If I had a cowboy hat, what would be inside? Nothing but a furry dome—and a mouse that likes to ride!

I often lie in wait. Some don't believe me. Most would deny it. If you saw me all you would see is me partially collapsed on my side with my jowls drooping right unto the linoleum like a fat bag of Jello. What you don't know is that I'm lying in wait. In this position I seem innocuous. Nobody takes notice. Meanwhile I am down here listening to all around me. I absorb things and learn just like a collegiate. I wasn't born this way. I studied, my man. I study with my tongue out to one become a superstar.

That's how I learned about, the other day, something about the story of "Kernel Jessup," somebody was talking about. I heard it and didn't catch all the details but the gist of it was there was this Karnal, Jessup, and he lived in the Old West times, rode on the back of a horse and won a lot of praise for this. Later someone put him inside of a book. Action man with a hero and a big hat! Inside of a hat he kept a surprise! Katchup Jassup, we still remember him today!

It looks like you slipped up, my friend. As you were discussing Kernal Jessup I was in fact on my spy mode the entire time. This allowed me learn all of the intelligence on this matter. You let slip the intelligence and I gobbled it up voraciously in my silence. My next move was all too obvious. As soon as the coast was clear, I roused myself from my linoleum throne and luxuriously waddled to my library, a space next to the bookshelf with an old towel that I guard like an absolute wild man. If anyone tries to move it I throw a fit! Here I now sit in my literary abode doing my research upon the Wild West. Where do I fit into this big picture? How am I the Karton Jessup of a new generation—a beloved famous Wild West cowboy hero? Where is my six-shooting hard tack? Bring me the cheating cards! I have a date with history!

The decision has been made then. To secure my place in the cowboy hall of fame I know what I have to do: I have to get up, I have to stretch these legs, I have to jump up, and I have to get on the back of a horse. Imagine the historic tableau: the ground, and on top of the ground, a horse, and on top of the horse, me, in the role of modern day Karton Jessup, and on top of me, a mouse, and on top of the mouse, a cowboy hat.

The mouse's name? Aloha, and pants the color of gold.

[Illustration by Jim Cooke]