Friday, 27 December 2013

Mick and the Mouse

I want to tell you all a story that has been unfolding in the pub over Christmas. One of my regular customers is Mick, known far and wide as Mick the Buddhist. Let me tell you that the Irish are great for giving nicknames but not know for their imagination. Skinny Tom is normally skinny, Fat Paddy will undoubtedly be a bit chubby.  Mick is a handyman who can turn his hand to anything, often with mixed results, but always with the best intentions. Mick never married and lives alone in a little cottage on the edge of town. A few years back Mick decided to try out Buddhism. The chanting, vegetarianism and avoidance of alcohol did not last long but some of the other ideals have stuck as well as the nick name.

Anyway on with the story. A few weeks before Christmas, Mick landed into the bar and mentioned he was having a problem with mice. As you are aware, Buddhists don't harm another living creature, which left Mick in a quandary. As a good Buddhist he should welcome the mouse into his home, on the down side Mick was being eaten out of house and home by the furry little fella.

A couple of days later I came across a "live capture trap" in the hardware shop. It was only a few euro so I bought it and dropped it out to Mick's house. I knew he was home because his bike was resting against the wall and smoke was curling from the chimney. Mick answered the door covered in wood chippings. He was making a set of book shelves for someone which sloped both left and right: if that is possible. I gave Mick the trap and he was delighted.

It was nearly a full week before Mick turned up for a drink, he was not his usual cheerful self.

"How did you get on with the trap," I asked him.
"It worked just grand," Mick said "I nabbed the little guy a couple of days ago."
"What did you do with him," I enquired as I filled his pint.
"That's the problem, I still have him."
"I though you were going to let him free outside," I asked
"I was reading on the Internet, do you know that if you let them go within a mile and a half of the house they can find their way back. He is such a little thing I am not sure if he is able for the wild," Mick mused.
"Ah for God sake Mick it's a mouse and Kerry is hardly the wild," I teased him dropping his pint on a beer mat.
"I suppose you're right Squid," he agreed.
"I bet you've been feeding him," I said.

Mick looked like a kid caught with his hand in a sweetie jar "Just a little," he mumbled.
"Your such a softie Mick," I laughed.

Pubs in Ireland are founded on the notion that if a story is funny, it is fair game to tell anyone. That night the story of Mick the Buddhist and his new friend spread far and wide. By closing Mick had heard at least a hundred Micky Mouse jokes. On Christmas morning Mick set out on his bike, with the little mouse dangling from the handlebars, looking for a suitable place to release him. After a few hours he decided on a wooded area close to town. Mick opened up the trap, the little mouse scampered out vanishing into the undergrowth.

It was half past eight that night when I got a call from a distressed Mick the Buddhist. While Christmas day had begun calm and clear a substantial storm front had settled over the country.

"Squid I know it is Christmas but do you think you can give me a lift, its an emergency," Mick said.

"No bother Mick where do you need to go," thinking he would say the doctor or hospital.

"Not far, Barry's Glen and bring a torch," Mick said before hanging up on me.

I picked him up five minutes later and raced over empty roads the mile or so to the woods.

"What are we looking for Mick," I asked.

"I let the mouse go but when the weather got bad. I could not rest thinking of him out in it." he said.

It was at this point I nearly threw him out of the car but the look on Mick's face was so genuinely upset I kept driving. We searched the woods for near an hour in the lashing rain. Of course; no sign of the mouse. In the end even Mick realised the futility of what we were trying to do. I left a very despondent Mick back to his house that stormy Christmas night.

Let me tell you he was a changed man when he arrived tonight for a few pints. |He was beaming from ear to ear.

"Mick, how's things," I called as he arrived in the counter.

"You would not believe it Squid, I had a Christmas miracle," Mick enthused.

"I did not know Buddhists believed in either Christmas or Miracles," I said loudly enough so all at the bar got a chuckle.

"Shut up and let me tell the story you messer," he said not rising to the bait. The few men sitting around pricked up their ears as Mick's adventures were nearly always funny.

"I was fair upset last night when we could not find that little mouse. I was so bad I even tried a bit of meditation. I don't know if it was the meditation or the hot whisky's but I fell asleep on the rug in front of the fire. It was still dark when I woke up, as stiff as a plank. I was about to take myself off to bed for a second sleep when I heard a sound from the kitchen. I waited a bit then I heard it again, it was a crunching. When I turned on the light the little mouse was sitting as bold as you like in the middle of the table. He had chewed the away the corner of the cornflake box and was sitting up on his hind legs munching. He did not even run when I turned on the light. I could not believe he found his way back." Mick told the hushed crowd at the bar.

"It must have been a homing mouse," offered one of the customers which got everyone laughing.

I did not have the heart to tell him that where you get one mouse you get loads, I think the story of the homing mouse miracle of Christmas is much better than one too stuffed with cornflakes to run away.

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