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Red Winged Black Bird on a fence post in a field.

Predator Mouse

2004-12-20

Category: prose

Mouse lived a peaceful life, though a life filled with dread. He knew that death lurked everywhere. It seemed that every time his people went to the fields to search for food a hawk or a fox or a cat or a dog would come into view looking to kill a poor mouse.

"Predators have all the luck," though Mouse. "I wish I was a predator. Then I could do what ever I want and no body could stop me. I wouldn't be afraid of nothing." Still, he was just a mouse.

One day, while out gathering grain, Mouse followed the edge of a mud puddle. The tire tracks told him that a grain truck had gone through and spilled when it hit the rut. Mouse was very happy with his haul. He sat quietly on a rock and nibbled some corn.

A shadow passed over him. He looked up and saw a hawk. All the mice ran right to the barn. Not Mouse, though, he was on the wrong side of the big mud puddle and could not cross. "I better skedaddle," he thought. He ran to the weeds. Form under the cover of the grasses, he watched the hawk circle in the sky. Eventually, Mouse got tired and sat down. "Won't that bird ever go away?" thought mouse.

That's when he noticed it. It was big and cold and shiny and blue. He found a pistol, a nice little revolver.

There were pictures in the barn about guns. He knew what they were for. He had watched the farmer shoot crows and cans with the guns. The little rodent picked up his new treasure and puffed out his chest. "Now I'm a predator. I can kill things."

A scream distracted him. The hawk was on the ground trying to get a better grip on a mouse.

Mouse pointed the gun at the bird and pulled the trigger.

The recoil knocked Mouse on his but so he didn't see the hawk explode in a cloud of feathers. The hawk's victim looked up at where the raptor had been; she blinked a few times.

After that day, Mouse was a hero. He carried his gun everywhere with him. All the mice sang his praises; but none of that lasted.

Many of the mice were frightened of Mouse. He kept calling himself a predator. Mice don't like predators. They shunned him. They avoided him. He was alone.

Mouse decided to talk to the priest. "Why does everybody hate me so much?"

The priest looked nervously at the pistol Mouse waved around. "Well, it's not that they hate you. It's more, well, they just, uhm, they just aren't comfortable around the gun." The old rodent flinched a little.

"They don't like my gun? Why not? It saves the day. With it, I'm a predator."

The priest cleared his throat a little. "That's sort of the problem, you see. There's a, uh, an order to these things. Mice aren't meant to go around being predators. It's, uh, it's just not the kind of thing we do in proper mouse society."

Mouse snorted. "Fine. If that's they way they want it, then that's the way they'll have it. I'm a predator now. I can no longer be part of this society." With that, he stormed out of the barn and off the farm.


Several weeks passed. Mouse was still determined to go out and live the life of a predator. Once he got past the fields, the landscape became forest and then mountains. So far, three foxes and another hawk had felt his wrath.

He walked through a meadow and noticed a mountain lion sitting on a rock. "Don't even think about killing me, mountain lion. I've got a gun; I'm a predator."

The puma looked around to find the source of the little voice. "What? Oh, hello little mouse. What brings you out this fine day?"

Mouse puffed up his chest. "I'm a predator and I'm on the prowl."

The lion's eyebrows rose? "You're a predator? On what do you prey?"

It was an unexpected question. "Well, I've killed two hawks and three foxes."

Lion nodded approval. "That's quite good for someone your stature. Were they tasty?"

"Tasty? What do you mean?"

"I mean," said the lion, "did you enjoy eating them?"

Mouse scowled. "Why would I want to eat them? That's just gross."

Lion tilted his head. "If you weren't going to eat them, why did you kill them?"

Mouse puffed up again. "I killed them because I'm a predator and that's what predators do."

Lion shook his head sadly. "There's more to it than that. Predators don't just kill to kill. They kill to eat. If you ever watched a hawk after it killed one of your diminutive brethren you would have noticed that the hawk ate the mouse. You yourself were probably already a predator."

Mouse looked puzzled. "What do you mean?"

"Well, you go out and eat grain and berries and I've seen mice eat little bugs. All of those things were alive and yet that life was snuffed out when you gobbled them up. You were already a predator. It's one of those circle to life, food chain things."

This was too much for Mouse. He sat on the grass pondering this new outlook. He had eaten bugs. He had gobbled down berries. He was a predator all along. He smiled. "You know, Mr. Lion, you've set me straight. Now I can go home to the farm and live at peace with my condition."

The lion ate him.


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