inessential by Brent Simmons

The Point of View of the Mouse

When I want to scare myself, I look at my cat and imagine being a mouse.

To a mouse he’s the size an elephant is to us humans. Maybe bigger. He’s huge.

But that’s just the beginning. He’s also fastidiously clean, so you can’t smell him coming. (That’s why cats tend to be such good groomers, I figure.)

And he’s a dark gray tabby, all stripy. Camouflaged.

Imagine you’re in the tall grass at dusk and you’re a mouse. Inches away is a creature bigger than an elephant is to us humans and he’s completely invisible.

That creature is also ridiculously patient and absurdly fast. So fast. And, unlike an elephant, he wants to kill you.

You can’t even think something like, “Oh, 50-50 he’s already eaten and doesn’t care.” Nope. Because it’s just plain fun for the cat. You’re a toy.

It’s worse if he has eaten, because he might want to play with you for a while. (To a mouse, the word “play” is the most shivery word.)

So picture the equivalent for a human. You’re going about your business, walking home from the corner produce store with tonight’s dinner — and a gigantic animal’s claws and teeth grab you out of nowhere. You didn’t even see him coming. You didn’t smell him, or see his shadow, or hear his footsteps. You walked right up to him without even knowing it.

You might get the chance to run a little bit and scream, if you’re unlucky.