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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ode to Clyde

Juvenalia Dept.: A macabre little piece from my teenaged years. I lived at that time in the same town as did Maurice Sendak, and clearly my work wasn’t going to threaten his success.


A mouse got in the house.

Our large grey cat had brought him in. The mouse was dying, but not quite dead.

My daddy put him in a box with wads of cotton by his head, then asked us how a mouse was fed.

Illustration by Gerian Williams
I said, “I’ve never fed a mouse. We’ve never had one in the house.”

My daddy shook his head.


Daddy fed the little mouse. He held the box upon his lap, and put in grass and other crap, then told the mouse to take a nap.

The mouse replied, “I’ll thank you, sir, to call me Clyde.”

We thought it was some kind of joke, but Daddy told him, “Okey-doke! From now on we shall call you Clyde.”

The mouse seemed rather satisfied. He yawned and turned upon his side, and went to sleep.

“Daddy! Daddy! Will we keep this little mouse?” we children cried.

And daddy sighed, “I’m awfully fond of little Clyde.”


That night my Daddy brought the box with little Clyde to where he slept, and Mommy screamed, “You leave that fucking thing outside!”

“It’s just a baby,” Daddy said, but Mommy said she’d bust his head if any stunt like that was tried.

Poor Clyde.

We had to keep him far away from Large Grey Cat, who loved to play with mice, it’s true, but always has this urge to chew a little mouse, whose limbs get strewn about the house, then mommy screams and all the children have bad dreams.


I had a dream the other night where I was a mouse, and had died, and was on my way to Mouse Heaven. But when I got there it seemed quite strange and had a funny stink. Where was I? I couldn’t think. I said to someone, “What is this?”

“It’s one gigantic Ham-and-Swiss.”

I looked around and twitched my whiskers, and finally said, “I have no appetite. I hate this smell.” I heard a low and mournful yell, “We’re sending you to Bad Mouse Hell!”


Down and down and down I fell. No longer could I smell that smell, but faintly first I heard some whirring, creepy sound. My head was spinning round and round, my eyes were blurring. The noise that I could hear was purring!
And then I heard the screams of mice
As deeper down the pit I fell;
Too late to heed their good advice:
Kitty Heaven is Bad Mouse Hell!

When I got up this morning everything was very still. Large Grey Cat sat on the windowsill, cleaning his whiskers.

Everybody spoke in whispers. Dad sat at the breakfast table, looking glum. He no longer held the box that housed his chum.

I asked my Mommy (standing by her side) why Dad was sad.

“Clyde has died.”

* * *

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