An Open Letter from the Family of the Mouse Who Used to Be Under Your Kitchen Sink
I have enough common sense, and know enough about the biographical fallacy in literary criticism, to realize that the letter you wrote about trapping the mouse may have been fictional. There may never have been any mouse, or there may have been one but you have simply contrived the details of his death, extrapolated, marshalling your meager literary talents to produce an epistolary story that might be considered slightly humorous among some species.
However, it’s been more than a month since my father has returned to the walls of your house where we live, and so I am beginning to suspect that the events detailed in your callous letter are cruelly and tragically true. The word dead has not yet been uttered in our home, and our mother certainly clings to the hope that her beloved husband has simply wandered off again.
He has done so twice before, and I’ve heard him castigated for both during late-night arguments in which my mother has stated her black-and-white case, and my father has usually ended up storming out of the wall. The first time was when he’d had that affair with some mousette he’d met in the basement. “That vixen has had her little upturned nose in more whiskers than she knows how to count,” my mother would say.
The second time that my father was away was when he was chased and scratched by your cat last spring. He barely escaped being killed and eaten—scampered under the dryer at the last possible minute—and then stayed there for three days until the cat forgot about him and his wounds healed. “You could have at least called,” my mother would say.
Well, Wayne, your letter makes us think that he has not been so lucky this time. You may be happy that you can enter your kitchen fearlessly now, but our family is just sick with worry. My mother hasn’t eaten so much as a piece of paper in a week, and my two sisters are confused and inconsolable. “Mommy, when is daddy coming home?” I hear them ask every night before I settle in for another fitfull sleep.
You, Wayne, can rest assured that this cowardly and all-too-human murder, once proven, will not go unavenged. Yes, you may enter your kitchen now, and traipse around your apartment insouciantly, but the time will come when your life too will be shaken, blood will be answered with blood, and yet again our onslaught will be felt. Droppings? Uh-uh, Wayne. Look for us in your shoes or marching across your kitchen counter or in your bed at night, converging in a bottom corner of the sheets, and then scurrying up around your ears before you start flailing and we head straight back to the safety of the walls. Groups of us, Wayne, schools, packs. We’ll drive you out of the place, or at least diminish some of your comfort. We are starting to abandon any hope for a happier life for ourselves, but the prospect of ruining yours does bring us some measure of contentment.