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The Mouse

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The mouse is not aware of much, in the grand scheme of things. Mouse is small, and mouse’s frame of reference is constrained to small, mouse-size concerns. Nonetheless, mouse is aware and wary of the variety of animals who intersect with its domain, comprised of a swath of industrial carpeting and the spaces under a mini-refrigerator, bed storage, and bookshelves.

Most prominent among these is Miss Kitty Fantastico, an occasional visitor who stirs deep horror within mouse. Although Miss Kitty Fantastico may not appreciate that mouse differs significantly from a pompom or a feather on a string, mouse has no doubts whatsoever of Miss Kitty Fantastico’s significance. Mouse stays in a very dark, safe place between the fridge and the cinderblocks when Fantastico visits, and still mouse finds herself unable to stop cleaning her already clean left ear.

The other visitors and residents, though also to be avoided, raise a more casual degree of caution in mouse. Mouse identifies them only insofar as they belong to one of two loose categories. There are those that are simply mammals like mouse, though of inconceivable size; these are dangerous when moving, but — like mountains — as ignorable as stretches of landscape when still. Then there are those with an additional smell of Miss Kitty Fantastico, yet which are essentially not Miss Kitty Fantastico. Mouse is extra wary when they are present, but mouse knows that the danger they represent is removed.

It is only recently that mouse recognized a fourth category of visitor. Mouse has no concept for what the members of this category are, but recognizes what they are not. They are not mammals. They are not warm. They are not Miss Kitty Fantastico, although they alarm mouse in a similar, deep-rooted way. Mouse stays very still in the dark when this fourth type of visitor calls.