Number of pages: 150
Word Count: 36 000
Now, I’m not sure if it’s like this for every guy out there, but it seems like the main underlying reason for everything I do is because of a girl. It was ‘the girl’ who made me run away from my hometown. And it was ‘the girl’ who almost got me killed. But it was also because of ‘the girl’ that I ended up in New York City with my three best friends on a mad adventure.
My name is Princeton, and I’m a white-footed mouse.
dustpan. Next thing I knew, I was in a shallow grave in the cedar mulch under
the damn maple tree out front.
out and wondering how she’s ever gonna live without me. But as great as this
death fantasy is, I’ve never really wanted to die.
you should never feel bad when a mouse dies. Our life spans are only about a
year in the wild, but to give you some perspective, one day for a mouse feels
pretty much like a human year. So most of us live good long lives even if they
seem short to people.
coloring is similar to that of a deer—reddish brown on top with white bellies.
The only difference between deer mice and us is our white feet.
brightest young minds, but the attitudes here are exactly the same as in any
other town I’ve ever been to. An outsider with an inferiority complex about Princeton should see how most of the humans dress here. It’s all sweatpants and
hoodies, I swear to God.
friend Tyler said, “Hey, check it out—the lonesome dove.” Everyone laughed, and
from that day on, Miles was known as The Dove. Imagine getting stuck with that nickname for life. Doves are the
worst. Trust me.
too. This one time, I had to hide out in a hamster cage for a night to evade a
barn cat, and my friend Charlotte started calling me Hamster Boy. Another time,
she started calling me Junior after I had a close call with a vacuum cleaner.
Why Junior? Well, when she was a kid, she had this pet potato bug named Junior
that got sucked up by a vacuum cleaner. She has a sick sense of humor like
completely honest, the move was a result of two things, which I’ll tell you
about in a minute.
two-story century home. It was a great setup. The humans who lived there were
the Sanagans. I actually got to know them pretty well—not personally, obviously, but you know what I mean. I found a hole in the foundation underneath their deck that led into the wall right behind the kitchen stove. I could sneakster my way in and out of there pretty easily.
too—Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Corn Pops, you name it. The Sanagans were cereal fiends.
his tunage while taking showers. I’d always make a point of being in the bathroom wall near the return air vent in the mornings so I could rock out and jump around to songs like “Blue Orchid” by the White Stripes, “Sober” by Blink-182, or “Breed” by Nirvana. J.P. would be dancing and singing along too, so those days were a lot of fun.
for a few of its nonhuman inhabitants: Indy—a silver tabby cat, Rascal—a big
fat calico cat, and Frankie—a little wiener dog. The fat cat wasn’t much to
worry about. She would just lie around all day stretched out on the floor like Jabba the Hutt. And she had this permanent sore on her back that kind of looked like a slice of pepperoni. It was strange. I was never sure if I wanted to puke or lick it. Frankie wasn’t usually a threat, either. That guy was anything but stealth. I could hear him coming from a hundred miles away with his heavy footsteps and jangly metal collar, not to mention his incessant yelping, whimpering, and whining. Nope, it was only Indy who put the fear of God into me.
murderer—who haunted the dreams of small rodents all across the land. There
were rumors in the neighborhood that she had over three thousand kills dating
back to the early 2000s. Mice, chipmunks, and rabbits were her favorite targets. During the warmer months, a killing a day was the norm. It wasn’t uncommon to come across chipmunks or mice who had been chopped clean in half and left on the front porch or back step like some sort of sick taunt or medieval warning—a message to us all to watch our asses. Other times, you’d just see the entrails or dry blood spots of some other poor departed soul.
push I needed to get out of town.
beautiful field mouse I had gone out with a couple times. She was more of a rebound, to tell you the truth. I was really only seeing her to try to get my mind off of a recent heartbreak. I was very attracted to her, but we didn’t have much in common. Deep down, we both probably knew it would never work out.
seconds to make sure the coast was clear before heading to the exit behind the
stove. But Jules—being the naive little field mouse she was—decided to just
stroll on out there like a moron. Well, guess who came flying around the corner, barking his head off just as she was walking out? Yup, you guessed
it—Frankie, the wiener dog.
corner of the island. My diversion worked as Frankie was right on my ass. That
meant that Jules was in the clear and had a safe path to the stove.
hiding place—the dreaded dining room.
It was one thing for the pets to know you were in their house, but when a human
found out that they had a mouse problem, it was pretty much game over. All of your routes and hiding places became compromised—holes got filled by foam
insulation; poison-bait stations popped up on every corner of the foundation; snap traps, electric zapper traps, and glue boards got set up at your favorite hangouts. It was a real pain in the ass. If you were lucky enough to make it out alive after being spotted, you’d cut your losses and move on to the next house.
back corner of the room. When I made it there, I squirmed my way in deep and hunkered down to catch my breath.
the best time to escape—during the pandemonium. I shimmied past a bookshelf and then crawled under the liquor cabinet and stopped for a minute at the back corner. I had to try to figure out where exactly my pursuers were positioned.
She must have been the one who spotted me on my run over here. I could hear Mr.
Sanagan yelling from either the kitchen or the family room. He wasn’t a very mobile fellow, so I assumed he would be supervising the mouse hunt from afar.
to sniff me out at any second. So I did what I had to—I made a run for it.
to go through a really dark section of a scary forest or alley, and you’d run
through it as fast as you possibly could hoping to God that nothing would snatch you up? Well, that’s pretty much what it feels like to be a mouse making
a mad dash.
But just as I cleared the island, I looked over to my left, and what I saw made
my stomach drop. It was Indy, the mass-murdering killer cat. She was sitting there on her haunches, no more than a foot away, staring at me with her squinted green eyes. I instinctively jumped sideways and skidded away from her.
act of mercy she displayed for me that day. Ever.
rejoicing with the rest of the woodland creatures that she’d haunted and terrorized all of those years, but I ended up saying a little prayer for her that night. Just out of respect for letting me go that day, ya know?
Professional ice-hockey goaltender and Canadian singer-songwriter, Joe Vercillo, stumbled upon the love of his life, journeyed down to Princeton, New Jersey, and found a dead mouse in a garage.
The rest is history.