Just A Mouse

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A monarch flew over to our car and fluttered around it in a circle once before leaving two days ago. The world works in strange ways.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I visited the Nature Nook today to get crickets for my pet newts. I always love going there, and sometimes I spend hours there. It's a pet store, but it's also a sort of portal.

It lives on a very steep hill, downtown. Outside there's busy streets, concrete pavement with grass and weeds sticking out of the cracks, poverty. Dilapidated old houses with poor black kids running around in sandals. Around the block is the prison, and you can even see the wires on top of the walls from in front of the store.

The store used to be an old Jewish synagogue. There are steps on either side of it leading to the top, and it seems like the store was made out of the basement. On the roof are some fancy pillars and brick, and some writing I can't understand.

I opened the door, and, like always - the little white dog - Angel - lifted his head up and trotted over to me like he couldn't be happier to see me. I kneeled down and pressed his head against my chest and ruffled his fur. Everything is so much better there. They have exotic animals, lizards, hissing cockroaches, snakes, pigeons, turtles, geckos, spiders, chameleons, odd looking rodents. Little fish. There are plants everywhere, and it's a small space, so it gives the impression of a really thick jungle and there's something unique about the whole experience.

If you walk to the back of the store near the register, and go to the left, you get to go out into the yard where they let all the animals chill during the summer. Turtles in huge wooden pens, floating in water, sunning. Huge pigeons that yell at you if you walk past them. Little baby red eared sliders. The cockroaches were out there, too.

Usually I like going there, but the owners are a bit odd. I was outside with one of them today leaning down while sitting on the ground looking at the turtles, when a tiny, tiny little caterpillar started inching it's way bravely across the wood. She was sitting next to me and I commented on it.

"What's that?" I was smiling, it didn't scare me. I like caterpillars and I found the little thing endearing, and it was cute how determined it was to get across.

She lifted her thumb up and pressed it down on the caterpillar, blood and guts squirted out onto the wood - green, red, yellow - and she scraped it off of her thumb. I sat in shock. Completely silent. Hurt.

"I don't know - it was some sort of caterpillar."

I pretended like it didn't bother me. But it did. It really did.

Sometimes I feel like all of my sanctuaries are being taken from me.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I had to stop at Walmart today and push past the crowds of poor people, bored teenagers and flocks of slow-moving elderly to get to the stationary aisle. I needed a book.

Jaser writes better by hand.

I browsed for a while, I could go for cheap and affordable, crappy quality paper, or books that made me like to write, and pay for it with money I could not afford to spend. As always, as it is my style to do, I chose the latter.

Two thick notebooks with hard covers and stylized lined paper. I like them a lot. One is blue and one is pink. And as it is also my style to do so, I prefer the pink one, but both are wonderful.

Somehow they managed to make the lights inside the store brighter than the late afternoon sun outside, and I actually started getting a headache, so I made an effort into finding the shortest line at checkout to get out of there as soon as possible.

I got in line behind a lesbian couple, checking out with some paper towels and things - boring, gorgeous house-stuff. One - masculine, obviously - butch - leaned down to sign a receipt, her partner said something to her and she sputtered, "I don't care!" in an annoyed tone of voice, and then sighed frustratedly.


"It's alright."

She squinted at the paper. "Oh, crap. What's the rest of the number?"


"I thought it was 458?"

"Definitely 452!"

"Oh, alright."

She looked up at the lady at checkout. "Sorry, we just got our phone turned on," she grinned.

They got their packages up and left, arguing with each other a bit as they walked out, and I found myself staring at them longingly as I put my notebooks down on the counter.

I envy them.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I went for a walk today. Something I haven't done for a while because of - the heat? Laziness? I don't know. Just haven't. Anyway!

I filled up my messenger bag with some snacks, a few books, my cellphone and a banana for my rat whom I toted on my shoulder. It was a nice day. Sucked to cross the highway but I got to the bike trail and went down it for about a mile to the park, slid down the hill and picked out a tree to sit under and read for a while. My rat (Fiver, by the way) stretched out and fell into a deep sleep on my lap. It was very peaceful. There weren't any people on the playground and it was quiet. An old lady walked by with her dog who yapped at me for a good five minutes or so. Fiver barely even lifted her head. Totally unphased. I love that rat.

Eventually I moved onto a bench and curled up on that to read instead because ants were starting to check me out on the ground, but there was a fine layer of dead leaves and twigs I had to brush off first before I could sit down. About six or seven feet away from my bench was a large puddle left over from the storm we had the other day. The water was absolutely sparkling clear and you could see the trees and the sky reflected off of it, and there was even a little robin hopping around next to it getting a drink of water. Everything about it was so utterly perfect, I wished I had my camera with me to get a picture because I knew how beautiful it would turn out.

After a few chapters I gave Fiver her banana, put my stuff away and started walking back. On the way home I nearly made a runner trip over herself when she saw the rat on my shoulder. Want free comedy shows wherever you go? Bring a pet rat around and pretend as if it's normal.

Anyway, I'm still finding myself thinking about that robin and the puddle. I haven't seen anything beautiful like that in a while and it's lingering with me. Maybe I'll go back tomorrow and see if it'll be there.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Today is going to be FUN.

Last night I was cleaning out Wednesday and Mystery's cage, when I noticed lice crawling around in the remnants of the dust I had to scrub out of their pan. Oh, wonderful! I'm thrilled, really. Oscar Wilde (mouse II) is also infested and by a pure twist of fate I found out where the lice were coming from after all this time!

My dad had been insisting upon feeding Wednesday, Mystery, Morgan and Oscar Wilde with a storebought mix (something I'm sincerely against) that he was purchasing at a local pet store (PET SUPPLIES PLUS, if you want to write them an angry letter or throw pitchforks at them or something for me). Now, this wasn't a pre-packaged mix, it was basically a tube in which you allow the correct animal mix to go into a plastic bag and then you pay for it by it's weight. (It's something like $2.50 a lb, which is cool if it doesn't include like a half a lb. of motherfucking mites.) So, he didn't notice that, and he was feeding them this mix while I was at my mother's or not home, and I'm not that bright so I never thought to check the food. Motherfucker.

So, yesterday the bag ripped and I spilled some on the hard wood and sure enough, there are a bunch of skittering little lice freaking out all over the floor. I drowned them in Lysol (what else was I to do?!) and cleaned up the mess and then proceeded to have a bug phobia induced panic attack. Cleaned out the cages with bleach, scrubbed the floors, freaked out about the carpets. Threw all of my clothes off in a panic and tossed myself into the shower and scrubbed my body until it was red.

Reeeeally wasn't pretty. I have bug issues.

Okay, so, I called my vet and we're going to need to get them all treated. I can't afford this. Can't can't can't. It's something like $75.00 PER RAT (I have two) to just BRING them in on an appointment. It's like $50.00 PER MOUSE (I'd just be bringing in Oscar Wilde, Morgan is already being treated). And then the cost of TREATMENT and ANTIBIOTICS. The treatment is not bad, it's probably like 8 dollars per animal. But it adds up. And then like $15 or more for antibiotics per animal.

And then TODAY I'm going to be mitebusting. I plan on like putting on a tight shirt and some old jeans and like disinfecting my entire room today because I'm freaked out. All of my sheets, clothes and shit are in a plastic bag outside, because I know there's shit crawling on them. And I don't know where some surviving mites from the food bag crawled off to in my room or where their eggs are laid. They don't live off of humans, but oh God, freak OUT.

So, yeah. Going to have a spotless room today at my father's. Please wish me luck with that and the fact that I'm going to be living in a cardboard box because of the cost of vet bills. Hooray.

Monday, July 17, 2006


I doubt that really exists. Anywhere.
Even where the scent of the flower led me -
this place I've struggled to reach -
is a long way from Paradise.
- Wolf's Rain, BONES/Keiko Nobumoto.

The last few days have been unusually hot. Hot even for the beginning of the afternoon in the middle of July, and it's mostly the humidity that's making it unbearable. I haven't left the house in three days. Not because I don't want to, but because it just takes a lot of energy to function in the heat and I haven't felt really up to it lately.

My mom's house is cool for one thing - we have a big yard. Huge, even. It's shared with the neighbors we share a double with, but it's on our 'side' of the house, and on nice days my mom pulls her lawn chair out and tries to make her already olive skin somehow darker and I sit up in my room with my window open. Across our really big lawn is a fence, and behind that fence is a private pool that on any given day during the summer houses whatever upper middle class children and their Gap tshirt wearing moms and trucker hat wearing dads that sit under the shade while they watch their kids jump off diving boards or play Marco Polo in the water or whatever it is eight-year-olds do now.

I used to live in an apartment building with my mom, my dad and my sister at the bottom of the rich part of the city. I had since I was two years old and we lived in the cramped two bedroom place until I was twelve. I shared a room with my sister the whole time, and my parents slept together for the first six years or so we lived there, and then my mom moved to the couch and it was like that for a while. Having to sneak out through the living room with my sister at 12 o'clock trying not to wake up my mom after my father had left for work knowing that she would be asleep until around 3. She'd go off and do whatever it was teenage girls did and I'd wander around the other apartment buildings.

Behind us, there were the woods, and after I gathered my courage once to go back there and explore, it's where I spent most of my time. There was a clearing towards the middle, just in view of the big white houses on the top of the hill, and a huge fallen tree blocked off my clearing from the rest of the woods and a big sticky patch of thorns and some honeysuckles that I had to climb on top of the tree to get at if I wanted some.

There was a mound of rocks to the far left, but up here the land was perfectly flat. I buried my first newt up there, I talked my friend Alitta into coming up with me to bury him and I remember her laying old leaves on top of his grave in a nice pattern and putting a rock up for him.

After that, she came up with me all the time, and we'd talk about running away from home and living there, bringing up supplies and sneaking back home every few days to steal more food. She'd moved here from Texas, and her mom was huge, cruel woman. When I'd run to her apartment to get her so we could go up to the woods, her mom would scream at her even after we had walked out the door, and we'd run across the parking lot and up through the patch of bushes that we always went through to get up the hill and we'd stay up there for hours. She'd complain about her father and her mother and I'd come up with elaborate ideas that would prevent us from ever having to see our parents again.

She was a year younger than me, and she hadn't gone to the elementary school I had gone to. The school I went to had originally been an old highschool. But the population exceeded the amount of space they had and they built a new one. Because we lived within the boundaries of the rich sector, College Hill, I went to school with the snobby, Christian kids. Most days I'd walk into school and lean my head against the wall and cry, wanting to go home, wanting my mom to make me a bowl of soup. And I'd see it in my head. A bowl of ramen noodles - 8 cents a pack, it was what we could afford - thick with broth, steaming at the table with a spoon deep inside the liquid. People would comment about me when they walked past, and eventually I'd gather myself up and go to my class, my eyes still red and puffy and I knew exactly why people were staring at me when I walked into the room.

I hated recess more than I hated class. I went to school with a crippled kid that used to torment me. He had some sort of spinal deformation and had to use crutches to get around. During recess he'd demand I help him get down to the playground, and under the watchful eyes of the teachers, I had to. They would call me insensitive if I didn't, they'd call my parents and tell them how selfish and nasty their son was and then I'd be punished. So, I'd walk him down the wooden ramp to the playground and he'd bring me to the back, behind a big bush, and he'd shove me, kick mulch at me, especially when it was windy out and he knew it'd get into my eyes.

Sometimes the girls from the local Girl Scout Troop would gang up on me, ask me what church I went to. I told them I didn't go to church, that I wasn't christian, and that my mom's side of the family was Jewish.


When I started 5th grade, we had a class on US history. When we got to US involvement in WWII, my teacher asked if anyone in the class was Jewish or had Jewish friends or relatives. I raised my hand. Nobody else did.

A couple days later in math, this big tough black kid started teasing me. He called me a Jew, I protested, saying that I wasn't, it was just my mom. I wasn't religious. A couple of his friends, another guy and a girl, joined in with him and I wound up telling my teacher, who, without calling my parents, and scheduled a meeting between my teachers and the kids who teased me.

"What did they call you?"
"... A Jew."
"Are you?"
"What? Kind of. My family-."
"How would they even know you're Jewish, Jaser?"
"I'm n- ... my history teacher asked."
She denyed it.
They murmured amongst themselves for a few minutes, and then my math teacher turned back to me.
"Well, it sounds to ME like this is just someone that is trying to get some other people in trouble."
"... what?"

I told my parents, they were concerned, but didn't do anything about it. The girl that had teased me with her friends approached me in class the next day and threatened me. I didn't say another word about it.