Living in a place like New York City is tough, especially if you’re alone. It can get to you, believe me. I don’t care how mentally stable you think you are, it’ll get you. It’s the people you meet, and the grind of a job you’ve long lost any enthusiasm for. It’s the things you do to survive and the wearisome daily obligations…like combing your hair or tying your shoelaces. Sometimes you fall down a rabbit hole, for whatever reason, and things just pile on. They will you know, if you don’t keep a mindful eye. I’m extricating myself from a biggie right now. I let things slide. I’ll admit it. I felt sorry for myself…fell victim to old insecurities and went into a tailspin. I made it to work though, every day. When I returned at night, I ordered in from the diner around my corner for late dinners by the TV — watching the news. The news hasn’t been good – that doesn’t help.

Tuna melts and agita.

I guess, in my fugue I let the garbage pile up for a couple of weeks there too. I’m not talking hoarder level, but it was bad enough. Bags around my bed. Yeah, I stayed in bed a lot. If you don’t keep a mindful eye, it’ll pile on. And it did. Now I have a friend as a consequence. It’s New York City…and everyone is just trying to survive – including mice. He’s here. I hear him loud and clear. He’s vocal…voicing his concerns. I’ve seen him too. At first I thought he was a rat, but no, he’s just a well-fed mouse. Well fed on my desperation and left-over tuna melts. I cleared the garbage, but he remains. There’s no food left in the apartment, I don’t know why he stays. Maybe he’s lonely.

I can’t kill an animal – even a mouse. It’s just not in me. Still, it’s unnerving having him around. He symbolizes my state of rapidly progressing entropy. I’ve let things slide. I didn’t keep a mindful eye. I want him gone. I set up a trap — Rube Goldberg would be proud. It’s a cardboard box I filled with peanut butter and frosted flakes. I cut a hole in the side and fit in a toilet paper roll. I shmeared the inside of the roll with peanut butter as well and left a small trail of frosted flakes leading up to it. They say mice really love peanut butter, but so far he hasn’t fallen for it. Why? It’s nice outside, why does he want to be stuck in a stuffy apartment? Why won’t he partake in life?

If this situation doesn’t resolve, I’ll have to notify my landlord. Then I’ll be that guy…the guy that let things slide. The filthy hoarder with an infestation. I don’t want to be that guy. I want to keep a mindful eye, but sometimes it gets hard when you’re living in a place like New York City…especially when you’re alone.

Only I’m not alone – he’s here too.

I can hear him now. I see him in my peripheral vision…he’s on the side table…my dresser…the window sill…at the foot of my bed all at the same time. He can’t be, can he? It’s just my mind playing tricks on me. It’ll do that sometimes, living in a place like New York City…especially when you’re alone.

I need to go outside, maybe get a coffee from my bodega. I’ll deal with him when I get back. Somehow, I’ll make him understand that I don’t want him around. I haven’t fallen so low that I require his company. Not from the likes of him. He’ll just have to get it through his head…he’s not wanted. Plain and simple.

Still, I’m sure there’ll be a tiny part of me that will miss him when… he’s… gone.

About Author

Lives in Manhattan around the corner from a diner which serves poisonous tuna melts and adequate java. My dissections, commentaries, and occasional rantings have been published by a wide range of online sites, pulpy outposts, and fugitive rags.

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