Doctor Violet Hopps looked across at the pudgy cheetah lying on her couch.
Momentarily he appeared naked to the female rabbit, as his orange prison jump suit, blended with his fur in the low light of her wood panelled office.
He was sobbing.
"You know I will be counselling your boss tomorrow?" she commented, "after all the character references he put up for you, the poor mammal is beside himself."
"To say nothing of how traumatised my sister is after she and Nick found your basement."
The cheetah looked across at the rabbit, tears welling in his eyes.
"Oh em goodness," he snivelled, "poor little Judy, I feel so bad for her."
"Well, at least she is still alive," Violet retorted, "do you have any remorse for all those mice?"
Benji contemplated his navel for a second or two before whining, "I felt that I should feel remorse each time but,"
"They were so tasty!"
Violet sprang across the room and smacked the cheetah across the nose with a cardboard tube.
"No!" she commanded, "bad kitty."
The cheetah reeled back, not from the ineffectual blow, but the affront of it.
"What the hell?" he squealed, backing up on the couch, his tail curling between his legs.
The rabbit stood there, glaring at the cowering feline.
"Don't you 'what the hell' me," reprimanded the bespectacled doe, "you knew we were going to use aversion therapy for this session."
She softened a little and walked back to her chair, dropping the cardboard tube on her desk and adjusted her glasses as she sat.
"So," she began, "first off, we need to go back to the beginning and recognise where it started."
"You continually claimed it was an accident…"
"But it was," he interjected, "I didn't know that young mouse was in my donut box, and his mother just kept on whining about her dirty rat of a husband."
"I just grabbed another donut and chomped into it," he continued," I thought it tasted a bit funny and then all the screaming started."
He was about to continue, but looked at the cardboard tube and stopped.
The doctor began again, "I've read the trial reports, and I think you had us all fooled."
"No," he cried.
"Enough for the judge to let you off lightly with community service around Little Rodentia," she glared.
"I mean, that was almost psychopathic on his behalf!"
"Not only were you free to roam, but you were sent to work at your food source," dismay in her voice.
The cheetah sniffed, "honestly it wasn't planned that way, I initially just wanted to help, but the smell, and there were so many-"
Violet reached for the tube, Benji stopped talking, eyes wide again.
"So, how were you going to help?" the rabbit asked.
He looked down again, "There are so many mice, and lots of them were homeless and living in gutters and alleyways outside Little Rodentia."
Looking up from the report, Violet asked, "So that's when you started your little 'hobby' to build temporary housing for the homeless mice?"
"Yes," he said, sniffing again.
"Have you always hated mice officer clawhauser?" she asked.
Benji looked up, a surprised look on his face, "What, oh no, gosh no," he replied.
"So why did you start making your little houses into torture chambers?" she demanded, pointing the cardboard tube at him.
The cheetah shrank back, almost falling off the couch.
"No, it wasn't like that," he cringed, it was another accident."
"The little clip I used to hold the first houses together was misaligned and a couple of them collapsed during a cold night, killing the mice inside."
"I was the first to find them the next morning and, I just panicked so, I ate the evidence."
He took a jagged breath.
"I studied the design and could see where I went wrong, but also realised it was a quick death, painless."
"There was no torturing."
In a flash, Violet was standing next to Clawhauser, waving the cardboard tube in his face.
"That's not the way I see it you chomper."
"You're a monster!" she accused, "you deliberately set out to make your little killing houses of yours, those rodent crushing apartments, your spring loaded murder boxes."
"What were you going to call these abodes of death, their penultimate accommodation, the house of no return?"
Again she stood there glaring at the cheetah, her arms crossed, her foot thumping on the floor
Benjamin Clawhauser looked up at Violet Hopps, his eyes wide and tearing as he squeaked,
"I just called them mousetraps."