Have you read The Lovely Bones? It’s a story narrated by a murdered girl, from beyond the grave.
So this is basically what I’m doing, only I’m a mouse.
Incidentally, I haven’t read it. They only make mouse versions of Beatrix Potter and Judy Blume, as if that’s all we can handle.
I’d like to tell you I’m one of those adorable little critters in childrens’ stories- all moist of nose, with chestnut fur and papery ears. That I scamper busily, stopping suddenly to whiff the air, with my little pink paws tucked up under my whiskers.
In fact, I’m a mangey old duffer- the colour of hair forty-something women plead to have covered up with highlights.
I’m the one in the group of lab rats the Head Scientist feels no guilt in picking out: ‘Yeah, grab that one. Pump it full of Impulse body-spray and time it choking.’
All the same, I haven’t got an attitude. I’ve always kept my head down, got on with the job.
Sure, I chased the nibbles here and there but never the flashy stuff- restaurants, cruise ships, all that jazz.
I’m a survivor.
So picture my face when I’m checking out a stale old crumb, on a school night, and ‘Thwack’, a bloody great metal arm comes crashing down on my vertebrae.
Ignoble, undramatic, text-book stuff.
The last thought rushing through my brain? ‘You have GOT to be kidding me.’
I mean, a crumb, for a start. Couldn’t the good Lord take me reaching for a bacon bite? A rum truffle? Like some cheeky old bugger having a heart-attack shagging a playboy bunny?
There would at least have been a hearty sense of justice.
‘He died of greed. You could say he deserved it.’
The hideous irony is, I wouldn’t be seen dead gnawing away at rye- let alone stale rye (although it’s hard to tell the difference).
It was pure curiosity. Car-crash mouse bait.
You just never think it’s going to happen to you. It’s always some other poor sod, with shoddy footwork.
Then in a London kitchen. I mean what a place to go.
Burrowing up under Jamie Oliver’s larder, yes. Trying to beat a Paddington train, maybe.
‘He died really going for it. He had never felt such a rush.’
But creeping around for a snack in cliche Mouse Central? How woefully prosaic.
I know where I went wrong. The night before, I followed a mate up a pipe and the next thing I know I’m in this little store cupboard.
Hello! Dry goods pay-dirt, I think.
Only it’s all been wrapped up by someone neurotic and there’s no way in.
I can hear the t.v. next door so I bumble into the kitchen proper- taking it a little easy, you might say.
Just a quick scan tells me I won’t be banqueting. And yet a cleaner’s not feeling the benefit of the household income, if you know what I mean.
Then it happens.
A shadow at the door and some stupid bint gasping for breath, like she just saw the ghost of Anna Nicole Smith.
For Christ’s sake, woman, grow up! There are train tracks out the back of your window. Who do you think snuggles into their sleeping bags down there every night? Terry Wogan?
So I had to shift my bum, sharpish, under the washing machine and on my way back out the next day, I got made mouse toast.
I can just see her in the iron-mongers. Mouthing ‘mousetrap’ to the shopkeeper so her son isn’t overwhelmed by a tidal wave of hyprocrisy.
‘Let’s read about the little mouse now, darling. Mmm, yummy, he loves cheese. Isn’t he cute?’
Cuter still with blood spurting out of his arterial veins.
Because this is where it really hurts.
Not only meeting a comedy mouse fate but in a trap called- if you can believe it- ‘Little Nipper’.
Yes, you heard right. It had a witty name and here it is, pre-execution:
Some mouse-hating muppet actually saw fit to name the device of my destruction, with a grin and a wink- the creative part of his otherwise scientific role.
Like the manufacturer of the electric chair taking a permanent marker and writing ‘Sizzler’ on the arm-rest, before standing back to chuckle.
Can I be alone in thinking he’s one sick mo-fo?
But, hey, what’s done is done. We live, we learn.
A saucepan would have been farcical. A glue-box, drawn-out agony. A humane-tunnel scenario could have got too interactive: better to be feared than pitied.
Can I even make a defining statement of my exit? Is it possible for such an event to be noteworthy?
Hell, yes. Anything is possible.
‘He died in a mousetrap. It was the most embarrassing moment of his life.’