The last thing we needed to see in our run down council house was Mickey, what with traps all over the floor already. So what did my brother Tommy do? Yep, he brought home a mouse. It was a little hard to tell at first because he held him in gently cupped hands, his eyes and voice pleading…
“Please Mammy, can we keep him?”
I suppose what gave it away was the long hairy ringed tail, waving between interlaced fingers, like a dancing worm. Mickey’s little body twisted and turned and his whiskery nose pushed hard so Tommy had to unlock his hands.
Mickey sat upright, glad to get air into his sweaty, flattened fur. Up on his hind legs he proceeded to wash his face. He cupped his front paw, slid it along his ears letting it gracefully twirl his whisker tips. This ritual was done several times to his satisfaction. Dropping down he twisted to check the full length of his tail and then paused with the realization that he was indeed intact and in spanking clean, ship shape order.
Mickey moved to investigate the world over the edge of the palm that held him, whiskers quivering in anticipation. He peered over each side, boy oh boy it was a big world out from the hot, sticky cave of the hands. But considering that my brother saved him from being thrown in the river, Mickey felt that this was really a very safe place to be.
Mickey ran up my brother’s sleeve and snuggled comfortably on his shoulder, his hairy face tickling the boy’s neck. Tommy smelled like pure love and Mickey decided he would be happy here.
Within hours he had been given a new home. Grandad, the elder of the family got a hammer and some pieces of plywood and got to building. It was a beautiful bungalow, two thirds of it being open plan. There was the large kitchen, play, and living area with a huge glass window. The bedroom, reached through an arched doorway was small, yet cozy.
The big people in the house made him feel like family. A lid of a pickle jar was full of his favorite nuts and seeds with a soda pop lid full of fresh water. They even provided him with an exercise wheel to run on. After much playing and investigating he retired to sleep on his bed made from shredded newspaper.
The big people’s house was poor, but full of love non-the less. To Mickey, it was paradise. He didn’t care about the peeling wallpaper or smell of mold. It didn’t matter to him that they had an outside lavatory or didn’t possess a refrigerator
His home was placed under a box called a ‘television.’ At night it would rattle and vibrate. Mickey would get on his wheel and run for miles but he never did catch up with those cowboys.
But when he danced in front of his window, tiny paws outstretched like fairy starfish one of the children would scoop him up and out he would come to play in the living room. This was his favorite time of all. For the children made him his own Magic Kingdom.
Toilet roll tubes were slides and tunnels. Empty Cornflake boxes with paper loosely scrunched inside and a hole in one end was an adventure playground. An old sheet was draped over a box. Mickey loved this, sometimes he would burrow beneath it or climb it combat style like a cargo net. There would be a treat at the end, a sunflower seed that he deftly twisted and turned in his paws, the shell dropping quickly to the floor. Then he would wash his face in satisfaction.
Often a huge pink finger would appear as he ran. He was not afraid; he tilted his head sideways in anticipation. His ears were as thin as a dragonfly’s wing with minute veins threaded through. Mickey twitched them for attention. The finger gently rubbing would cause Mickey to relax into a sleepy puddle.
One evening whilst playing in his Magic Kingdom Mickey stopped in mad dash. For there, on the edge of the newspaper was the most exquisite mouse he had ever seen. Her eyelashes fluttered and she wrapped her tail around herself pulling up to her full height. Granddad moved quickly and caught her in his shoe. Seeing Mickey transfixed, he realized in his wisdom that our little mouse was in love.
That night Mickey shared his bed with his new wife and couldn’t wait to show her around. But sadly after a few days their honeymoon was over too quickly and Mickey soon became the victim of spousal abuse. You see Minnie was a street-smart gang member and poor Mickey being a country mouse didn’t quite please her tastes. So Minnie would constantly box his ears and nip his tail.
One night an unearthly squealing woke the big people. Fearing that Mickey had met his demise they peeked into their bedroom. But there, curled up like pink commas, eyes tightly shut were eight bald babies.
It was decided that Mickey had suffered enough abuse and this arranged marriage was brought to an end. Mother and children were taken to the local Pet Store in a Christmas Cookie tin full of holes.
Mickey settled back into his bachelor pad again. He lived a long and happy life with many adventures, too many to tell here.
He passed away one night peacefully in his sleep and was buried with full ceremony. The children tucked him into a cook’s matchbox and digging with a tablespoon in the soft earth, near the river he was laid to rest.
Many years later, my brother now in his thirties had a drink with a man in a bar, in that big country called America. They were sharing childhood stories. Sure didn’t the man offer him a job in a place called Orlando?
What was his name, oh yes I remember. Walt, yes, Walt Disney.