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The Friendship Game

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Once upon a time in a land not so far away lived a cat and a dog amongst a nice family of four people that raised them since they were a pup and a kitten. The dog was named Jack, and the cat's name was Smokey. Smokey and Jack were best friends. They shared everything and played together all the time.

One day while Smokey and Jack were taking a nap after playing for a while, they heard a little noise coming from the kitchen area. Jack saw a little mouse running with a piece of cheese in his mouth out of the corner of his eye.He alerted his friend by saying, "Did you see that Smokey? Go get him boy."

"Did I see what?" Smokey asked while yawning.

"The mouse kid, the mouse, You didn't see him running?"

"No Jack, I didn't see anything."

"Well, he might still be in the kitchen. Go take a look."

"I doubt it, he's probably gone by now. Why do you care anyway? He's not bothering anyone."

"What are you saying? Not bothering anyone? If the humans find out that there is a little mouse running around in the house and you aren't doing anything about it, they might throw you out on the street."

"Do you think so, Jack?" "I know so buddy, that's why humans have cats: to keep the mice away."

"Wow, I never thought of it that way. I guess you are right, Jack. I have to stop being lazy, catch that intruder, and throw him out."

"That's the spirit, stay on high alert and get him the next time he passes by!"

"I most definitely will my friend, I most definitely will."

In the mean time, the little mouse was listening to the whole conversation from the kitchen. He hated Jack for enticing Smokey to hunt him down and throw him out of the house. So he decided to start trouble between the cat and the dog.

The next day while Jack was napping, Smokey heard someone calling him softly from the kitchen.

"Psst, psst! I got a little piece of some yummy steak for you. Come and get it!"

Smokey ran over as the aroma from the steak took over his senses. He gobbled the steak down so quickly, unaware that the mouse was the one who'd given it to him.

"Was that good or what? Did you enjoy it?" the soft voice whispered.

At that point, Smokey turned toward the little hole in the wall where the voice was coming from, and realized that the soft voice belonged to the little mouse. He was a little confused as to why that mouse had just given him that heavenly tasting piece of meat.

"Hey, wait a minute, why are you in this house? You're not supposed to be here. Get out, right away!" Smokey replied, assertively.

"Okay buddy, I'll leave if you want me to. I'm not here to start any trouble. I am just trying to make a friend, and I thought that you'd be that friend. I wouldn't want to be friends with that mean Jack that you call your friend."

" Don't talk like that about Jack, he is my BFF."

"Oh, do you really think so?" "I know so. I don't need you to tell me, mouse."

"Well okay then, did he share his big steak with you, or me? Did you know that he gets a piece of that yummy steak every other day, and his pieces are ten times the size of the piece I just gave you?"

"Say what?"

"Yes sir, he does. Has he ever given you any? Of course not!"

"How do you know all of that?" Smokey asked. "I have been living here for almost two weeks now, and I have been watching everything. I can tell that you are the nicer one. You do all the chores around here. You catch all of the mice and keep the place clean, and what does he do? Nothing but eat and sleep. Yet he gets to go out with the humans in their car every time they go out. Tell me, when was the last time they took you out for a ride in their car? Let me guess: the answer is never, right? Do you get any treats for doing stupid things like sitting down when they tell you to, or rolling over? I guess the answer is no, once again."

"Wow, I never knew he got steak and treats all the time. I never get any of those things, and he's never shared anything with me, either!"

"So that's what you call a friend, but you are ready to throw me out and all I want is to be your real friend. If you really think so, I'll be on my way out now. It was nice knowing you!"

"Wait a minute now, please. I'm sorry I misjudged you. Please accept my apology. My name is Smokey, what's yours?"

"Berry is my name, and friendship is my game, what do you say buddy? Friends?"

"Yeah, yeah. Sure thing, Berry. And by the way, thanks for telling me all those things about Jack. Do me a favor though, please don't let the humans see you, as they might get upset and throw me out for not catching you myself."

"Have no worries, Smokey! I am very careful when it comes to the humans. I always make sure none of them are around when I come out of hiding. You do me a favor as well, and don't tell Jack what I told you about him. I don't want him to come looking for me."

Smokey walked away and lay down away from Jack, on the opposite side of the room. A few minutes later, Jack woke up, surprised to see his friend laying on the other side of the room.

"Hey what're you doing over there? How come you are not on my side, as always?" Jack asked, confused.

"I just need a little space, that's all, " replied Smokey, filled with new disappointment in his "friend."

"What do you mean, you need a little space? You have never stayed on that side before, at least not when I'm here. Is everything alright?"

"Yes, everything's just dandy. Thanks for asking, friend, " Smokey answered with a sarcastic tone.

"Why are you talking funny like that?"

Smokey considered questioning Jack about the things he'd found out.

"How was that steak today? Was it good?" he wanted to ask. But then he remembered his promise to Berry and decided not to ask.

"Come on buddy, what's wrong? I know you're not okay. I have known you since you were a little kitten. Please tell me what is bothering you. Did I do something wrong? I hate to see you so sad like that."

Smokey still kept silent, but Jack insisted on knowing what was bothering his best friend, and kept on begging him to speak up.

Smokey finally broke his silence by saying: "So since you claim to be my best friend, how come you never share your yummy steak or treats with me?"

"Ha, what are you talking about? What yummy steak?"

"What yummy steak!? No need to lie any more Jack, Berry told me all about it and he gave me a small piece of that good steak that you get all the time. Why don't you ever share with me, if I'm your best friend?"

"Huh? I still don't know what you're talking about. And who the heck is Berry?"

"The steak that the humans give you every other day, and Berry is the harmless mouse that you wanted me to throw out."

"Say what? You think the humans give me steak every other day?" Jack said, laughing loudly.

"What is funny?"

"You are, my friend, for letting that little mouse play with your head. I don't get any steaks. I get my dog food that sits in the bowl next to your food, and the treats you are talking about are the same ones they give you. I am surprised that you fell for those lies, Smokey."

"You mean Berry lied to me?"

"Yes, my friend. He must've played you, so you wouldn't throw him out. He probably stole that piece of steak that he fed you from the humans to make you believe his lies."

"Is that so?" Smokey was confused.

"Yes buddy, it is. You should know better than to let someone like a mouse come between our friendship."

"But wait a minute, what about going for all those rides with the humans in their car? I have seen that with my own eyes. Don't tell me he was lying about that too!"

"No, that is true. The humans take me with them in their car and don't take you, but how is that my fault? Every time they take me in that car, I wish that you could come along with me and have some fun, too. But, as you know, it is not up to me who comes and who doesn't."

"You are absolutely right, I cannot blame you for that. I am sorry I doubted you, Jack. Please forgive me." Smokey said, running towards the kitchen.

"Where are you going Smokes?"

"To catch that liar! I'll even spend the whole night waiting for him if that's what it takes, " Smokey said, not realizing the mouse was already gone after having heard what the two friends discussed in the other room.

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