trash bag (the same one that had the chocolate mouse in, Montgomery thought).
The door seemed to close slowly, so the person pushed the door open, ran out and put the trash in a dumpster, and ran back before the door could close. Then as the person went back into the main part of the store, Montgomery the Mouse knew he had to act fast. The doorstop was heavy, but he quickly pushed it into place to stop the door closing.
He listened carefully to see if the person had noticed that the door hadn’t closed, but his plan seemed to have worked. A few minutes later, all the lights went out and he heard the person leave through the front dooor. The coast was clear!
“Montgomery…” he whispered. Nothing.
“Montgomery,” he tried again, a little louder. Still nothing.
“Montgomery!” He shouted, impatiently. He’d worked very hard to get this far, and he needed his friend to do his part.
A moment later, he heard some rustling in the trees.
“Oh, hey!” Montgomery the Moose answered, with some surprise in his voice. “How are you?”
Montgomery the Mouse couldn’t hide his upset.
“Just come in,” he answered.
“This really weird thing happened while you were in there,” Montgomery the Moose said as he made his way through the trees. “I saw something flying through the air… Something round, with lights…”
Montgomery the Mouse wasn’t interested in hearing more.
“Just get inside,” he said.
Montgomery the Moose used his antlers to pull the door open. He was quite proud of himself for not damaging the door at all, but then on his way through the storeroom his antlers knocked into a few shelves and before he knew it, there was a mess on the floor.
“Oops,” he said. “Maybe this is a mistake…”
His small friend didn’t disagree. “Maybe it is… But we’ve come this far…”
They walked through into the front area of the store, where Montgomery the Mouse had hidden before, and now that he wasn’t fearing for his safety, he was able to join in with his friend’s awe.
“Woah,” they said in unison, as they saw the most amazing selection of chocolate they’d ever seen: truffles, clusters, caramels, bark, pretzels…
They decided they wouldn’t eat anything that was on display, but anything that was on the floor seemed okay since it would probably just get thrown out anyway. And since Montgomery the Moose was clumsy even when trying to be careful, there was more than enough to keep them going for hours.
After munching for a while, Montgomery the Mouse realized there was another room full of displays connected to theirs, and when he finished the truffle he’d been working on, he made his way through to explore, now moving more slowly than ever.
As he entered the large room, he couldn’t believe what he saw…
“Montgomery!” He shouted out. “You’ll want to see this!”
Montgomery the Moose finished his box of chocolate lobsters, and strolled through.
“Oh, wow…” he said, unable to believe his eyes.
On one side of the room, behind a low fence, was a life-size model of a bear-cub made entirely of chocolate. And next to that, as big as Montgomery himself, stood a life-size chocolate moose!
“That… Is… The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!”
Motgomery the Mouse was too full to eat any more chocolate, and just wanted to lie down somewhere comfortable to go to sleep – he remembered the perfectly mouse-sized bed he’d hidden in earlier, but he didn’t want to be there when people come back into the building. So he just lay down on the floor and tried to sleep while his body digested all the chocolate he’d just eaten.
He woke up a while later. He wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but Montgomery the Moose was still staring at his chocolate counterpart with amazement, uttering words like “amazing” and “incredible” every few moments.
Montgomery the Mouse heard noises outside, and panicked.
“Montgomery! We’ve gotta go!”
“The most perfect thing I’ve ever seen…” Montgomery the Moose mumbled.
“Montgomery! We’ve gotta go!”
“I can’t eat you… You’re too amazing…” He was in such a daze that Montgomery the Mouse knew he’d have to take drastic action.
He climbed up his leg and bit him again, this time harder than before.
“Ouch!” He finally woke up out of his trance.
“Montgomery! We’ve gotta GO!”
“What? Okay,” his large friend responded.
Without thinking, Montgomery said goodbye to his chocolate friend and, with Montgomery the Mouse on his back, he went sprinting to the front door.
“No! Not this way!” Montgomery the Mouse shouted.
But it was too late. Montgomery the Moose, still in a dream world, went crashing through the glass doors at the front of the chocolate shop, and with glass and chocolate all around them, he stopped right in front of the trash truck that had just emptied the dumpster, and which drew to a halt in front of him.
The driver of the truck seemed as surprised as Montgomery, and for a few moments they looked at each other, waiting to see who would make the next move.
“Uh, hi,” the driver waved vaguely at Montgomery, before pulling away out of the parking lot.
“Umm…” Montgomery the Moose said, before realizing that his mouse friend was asleep on his back.
Then he decided it would be best for everyone to just forget this ever happened, so he walked into the woods and found somewhere they could sleep for the night. He just hoped his mouse friend would think it was all a dream…