Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Mouse On The Street

I crushed a mouse under my boot, I think. It happened on my way home the other night. The night was warm and smelt of hot garbage and it was a small thing the squirmed under my boot’s thick sole. It might have bitten and fought before it died, if it was a thing and not my imagination. If it was real and did fight, I would be inclined to respect it. I’ve always held respect from anyone or thing that died fighting. I don’t know exactly where I gained such respect, possibly because I hope to die similarly. Not crushed under a heel, of course. Such a fate would be horrific, but to die fighting would be beautiful. Of course, it would also be terrible. I had imagined for a moment that it was me, crawling on all fours and having my spine crushed in by some giant lumbering through the darkness.

The mechanics of walking means that the foot rolls, heel to toes. I imagine that the mouse would have ventured into the street, toward the trash smell, which would have mean unguarded food for it. I also imagined that the mouse got its tail caught under my heel. It might have had its tail caught many times before or it might have been the first time. It might have been a baby. In either case, it would have sensed the pain and thought to ran away, but it was pinned. As my weight moved forward, towards my toes, it would have turned to bite. Its teeth would have sunk into my rubber sole and its jaw might have been wedged and then ripped open. I would have never known either way. I had a sick urge to examine the sole of my shoe to see if there was a mark. Maybe an indentation or maybe a jagged bit of bone, but mice aren’t sturdy things and my boots are well made. It’s more likely that the mouse hadn’t altered the boot or me whatsoever.

Being such a small thing, the mouse wouldn’t have had too much blood to bleed. If I tried to find it in the morning, I’d probably find nothing. What my boot had destroyed, a car, a truck or another person probably would have gotten rid of. Such a miserable thought that something that died fight would never by known, not even by its murderer. It wouldn’t even be made into a trophy. The barbarians of old would put their enemy’s heads on pikes and wailed to their pagan gods. That would be horrific as well, but somehow better than being crushed and left to be accidentally carted away.

It occurred to me that a crushed mouse would be lucky to have part of its jaw be stabbed into its brain. It would die instantly that way and sent off to mouse heaven or oblivion. If its brain was intact, it would have to wait to suffocate to death, choking on its own blood. Or worse, its brain and airways might have been wholly intact, just all of its bones broken. Some of the breaks tearing through its flesh. How horrible would that be? If it did try and bite, its jaw would have been broken and it would have been near impossible to make whatever mice call a scream of pain. Wailing or whimpering might have hurried it to death, moving parts of itself that should have stayed still. Kept to that thinking, screaming would have been a mercy. Anything that killed it quicker would have been a mercy.

Lastly and most doubtfully, it might have died hating me. I didn’t know it, but it might have known me if a mousy brain could think with such complexity. It might have stared up to me, unable to do anything other than hate me. Of course, it would have been justified to hate me. I would hate it, were it the other way around. Would it know that I had slept in a warm bed while it slept on the cold pavement. Would it know that I had eaten my supper, warmed in the microwave, while the contents of its stomach had been mashed out of it like tooth paste from the tube. Would it know that I would quickly forget it and it would never remember me. Either by oblivion or by heaven, it would only have ever hated me for the time it was alive and suffering.

It was such a small thing, lastly least than a few seconds. Just a roll of the heel and toe and then a squish. I didn’t even stop to see what I had killed. But yet I’ve taken time out to rationalize what I’ve done. I won’t change in any way and it possibly won’t be my last kill. How could I change and step light around mice crawling in the dark? But still I rationalize and meditate on its death.

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