FutureMouse! in “The Ratrix”: … I saw him last night. No, not the rodent from “White Teeth,” but an actual mouse. We thought we had hallucinated seeing one a few weeks ago, but it turns out Ankita (the believer — or David Duchovny role, for fans of “The X-Files” who read this site) wasn’t kidding me (the Gillian Anderson manque, if you will).
We’re sitting by the couch, eating and talking, when I see a small, gray thing moving fast and low to the ground — not unlike an Unidentified Flying Object. My adrenaline jumps, my reflexes become catlike, so to speak, and as the object heads for the plastic bag and the cover provided by the Styrofoam case that formerly held my wife’s Indian food, I used the bag to come down around the space it appeared to be in, and scooped it up into the bag and grabbed it all up.
After a brief discussion, touching on matters of pest control vs. capital punishment and subtextually on the episode of ABC’s top-20 rated comedy “Dharma and Greg” we saw last Tuesday — where, in part, Greg gets guilt-tripped into trying to trap a mouse humanely — I got on the cage-elevator and rode down to the first floor. Striding through the lobby, I went to the edge of the curb, leaned down and unwrapped the bag. The bag’s contents stayed put, except for a small, gray mouse, who only took a second to move fast and low to the ground before disappearing beneath a nearby parked car.
Turning from the curb and preparing to go back in, I briefly lamented the fact that I didn’t know the melody to “Born Free.” A fellow building resident, a tall lad not dissimilar in appearance to Ev, asked if I had, in fact, set a mouse free. I nodded my assent. “My roommate killed one the other day,” he said. “We just moved in two days ago.” I shook my head. “What floor?” I asked him. “Third” was the reply. A pause. Then: “Fifth,” I confided. Then I went back in and rode back up.
This morning, Ankita wondered why we hadn’t seen a mouse before now. I remembered Laurence Fishburne talking to Keanu Reeves about agents in “The Matrix,” and pictured two mice having the same conversation about humans:
Neo: What are they?
Morpheus: Sentient programs. They can move in and out of any software still hard wired to their system. That means that anyone we haven’t unplugged is potentially an agent. Inside the matrix, they are everyone and they are no one. We are survived by hiding from them, by running from them. But they are the gatekeepers. They are guarding all the doors. They are holding all the keys, which means that sooner or later, someone is going to have to fight them.
Morpheus: I won’t lie to you, Neo. Every single man or woman who has stood their ground, everyone who has fought an agent has died. But where they have failed, you will succeed.
Morpheus: I’ve seen an agent punch through a concrete wall. Men have emptied entire clips at them and hit nothing but air. Yet their strength and their speed are still based in a world that is built on rules. Because of that, they will never be as strong or as fast as you can be.
Neo: What are you trying to tell me, that I can dodge bullets?
Morpheus: No Neo. I’m trying to tell you that when you’re ready, you won’t have to.
How do I know the mouse I let go was The One? ‘Cause he didn’t have to dodge me. He was probably on the way downstairs with me, tiny sunglasses on, clutching a miniature Trinity to himself in his head and thinking “There is no Plastic Bag.”