A Hero Called Mortimer – A Little Play for Children (Redrafted)
Setting: The house (mouse hole) of Mrs Mouse and her children. A big double bed sits centre stage.
Enter Mrs Mouse from off right. She looks anxiously around.
Mrs Mouse: Mortimer?! Mildred?! Where are you?!
Enter Mortimer and Mildred, excitedly
Mortimer: Here mother.
Mildred : Here mother.
Mrs Mouse: Thank goodness. I thought for a moment that that awful cat had got you too.
Mortimer: Cat? Huh! I’m not afraid of a cat.
Mrs Mouse: No? Well you should be, you little rascal. It’s already eaten your poor brother and sister. Poor Marion and poor Malcom. You two are all I have left, so I want you to stay in the house and don’t answer the door to anyone. Understand? I’m going out to get us some cheese. Now remember what I told you. Don’t answer the door to anyone…anyone at all…not until I get back. Do you promise?
Mortimer: Yes mother.
Mildred : Yes mother
Mrs Mouse: Good (to herself) now, I’m quite sure I saw a nice big hunk of yellow cheese somewhere, oh yes, I remember where (rushing out) I’ll be back soon.
Exit Mrs Mouse and (noises off) the sound of a door slamming shut.
Mortimer: Stupid old cat. Who’s afraid of a cat anyway? Not me. If it were a lion or a tiger maybe but it’s just a stupid old house cat. In fact, it’s the cat that should be afraid of me, ‘cause you know who I am?
Mildred shakes her head from side to side
Mortimer: I am Mortimer the cat slayer, that’s who I am.
Mildred: Cat slayer? (Mildred giggles) You don’t look like a cat slayer.
Mildred: No. You look much too small and fat. Infact. I think if the cat does come knocking, It’ll most likely eat you first because, out of the two of us, you are the more plump and juicy and while its chasing you round the room, it’ll give me a chance to get away, I being the more swift and agile.
Mortimer: The more cowardly, you mean.
Mildred: Silly. Mice are supposed to be cowards. It’s just the way things work. Cats chase us and we run away. If it were the other way round then that would be strange, seeing as they’re so big and we’re so small they could never fit in our mouths.
Mortimer: Huh? Oh,that’s just nonsense! Anyway. I don’t want to eat it. Yuk! I just want to slay it. Like in the stories mother tells us about Prince Mousealot slaying the fire breathing cat monster.
Mildred: Yes but those aren’t real. Those are just stories that Mothers tell their kids so that they’ll go to sleep. Didn’t you know? In real life, all we mice do is scamper away quickly or, if we’re smart, maybe use our wits to get away some other way but if we can’t do that then we just get eaten. It’s how things are.
Mortimer: Yes. Well you may get eaten but not me. If that cat so much as looks at me in the wrong way then he will learn why I am called “Mortimer the Cat Slayer!”.
Mildred: Maybe if you had the right kind of costume, like a helmet or something, you might look more slayerish. (Remembers) Oh, I have some things that you could maybe wear.
Mortimer: Hmm? Well? Ok, but it better not be anything too sissy or girly. I’m not wearing
anything that’ll make me look like a girl.
Mildred: Oh no, I think it’ll make you look really heroic...and handsome. You’ll see.
Exit Mildred off right.
Mortimer: Because, you know, I want to make the right impression. I want to strike terror into the heart of the cat foe and I can’t do that unless I look really awesome.
Mildred returns from off right carrying some things in her arms.
Mildred: I made these out of, you know, things I found lying about. ( Puts them down at Mortimer’s feet then picks up one of them; a helmet made of tinfoil) I think this one would really suit you; I just made it out of a milk bottle top but I think it makes a really good helmet.
Mortimer takes and examines the tin foil helmet
Mortimer: Hey, this isn’t bad. It could probably do with some horns; maybe one at the front so I could ram it into the cat, like if he grabs me but, no, I think this would really work.
Mortimer tries on the helmet
Mortimer: How do I look?
Mildred: Like…Sir Mousealot.
Mildred picks up another of the homemade items, a breastplate also made of tinfoil with a loop that she slips over his head, hanging it upon him.
Mildred: I made this one out of a milk bottle top too only I tied a piece of string on it. You wear it like that.
Mortimer: Yes, this ought to really protect me, I think and maybe the cat will get blinded by the glare
of the light reflected off of it, meanwhile I close in for the kill (Mortimer mimes his killer blow).
(noises off) A loud banging at the door
Mortimer: What?! What was that?!
Mildred: Someone at the door.
Mortimer: What should we do?!
Mildred: Remember what mother said. Don’t answer the door to anyone. It could be the cat.
Mortimer: Well, maybe, if we ignore it, it’ll go away.
Mildred: Good idea.
(from off left)
Person at the door: Hello? Mrs Mouse. Is there anybody there? It’s your neighbour, Mrs Squirrel, from next door. I just wondered if I could borrow some cheese, please.
Mortimer: It’s our next door neighbour, Mrs Squirrel. She wants to borrow some cheese.
Mildred: We don’t have a next door neighbour and I’m quite sure that Squirrels don’t eat cheese.
(The loud banging at the door stops)
Mortimer: They’ve stopped knocking. Maybe they’ve gone away.
Mildred: I certainly hope so.
Mortimer: I think we handled that quite well.
Mildred: Maybe someone told them about Mortimer, the famous Cat slayer and they got scared
and ran away.
Mortimer: Maybe. Infact, I’ll bet that’s just what happened. News spreads quickly in a little place like this. People are already starting to talk about me.
Mildred: Because you’ve killed so many cats. How many exactly?
Mortimer: Umm? It’s hard to keep count but plenty and the Cats of this town are already getting nervous; frightened felines shivering in their cat baskets, afraid to go out in case they run into the amazing…
Mildred: The magnificent …
Mortimer: The marvellous Mortimer the Cat Slayer!
There is a mouse,
so I am told;
tall as a house
and brave and bold
though he is only
nine years old.
The cats all shiver
like they’re cold
When they hear
His name is
There is a mouse
who’s strong and tough.
Even a thous
-and aint enough
cats to catch him,
they pant and puff;
try to match him
but he treats them rough.
They call him
A mouse called
Person at the door: What was that you said? (Laughs) Cat slayer, eh? The famous Cat slayer?
Why, I’ve never met one of those before. I’d like to meet a cat slayer. Perhaps get your autograph.
Won’t you let me in, little Cat slayer?
Mortimer: Uh!? (Whispering) It must have been listening all the time.
Mildred: (Whispering) Well, Cats do have exceptionally good hearing not to mention big teeth and claws.
Mortimer: (Whispering) What should we do now ? It knows we’re here.
Person at door: Why don’t you come out Cat slayer? Hmm? Surely you’re not afraid. A famous mouse like you?
Mortimer: It has a point. If I’m to be a cat slayer then I shouldn’t be afraid to go out and face it.
What am I anyway, a man or a mouse?
Mildred: A mouse, Mortimer. Most definitely a mouse and if you have any sense at all then you’ll do what mother told us to do. Remember? Don’t answer the door… to anyone…no matter what!
Mortimer: No. (Sadly sighing and taking off his tinfoil helmet and armour) You’re right. I’m not a Cat slayer. Just an ordinary mouse.
(noises off – a door creaking open)
Person at the door: Well, well. Isn’t that interesting. Someone forgot to lock the door. Miaow! And I can smell two little mice in here.
Mildred: Oh no! It’s in the house
Mortimer: What should we do, Mildred?! What?!
Mildred: I don’t know? Um? Under the bed.
Both Mildred and Mortimer hide their heads under the bed but we can still see their rears and long mouse tails sticking out.
Enter Mrs Mouse from off left carrying a lump of cheese.
Mrs Mouse: Mildred? Mortimer? Don’t panic. It was only me. Your mother, pretending to be the cat.
Mildred and Mortimer come out from under the bed, cautiously
Mrs Mouse: Yeah, it was me all along. I’m sorry if I scared you, but I needed to test you to see whether you’d do the right thing or not and you did. You didn’t answer the door. Fortunately, it was only me but it may well have been a real cat. Now, you’ve both been really good children and I’ve brought you both a nice big lump of cheese.
(Mrs Mouse breaks off two lumps of cheese and hands them to her children who begin excitedly nibbling on them)
Mortimer (embarrassed) : I suppose it was kind of silly, all that talk about being a cat slayer… wasn’t it Mother?
Mrs Mouse: Oh no, Mortimer. If you want to be a hero then you’ve got to be smart and both my children showed me today that they are very smart indeed.