philip scott wikel ©2002
1. Once upon a time there was a beautiful neighborhood full of green trees and flowers and butterflies of every color. Children would play freely as their parents and grandparents sat on the porches of their homes and told stories of wonderous faraway lands and magical Christmases and days filled with adventure.
2. Then one day the people stopped going outside and the children sat in front of the television as soon as they came home from school.
3. The neighborhood had a blue glow at night created by the light of televisions, which made it impossible to see the stars.
5. Most of the mice here would eventually become food for the two boa constrictors (hannity & rush) if not for the help of, of all things, the neighborhood cat named “rainbow.”
6. The mouse heard through the neighborhood grapevine, an actual dormant grapevine that runs along the back fences of the whole block (which served as an information highway between pets who’d found homes and pets still in the store), that there was room for a pet in a cottage down the way and that there was a nice little boy who lived there who’s daddy couldn’t afford to buy him one.
7. This particular night Rainbow scratched a hole in the rotted window pane and liberated the mouse.
8. He rode on rainbow’s back to the outside of the house, passing above “Satellite’s” yard. Satellite jumped and clawed at Rainbow. But rainbow was cool and just kept moving slowly with a smile on her face. Satellite’s owner is named Aidem. He owns the local satellite network and most of the houses on the street. His house is the biggest and sits in the center of the block.
9. “Here you go little guy,” says Rainbow, “you’ll be safe here, Dylan’s a good kid and his dad’s nice too.”
10. He appears through the vent of the wall heater and runs around the base of the kitchen cabinets and into the den where the father is reading a book to his son.
11. He is somewhat frightened of these strangers but is courageous enough to decide on getting a better look at them.
12. He climbs the magazine rack, perches on top of a copy of the New Yorker to spy across the room. They looked awfully big from there.
13. He climbs a computer cord to the top of the desk. Then scales a lamp that was made in the shape of a lighthouse. From there he looked around nervously. He was at eye level with the father now. He looked pleasant enough.
14. Just below him and beyond a wind-up robot was the half-eaten cup of Instant Macaroni & Cheese. The mouse was hungry so he risked being spotted. He jumped into the cup and finished its contents.
15. Then the father shifted in his seat and the mouse ran to hide behind a picture of Dylan’s grandparents.
16. He went back down the cord, behind the magazine rack, then scurried behind the videotapes, stopping briefly to admire a copy of The Rescuers, and moved on to hide in the trunk of a black toy ’58 Corvette.
17. The boy saw him jump in and he moved slowly to grab the car.
18. Don’t be afraid little mouse, he said, why don’t you get in the front seat, the steering wheel works and I’ll turn on the power. The boy was very happy and began making plans for adventures with his new friend.
19. Outside through the window the landlord Aidem passed by. He saw the boy with the mouse.
20. He went back to the main house.
21. Then he came back and knocked on the door.
22. The boy’s father answered the door.
23. I saw your boy with a mouse and I must presume that since you can’t afford Aidem TV that you can’t afford a pet. Here are some mousetraps. Put them out and kill that thing or I’ll report you to the Pet Store. I don’t want mice around here. Mice get into the wiring of things.
24. What did he want daddy?
25. He gave us these things.
26. Mousetraps, what are we going to do with them?, asked Dylan.
27. Well they’re for killing mice.
28. I have a better idea, says Augustus. We can use them to catapult playdough at Aidem’s pitbull, satellite.
29. Your mouse can stay “sport.” We’ll give him the birdhouse to live in.
30. The boy jumped up and down and hugged his father.
31. The mouse, who’d overheard the conversation, smiled.
32. The next morning they set up the two mousetraps with a generous helping of extra slimy playdough. They whistled to satellite and he came charging at their fence. On the count of three they launched the playdough. It landed on satellite’s eyes and he couldn’t see and crashed into the fence and was never able to bark again.
33. That night there was no blue glow to disturb the stars and in the starlight you could see new buds on the grapevine. Everyone loved it but no one could explain the change. No one, except perhaps Aidem who, since no one was interested in staying inside and watching TV anymore, lost all his money and had to take a job cleaning the cages at the Pet Store.
34. The neighborhood was beautiful again full of green trees and flowers and butterflies of every color. Children played freely again and their parents and grandparents sat on the porches of their homes and told stories of wonderous faraway lands and magical Christmases and days filled with adventure.