Penelope skittered to a stop in her human office and sat back on her haunches. A tiny paw absentmindedly stroking her long whiskers, Penelope contemplated the whereabouts of her research files. She knew they were in this office, but where? Her beady little eyes darted here and there.
Suddenly, without warning, an offensive odor filled the air and then almost immediately Chelsea slid into the room at an angle, reluctant to use her claws as traction on the cement floor. Her tongue hung out of her mouth as she panted, quite out of breath. Penelope froze, unsure of how Chelsea might react to her mouse form.
Never having been in this particular room before, Chelsea gazed wide-eyed at the quite mundane office as if she were in an elaborate museum. She crept slowly towards a towering bookcase overflowing with dusty volumes as if it were a fascinating exhibit. Noticing her preoccupation, Penelope began to plan her exit, and extended one back leg cautiously towards the door. Somehow Chelsea noticed this disturbance and whipped her entire body around and lept the distance between them until they were nose to nose. Penelope tried to ignore the stench. She held her breath and involuntarily blinked several times in rapid succession. She noticed Chelsea’s tail swishing from side to side. “Feline or canine?” Penelope fretted.
“Hi!” Chelsea yipped cheerfully. Penelope breathed a sigh of relief. After a brief conversation, Penelope scrambled up onto Chelsea’s back. She held onto the scruff of her neck as the unlikely duo bolted out the door and into the corridor.
Penelope dug through her tiny mouse-sized files. Every few moments she would find herself digging without purpose as the rodent aspects of her current state attempted to take over. She stopped and ran her little claws over her face in an attempt to refocus her attention. Finally she stopped altogether and trudged wearily to her desk. She wheeled out her wooden swivel chair and plopped down, feeling a bit deflated. Rowena would certainly have something biting to say about Penelope’s genetic alteration hindering their work. She always did. The science had been so new at the time, but they had been so eager to get started. Rowena had insisted that Penelope go ahead with the procedures resulting in a less than perfect result. The final calculations had been Penelope’s and Rowena never let her forget it. Never mind Rowena’s procedures had also been calculated by Penelope, and were near absolute perfection.
Suddenly Penelope raised her head from her hands. She knew where her research files were! She flung her office door open and scurried down the hall and back to where she left her clothes in the lab corridor. As she opened the tiny door in the baseboard, she peered out into the light and saw that her clothes were gone. This. This was the exact reason she was inspired to solve for being fully clothed when she conducted her research for Rowen’s procedure. Someone was always cleaning up the “dirty laundry.”
Still blinking hard in adjustment to the lights, Penelope set off in search of some clothes. She hoped she didn’t run into Chelsea. She was in absolutely no mood to fight off a feline/canine hybrid on an already asinine mission.
Penelope pushed open the door of the lab and took long, purposeful strides through the main corridor. She had a determined expression on her face, discouraging her favorite orangutan lab assistant from approaching her. Penelope saw Sandra’s furry arm reach out and then retreat. She would just have to wait.
Coming to the end of the hall, Penelope stopped, coming to face a seemingly blank wall. Taking a small step back, she crouched down, bending at the knees and waist. Squeezing her eyes shut, she bowed her head into her folded arms. Penelope inhaled deeply, counted to five, and exhaled sharply. As the last of the air was expelled from her lungs, she began to shrink.
Opening her eyes, Penelope found herself in a puddle of clothes. Looking at her hands, she saw the little pink claws of a field mouse. The transformation was successful. Penelope scurried to the wall and placed her paw on a tiny knob and turned. A small door imbedded in the baseboard swung open and she stepped inside.
Taking a number of turns down a dimly lit corridor, Penelope once again stopped to face a dead end. Opening the door before her, she stepped into a tidy, mouse-sized office. Pausing on a tiny oriental rug, tassles all perfectly aligned, Penelope scanned the room. Now, where had she filed that research? Squinting her beady eyes, she scurried towards a tiny metal filing cabinet.