THE MOUSE THAT ROARED, THEN FEIGNED A HEART ATTACK BY JACK SCHIMMELMAN ©

On the second day of Spring, about an hour after sunset, Thomasina was awakened by a noise coming from her kitchen. Tom's apartment was a miracle of engineering. Her landlord called it a 1-bedroom apartment. Tom called it a vigorous imagination, which called her apartment 1-bedroom. After she climbed to the top floor and then climbed further to her apartment through a trap door which opened directly onto her roof and into her humble round abode, which sat on the roof, she was greeted by a 3 foot by 5 foot alcove. On the right was a 10 foot by 15 foot living room, bedroom, dining room all rolled into one. On her left was what one would call, on a generous day, a kitchen. You could not fit in the kitchen without walking sideways. Once in the kitchen, you could turn around, either to face the refrigerator and stove or to face the sink, but one could never stand with the stove and sink on either side. After you shuffled through the kitchen, taking perhaps 3 steps sideways, you found the bathroom. Or more precisely, the bathroom found you, as the light switch was located on the far wall and it always took some time, some fumbling, and quite a bit of talent, to find it. This was a bathroom that encouraged focus. There were the usual accoutrements: a toilet, sink and bathtub. There was no shower. Everything worked on the average of 9 months out of the year. During the other three months, one, two or all three of the bathroom's objects would not work and Tom would have to call, wait and pray for the Superintendent to come to the house. When Tom moved into the apartment 13 years ago, it took the Super exactly 3 and a half minutes to show it to her. She took it immediately. What Tom loved about her hovel was her view. It was 360 degrees, with 90 of those degrees having a view of the Hudson River. Since hers was the tallest building in the neighborhood, her view was unspoiled. And besides, it wouldn't take much to furnish it. After awakening and becoming aware of a noise in her kitchen, Tom opened one eye to pretend to look, and to appear to not look. Whatever, or whomever, it was, she did not want it or him or her to know she knew that there was someone in her kitchen. Pretending to yawn, she reached, with great delicacy, underneath her pillow to feel the contours of a small can of mace. After a few tense moments, when she could confirm that there was no other human in the apartment, she opened the other eye and turned to face the kitchen, mace still underneath her pillow. The tiny noise became frenzied. It was as if it was digging for gold and could only find sand. Thomasina sat straight up in her bed and fearlessly stared in the darkness at her kitchen. The noise stopped instantly. After adjusting her eyes to the dark, Tom stared, straining to see what it was. She thought she had heard a small sound, a small gasp. Then it was unmistakable. About 10 feet from her, right beside her refrigerator were two tiny, beady, shiny yellow circles staring at her. Then while seizing her breath in the middle of her throat, she heard an imperceptible, but distinct sound. A squeak. Then a roar.

"Shit! Youuuuuuuuuuu motherfucker! What the fuck are you doing in my kitchen!!! You son of a bitch. Get the fuck out of here!" Thomasina was terrified. She was not polite. Reaching for the light switch the broom against the wall and her mace all in one swoop, Tom charged towards the kitchen howling. The mouse squeaked once and promptly keeled over from a heart attack before Thomasina had a chance to reach it. It lay on its back, its four little legs sticking straight up in what appeared to be the first signs of rigor mortis. This picture paralyzed Thomasina. Then bent over the poor unfortunate dead vermin, she cried, "Oh my God! Oh my God! I didn't mean for you to drop dead on me! I just wanted to scare you a little, so you wouldn't ever come back. That's all. Oh shit. C'mon, move your little feet. Please!! Just move them once. C'mon honey, be a good mouse. I promise I won't hurt you." The mouse squeaks, while simultaneously springing from its back onto its four tiny paws which, while still in mid-air, are already churning as fast as the poor creature can manage. It runs for the warmth directly underneath Thomasina's stove. Tom shrieks. "You bastard! You were putting me on. Playing possum you fucking little mouse you! I'll get you, I'll get you! Come out of there, you coward you!" While lying on her belly looking underneath the stove, Tom swears she can see tiny little teeth underneath tiny little lips in the shape of a tiny little smile. She definitely sees two tiny beady yellow eyes. Sensing it would be a long night, our defeated Human retreats to her bed to figure out what her next act should be. She leaves the lights on, and stares at her kitchen. Exhausted, the mouse sleeps.

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