The Mouse Inside
night before last, I went up a remote hill to a public building where a casting
call was in progress. There were lots of beautiful young girls inside. I knew
some of them and some I did not know. We all waited in a room with a black leather
couch. The director came in. She was youngish and strong. She pointed to a few
of the girls saying, "You and you and you." I held my breath, "and you."
"Me?"I asked meekly. "No, her,"she said. Then
she walked away.
When I got
the message that Harry was dying, I got on my bike and rode to his small
wooden house. He was only forty. When I arrived, he told me that he wanted
to listen to a Glenn Gould concerto but that he didn't have any equipment
on which to play his tape. I went in search of the gear.
I asked local merchants for donations. People
were very generous. After an hour or two, I had enough money to buy Harry
a fine set-up. He listened to his music. Then he faded away. I had really
From there, I went to stay with the Goldfarbs.
They had known Harry, and they understood grief. I brought along my pet
bug. It was an enormous cockroach, the size of a Frisbee, and I thought
it extremely lovable. Fay Goldfarb also had a pet bug. Hers was a very
small, normal-sized bug. It looked like a fly with white stripes. She
asked me if I could put her fly to sleep. Fay showed me the special little
cage where her bug usually slept.
Before making her bug sleepy, I would have to catch it. Complicating matters,
my own bug began to fly. It whizzed past my face, away from me. I decided
to let it go because I had promised to put Fay's bug down for the night
and to tuck it in.
While I was running around the room, I thought
of Harry. I wondered if I might be infected with whatever it was that
had killed him. We had been very close.
Just then, I saw Fay's fly zip off to the
bathroom. I followed it into the enormous lavatory. I could not be sure,
but I got the feeling that the bug wanted to be with me in private.
I was to
be in a parade with losers. It was almost time for us to march, but we
couldn't get it together. We had no leader.
I bent down to hem the pants of three men.
Their black polyester uniforms were frayed at the bottoms. I did my best
but some threads came loose and trailed around their ankles.
to kill myself, I jumped off what I thought was a cliff. I slid, stumbled
and fell with a box of jewelry. When I hit the bottom I felt surprised
and annoyed that I hadn't even scratched myself. I had fallen against
the muddy side of a drained lake.
My best friend approached and so I hid,
filthy, behind a concrete block. She yelled down to me, "I see you. Come
up here!" After a moment she added, "Oh, forget it. I'm leaving."
I was in
class working on a group project. One of my project mates was Raul. I
watched him and liked him as we rearranged text on an overhead projector.
He didn't seem particularly interested in me.
Ralph Vogel from elementary school was also
in the class. He approached me and I could tell that he was attracted
to me. Each time we met, we chatted about our young days. We often had
lunch together. We both got A's on all of our tests, although he
sometimes received an A-.
Ralph was handsome. He expressed that he
wanted to be more than friends. I thought of all the reasons that it'd
be great. He was smart, good-looking, he cared about me, etc. But I kept
thinking about Raul. He was clown-like and very exciting.
I ended up telling Ralph about all of my
bad points. I leaned against the new school
building coming up with crap like, "You know how Woody Allen is always
so full of hostility and mistrust? Well, that's me. I mean, like who are
your friends? Are they Nazis? I mean, do they appreciate Jews?"
Ralph nodded with understanding. Then he
said softly that there might be a problem. "My friends do like to eat
kidneys and livers."
We got onto the yellow school bus. I crouched
up front with my driver friend, a gentle and strong man. I asked him to
take me home.
I glimpsed Ralph several rows back. He was
looking out the window.
I am with
my mother, and she is like a goddess. There is music in the background
and there is danger.
My mother straps a little black plastic
box to me, around my dress. "This will enable you to breathe during your
long journey under the water, into the dark reaches of the sea. It will
be black and cold but keep going."
I see myself swimming like a little witch,
pumping my way down, down, down into the water. I begin to miss my mother,
but I do as she instructs.
one another. Some eat the red, needle-like bottlebrush. A scientist sits
beneath their tree holding his notebook. He has taken a break from his
observations in order to witness a greater phenomenon: He can cry.
a drugstore where an old woman worked. I asked for candy-flavored lozenges.
The woman asked me if I wanted five pieces or twenty-five pounds. I said
"five pieces please."
As I stood there, I told her that I'd been
ill with a bladder infection. She asked me with a grin if I was sure.
I answered "yes."
But really, I wasn't sure.
I sat on
a barstool next to Sigmund Freud. We were part of a larger group at a
convention. Sigmund drank the last of his beer, hopped off his stool,
and told me that he'd try to make it to dinner. As he was leaving, he
said that he wanted me to prepare for the meeting.
"And don't forget to tell me what you do
with all that Number Two,"he joked.
"Number Two?"I asked.
"Yes, you know,"he said, "Number Two."
Then he had to go.
Sigmund didn't make it to the dinner. We
were all very disappointed. Earlier in the day, at the bar, he had taken
a great liking to my friend Sandy. She told me in private that she thought
he was sweet.
"I guess it just wasn't meant to be,"I said.
Then I paused and said it again.
In her clown
outfit, with the word "Unloved" written across her forehead, she jumped
from the trapeze landing. She had received word that the net was faulty.
The injuries she incurred, however, were
not fatal. But her spinal cord was severed and she would never perform
I felt that
I saw Matt Dillon from the inside out. That is, I felt as if I could feel
his feelings. He worked with beautiful women and he appreciated each one.
I don't know why his behavior hurt me. Maybe I loved him.
I watched Matt eat dinner with his current
lover, a cast member with short hair. He enjoyed her but he glanced at
other people in the fancy restaurant. Two days later, he was with someone
new. The short-haired woman was all but forgotten and he seemed truly
Early in the morning, Matt went to an indoor
swimming pool where he held a side job. As I watched him from behind a
post, I wondered why he had to work there. After a moment or two, I figured
that some dark part of him needed expression.
The guy in charge was foul-mouthed and low-brow.
He had a skinny assistant. As they spoke with Matt, I noticed that he
was again distracted. "Who's that?"He motioned with his hand. "She's from
Eastern Europe,"the skinny man answered. She dove into the pool, and Matt
quickly followed her. He couldn't help it. He was compelled. You understand.
The swimming pool room had an old domed
ceiling. Crusty, dark and crumbling, the echoey building was filled with
I know that Matt Dillon's experiences aren't
my own, but I am affected. I feel things.
Top Story: "People Who Live with Mice in Their Bellies."
I watched television. How could anyone eat
a live mouse? And how could that mouse stay alive once swallowed? It was
preposterous. I doubted the story was true, and I felt queasy just thinking
Suddenly, the mouse-eater appeared. She
sat alone in a field. She had an androgynous haircut. I looked at her
belly and tried to detect movement. Was that a bulging, twisting lump
Looking into the camera, she explained that
she eats mice because she feels like no one will ever love her. "I look
like a man and I live on a farm,"she said.
Apparently, when she's not eating live mice, she is trying either to eat
her own foot or she's stuffing herself into the toilet.
Her brother, a swarthy man, also has this
I saw a woman
I couldn't stand at the airport.
She looked very pretty in a soft beige dress
with her longish hair. She fumbled with her bags like she was busy. I
could tell she wanted to avoid me, but I talked to her anyway.
"I'm so glad to see you. You know, the other night I was thinking that
out of everybody you were the one person I wanted to see and talk to most
of all. I just wanted to say that I really hope everything in your life
goes well. I've got a lot of respect for you. Honestly, I think you're
an incredible person. I wish that we had been friends."
She looked up at me from her crouched position.
Later that day, I would describe her expression as confused yet touched.
of Polar Bear Report
Polar bears are an endangered species. I
think everyone should be concerned about them. They are the most graceful
of the bear family. Polar bears are my favorite bears because like peace,
they are big and solemn. In my report I have covered the polar bear's
characteristics, hibernation facts about the polar bear, the environment
around it, the polar bear's background, and whatever else you might want
to know about this remarkable Arctic animal.
Before I did this report, I really didn't
know anything about polar bears. I didn't realize the danger they are
in of becoming extinct. I'm really glad that I learned about the polar
bear because it is always nice to know more than someone else about a
A man was
giving a lecture. He was trying to turn everyone on to spirituality. Not
of any particular denomination, he was thin and looked like anyone. He
tried to get us to feel something. He used a popular song and commercial
jingles to rouse us.
a woman who feared that she would never really look or feel magnificent.
She dreamt about wearing a strapless dress and about having smaller breasts
so that she'd look "in proportion." She fantasized that someone applied
her makeup and that someone else cut her hair.
As it stood, the woman was not ugly, yet her clothes
were ill-fitting. When she looked at other, more put-together women, she felt
as if they belonged to a whole other species, apart from her own.