In My Write Mind
Throughout the annals of history, time and again, there has been documentation of almost everything under the sun, from the swarm of locusts covered in the Old Testament to crickets having babies in Old Town, New Hampshire.
Included in that history has been the rise and fall of the Harlem "cat", from the days of the village's Renaissance to today's hip hop (see Cam'ron, Diddy, Mase). It seems that every phrase, note and beat put down by those "cats" has reached the ear of America. Well covered, indeed. However, never before has the story of the Harlem mouse been told. They've lived in obscurity, from dumpster to dumpster, behind walls for too long.
Until now, that is.
Yes, IMWM saw the need to bring their story to the mainstream, to tell the story that has yet to be told. Recently, the head of the Harlem Mouse Integration Committee paid us an unexpected visit. Literally. And we took advantage of that time to put our journalistic skills to use, probing the verbose vermin for the background of America's untold population--the Harlem mouse.
The following is a transcript of the conversation:
In My Write Mind: Ummm, welcome Mr. Cleavon Urownterms, head of the Harlem Mouse Integration Committee. So I guess that makes you the HMIC, huh?
HMIC: Dayum right. And I gets much respect from my union, too.
IMWM: I bet you do. I'm guessing there are thousands of mice in your union. How do you keep them all in line?
HMIC: Well, it's not easy. As with all organizations, there are some rebels, trying to be like the stronger, much bigger Rat Squads that are set up in East Harlem. I try to tell them that they're better off here, steadier feedings, less hazzards, easier traps to escape. But some don't listen. We just lost two guys last week. Too much ambition is a four-legged bitch, I say.
IMWM: Interesting. Now, please...tell the audience how we came to meet.
HMIC: I really don't see that as being important.
IMWM: No, really...it is important. And umm...do I hear an accent? Are you from out of town?
HMIC: Nope. Born and raised in NYC...Spanish Harlem.
IMWM: Ahh, that explains it. Please...share the story.
HMIC: OK, OK. We met here in your apartment after I came to check on one of my workers who claimed that someone here was trying to "off" him. I had to come see the scene for myself and gauge whether the conditions were safe.
IMWM: Uh huh. So this was Saturday night we met, correct? For the record...
HMIC: Yes, it was Saturday night. I was content staying behind the radiator, but noooooo...you had to put on the Klitschco fight. I'd taped it at home, but figured since you had it on, I'd watch it with you. So I did. He should be ashamed of himself, fighting that tomato can, by the way.
IMWM: So you admit to coming in uninvited and unfairly surprising me?
HMIC: Sure, but what choice did I have? It was pouring rain outside. What, did you expect me to be out there in all that? If you haven't noticed, I'm pretty close to the ground. I could catch cold. Besides, I was there on a mission. And it turns out my guy was right...someone (not naming any names) WAS trying to "get rid of him." Which, where I come from, is unacceptable. There are rules!
IMWM: Wait. Where I come from there are rules as well. Mice on the outside!!! Two years I've been living here and NOW you wanna sneak up on a brotha? WTF?
HMIC: Oh, so you wanna take it there, huh? Well, put this in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. Hu-mannnn. The Harlem mouse has been around much longer than two years. We've been doing what we do for over 300 years. WE HELPED BUILD THIS CITY!!! And we've been horribly undercompensated for it. Literally getting killed! That's why the HMIC is so important; we represent our union and try to ensure their safety and longevity. So the stunt you pulled, getting the exterminators to put down steel wool...? Not good. The sticky traps? Ha! We laugh at those. They're soooo 1970s, where EVERYBODY was on that sticky-icky tip. And the poison? We get high off that. And we don't die...we multiply! Keep it comin.
You gotta know that we adapt to our surroundings. How do you think we've survived this long?!?!? And these old buildings, like the one you live in? Pardon the pun, but they're very cheesy, with more holes than a pierced prostitute. The ceilings may be high, but the walls are hollow, allowing us to maintain the lifestyle to which we've become accustomed.
IMWM: I hear all that yang you're kicking right now, but dammit! Why NOW? Is it the time of year that makes you come out and show yourselves?
HMIC: Nah, man. That's an urban myth, that we hibernate in the winter and run rampant in the spring. Truth be told, in the winter, we're busy doing our community service to the Harlem area.
IMWM: Community service? Like what, pray tell?
HMIC: What? You don't know? We're huge in not-for-profit circles. Our "Cheddar at Home" series has been running since 1974, to coincide with the Tom and Jerry cartoons going into syndication. We saw how they weren't compensated and had to make a way for working mice to take home a pension once their optimum running days were over. Also, our "ProvoLoan" program was launched to let mice borrow assets, thus giving them a chance to own their own properties, whether it be in dumpsters or alleyways. We're still tinkering with the "Say Cheese!" infra-red technology and the "Ricotta Love Us" Mouse Appreciation awards show, still in its planning stages. So we're busy. But our first priority is to our membership, and anyone attempting to eradicate it, has to be dealt with. Yup! This thing is bigger than one brownstone! Am I my brother's squeaker? YES I AM!!!
IMWM: Wow, you guys are doing a lot. That still doesn't explain why you're inside my apartment after not seeing you for almost two years.
HMIC: Please, you know good and well that now is the time. What's October, Mr. Hu-mannnnn?
IMWM: October...What? You mean the end of my lease?
HMIC: Exactly! We know that you've had your fill of Harlem. We ALSO know that you've been looking for property in Brooklyn. We've got our brethren everywhere. So knowing all that, we decided to help you out. You see, we don't really like the dude that owns the building...exterminators coming through every month, the super laying down traps in the basement, forcing us to climb up walls...we're showing up now so that you will complain to the landlord, force his hand to let you break your lease and then he loses money. I guess we COULD'VE discussed this with you first, but then...where would the fun be in that? Seeing you jump has been priceless.
IMWM: Ain't that just about a bitch...So you come in, disrupt my home, and what...now I'm supposed to be GRATEFUL to you?!?!? Do you know how many sleepless nights I've endured because you had your workers "helping" me? Huh?
HMIC: Hey, that sounds like a personal issue to me. But you owe us, because my sources tell me that the landlord would DEFINITELY grant your request to break the lease if you report one of us in there one more time. You need me to dial him for you?
IMWM: *picking up broom* You're gonna be dialing 911 if I get a hold of you. Call yourself helping me out, showing up all willy-nilly. I tell you what...you better be glad the fight was wack, making me jump up while you're peeking your head from behind the radiator. Hell yeah, I'm gonna call my landlord...and we're gonna smoke you out!!!
HMIC: *laughing hysterically* You think it's a game hu-mannnnn? You think this hasn't been tried before?!?!? Listen, we're like Bookeem Woodbine's acting career...we're SURVIVORS, nucca. Recognize. H-M-I-C for LIFE!!!! *does Crip Walk back behind radiator smoking some sticky-icky* Go to Brooklyn, nigga!!!
IMWM: We'll see about that. *dialing ASPCA* Hello? Yes, I wanted to see about getting a cat....what's that? Yes, I live in Harlem...No, no, no. I don't want Mase, dammit. The OTHER type of Harlem cat. Lawd.
*fade to black*
scribbled by Will at 4/25/2005 07:21:00 AM
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I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion)
The Write One
Will. Lefty. Since Summer 1971. Over the next six months, I'll be saying some hellos, some goodbyes. Living, laughing, growing. Don't.miss.a.word.
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