This is a story that I wrote for one of my favorite classes at UNC, Introduction to Creative Writing, in 2012.
The True Story of the Three Blind Mice
Part One: The Accident
Contrary to popular belief, the three blind mice succumbed to their dark fate in different ways. For Jeff, it was Leber’s congenital amaurosis. His parents realized he had in the first week of his life. As his siblings Sharon, Ethan, Christian, Brooke, Sarah, James, and Carlton began to hear and see, he laid limply on the hay. However, he learned to adapt. His parents, simple field mice from the Midwest, saved and bought him a seeing eye dog for his birthday. Unfortunately, the Labrador was void of any notion of personal space and trampled Sharon while on the family’s Sunday morning walk. Jeff spent his youth wistful and full of wanderlust, always flirting with the line between happiness and melancholy. Although his serious temperament made it hard for him to make friends, he was very close with his family and even carried a picture of Sharon everywhere he went.
Henry was the next to go. Glaucoma. He ate away his problems in high school and was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes after downing an entire cotton candy abandoned by a sticky child at the state fair. During college, where he studied seed gathering, his front right paw had to be amputated. Luckily, he already had a cane. Before his decline, Henry was bright and curious. He made friends easily and was the quarterback for his school’s football team, which substituted an almond for the traditional leather ball. His girlfriend was the most popular girl at school, with shiny whiskers, and a long tail that swung seductively as she walked. Then his mother died from paw cancer and his life became like a mirror of a Lifetime movie.
For Peter is was methanol poisoning. Unlike Henry or Jeff, Peter had an established career as an insurance salesman at Blue Cross, Blue Shield and a large family. However, he squandered his money on alcohol after his wife, Lillian, left him for a house mouse with a comfortable flat in the cellar of a heated home. He wasn’t sure if they were ever in love. He always considered Lillian a great mother and a solidly average wife He had hoped that each litter of children would bring them closer together. But 32 kids later and he was still left with a hole in his heart. Eventually, Peter was forced to buy methylated spirits as a cheap substitute for his heart’s liquid armor. At least his dignity left him long before his sight did.
Part Two: The Meeting.
The furry Elton Johns met by literally running into each other. How else would it happen? The three happened to be at Ray Charles’ performance at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. The collision occurred as they were searching for the back of the Dippin’ Dots line, which, granted, is difficult for even 20/20-ers to find. Recovering from the initial impact, combing whiskers and scurrying to pick up canes, the three mice decided to eat together.
They spent their first meeting, at the Ray Charles’ concert, trying to one-up each other on sob stories, the universal mouse reaction to hearing of anyone else’s obstacles. What could be worse than never being able to watch a sunrise, that carnal glimpse of heaven? Or how could one imagine the suffering of disease that requires one’s constant focus? Or the pain of heartbreak? The other’s argued it was just an overrated star that could be described easily with words and that Halle Berry has diabetes and you don’t see her going around crying about it and that 50% of mice get divorced, so get in line. Of course, when it came down to it, they all couldn’t see and were in the same blind boat. After several unsuccessful attempts, the three blind mice parted ways, clueless to their shared destiny.
The trio reunited several months later at the annual Association of Blind Mice (AOBM) conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where they all had one too many eighth-pints at the nearby Ruby Tuesdays and stumbled arm in arm back to the Best Western. Unfortunately the camaraderie didn’t last long. The brotherhood ended like all brotherhoods do, with angry testosterone and a beautiful mouse harlot. She was a sweet talker with a high-pitched squeak and deep black eyes. She had them heads over paws before she could even finish saying her name. They vied for her attention, abandoning the sprout of friendship for a brooding beauty. Typical.
The mice were also all deeply split over political and philosophical issues. Henry, a life-long Southern Baptist found himself constantly butting heads with Jeff, the proud atheist. They would stay up late in the night debated the existence of God and the consequences of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses for the general German population in the 1500s. They seemed to disagree about everything from fiscal policy to ethics in the media to why the chicken crossed the street. For the Smiths, the humans who lived upstairs, the intellectual merits of conversation were reduced to a constant squeaking from the floorboards that kept everyone awake.
All in all, the mice learned that six blind eyes don’t equal three best friends. They thought their similarities would overcome their vast differences but they were wrong. Each mouse’s annoying quirks and nuances were ridiculed and criticized by the other two. Peter wore Crocs, and even a blind person knows that Crocs are never acceptable. Seriously, never. Jeff misused ‘ironic’ and knew too much about conspiracy theories. Henry had all the seasons of “Friends”, two pairs of cut-off jorts and still denied being gay.
Part Three: Their Life Together
Despite the mutual animosity that permeated the trio, Jeff, Henry, and Peter kept up appearances for the public. Their publicist showed them profit reports and speaking engagements that were only possible through hearty pawshakes and inspiring anecdotes. So, similar to politicians, the mice put on a show to win the public’s approval, clowning around like John Wayne Gacy in front of cameras and fans.
They toured North America as motivational speakers and in staunch opposition to adage “three’s a crowd,” garnering support from the system of checks and balances, Mormons, and the American Idol judges.
They each dealt with fame differently. Jeff became obsessed with the JonBenet Ramsey case and spent his money on a sleazy private investigator who used Wikipedia as his main source. Peter spent it on high-end liquor and low-end prostitutes. That’s right, mouse prostitutes. He slowly drowned in Patron and low self-esteem. Henry put most of his money into diabetes research. He was featured on a plaque in the American Diabetes Association headquarters and frequently visited children suffering from diabetes.
People say they carried each other through hard times, Peter’s alcoholism and recovery, the amputation of Henry’s right paw, and of course the charges of public nudity. But they didn’t. The hostility peaked when a physical brawl at Nick Lachey’s Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards after party. They managed to sweep the conflicts under the rug by blaming alcohol and going on Oprah and squeezing out a few tears.
Aside from the inability for visual perception, the story of the three blind mice is not a sad one. They traveled the world, ate fine cuisine, made money, had notoriety, and could live in peace knowing that their deaths would be marked by an okay bronze statue in a crusty Chicago park. Who can ask for more?