Of Men and Mice

Readers. This is an excerpt from my newly re-issued book, "Where No One Hears Me'. Of course I recommend it :) And all proceeds are donated to charity.


Most convicts find camaraderie with like thinkers here in prison, and for them life is pretty much the same as it was on the outside. But, others find only a loneliness. A loneness derived I believe from a despondency toward a humanity that they do not feel a part of, nor trust. Prison has made these ones reflective, even remorseful. In this mindset, these loners search diligently to find that which they can feel connected to, a kinship where they are able to find love, things such as ants, bugs, birds , and mice. It is an acceptance I suppose, a humbling of one's self, a realization, a oneness, a forgiving and forgetting, a redemption.

I am of this very small prison lot and as such have found myself feeding the ants and birds, admiring weeds, caressing dirt and even talking to rocks. As of late I will not swat a fly, or kill a pesky mosquito. I step around crawling things, I marvel at the clouds and long for the day when I shall see a star spent sky. I honor the sun, and envy the wind and when a rare butterfly should happen to flutter over these disconcerting walls, I am left breathless.

I know that you have seen in, Hollywood Prisons, how incarcerated persons sometimes find companionship in rodents and I am here to tell you that this seemingly implausible bond is based upon a reality of which I myself have been witness to. It is of this convict/rodent agreement that I now wish to address.

One morning I stood surveying the daily news on the TV and a blip occurred concerning the new government plan to bail out Wall Street and therefore, purportedly saving the nation from economic collapse. At that very moment, a friend of mine walked up to me with a mouse sitting placidly in his hand. I looked at the mouse. I looked at the TV. I looked at the cons around me. I looked again at the mouse and decided that you might find it interesting, insightful, how a human being could train a rodent to forego its natural instincts and become the lifelong companion of someone or something that their very natural instinct instructs them to be terrified of. Therefore, I thought that I would, as a matter of record, share with you the proper procedure for training a mouse in hopes that it might be of some interest to you.

To train a mouse, the convict will first create a trap whereby the mouse will be captured. The convict will then isolate his captive in a small enclosure, such as a box, one that is small and devoid of comfort. The con will not attempt to touch nor befriend his captive at this point in the relationship; it has not been broken, it is still a mouse. The con will however, provide food and water for his new subject; this allows the mouse a measure of assurance that the con is not going to harm it; it also breeds a certain familiarity through daily visual contact. The mouse quickly divines that the con is its sole provider of sustenance and becomes more reliant and complacent. As this occurs, the mouse begins to forget its life as a free mouse and slowly but surely adapts to its life as less than free, but, cared for by its, Big Brother.

After a week or so of this ostensible relationship, the con will casually pick up the box containing his new companion, careful not to let the mouse see him, and casually dump it into the toilet. The shocked mouse will of course, even in its traumatized state, go to paddling up a storm to avoid drowning. The convict will keep a close watch on the situation, and when the mouse is completely exhausted from its effort to avoid drowning, he will then appear over the bowl, reach into the water with his bare hands and rescue the little beggar. He will quickly wrap the wet and startled mouse in a warm dry cloth, careful to confine all but the mouse's head, where he will hold him, dry him, stroke him, and speak softly to him as if to assure the mouse that all is now well.

After several more douses, the mouse, unaware who it is that is actually creating the trauma in his life, will begin to equate rescue and safety with the appearance of his human companion, and after a spell, the once wild rodent will rest casually and comfortably within the palm of the cons hand, having by then become completely co-dependent and unmindful of his or her past life as a free mouse about the house.

So, if you want to capture and and train a mouse you need to do only three things.

1. Capture the creature.

2. Create a "Crisis".

3. Be seen as the only "Rescue" option available.

It's very simple process, one that, I suspect, can with slight variation, be used to train any sort of animal at all. Animals like YOU and ME.


Bruceton Mills, 12-08-22