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Sport 35: Winter 2007

Short Story

Short Story

The writer lay in bed wondering
if he'd ever write as well as Raymond Carver.
It had bothered him all afternoon after a disappointing day
writing sentences like 'Jeremy felt a sense of anguish'
and 'the stars had disappeared, the night was darkening'.

Swigging a beer under a woollen blanket in front of the TV,
alone with the big-eared mouse, he watched the six o'clock news,
considering whether the mother and daughter who had signed the pact
to kill each other after killing their husband and father
had walked into the sea until their feet were floating
page 34 or if it had been different. I feel bad that I don't write well
the writer thought, but not that bad. He ate powdered soup for dinner,
reading Raymond Carver and listening to the mouse eating Kettle Fries.
He'd set a trap to kill it after finding shit on his potatos
which he kept under the sink,

but he liked the company, in a way.
What would Carver do? the writer thought constantly.
Carver doesn't say anything unnecessary.
And, he knows how to write an opening sentence.
I've seen some things, too, but I never get them right.

The writer slept until the trap broke the mouse's leg.
'Jesus,' he said, 'you poor little bastard, why didn't it get your neck?'
'Help me,' the mouse said, trying to bite his fingers, 'it wasn't me
crapping all over your vegetables, I wouldn't do that.'
The writer dithered, trying to decide how to finish the animal off.

'We're going outside,' he'd said, picking up the broken mouse by its trap.
They went to the bucket overflowing with rain water.
He dropped the wooden trap but it floated.
'I'm too young to die,' said the mouse, but the writer ignored it,
pushing the trap down with a brick, until the mouse drowned.

When he pulled it out, he was astonished at the transformation.
The big ears had melted into the slime of fur that stuck to the base
of the wormy tail. If mice have souls
they certainly make a difference to their appearance
the writer decided, chucking the body behind his broccoli plants.