Friday, May 11, 2007

Cupcake and Squeaky LaRue

Squeaky LaRue is a mouse. She lives in a clear plastic box on Cupcake's desk.

Squeaky spends her day in predictable activities. She hides in her house, a cardboard toilet paper tube. Periodically, she emerges to look for sunflower seeds and tiny goldfish crackers that Cupcake leaves for her. And at night, when things really get going, she spends a great deal of time running on a purple hamster wheel.

Sometimes Squeaky runs facing left. Other times, she runs right. Cupcake watches in fascination as Squeaky stops suddenly, mid run, to turn around and go the other way. She wonders if Squeaky knows, deep down, that direction doesn't matter. She likes to think that Squeaky accepted the fact that her running won't get her anywhere.

At a certain speed, the hamster wheel goes faster than Squeaky can run, sending the little mouse in a loop-de-loop of centrifugal motion.

Cupcake isn't sure if Squeaky likes the loop-de-loop or doesn't know enough about physics to connect her increasing speed with the sudden loop-de-loop.

And she isn't sure if Squeaky's efforts on the wheel are from pure enjoyment of exercise or desire to stay in shape. It occurs to Cupcake that Squeaky thinks if she runs fast enough or long enough, she'll be able to get away.
Squeaky came into Cupcake's life via the dog, Flynn. One night, Flynn, a gentle soul, trotted up to Cupcake looking very pleased with himself. As Cupcake patted him, she wondered why a moving string was hanging out of Flynn’s mouth, whipping furiously around. When she realized that the whipping string was the tail of a living mouse, she leapt to her feet and grabbed the plastic box, which she happened to have.

Upon yielding up his captive, Flynn wagged his tail and watched Squeaky excitedly. Every day since then, he sits in front of the plastic box watching Squeaky on the wheel as though it's his favorite show on TV.

But for Cupcake, Squeaky’s capture presented a dilemma. She didn't want Squeaky running around her house, and it was too cold outside to let her go. But she couldn't bring herself to kill the timid little creature.

So Squeaky remains in the plastic box. Until the arrival of the purple hamster wheel, she rarely emerged from her toilet paper tube. .

The snow has melted. And still Cupcake doesn’t know what to do with Squeaky.

But lately, there's a new complication: the appearance of mouse poop outside of Squeaky’s box.

Squeaky’s family, apparently, have been coming to press their noses up against the plastic.

This breaks Cupcake’s heart. She’s entreated Flynn to capture more mice. But they’re not a pronounced presence in the house. The only place the mouse poop has been showing up is the circumference of Squeaky’s domain.

Now, Cupcake knows a thing or two about longing.

She can imagine Cupcake’s relatives pressing noses against the plastic, wondering how to get in and share Squeaky’s wealth of sunflower seeds. And she can imagine Squeaky, lonely and captive, seeing the visiting relatives and squeaking fervently, wishing she could escape and be with them. It’s enough to make an animal lover cry.

If Cupcake releases Squeaky into the park across the street, she’ll never see her family again. Also, once Cupcake saw an owl swoop down and catch a critter there, a disturbing thing to witness at close range. Cupcake doesn't like thinking of Squeaky getting swooped up by an owl.

Cupcake doesn't know what to do. And so her thoughts spin like Squeaky on the wheel, going left, then right, and then loop-de-looping. And getting nowhere at all.


Blogger Quirkie said...

So what did Cupcake do?

8:56 PM  

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