The Saga of Chutzpah the Mouse
In Several Parts
This being the Fourth
Which follows upon the Third Part, wherein the dead and broken body of a mouse was discovered and a worthy foe was mourned. Here resumes the Saga, wherein is considered the fate of Chutzpah the Mouse and wherein the reader is privileged to experience the Saga from an altogether different point of view…
“Shall we go see Kate?,”1 I asked my roommate as he walked through the door. It was around 10:30 PM and he was just getting home from work. “Well,” he sighed, “it is Monday.”2 And so we popped off to the bar, leaving behind us an apartment at long last devoid of any rodentine presence.
It’s dark. No, I mean, out there. It’s always dark back here. It’s a bleeding mouse hole, of course it’s dark back here. But out there, it’s finally dark. They must be gone. Gone or sleeping. Six of one, really. And I’m hungry, so that works out well. They usually leave when I’m hungry. They must know I like to be left alone when I eat. I hate when people watch me eat. Makes me self-conscious.
“Hello boys,” Kate was saying. “Johnny Black for you, and Jamey for you,” she said as she poured a drink for each of us in turn. “So?,” she inquired. “How are things with The Mouse?”
Right, out we go then. Just past this narrow bit. Should be safe now. Sometimes this metal box I have to squeeze past, it gets so hot. I mean, it’s like an oven. Hang on. Like a what? No idea what an ‘oven’ is, come to think of it. But I hear the Biggies say it sometimes. It’s like an oven in here!, they say, typically to emphasize excessive heat. Must have picked it up. Anyway. I’ll just squeeze through this little space between the wall and that massive metal box they cook their food in by means of applying excessive heat.
“It’s dead, Kate. We killed it.” I tipped my glass back. “Umm, actually…,” my roommate cut in. “Actually…what?” “Well,” he hesitated. “I think I saw another one.” “Another mouse? Are you sure?” I was stunned. “I think so, man.” “No, dude, I bet you saw Chutzpah! We must have killed some other mouse. I knew Chutzpah was too smart to fall for the traps!”
Left? Clear. Right? Clear. Excellent. Ok, get ready to run across to the far wall. Always the far wall. The near wall is where Charlie bought it. Mustn’t go there anymore. No, no matter how much peanut-butter they put, mustn’t go there.
Kate cut in. “Sorry, let me get this straight. You killed a mouse. Now you have a new mouse. And now – ” I cut in. “No, Kate, don’t you see? Chutzpah must have sent that mouse out as a decoy. The one we killed, I mean. I’m telling you, Chutzpah is just too smart.” Kate was surprised. “You actually like Chutzpah, don’t you.” It wasn’t a question.
And we’re off! Right, I think I’ve made it. Nobody saw me. God, I’m good. I mean, really good. Much better than Charlie, the poor bastard. But it’s a cat-eat-mouse world out here. Never forget – what’s this? Oh, no, it’s just a bit of dirt. Don’t these people ever clean back here? No, of course not. Hang on, what’s that further down? *sniff sniff.* Food. Definitely food. Welp, food doesn’t grow on trees. I mean, it does grow on trees. But I can’t climb trees, so it may as well not. Although Uncle once said you could find good stuff at the bottom of trees after it’s fallen. Which would be helpful, Uncle, if I lived in the bloody country-side.
“You know, I bet you’re right,” my roommate said. “I bet that sonofabitch tricked a buddy into getting caught. He probably figured we’d take the traps away if we thought we’d killed him.” “Yes!,” I exclaimed. “Exactly! God, he’s good.”
Oh, it’s just a bit of carrot peel. I hate carrots. Still though, good for the eyes. All the best scientists agree. Rats of NIMH published a paper on that, years ago. Eat your carrots, they wrote. Good for the eyes. Maybe if Charlie had eaten more carrots. Welp, you can’t wear the black armband forever.
“You guys are odd,” Kate was saying. “First you have a mouse and you try to kill it. Then you finally do kill it, and you’re sad about it. And now you think he’s back, and it’s almost like you’re proud of him. You guys are odd.”
Not so bad, I suppose, this carrot peel. I’ve had worse, anyway. Ok then, on we go. Down the usual route, to the end of the wall. Run and squeeze, squeeze and run. And…jump! Nailed it. Sticked the landing! Down on all fours, and off we go.
“You don’t understand, Kate,” I said. “This mouse is smarter than most people I know. How can you not root for him?” “In fairness,” my roommate cut it in, “this guy doesn’t like anybody.” “He likes me,” Kate said as she topped off my Jameson. “Factum verum,”3 quoth I. “Cheers to that,” quoth my roommate as glasses clinked.
Hmm, end of the wall. And nothing. Bupkis. They never leave me any food down this way. It’s like they only ever eat in the Great Food Room anymore. And those other rooms, the Sleep Rooms, they’re always shut. Even I – I of super-mousal litheness and dexterity – even I can’t squeeze under those doors. I bet that’s where they keep the cheese, the bastards.
“And yet,” said Kate, “ you’re going to try and kill him again, aren’t you.” “He doesn’t leave us much choice, I’m afraid,” said my roommate. “It’s a contest of wits, Kate,” I said. “Yes,” she agreed. “Against a mouse.”
Right then, back we go. Maybe there’s something in the Food Box-Cabinet-Thing. I’ve mostly cleaned it out, but you never know, they have might put something new in there. These days it’s mostly metal cans. I’ve got sharp teeth, don’t think for a second I haven’t got sharp teeth. Like razors, they are. I’m like the Tyrannosaurus Rex of mouses. Haven’t seen one of those in ages, T-Rex’s.4 Well, I haven’t seen one ever. But the stories have been passed down around the campfires. And I have a cousin who lives in the Museum. He says they’ve got one there. Not a live one. Just the bones. Not even any meat on the bones. Not so tough now, are you, without your skin on. Oooh, look at me, I’m so big and strong. I’m the king of the dinosaurs. “Rex” means king, and that’s me.5 Tiny little arms, but teeth the size of two whole mouses. Oh, but what’s that in the sky? It’s coming right for me. Worst. Extinction. Ever. Bet you wished you could adapt to environmental changes like a mouse, don’t you, Mister T-Rex? Hehe. Being a mammal is the tits, no pun intended. Oh, who’m I kidding. I totally meant that pun. Nailed it! Still, I bet a T-Rex could crack into these metal cans.
“Yeah, fine, but not just any mouse,” I countered. “Chutzpah the Mouse.”
Hang on, what’s this? A box. A paper box! I can work with this, you bet. *nom, nom nom.* Aww, come on! Seriously? Matzah!? Blech! Well, what was I expecting, oatmeal? Yeah…I was expecting oatmeal. Oh, but wait. I smell lemon now. I do like a good lemon. Squeeze some lemon into a puddle of spilled Corona, that’s what I like. So where is this lemon. Where?
“And I’m telling you right now,” I continued. “Chutzpah the Mouse is no ordinary mouse. He’s got a mind like a steal trap. He’s got an iron will. He’s cold and cunning and calculating. Only a fool would underestimate this mouse.”
Oh. Oh, I get it. It’s not real lemon. They’ve mopped the floor is all. Mustn’t lick that. Charlie did that once and he was sick for days. Ooh, but do I dare? No, not licking the lemon flavor, of course not that. It’s just…the linoleum is super slippery after they’ve mopped. I bet I could…I mean, nobody’s home, right? Do I dare? Aah, what the hell. Running start…jump!…half-turn mid air…belly-flop…and the slide!…weeeeeeee!…spinning down the floor, haaaaaa!
“Sorry,” Kate answered. “Do you have a mouse, or Machiavelli?” “He’s like the mouse version of Machiavelli,” I volleyed. “He’s like…” “Please don’t say Mouseiavelli,” my roommate moaned. “Mouseiavelli!,” I triumphed. They both moaned.6
And stop. How far this time? Six-and-a-half tiles. Not bad. Charlie could never do better than five. Yeah, that was fun. The trick is, keep your tail up. Let your tail drag and it will slow you right the hell down. Aaand, now I smell like lemon. Well, it was worth it. Still, better get back to my hole now. I’ve found all the food that’s to be had here for now, and the People might come back at any time.
“Right, well I’d best be going,” as said as I finished off the last my of my I-don’t-know-how-many Jamesons. “Work in the morning, and all that.” “Goodnight boys,” waved Kate as I grabbed a lime slice for the road.
Bedtime for this tired mouse. Maybe if the weather is nice tomorrow, I’ll go outside and warm myself in the glow of the Big Cheese-Wheel in the Sky.
As we stumbled home on-drunk-wise, my roommate put to me the question. “Do you really think Chutzpah is still alive?” I paused for dramatic effect.7 “Do you really think he’s not?”
Tune in next week for the next exciting installment of The Saga of Chutzpah the Mouse, wherein is told the wicked tale of a most gruesome death. Could this really be the end of Chutzpah the Mouse?
- Cf. Starr, D., “Saga of Chutzpah the Mouse, Part 3rd,” n.1, dokeimoi.net, ed. Starr, D. 2013. [↩]
- Ibid, n.2. [↩]
- Factum Verum: Latin, “true fact.” [↩]
- The correct plural is, of course, T-Reges, but then how much Latin can you reasonably expect a mouse to know? [↩]
- Ok, so apparently some Latin. [↩]
- #nailedit [↩]
- Wait for it. [↩]