It was a big house and it had a wide open floor and it seemed like the hole in the wall was thousands of miles away. The mouse scampered toward the hole as fast as its little legs could carry it.
It didn't look back for fear of the sight that would paralyze it, but it knew the cat was close behind. It could hear the cat's big, deadly paws booming away, hard on the floor, on either side. The cat's hot, fish-stinking breath was the only thing there was to breathe.
The mouse screamed as it felt the big paw smack into its back but as its legs went out of control it managed to scramble into the hole.
It struggled to its feet, feeling all wobbly and exhausted and moved away from the entrance and the groping paw. The mouse ran down a passage that opened up into a cavern.
There was something living there. They were rats. The mouse saw that they were similar in shape but the rats were bigger, uglier, dirtier, mean-looking. Hateful. The rats glared at the mouse. They bared their sharp, malformed, yellow teeth.
the rats, the rats
what happened to your face?
huh oh my face oh i had trouble in school yesterday i fell and then a bunch of kids who hated me bashed my face into a zigzag
yeah you know
jack your father and i are worried about you
look at you look at your face jack what's wrong you go off and disappear all the time without a word to us and
and NOW we get this letter from the school that says you're failing and you don't have enough credits to graduate
jack you know you can talk to us
listen up chief you've come too far to blow it now so get your ass in gear or
what's happening to you
we're not going to let you do this to yourself, hear me boy
it isn't normal
you're gonna wreck your future if you keep going the way you're going
can't go through life this way always going off without telling anyone what kind of a chance do you think you stand being so irresponsible
goddammit jack you'd better listen up you'd better
please jack your face
can tell you've been upset i know a doctor who is very good and he
HELP you if
god jack i know it's been hard with zoe and now carol and we can help you i know you can't concentrate if you can just work WITH us
ENID SHUT THE HELL UP
GODDAMMIT IT'S SHIT LIKE THIS THAT GOT HIM SO FUCKED UP TO BEGIN WITH ALL THIS KID NEEDS IS SOMEONE TO TELL IT TO HIM STRAIGHT NOW IF YOU'RE NOT GONNA BE PART OF THE SOLUTION THEN ALL YOU ARE IS PART OF THE PROBLEM SO SHUT UP IF ALL YOU'RE GONNA DO IS MOAN AND WHINE AND BE ALL TOUCHY FEELY
I'M THE GODDAMN MAN AROUND HERE AND SOMEONE'S GOT TO TEACH HIM TO BE A MAN ANY OBJECTIONS ENID?
you sonofabitch he isn't normal
HE'S JUST CRYIN' FOR ATTENTION IS ALL AND NOW HE'S GOT IT AND I'M THROUGH PLAYIN' PUSSY
oh god cliff
DON'T OH GOD ME
goddammit i'm going out for a walk
you do that you go for a walk enid i'll take care of everything here
i know jack
jack the things you're doing i know they're not normal and i know you need to talk to someone
ENID GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE AND STOP SCREWING THIS KID'S HEAD UP GOD DAMMIT
oh you son of a bitch
SORRY JACK YOU KNOW YOUR MOTHER SHE MEANS WELL BUT SOMETIMES SHE JUST DOESN'T UNDERSTAND US GUYS YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?
YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?
the rats, the rats
YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?
LISTEN CHIEF IT'S A BIG HARD WORLD AND ALL BUT YOU'RE NOT MAKIN' IT ANY BETTER ON YOURSELF NOW WE GOT A BIG PROBLEM DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GONNA BE ABLE TO PULL THINGS TOGETHER WITH YOUR GRADES SO YOU'LL BE ABLE TO GRADUATE?
SURE? Y'KNOW IT'S IMPORTANT THAT A YOUNG MAN GET TO GRADUATE WITH ALL HIS FRIENDS AND FEEL LIKE HE'S AS GOOD AS HIS PEERS IT'LL LOOK BETTER ON YOUR PERMANENT RECORD AND YOU SHOULDN'T BLOW THAT
ARE YOU SURE FROM WHAT I'VE HEARD IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU ALREADY HAVE, SON
I MEAN LOOK IT'S FUN TO BE FREE AND IRRESPONSIBLE WHEN YOU'RE A KID BUT THAT TIME IS OVER JACK AND NOW YOU'VE GOTTA FACE THE FUTURE AND THE SAD TRUTH IS THAT LIFE ISN'T ALL GOOFING OFF
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO GET OUTTA FAILING I MEAN LOOK IF YOU WANT I'LL GO DOWN THERE AND TALK TO YOUR TEACHERS AND SEE WHAT
no it's okay i've already met with my teachers and we're working together to straighten it out
SO YOU'LL PASS?
yeah dad i'll pass
SO YOU'LL BE ABLE TO GRADUATE WITH EVERYONE ELSE?
GOOD. THAT'S GREAT JACK YOU'RE STARTING TO SHOW SIGNS OF BEING A RESPONSIBLE YOUNG MAN ALREADY WANNA GO OUT WITH YOUR OLD MAN FOR AN ICE CREAM OR ANYTHING?
no dad I can't i'll be real busy these next few days hitting those books and everything
WELL ALRIGHT YOU GO DO THAT I'M PROUD OF YOU SON
the rats, the rats their teeth
Copyright 1990 C.F. Roberts/2015 Molotov Editions