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Edinburgh: Of Mice and Scared Little Boys

The two most likely ways you will jump a foot into the air whilst standing naked and half-asleep in front of your toilet at 4.16am taking a pee-pee:

1 – You wake up enough to realise that, in fact, that is not the toilet you’re standing in front of, leaving you thrashing about in semi-darkness like a first-day-on-the-job fire-fighter who has yet to master the art of keeping the hose steady, searching for the correct drain.

2 – A mouse practically tap dances over your toes, whistling a famous tune from some Broadway show you can’t remember the name of.

The second of those happened to me this morning. Although by saying practically tap danced, I mean sort of tap danced, by which I mean I saw a flash of something small and brown out of the corner of my eye darting along the bottom of the door frame about six inches from my foot. Of course, in my barely-conscious state, I couldn’t be sure it was a mouse, just that it was small and brown, which means it could’ve just as easily been a number seven billiard ball, or, say, Gary Coleman (yes, these are the things that go through your head at 4.16am).

I was at least grateful that the fright woke me up enough to ensure that, yes, this was the toilet I was peeing into (phew). But, after tip-toeing back to bed like the cat-burgler I wish I was (is there any cooler occupation for your passport? Not that I want to burgle cats – who the fuck would want to steal a cat? They suck), my mind was well and truly up and about, and there was no way that mouse was letting me get back to sleepy wonderland.

I started thinking, why is it that mice are so, well, shit? Why do we hate them so? Why can’t real-life mice be more like movie-mice, or cartoon-mice? I thought about the cape-wearing, flying-through-the-air-just-to-scare-the-bejesus-out-of-us Supermouse that taunted us in the Czech Republic. Why can’t mice wear capes and be all camp and save the world, like Mighty Mouse? Why can’t they be cute and drive cars and fly planes like Stuart Little? Why can’t they wear an eye-patch, fight crime, and have a side-kick, like Danger Mouse? And why can’t they put all their energy into beating up cats, like Itchy and Jerry do.

Why, instead, do mice have to be small and furry and arrogant and repulsive, like the Australian Prime Minister?

This was almost my last thought before I dozed back to sleep, until a scurrying noise coming from the wall behind me woke me up like a slap in the face from a cold fish. My eyes popped open, and slowly moved from side to side like an evil ventriloquist’s dummy come-to-life.

That’s it, I thought, to catch this mouse, I’m going to have to think like a mouse (instead of fantasising about mice with eye-patches, for example. Although, do you think mice have fantasies? And if so, do you reckon mice with eye patches are at the top? Is Danger Mouse a pin-up celebrity?) And on and on and on my stupid brain went, past 5am.


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