The Nature of Things.
I opened the kitchen door and was just about to give that dog a mouthful! Quietly of course, so as not to wake the world and my wife. She stopped making the racket as soon as I walked in. She sat bolt upright with a look that mixed anger, wasp chewing and crossed eyes, I think it was an attempt at a serious face. It didn’t work. Serious is not a look for a greyhound. Beside her was a mouse. The mouse had a proper serious look on its face. The mouse carried it off much better. It had its little front legs crossed like arms in front of it. That mouse means business I thought. And then It spoke.
‘We need to talk to you about something man.’ It said. Firstly I should point out to you the way it said ‘man’ was not ‘hey maaan’, It was MAN as in ‘the species of man’. That was a little odd, but so was a talking mouse so that's two out of two. ‘Sit down’ it said, I couldn't guess the sex from it’s voice and to be honest my mouse sex guessing is not that great. I couldn't notice a mouse penis or lack of one from where I was stood. Actually if I had it by the tail and I flicked, prodded and poked, I bet I still couldn't find out either.
‘What are you looking for?’ The mouse snapped. I looked away. Eek! I said in my head and sniggered. I know, a poor joke not worth vocalising or probably writing here but hey, I was a little freaked out. ‘If it's so important to you, Man. I am female. Though it's none of your goddam business! Now please sit down’. Rather tetchy but hey, least I know. Knowing sure helps a story flow, don’t you think? Well, anyway it does for me.
I went to sit down, leaning against the cupboard door. Best do as I'm told it's not every day you meet a talking mouse, plus this would be one crappy tale if I just said NO! Walked out of the kitchen and stormed back upstairs to bed. I don’t think you'd be happy reading this, plus I sure wouldn’t want to have wasted my time writing that up.
They waited until I was comfy, which wasn't easy in an inside out dressing gown on a freezing cold, tiled floor. I pulled the inside out gown around me and under my freezing ass, best I could. When I was reasonably comfortable I gave them a look of OK, I even threw in a little nod just to make sure they understood. The mouse looked irritated but their faces always look slightly irritated in my opinion. She was ready to begin. ‘You don't seem to understand the nature of things and we feel we should explain it to you.’
‘Why me?’ I answered. ‘No good reason, just you’re here, now. We’re bored of chasing around, and Dog here,’ the mouse pointed at Daya, ‘she likes you for some reason.’ ‘I dooo’ said Daya and smiled that strange cross eyed smile. First time I'd heard her talk, sort of half rowwwWOW and growl. She tried to speak quietly but I guess volume control is not high on a dog's list of priorities. A dog's list of important stuff probably goes, food, sleep, scratching stuff, poos, barking at stuff, staring at stuff. So volume control is probably right down the list, along with hygiene, maybe even below hygiene.
‘I think I'll do most of the talking here, dogs aren’t known for their volume control.’ Synchronicity! I thought, but didn’t say anything, would have probably been lost on these two. Daya went to agree with the mouse but decided better of it, instead she shrugged and slumped herself down beside her. ‘You have a pretty good vocabulary for a Mouse’ I said, hoping I wasn't being too rude accusing all of mouse-kind of having a poor vocabulary. The mouse didn’t seem to mind and explained, ‘I'm using your words, it's easier that way and don't ask how, your levels of understanding this will just leave you with more questions than answers.’ Which I thought was a tad rude but as I had a head full of questions and absolutely no answers I felt it best to keep quiet. I didn't want to prove the cocky little sod right.
‘So Ok, cool, what's all this about’ I said, aiming for, hey I’m cool with the whole Dr Doolittle thing we got going on here. ‘We just want to explain the nature of things to you. You don't seem to get it.’ ‘The nature of things’ I repeated it a few times, trying to look thoughtful, but more bothered about my ass and whether the freezing floor was giving me piles. . ‘Hmmm the nature of things’ I mulled it over for a while.
Shifting my cheeks slightly to try and find a more comfortable sitting position, but still trying to look like I was seriously thinking about the nature and things. ‘Do you mean how things go? Life? Death? The universe and everything? Or why are we here?’ I think I covered the whole list. ‘No. Man. This is why this is so difficult. You have all forgot. Man has become strange to us. You do not belong. You try to think too many questions when there aren't that many to begin with. That is why you are lost. Why do you bother yourself with, Life, the universe and this everything! Does it put food in your belly? Keep you warm and safe?,’ ‘Well no’ I admitted, ‘It doesn't but we have all that covered these days. We have our homes, heating, food shops and we've got telly and cars.’
God that sounded dumb. Telly and cars? Jesus! Is that all I could think of? We’ve cured diseases, extended life, gone to space and I say telly and cars! The mouse snorted at me and continued her slag off, of the human race. ‘You have become lazy, forgotten how to live. To be alive!’ ‘But being alive, as you put it is life and death; at least we fill it with stuff. Make the whole journey more fun.’ The mouse made another snorting noise and laughed ‘It doesn't help you though does it? You still get miserable, you still aren't happy are you? Let’s face it Man. The thrill of the hunt is still the biggest thrill of all isn’t it?’ This smug mouse is getting a little too big for her furry little boots.
‘Yeah but you're the hunted not the hunter and right next to you is a hunter. I mean usually she'd be chasing you round this room trying to eat you.’ Daya looked on smiling in a, YEP I would!, kind of look. She carried that off OK. ‘Yep and I would be running for my life, adrenalin pumping, blood coursing. I would be on the edge of life and death one poor judgment and I am gone. Now that is living.’ She said triumphantly.
‘We have a better understanding of the importance of living not dying, that's why we don’t live on the edge anymore,’ I countered and the mouse giggled ‘you have a better understanding of life by sitting on your arse and watching that telly box. Then you go off to work, earn more money to buy more boxes of stuff to hide from the truth of dying. If life was so precious and you understood it so well, why do you do nothing with it?’
‘Hey! We’ve done loads of stuff, we've built amazing things, we've achieved.’ I think I came off a little sulky there, and I forgot to mention space and life saving operations again, but she was getting under my skin! ‘There you go with the ‘WE’. You didn't achieve anything. Let’s have a look at your usual day. You get up, shit in a hole, stare at your reflection for a while, why you do that is beyond me, why keep staring at yourself? You're the same person you were the day before and the day before that! Then you throw some water on your face and hands, dry them and make some food and leave. You do the same thing every day. The only drama is you may miss a bus, maybe you're late to sit at your desk to tell anyone who'll listen how dull and shitty your life is . . . did I miss anything out?’
‘You're quite sarcastic for a mouse aren't you?’ I said huffily she was really starting to piss me off. ‘How would you know, know many talking mice eh?’ she laughed when she said this and Daya made a laughing noise too. ‘Hey no need to be rude man! . . er mouse! What should I do then, go stick my head in lions mouth, dance with oncoming traffic? Maybe throw everything away and wander the earth solving crime? Would that be better? Would that make me a better man or animal? Man!’
‘You're a little tetchy. I'm just trying to offer some advice to make things less ordinary and explain the nature of things, try and help you rediscover the animal in you.’ ‘I get it, I think.’ I said, not getting anything except a numb rear end. ‘Thinking is man’s problem.’ She said. ‘But we can't help it' I argued, ' just like Daya here can't help licking her lady bits at inappropriate times.’ Mouse laughed, Daya stopped licking her lady bits and shrugged sheepishly, a look she’d mastered it seems, and put her head back down.
‘Ok you can't stop thinking but you can stop yourself when you start. Do something reactive when it happens something instant and dangerous! Get your blood pumping. I don't know we mice aren't big on thinking so you’ll have to work that out yourself. Just try living for a change, with a little less thought.’ ‘I'll think about it’ I said with a snigger. Mouse laughed. ‘I don't think I'll get through to you maybe it's too late for mankind. You’ve changed too much, maybe forgot the animal in you. More misery machine than animal now.’ She looked to her left and sort of pointed under the cupboard. ‘One more thing what the fuck is this!?!?’
I looked guiltily in the direction of the mouse trap. ‘Er . . . the missus bought them . . .’ I was flustered and stammered, ‘not my choice I wouldn't have got them, I would have got humane ones.’ I was not comfortable at all now. ‘Humane? You humans are the cruellest things on this planet! Humane sounds worse! . ..’ she paused, a smile played across her furry face. ‘I'm just winding you up, if a mouse is dumb enough to fall for that shit then it’s no great loss to our species!’
The mouse looked at me for what seemed like too long and continued, ‘I think we're done here, time for me to go. You can go now man, go watch your telly box, stare at yourself in the mirror. You may want to take her for a walk too; I think she’s got one in the tunnel by the smell on her.’ I stood up to go, rubbing some life back into my freezing rear. ‘One more thing man. Next time make a bit of an effort eh, the World’s first interspecies conversation and you’ve got your fucking robe on inside out, Classy bastard.’ She winked I turned around, adjusted myself as best I could and left the room and them giggling to themselves.
What the hell just happened? I turned left to head up the stairs but stopped at the bottom step. I could still hear them talking. I heard Daya loudly say, ‘do you think he’ll learn the nature of things?’ Her voice was tinged with concern. After a short pause, I swear I heard that mouse say, ‘I dunno . . . but then again, what the fuck do I know about the nature of things? I’m just a mouse.’