The Golden Days
In fighter practice BJ makes us learn several moves. They're all mousey things. There's the nose push, which is used quite commonly. If a mouse pushes another out of the way with their strong nose, a fight doesn't usually happen. The other mouse figures, wow - what a strong nose. I'm not gonna mess with that mouse. Nose pushing is kinda like insisting on having your way.
If that doesn't work, then there's the tail whap. But smacking someone with your tail is pretty insulting. BJ recommends against it. Then it escalates to biting the tail. That hurts. I've had my tail bit once or twice. If that doesn't get you your way, then you gotta bite the offender on the rump. Hard. And sometimes you hold on, to learn em' real good. Usually they run away, and you gotta chase them all over the place. Kinda a pain in the ass. He he heee! Get it? Pain in the ass. He he.
But if the rump bite doesn't work, or the other mouse doesn't give the sign of submission (neck bared, hands folded over the chest, tail tucked) then its time to get serious, and that's when a mouse might kill another mouse. The ladies almost never do this, but the guys do all the time. You just can't put two guys together in the same cage and not expect a fight. Usually a bad one. The killing blows are almost all to the head. If a mouse strikes at the head, it means they want to kill you. Mice go blind, get brained, and have their ears torn off like this. It's nasty. Always one walks away crippled for at least awhile. BJ taught us the nice stuff real quick. He taught us other stuff like the fast jump (teleporting he calls it because if you do it right you move so fast no one can see you), crawling on another mouse (this can be good or bad), the chase ritual and what various squeaks mean. For the last several weeks we've been working on the hard core fighting. Teeth are really our only weapon. We graduate to swords and other weapons once we've learned to use everything else first. It makes sense. I kinda wanna practice with my sword, but BJ won't let me have one during his class. I watch my master, BJ and Nemo practice their arts in the basement sometimes. The entire basement is a rodent playground. There's even a climbing wall (a few of them) because the bricks down there are offset and rough. Mice practice climbing to the top and scurrying along the rafters and support beams. The mice that fall land on a cushioned blanket (that gets chewed up on a regular basis) put there by the Kind Human after a few mice hurt themselves falling.
The master swordsmice work out down there in a private room behind the water heater. I get to watch. I try to learn. My master whips that sword around like a pro. It makes swooshing noises and his ass looks bad. He dances and swings, thrusts, parries, reposts... all that fancy stuff. He says he learns it from books. He spends all his other time with his nose in his valuable books. He loves them more than anything except me or my mom.
The battlemouse BJ practices with anything - teeth, claws, pieces of wood, rocks. He's a brutal fighter - he can use anything that's just lying around. And if he has nothing, then it gets worse, because his teeth are deadly. He relies mostly on speed and ferocity, then adds skill. He can beat my master in hand to hand, but not with a sword. No one can beat my master with a sword. No one even comes close. It's like he was born to wield one.
Nemo is weird. He practices this slow, dance-like stuff he calls Tie Chee. Or Chee Gong. And of course Eye-key-doh. All that fancy stuff. He's really good. No one can touch him. Not even the Battlemouse. Battlemouse stopped trying after taking several hundred good falls. If you run at Nemo on the mat, he just twists this or that a little tiny bit, looks like he's dancing kinda, and next thing you know, wham! You're flat on your back, two feet away! I love running at Nemo. It's fun. He always tosses me hard on account of he knows I like it. I curl up into a ball like I was taught, roll when I hit, and come up standing. I got it down, see? Then I run at him again. I've seen him take on me, my master, BJ, and even Stompy all at once. No one even hit him one time. He's amazing. Someday when I'm really good it would be neato to learn that cool stuff, but it seems more like magic than fighting. I hear that in his private cage, he sometimes floats around while he meditates. I hear his will alone can burn paper. Yikes! He tries to get me to meditate. I can do it...for about half a second. Then I get sick of sitting still. Sitting still is stupid. It's for old, powerful wizards like Nemo. Not for fast, zippy mice like me!
So, day in and out, in the dusk light and before dawn (bedtime), hundreds of mice go down to the basement and we have fighter practice. Everyone gets beat up by BJ and everyone thanks him for it. We all bow at the beginning and the end. It's cool.
Besides that, I've been drawing and writing some. I really enjoy it, I guess, and I do it every chance I get. Mostly I write in this journal, but I've got some ideas for stories. Master says I should write them in my journal, and no one ever has to see them. I'm okay with writing in my journal, but aren't stories for other mice to enjoy? I mean, what good is a story unless someone hears it and, like, has a reaction to it? Uhhh. That's too deep. My brain almost fainted.
I like doing art but it doesn't look right. I see other art that looks much better than mine. I wanna learn to do it really good like that. I wanna have people look at my art and go "OoooOOo - that's so cool!" I draw alot, and I see some improvements, but mostly I don't really know how to get better. I don't care so much. I just draw because I like to. When I get sick of it, I go do something else. I go play with the rat twins, or hang out with the masters. They talk way over my head, but it's fun being with them. They like me.
I remembered having a weird, gnarly dream. I didn't remember what it was. I told Nemo about it:
"Hey. I had this weird dream," I said.
"What was it about?" said the master prophet. He was chewing on a block of alfalfa. That's what chinchillas eat.
"Oh, it was scary. And kinda nice too, at the end. I don't remember much else. Something bad and something good. I think Mike was in it." I looked troubled, staring at the floor. Nemo sensed it.
"It might be nothing," he said, "and if it was important, you'll remember it when the time is right."
"Ummm... what if I don't?" I asked.
"Oops!" he said cheerfully.
I nodded. Yeah. That made sense.
I told my master about it too, but he was busy studying his books. He said that all mice had dreams. Usually about eating or running. I told him my dreams were weirdo city. He nodded and smiled at me. "That's 'cause you're not normal, Squib," he said. "It's okay. You wouldn't be happy being normal."
That made sense too, so I dropped it.
Today I drew this picture. I don't know really what it means, but hey, it wanted to be drawn so I drew it. It's kinda cool.
I wrote a story, too. It was from one of my dreams. It was a weird dream. I'm glad no one reads this stuff. I'd be embarrassed to share it, maybe. It's kinda weird.
The Golden Path, the Silver Road
Once upon a time, there was a mouse in a cage of mice that sat in a window by the beach. They were well cared for and their human treated them right. The cage had seven mice in it. One of the mice would always look out over the water at sunset and at night and ask, "What is that?" when he saw the moon or the sun setting on the water.
"That is the path to freedom," one old mouse said. "During the day it is the Golden Path, and takes a mouse to Heaven. During the night it is the Silver Road, and takes a mouse to another life here on earth. But both are fleeting. They vanish quickly, and the only mouse who can make it to the end is one who leaves everything behind to do it, because things just slow us down. But once they choose they never come back. Whether they make it, or not."
Well, the mouse was fascinated and horrified at the same time. A golden path to Heaven? A silver road to another life? Wowee, the mouse thought. How cool. But the mouse watched the sun go down, and watched the moon set as well. It seemed to take a long time, but it was also clearly a long way. Mice can't see very well, and so the little mouse didn't quite know exactly how far that path was. How long did a mouse have to run to find the end of the road? And which one would he choose if he ever could?
One day the owner accidentally left the lid off their cage. The mouse quickly scurried up and out, and sat on the window ledge. He sat there a long time thinking. Then a bird came by to eat him, and he had to jump from the window to stay alive. He fell many feet to the sand. From that moment, he could not go back to the cage. He could never climb back up to the windowsill. It was too high and steep. He knew he had to choose the path or the road now.
So he went down to the beach and sat there a long time. He watched the sun set and then the moon set also. By the next day he was tired, hungry and thirsty. He knew that he had to choose before he lost all his strength. He decided Heaven was a nice place, and he wanted to go there. So at sunset he ran out onto the water, and flew across the Golden Path toward the setting sun.
But as he was running the sun set, leaving him stranded on the water without anything to follow. He knew he was trapped between worlds. He felt afraid.
But if I just sit here long enough, he thought, the moon will come up, won't it? It wasn't my first choice, but it will set eventually, and lead me to another life.
The moon came, and he followed its silvery light on the water until it also set. Frustrated, he waited for the sun. When that came, he followed it until it vanished. Then the moon, then the sun again. Finally, after many months, he sat down on the water and cried, "Won't someone help me? I am lost and cannot find heaven or another life!"
Then the sun and moon both came to him. They showed him a path, both gold and silver, back to the beach. There he saw his body washed ashore. It had drowned when he set out upon the Golden Path that first time.
The mouse was sad, seeing his body. He knew that he hadn't been ready to leave, and that was why he never reached the end of his journey. He had carried with him all his love of life, his cares of the world. But now it was too late. Now he had nothing to take with him. He knew his life was over.
So, leaving everything behind, he set his foot one last time on the golden path, and no one ever saw him again.
I don't know how good it is or anything. It probably isn't, and it's weird, but hey. It's what came to me, so I wrote it down. I think it's kinda sad, and I don't know why I wrote something sad. My life isn't sad. I'm very happy.
I spent all day today watching TV. Oh, and I played with the rat twins some. We watched TV together. I went to fighter practice in the evening and the morning. I licked my beautiful momma on her cheek. I said hi to my beloved master. I didn't draw anything or write anything of my own, and felt kinda like that was no good. So I stayed up and told the rat twins a story and drew them this picture. It's from the story, which was about this Greek who everyone wanted to kill, even though he was a great hero. So they sent him up against this evil monster with three heads (one of them was a dragon head!), but he killed it with the help of his winged horse. Then they sent him on more missions, and he won them too. Then they sent many men against him, but he killed them all. And finally, the people who hated him had to give up and say he was great. So cool. But in the end he tried to fly up to the gods on his winged horse an' they didn't think that was cool. He had abused his cool permit and it expired. The main god dude made a fly bite his horse and the horse tossed him from, like, several miles up. Anyway, the really bad news is that when he hit the ground, he wasn't even dead! He was too strong to die but he was crippled and blind the rest of his life and he wandered all over being crippled and blind. Whoa. Bummer. Shiva and Thor were fascinated for some reason. Neither of them spoke after that and went right to bed. I hope I didn't scare them too much.
I just like the part where he slays the big three-headed monster and proves all those stupid humans wrong. Of course, in the original story the guy wasn't a mouse, but hey, it was my story, right? I was tellin it, and I say he was a mouse. Humans always hate mice. But mice prevail, see. Mice rock.
For the entire last week just the usual. Mice are getting pretty good at their news skills. Mice learn fast. They learn like, 50 times faster than humans. Hey if you only had 700 days to live, you'd learn fast too.
Lots of mice can read now, and lots of mice are in fighter training to become squires. Thing is, only a King can usually make a knight, and only a knight can make a squire. There aren't that many knights. Only a few. Knights can make their squires into knights after they prove themselves, but it takes a long time and nowadays the King has to give his permission. Of course, my master can knight whoever he wants 'cause he was the very first Mouse Knight, but he hasn't knighted anyone except me. Kinda makes me feel special.
BJ said I'm in the same category as my master, and can knight whoever I think is worthy, but no way! First of all, I don't much feel knightly, and second, no one is worthy. Not even me. So I'm never gonna knight anyone. No way.
My master writes letters to other parts of the world and sends them by birds or rats, searching for other mice that can read. Trying to spread the word that mice everywhere should unite. It sounds like a great idea. He says there are billions and billions of mice in the world. More mice than humans. I told that to Shiva and Thor. They asked why we put up with so much from the humans then and I thought, good question. I asked my master and he said the humans had technology. I said why don't we? He got a funny look on his face and went to see Nemo. I shrugged and told the rats that humans had technology. That and they can squash us.
"Oh. Yeah, that makes sense," they said. He he he. They sound like me. They call me Uncle Squibble, even though I'm not that old. I like it. I like those two. They're nice rats.
My master sends the mice that can read back to the city - to teach other mice. They catch a ride with the Kind Human when he goes to work. He goes in the morning, and comes home late at night. I kinda feel sorry for him. He works all day, and goes to school at night (I don't know what he learns) - then he comes home, cleans cages, feeds us, makes sure everything is right with us. Some nights he takes his favorites and we get to play on the bed while he watches TV and eats his dinner.
Oh, the bed!
He stacks the blankets up and we run all around inside them - huge mountains of blankets full of caves. It's so cool! They change every time. He puts out treats and water for us, and we always make a game of sneaking over to his table so we can make off with his food. Sometimes it's pizza (yum). The bed is so much fun. My master loves it. My momma loves it. Even Nemo loves it. It's the playground of the masters where everyone forgets their troubles and just has a good time. I always love the bed.
Anyway, the Kind Human takes some mice with him into the city and drops them off. He picks them up again if they're there at a specific site that he checks every evening before coming home. This is how my master and BJ communicate with the other mice. It's slow going, because so few mice know how to read yet, but it's picking up. My master says in a few months most of the smart mice in the house will be able to read. Then he can really get things going. They have plans, my master and Nemo. Oh yes, they have brilliant plans. Everything is going to turn out just perfect.
Sometimes people ask me if I will take them as a squire. I've had ...ummm... this many offers: 425. I turn them all down. My master says that before I get a squire, which is kinda a holy thing I think, I have to do a pilgrimage. That means traveling a long way and experiencing a bunch of stuff. He says all knights do it in the old stories. His pilgrimage was the long journey to the safe house in the fields of fate where we live. I asked him if that could be mine too, since I was on it with him, but he says a pilgrimage must be made when you are already a knight. I was just a squire. The Squire Squibble. I like how that sounds. The Mouse Knight Squibble doesn't rhyme. But I'd rather be a knight, I guess. So once the weather gets better, I gotta go do this pilgrimage. I don't really want to...I mean, I have to go alone, I hate being alone, and I'm happy here. Everything is perfect here. I have no complaints.
In fact, life just keeps getting better. It always will.