April 4, 2013 | Vol. 116 -- No. 50

The simple, yet revealing story of a mouse on welfare in the workplace

In the newsroom where I work, there is a mouse, and he is a freeloader, a non-working bum of a mouse addicted to the entitlements of cookies, taco chips, granola bars, candy and all the other wonderful treats to be found in the desk drawers of hardworking, taxpaying reporters.

He raids us at night, chewing his way through the plastic wrap that protects our convenience store brownies, feasting while the reporters are at home, asleep, dreaming fitfully of the next mortgage payment.

And he leaves behind small, black mouse turds. It’s not enough for him to eat food that belongs to working people, he has to insult us with his leavings.

So we’re trying to poison him, or at least our building manager is trying to poison him.

Ah, but the mouse doesn’t eat the hard poison pellets in the black plastic traps. Instead, he sneaks through the backsides of our drawers and sinks his small mouse-y teeth into Hershey’s Kisses, cupcakes and, soon, leftover Easter candy.

Leftover Easter candy! Clearly, the mouse does not share our values, not if he’s willing to steal candy meant to celebrate the resurrection of Our Lord, of Jesus himself, who blessed the boss, who sanctified work, whose million churches bid us to struggle and suffer and to hate the non-workers, the midnight chiselers, the scurrying vermin who steal the food that represents our sacred toil and our puffed-up pride in working for someone else. The mouse hates Jesus!

The mouse is a communist! The mouse confiscates our energy bars! The mouse redistributes our wealth! The mouse doesn’t wear pants, but if he did, they’d ride below his hips, giving everyone a peek at his patterned boxer shorts.

We never see the mouse during the day. We bust our humps while he just lays around in some cozy place, sleeping. Why is he up all night, anyway? Is he on drugs?

I say “the mouse,” but the amateur mouse-ologists I know say there’s no such thing as one mouse.

“You got one mouse, you got a whole family,” they tell me. “Mice breed like welfare recipients.”

So, those dry, warm cozy spaces inside our walls are not just part of work’s temple, they’re a housing project, a teeming ghetto of mice crawling all over each other, breeding endlessly in dirty, secret places, all of their hot sex supported by chocolate chip cookies confiscated from hard-working taxpayers like me.

Then again, no one’s ever seen the mouse’s family. Maybe he’s gay, shacked up with another male mouse. That’s not natural. Mice are supposed to have little two-parent mouse-y families, like in the picture books I had when I was a kid, back when things made sense.

I can’t stand it! Look at my fingers, calloused from pounding a computer keyboard. Look at my ears, swollen from listening hard at meetings. I’ve had enough!

I offered to dress up in camouflage print clothing, put quarterback black under my eyes and sit up all night in the newsroom with my AK-47, waiting for the mouse. I’ve read a couple of those sniper magazines. I’d put a round in that mouse faster than you can say “Second Amendment rights.”

Management at the paper said no. It’s a newspaper company. The media are anti-gun and pro-mouse!

Every day, I go to work and try to hustle up enough crumbs to keep going. Sometimes, I’m tired. Sometimes I don’t want to go to work. Sometimes it’s hard to squeeze myself through that little corridor of work that leads to the paycheck, to food.

Me and that mouse, we got nothin’ in common.

To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.

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