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2005-02-08 - 12:29 p.m.

What exactly does one say over the body of a mouse so dinky he could tap dance on your pinky? Should he be swathed in black and given his own small cardboard coffin, despite the fact that his solitary additions to the household were gnawed holes in trash bags, and a nightly soundtrack of skittering during the hours normal people sleep?

These are not the questions one readily looks forward to answering at eight in the morning just following their shower. Even less welcome is the question, was he lying there when I went into the bathroom, and was I groggy enough to step on him without realizing…was he the Cheerio I thought I crunched?

These are the thoughts that will make you wash your toesies like Lady Macbeth with a foot fetish.

The little guy, whom I dubbed “Brat” since he seemed to be taking delight in disobeying my consistent commands to “leave my shoes alone!,” he had entertained himself about my apartment for a week now, nibbling on discarded bits of chocolate, and giggling away the dawn as he lounged in the trap I’d set for him. Apparently, the little bugger was light enough not to spring the trap, but my fingers, fatty tubes that they are, made lovely cannon fodder for this wasted investment.

I did my best to warn anyone who wandered into my hackneyed halls about the new roommate. Some immediately saw whiskers on any bit of dust, or a zigzagging mosquito, suddenly leaping up onto chairs, tables, me…Others just pulled out their gun, just waitin’ to party.

Still, whenever he finally peeked out his little head, the death threats and fear seemed to crumble. He’d scoot his little eyes out of one of my crates, and all my guests would coo over his precociousness. I simply had to steam in the corner, knowing full well, as adorable as he may have looked, it doesn’t change the fact that he poo’ed on my Buffy DVD’s and had thus writ his own death sentence.

He’s been hockey pucked out my door, baited with cheerios into traps that don’t snap, cursed out in Latin, and now, after all of this, the poison I’d put out deposited him at my feet, on the cold tile of an early Monday morning.

Brat was stiff from top to bottom. Even his tail was stiff as a board. A quick flick on the end of his tail and you'd have a horribly inappropriate spinner for a game board.

I scooped up the lad onto a computer catalogue and dropped him into the toilet.

He bobbed in the water, with his eyes still flashing a little in the sunlight. He didn’t really seem dead, more like an action figure of himself, frozen in ready position.

“Bye, Brat.”

I flushed the toilet, and waited for him to circle down. Then I flushed again. And again. On the forth flush I dropped the catalogue in the trash, and went to have a cigarette on the couch of my quiet apartment.

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