Archive for August, 2011

Why the Mouse Died

Posted in Novel writing, screenwriting, Short Story Writing, story ideas, Story Subjects, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2011 by davidburtonwriting

I killed a mouse the other day. Not because I wanted to, but because the Hand of Fate made me do it. Or maybe it was the Hand of coincidence.

Lunch time at work. There was a mouse sighting. A sticky trap was laid down between the desk and a file cabinet. Within ten minutes the mouse sealed its fate by running over it and becoming hopelessly stuck. Within five minutes, accompanied by mini-screams interspersed with laughs, the mouse, very much alive and valiantly struggling, was unceremoniously dumped in a dumpster. A couple of cryptic comments, and the little creature was forgotten by all. Except me.

One of the women in the group was an accomplished mouse killer. I waited a bit, but she neither volunteered nor was volunteered to dispatch the tiny creature whose only crime was being a mouse in the wrong place at the wrong time. What I wondered as I waited for lunch to be over, I knew exactly what I was going to do afterwards, was – why that mouse at that time? If I hadn’t been there that day ( I was only assigned to work there four days) that mouse would have died a slow, agonizing, forgotten  death of thirst and exhaustion as he struggled against the Great Sticky for hours, probably days. Would he wonder, as I did, why he was dying such a torturous death when he did nothing to deserve it but be born?

A few seconds reflection brings one to the expanded question of why does anybeing, human or animal, live the way they live, die the way they die?Why is one child abducted, tortured and killed painfully enveloped in fear, when another lives a long happy life and dies quietly in his or her sleep? Why is one person born into a shitty life and continue to live a shitty life when another person climbs out and makes a happy life?  Does one grab a number indicating the number of years left to live, as one slides out of the womb.  Maybe there’s red Xs by the number, one X means an easy life and death, four Xs and it’s going to bad, painful, and scary.

Or does free will and coincidence determine your end? Everything you do while taking advantage of your inalienable right to make bad choices (okay, good choices, too) puts you on the path to your demise. But coincidence is what seals your end. I used to drink. Many times I woke up scared to look at my car because I was scared of what I might find. I made a bad choice, but coincidence, chance, luck, kismet dictated that I didn’t kill anybody or myself. How many of you made (make) the same choice and it turned (turns) out badly?

Fate or Free Will? All I know about the answer to that question is that if somebody  says they know for an absolute surety which one is the one that runs our life, they don’t.

Another sticky trap, another struggling, suffering mouse. Another mercy killing. I hope fate or coincidence isn’t trying to tell me something.

Ideas

What if when you were born Fate wrote a note in the Great ledger – the when and  how of your demise. But what if Fate wasn’t quite on the up and up. What if he or she could be bribed? What would be the price to jigger your fate – money, sex, prayer, a human sacrifice? What would you pay? Who would you sacrifice? And what if that person made their own deal, involving you? Can you really escape your fate?

What if at some point in your life in order to survive you (meaning you and everybody else in your world)  had to kill the person next to you? How would that affect your life? Would you be a world of recluses? Would you live in fear, wearing six-shooter to defend yourself at the perceived murderous glance for your neighbor,  or accept it and just live your life “normally?”

What if you absolutely did not believe in “Fate,” then found out with absolute certainty you were wrong. How far would you go into the realm of Gods and other creatures to prove yourself right?

What if you absolutely did believe in “Fate” and lived your life under the assumption that whatever you did, whatever happened to you was not your fault. Then you found out with absolute certainty you were wrong. How  would that affect the way you lived?

As Fate would have it, I am exercising my Free Will and going to plan a campagne against Sticky Traps as cruel and unusual punishment. Whether my punishment or the mouse’s I’ll let________decide.

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