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⚡ June 23, 1999

Dead Mice Suck 🐭

What have I done?

What have I done?

9:55. So there, I did it and it’s done. Somehow, I thought I’d feel … different. Is that all there is? I feel so … so … cheap. I’ve thrown away my precious privacy and for – what? There’s not even a thank-you-ma’am after the whole entire, incredible, intense wham bam.

Oh well. Now what? Does this mean I have to do it every day if I want to be pop-lar?

I’m suddenly so self-conscious. But, I’m a writer, right? And what does a writer do? When faced with fear and loathsome self-doubt? A writer runs away! As fast as its little legs will allow … out of the light and back behind the fridge to shake and shiver and sleep until dark, until the family has turned off the TV and gone to bed and there’s leftover food to pick on and soft sweaters to climb into and shred. At least that’s what this mousey writer wants to do.

So far, I’ve told no one but Igor about these pages, although as I labor here in the half-life, I like to picture various close personal acquaintances reading along and clapping their virtual hands in appreciation and joy. It could happen.

Meanwhile, while thinking about the whole cheesy dead-mouse gimmick that I set up to lure myself back here, I remembered that I’ve seen not one, but two dead mice in my life. Two different houses; two different coasts, two different causes of death. Result: no difference. Both completely dead.

The first one, almost – but not quite – got sucked into the tube of my old Hooverina vacuum cleaner. It had crawled behind the curtains all the way back in 1977 or so and was merely dusty and old and ribbed like a dried-up Queen Anne’s lace at the end of the summer. It only had the power to send yuck-chills up and down my arms when I tried to unclog the tube and I thought it was a sock, maybe, but no … eeeeuuuuugggggggg … I touched it with my bare hands.

But the second mouse (or maybe it was a rat because now we’re out here in Hollywood) was a whole different thing entirely. Instead of a quiet New Jersey creature who never bothered us and didn’t make any noise and then one day just up and died, this rat-thing had Attitude, and Terminator-like cunning.

It did the most unspeakable things to my basket of tea bags; ditto my slippers and my folded cardigans at the back of the second-floor closet. One morning I found only a dangling google eye on the fridge where a Kosher-salted bagel magnet used to be. We were in a hostage situation, so I finally bought poison – a lot of poison – and waited and watched as the aforesaid unspeakable things turned a fishy color of acid green, and waited … and waited. And eventually I assumed he’d gone away to the steep rocky hillside cantilevering our roof to die or to end his suffering Hollywood-style by leaping off into the unknown.

But no. Remember, this is the drama capital of the universe and so the big long thing (12 inches from nose to stretched-out tail) just had to be in the teeny kitchen, on the white linoleum when I rounded the corner in my bare feet at the crack of dawn because I couldn’t sleep for worry and I didn’t have decent slippers anymore. Both of us froze in our tracks and one of us had a massive, fatal, eye-popping heart attack.

So who lived to tell the tale – the writer or the mouse?

What have I done?

Tomorrow … because this is Hollywood: the Sequel. 🐔