There's a new mouse in the house. I know because I put it there.
It's a pet mouse - the kind of mouse you don't allow the cat to harass.
"Not the mice in the cage, Leo; it's the other mice we want you to catch."
Talk about a confusing double standard.
This mouse takes the place of Gomff, who passed away last month after developing a tumor.
What? You may ask do you do when your son's mouse develops a tumor?
You take it to the vet (of course), because you said you would and you're a good mom who keeps her word whenever possible. Then you weigh the options of mouse surgery, exonerate yourself by asking the vet if you are a bad parent for not investing $300 in mouse surgery, which, the vet even admits may not be effective on a mouse tumor of relatively considerable size. "You're not." He assures.
So you bring your sick mouse home and explain to your son that sometimes there's nothing you can do. And you are sad. And he is sad. And you go out and buy special bedding at the pet store so your sick mouse can burrow into it along with her companion mouse, Martin, and be comfortable.
Now we have a new mouse and instead of asking to special order a "fancy mice" at the pet story (fancy being, from what I can see, another name for "not white"), I simply go in and ask for one of the white mice - otherwise known as "feeder mice," because their usual fate is being fed to snakes and other rodent-eating pets.
When the clerks asks if the mouse will be a pet and I reply yes, he confirms what I already know - most of the mice in the cage are not likely to become pets for 10-year-old boys.
I resist the urge by buy all four mice while the clerk, who seems genuinely happy about his charge's fate, reaches into the cage and says, "who's feeling lucky?"
We named the mouse Al. Short for albino.
I feel pretty good about Al because I figure regardless of how long her little mouse life lasts - it's bound to last longer with us than it would have without us.
song: You Can Call Me Al • artist: Paul Simon