Mister Moe Thistleworth was a very proper sort of possum mouse. He kept his tail neatly brushed, his burgundy suit free of sawdust and always had a considerable amount of mint body scrub on hand, just in case. His house was his most important possession and he worked hard every day to make sure it would last a lifetime. Moe didn't want to be anywhere else but safe and sound in his neat, quiet home.
Not so, however, could be said of his brothers, with whom he shared his house. They left crumbs and spilled drinks on his mossy floors, laughed heartily and snored much too loudly. Moe hadn't had a full night’s sleep for a very long time and he had to clean up their mess every morning and evening.
One night, they drank all of Moe's supply of strawberry cider, freshly tapped by the worker ants that day, and broke a prized seed pod vase that had been sitting on the mantle. Moe had had enough. He was so angry that he thought his ears went red as he yelled at his brothers and told them how thoughtless they were.
"If you don't like it, maybe you should leave," said one brother.
"Yes, that would solve it" added another brother.
"That would not solve my problem", Moe frowned.
"You should really calm down, relax, like how we feel after the Magic Mushrooms" said Moe's eldest brother lazily.
"The Magic Mushrooms?" asked Moe, who had never heard of this.
"Legend has it", said Moe's eldest brother in a secretive voice, "that there are some Magic Mushrooms who live far away, and they'll give you the answer to any question you have, but just once, and just one".
Moe pressed together his lips, crossed his arms and looked at the hair on his feet, deep in thought. He was not aware of his other brothers sniggering and laughing at him behind his back, nor his eldest brother, who was struggling to keep a straight face.
"I shall find these Mushroom chaps," decided Moe, "and then you will clear out of my house once and for all!"
Without another thought, Moe checked his tie was straight, grabbed his bag of essentials and walked out the door.
He must have been walking for hours before he was aware of feeling alone and afraid. It was becoming dark, and possum mice should be tucked in their beds by this time. Looking back, however, he saw that he was still under the protective branches of the Grevillea tree in which he lived, and grunted about doubting his mission so soon. He promised himself that he wouldn't look back again.
While walking, Moe thought of how to phrase the question that he would ask the Magic Mushrooms. He only had one chance, after all, and needed to make sure the answer would include how to rid his house of all his brothers, permanently. Some options were too long, some were too short, some weren't specific enough, while others may seem too specific and miss something important.
He was still muttering to himself when he bumped right into a smooth round shell. It was brown with little yellow and green flecks spiralling into itself.
"Heyyyy" said something slimy emerging from the shell.
"Oh, I'm sorry Mister Snail, sir, I was on my way to see the magic mushrooms. Say, could you help me out? I feel as lost as a squirrel in the Arctic."
The snail slowly turned his head and swayed near Moe's face.
"Heyyyy yyyouuu... Youuuuu thereeeeeeee... Heyyyyyyy..."
Moe sighed and kept walking, wondering why he had even bothered trying to talk to a snail. He jumped to avoid the slime trail left by the snail, and started thinking of how nice his home was compared to this damp ground, unfamiliar surroundings and lack of cover from the rain.
Then he thought he heard something. Yes, there it was again. A scuttling. No. A shuffling. A crunching. A rustling. A movement in the ground leaves closer and closer to him, coming right up to him, it was running right at him and then jumped right up in front of his face.
Moe let out a little squeal and leaped backwards. A thin lizard was looking at him, grinning, arms outstretched and eyebrows raised.
"What about that one, eh?" said the lizard. "Got ya, right? Going for a snake, slithering through the leaf litter. Convinced you, I'd say, gave you quite the scare." The lizard still held his arms out, awaiting Moe's reaction, clearly impressed with himself.
"Oh, yes," managed Moe, still slightly shaken, and wanting to be tucked up safe in his own bed more each second. "Quite skilled, you are".
"Ah, yeah, it's all in the tail movement. Who are you then?" The lizard peered closer to Moe's face, a little too close for comfort.
"My name is Mister Moe Thistleworth, and if you don't mind, I'm off to find the Magic Mushrooms so I can have a tidy and quiet home again."
"I don't think those mushrooms make for good homes, Moe. Little small and not much privacy. But, each to their own and all, I suppose," smiled the lizard.
"I'm not going to live under them, I'm going to ask them how I can rid my own house of my brothers," said Moe.
The lizard looked carefully at Moe, before bursting into a great fit of laugher. "I don't expect you'll get much of an answer, them being fungus and all! Hey, that's a nice red suit."
"It's burgundy," corrected Moe.
"You named your suit?" The lizard frowned and peered closer at the jacket, as if it might start talking.
Moe had had enough, and started walking away from the lizard, determined to get his answer and be done with all of this nonsense. Before long, however, he became aware of the lizard slithering behind him, doing its best snake impression.
At first Moe ignored the lizard. But he kept hearing distant noises, like the cries of creatures and branches snapping. He relented and asked what the lizard’s name was. It was nice to have some company after all, especially while out walking in the cold night. The lizard’s name was Ed, and he had been by himself for a long time. He told Moe how he lost his family after a windy storm one day when he was just a little crawler, and couldn't find them in the terrible, howling gusts. He hadn't seen them since. Moe suddenly felt unbearably homesick, even missing his brothers.
Big, fat drops of rain started falling on Moe's head, and both he and Ed found cover standing on some nearby dry patches.
"So what would you ask this Magic Mushroom, if you had the chance?" asked Ed.
Moe had been thinking about this long and hard, especially when Ed had been talking of his loneliness and a need for belonging.
"You know, I'm not quite sure anymore," said Moe. He started thinking of how lucky he was to have so much family around him all the time. His brothers were messy and dirty and never seemed to be able to have full bellies, but it was better than not having anyone. "Not that it even matters, I'll never find these mushrooms."
"Don't be so sure," said Ed. "Look up."
Moe looked up, and found that he was right underneath a bright yellow mushroom. He opened his mouth and stared. The raindrops were falling less, and he could smell the sweet fragrance of moss, dirt and rotting leaves.
Moe smiled at Ed, looked up at the mushroom and said "how do I get back home?".