RMCA Fiction:
The Mouse Knight II: Squibble's Story

Cutter Hays


Sir Squibble the Mouse Knight

Great Mouse History

For five thousand years mice and rats have been living with mankind. Hardly ever have they been pets. Most of the time they're pests, or food for other pets. They're ignored, trapped, killed, poisoned, and reviled. On top of all that, people sometimes even fear us. They blamed the entire black plague on us, when it really wasn't our fault. It was the mites on the fleas on the animals that carried that bacteria. Not us. We got a bad rap, man. In those days, humans had mites! Anyway, mice don't get treated so good, see? But we have feelings every bit as deep and as strong as you do. If you don't get that by the end of this book, I'd have to wonder about your "superior" intelligence. Oh heck. Truth is, I already do. But I'm not a judgmental mouse. I'm pretty easygoing. So don't sweat it. My point is, animals deserve to be treated well, but they haven't been, and we definitely weren't out here for your amusement.

Let's skip five thousand years and go to, like, last year. My wonderful master was just a tiny little mouse, who grew up in a happy home for about a day. Then he was taken back to the pet store by stupid owners who didn't want "too many" mice and weren't responsible enough to care for their own children, much less some really neat animals. So my master went back to being Snake Food, and lost his momma and his papa, and a lot of his family. By the time he figured out what was going on, he was very sad and depressed over it. Then his turn came, and he got put in with the snake. Only he chose not to go down quietly. He got pissed off, fought back, and killed the snake, who didn't turn out to be such a bad guy. Just another caged animal under human tyranny. The snake, who turned out to be a king, knighted my master, and he became the very first of the Mouse Knights.

I was the second.

My master wrote it all down. He was special, see. Besides having the courage to fight a snake, and the strength and speed to win, he was able to read. He was the first mouse able to read. He would read the books that the manager had open at the pet store when the man would take his breaks or stay late at night, because the table was right below the mouse cages in the back. Those books were the old Arthurian legends and tales of brave knights. My master grew up on it, and loved it. So when he became a knight, he resolved to use his new powers to find all mice everywhere a safe home - and he refused to believe what everyone said - that all people hated mice. He knew there was at least one special human, a kind human, who would love mice. He made it his holy quest to find that man, and through a very long and dangerous adventure, we finally did. All this is in his book. He published it, and the money went to the kind human he found to take care of the Great Kingdom of Lost Rodents, most of which moved to the kind human's house out in this middle of the Fields of Fate. That's where we live now.

For my part in the quest, I was made the second ever Mouse Knight. Such honor, and from such a great mouse as my beloved master! I am certain I didn't deserve it, but I'm working on that. Two of our dear friends died on that quest. We lost half our party. Michael Mousefriend, a magnificent rat who turned out to be the Archangel Michael, and a really big mouse named Bigfat, who turned out to be the Mousegod. Without them, my master and I never would have made it at all. They died so that the quest might not fail. I still miss them, even though sometimes I still see them.

I have this...gift. At least that's what Nemo, our chinchilla prophet calls it. It mostly happens when I'm really in pain, hungry, or very tired. I can't control it, though Nemo says someday I will be able to. I see the spirit world. I see ghosts, other places (the astral place, Nemo says), and other things. Angels. Stuff like that. All kindsa things. Mostly cool stuff. Sometimes I have weird dreams. Mostly when I eat some of the Kind Human's pizza.

Anyway, I'm not a normal mouse. When I was little I almost starved to death, and all my other brothers and sisters...they did. And since then I've been really scrawny and thin. I look weird. I walk weird. Heck. I'm weird. I don't mind. It makes me really fast and limber, hence the name I picked for myself (and got to keep, even though no mouse ever gets a name - it's the greatest honor there is!) On top of that, I have this "gift" that I don't tell anyone about. It's mostly a pain in the rear. It's scary and unpredictable. I don't like it. It makes me wonder whether I'm awake or asleep, or whether I got hit on the head too hard. It started when I pushed myself beyond my limits at the very end of my master's holy quest. I had to carry his wounded, dying body across miles and miles of snow covered wasteland to reach the house of the Kind Human. Everybody says it was amazing. I think it was kinda silly that we had to do that at all - I mean, why couldn't it be easy? But that's what I had to do, and I couldn't let him die, or let him down, so I carried him. He was real heavy. I was weak and tired. We almost didn't make it. We wouldn't have if it hadn't been for the spirit of Bigfat (the Mousegod), when he came back and told me to get up and try just a little bit more.

I've heard that a lot since then. Those words: just a little bit more. It seems people always want to quit just before they make it.

After the quest was over, the kind human drove us back into the city we came from and carried the entire kingdom of rodents back to his house. My master even got the thing he wanted the most in life - a name. And he married my mom. I just love that part. He's technically my dad, but to me he'll always be my beloved master.

The kind human went out and spent all his money on cages, toys, and medicine for us. He spent hours building my master a huge castle out of cardboard that goes in his equally huge cage. It's got towers an' everything. It's really cool, and many an hour we spend upon it playing pretend battles. Of course, we're mice. It gets chewed up, but when that happens the human builds us another one - better than the last one. He's so cool to us. My master says we're the rarest thing in the world. Loved mice.

After that my master began writing, and with the help of Nemo, we organized hundreds of rodents from chaos into order.

First off, no one was allowed to breed. You should have seen their faces! So many angry mice and rats! Nemo explained to them that if anyone did, they would be working against the safe haven we had been given. They'd be over populating the house, and soon we'd all be out of luck. Nemo says it's the same with the humans, but they haven't figured it out yet. I always thought humans were smart, even if a bit on the cruel side. Anyway, the only animals allowed to breed had to have permission of the kind human.

Second, the kind human needed this thing called money, which I still don't understand, but basically it would get us food and water and cages and all that. So the smart rodents went to work figuring out how to get it. They're still working on that, and the poor kind human barely scrapes by. He gives us everything he has. He even shares his dinners with us. But once my master published his book, we had some of the money. Enough to last a little while. That's where we're at now. Kinda well off, but no one knows how long it will last. I told Nemo that's the life of a mouse. You never know when the good or the bad will turn around. And it happens fast. Nemo laughed and said, "That's the life of humans, too, but they don't want to hear that." Nemo is really smart. Master says he's even wise. Whatever that is. But he's always right. I haven't seen him be wrong once yet.

It's now a few months after the quest ended. Everything is in order. We have a few rules to follow and everyone is happy. Even the ants and the bees, our allies from the field. My master's brother, BJ, is King - and he sees to the training of the animals personally. He's a real sticker for the rules. Master says he's got an iron fist, but his paws look normal to me. But BJ doesn't take any lip. He's king and he knows it. The only mouse he doesn't boss around is my master. Oh, and he listens to Nemo. But everyone does, so that's nothing special. They call BJ the "Battle Mouse" because he fights so well. One of the rules of the house is against fighting, but it just says that no rodent may kill another. The males beat each other up plenty trying to see who's boss or where they stand on the totem pole - but no one messes with BJ. No one wants any of that. The battle mouse can take anyone (except my master, of course). I've seen him beat up thirty mice at once! I've seen him take on rats. No kidding. They all gave up after a sound thrashing at his teeth. He's really cool.

Great Mouse History (Copyright 2005 Cutter Hays)

There have been a few more namings, and a few more knightings, too. Other mice who did great deeds, or risked their lives to help the kingdom. Since the publishing of my master's book many rodents know how to read now - and some even write. I'm learning, as you can see. My master told me to keep a journal and so I do. He told me to write anything I want, but make it true, and do it all the time. I will obey my master faithfully. I didn't include the first few months of entries...because...ummm... master said it was unlegible. Ineligable. Illegibale. Something where people couldn't read it. Yeah. I argued that I knew exactly what it said, but he said it had to be better. He said Knights were always gentlemice, who knew how to be civilized. That included writing well. Actually, he said gracefully, but I can't see how one would write gracefully. It would look silly. I mean, no one even watches me write, so what does it matter how I move when I do it? But master is always right, so I tried to improve my writing even though I didn't understand. Come to think of it, I really don't understand much, but I am really good at accepting things. Mice are good at that.

But I do understand some things. Here's what I understand.

I wanna be a hero, like my master! More than anything in the world, I wanna be a hero. I want to be loved and respected by everyone, an' when I walk by, I want all the rodents to salute to me like they do him. Or bow like they do to Nemo. Some of them do, but mostly not. Mostly I'm just the master's squire, even though I'm not really a squire anymore, I kinda still am. That's not something I understand, but I know what I want! I wanna be famous and cool! I wanna be a hero and do something great like my master! More than anything in life I want this. I live for it! I dream of it (when I'm not having one of those dreams) and I hunger for it like I hunger for a Cheerio! Mmmmm. Cheerio.

I went and checked. It's not Cheerio time yet. Sometimes they fall from the sky in the evening. No one's fooling this mouse, though. I know the human drops them! They taste so good. I want one. I would go get one but that's rule number two - no stealing or destroying the kind human's stuff.

So anyway I'm in training. Knight training. BJ teaches all the mice and rats that want it how to fight and how to behave. Mostly I think it's stupid (anything I don't like is stupid!) but I don't have much say. Master tells me to do it, so I do it. He says I need to learn to do everything that I can. Well, I am pretty sure there's nothing I can't do, so that's gonna take a long time, but okay. I'll do it. I don't sleep much. It's fun though. I'm one of the fastest mice. And I squish real good. An' I like sword fighting. My master teaches that class. The philosophy is boring though. Even though Nemo teaches it. I wanna beat things up an' be brave and knightly! Philosophy is for talking to the air after you've slain your enemy. That kinda thing. Not much use.

BJ works me hard. He says I'm a bit dense but eager and willing. I don't know what dense means. Every time I go to look it up, some other mouse is using the dictionary. I get to use my master's encyclopedias, though, which he lets no one else use. Those are his most prized possessions. He loves them so much. My momma, bless her heart, lets me pretty much do anything I want around home. I'm not home much, but that's nice. My momma has always been so nice to me. She kept me alive when all my brothers and sisters died in the cold. We were kicked out by our owners when she had us. See? Stupid. Why wouldn't humans want mice? My momma is such a nice, pretty mouse. She loves people. Her owner named her Tree, because she likes to climb things. Mostly, she said she liked to climb up on her owner's shoulder and lick their ear. They really liked that. Why would anyone abandon her?

Every day I go to practice, and then I spend time with my master if he has time, and then sometimes I see Nemo, who for some reason wants me around him all the time. Kinda weird, but he's the prophet, so okay. I guess.

After that I play with the guys and the rat twins. The rat twins were made into squires months ago when they came home with us from the city. They're Michael Mousefriend's children. His wife, Baby, had two girls and two boys. My master, in his infinite fairness, offered the squire title to the girls as well, but they didn't want to be knights (imagine that! WHOA!) - they wanted to make nests and raise kids and all that. So they're on the list of breeding petitions (that one is a mile long, I can tell you! Heck, I put myself on it too, just so no one else would get ahead of me in line if it ever happens, which my master says probably won't). The girls were named Artemis and Aphrodite. The boys were named Shiva and Thor. Now, I went and looked up all those names in the encyclopedia. The girls are kinda cool, but the boys were named after the God of Destruction (Shiva) and some guy who swings a mean hammer (Thor) called the God of Thunder. Hmmm. Weird. My master chose the names, though, and he knows best. So no big. I just shrug and accept it. Life can get weirder than that. The boys love me and the girls love my mom. My mom is like a sister to them and their own momma, Baby, takes care of all the rats in the house. It's a big job because there's like, a hundred of them. Did you know rats eat mice? Yikes! I didn't know that until they told me. Mike never tried to eat me, but if he had wanted to, I wouldn't have stood a chance. He was huge! Anyway, no one eats anyone else here. The house is neutral ground for all animals. It's another rule. Don't pee where you sleep, or something like that.

The boys are huge too, like their dad was, but I can beat em. He he he he. I am a fast mouse! I know tricks. Nemo teaches me this thing called Eye-Key-Doh. It means using someone else's stuff against them. It works real good on ignorant little boy rats. I'd never try it in real life. I've seen other mice get hurt doing that. Mostly against BJ, who has mice get mad at him on a regular basis and has to put them in their place. He seems to make it work just fine, of course, but he's BJ!

I love the boys. They're cool. We play all the time. I share everything with them, and we go everywhere together. We share bedtime stories from my momma (more Arthurian legends - you coulda guessed, right?) and eat meals together. They are old enough now to come to class with me, but you know what? Even though they outweigh that darn BJ mouse by easily twenty times, he still kicks their behinds all over the field. Shiva says he's "bad ass." I asked what makes someone's rear bad. Shiva said he saw it on TV. So I started watching TV. Wowee. Coool. TV! I watch it every evening now. I learn ALOT. (Yeah, I know it's spelled A LOT, but I don't like it that way and nobody says it that way, so get used to it being one word, cause this is my journal and I'll write any darn way I wanna, K? Alrighty then! I guess I told you. Don't mess with ol' Squibble! I'll put the hurt on ya. My ass is bad!)

Stompy (Copyright 2005 Cutter Hays)

On my spare time master encourages me to find something to do besides violence. That was a hard one. I mean, I really like violence. It's fun. I can even beat up the rats (besides the twins), on account of they're strong, but sloooow compared to mice. And I'm a very fast mouse! No touchum the Squibble! So I like doing mock combat (that's what King BJ calls practice). I pretty much rule at it. Except for BJ, or course. ...Ummm, and Master. And Nemo, when he wants to he can be pretty scary. He's even bigger than a rat, and four times as fast as a mouse! And there's this girl...one of Bigfat's 25 kids that were born at the old kingdom...they're with us now; she's really big, like he was, and she's really violent. I mean, she's really good at fighting. She goes to the school. She's a squire. Most of the students are afraid of her. She hits really hard! She doesn't hit me, out of respect she says, which I am all happy about. But I saw her hit this one mouse once and the mouse flew out of his practice armor. Right out of it. It blew apart like...like it was hit by a freight train (See? TV is cool). Anyway, he didn't get up and they had to haul him off to the place where mice go when they're sick. He got better but it took a long time. They thought he was dead once but it turned out to be a rumor - the next day he showed up for class, and after that BJ called him Ghost. He's also white, so that helps. After that even BJ always dodged out of the big mouse's way. He says she's not subtle enough, whatever that means. She likes to hit people, knock them down, then jump up and down on them. BJ told her she couldn't do that anymore, and named her Stompy! How funny is that!

Anyway, sorry...that was a tangent. I actually did get to look that one up after my master used it. It means something that goes where it wasn't supposed to sort of. Like a mouse that goes to get a drink and stops by the food dish because there's a pumpkin seed in it, then keeps going to the water after. The pumpkin seed was a tangent. And that was another tangent. Master says I do that alot. (See!? ALOT!)

I tried lots of "civilized" stuff. I tried playing chess. I get bored and wanna break the rules. Pieces only move certain ways. Like the queen. I say if the queen wants to move like a horse, who's gonna tell her she can't? The King? He only moves one square at a time! He'll never catch her! Stupid game.

I tried poetry, because my master said it was romantic and girls liked it. It was boring too, and what do I need it for? Girls are all over me all the time. They do anything I want. They are my willing slaves. I don't need poetry.

I tried music, and at first that was cool, but it was hard to play what I heard in my head, and I got frustrated. I was never as good as that guy on TV. London Symphony Orchestra. I just couldn't make more than one sound at once. That guy London is a true master.

I tried alot of things and finally gave up. There just wasn't anything I liked. So I went back to wrestling with the boys. Life is about having fun. Doing hard stuff is for the birds.

I do like drawing, but I don't think that's very important, and I never show anyone my drawings. They'd laugh probably, which would hurt my feelings. But I have this journal, and sometimes I do little drawings, like this:

BJ and Stompy (Copyright 2005 Cutter Hays)

I've been doing that for a few months now, but nobody ever sees 'em. And they probably won't, either. An' you know what? That's cool, because I don't do it for them. I do it for me. I like it.

It's kinda like writing. I like telling stories. I'd love to be a writer and get a book published, like my master, but he's a genius and I'm not really, so maybe it ain't happenin. Besides, who cares what I write? I just ramble on 'cause it's fun. Someday, when I'm a great and powerful hero, then maybe someone will be interested in what this little mouse has to say.

Until then, it's all fun and games.

Tangent: Wrongness and Rightness