Booze & Drugs

The Mouse In The Stash

by Jeff Laymon

I was visiting friends in Sioux City Iowa, must have been 1970. I had just finished high school the year before and was only then becoming exposed to this mysterious substance. The place we were visiting was rented by AFOAF who was going to (for the first time in my young life) SELL me some marijuana! I was nervous, I was scared, I was in WAY over my head. Here I was, practically a baby, 40 miles away from home in a much larger city than my small town (5,200 people) seated in a room with others older than I who it was clear to me, were out of school (dropouts) and probably from the rough side of town.

It was a large living room, dimly lit. My first joint had gone down rather badly; I was coughing a lot. I think I got stoned, I'm not sure. It was pretty quiet in the room when all of a sudden we heard this high-pitched “SQUEAK!!!!! SQUEAK!!!! SQUEAK!!!” sound from one of the back rooms. I looked around the room and to my distorted amazement were six pair of eyes, all bugged-out like Volkswagens. Six mouths with jaws-a-drooping. Six stoned mother-fuckers all looking toward the source of that most weird sound.

They had an old hard-wood floor, no rugs in the hallway. I swear, in our drug-induced state of hyper-awareness we could actually hear the sound of those tiny little toe nails as this beast scurried down the hall, exclaiming to all of us “SQUEEAK!!!! SQUEEAAK !!!! SQUEEEAAAAK!!!!!” He seemed to be getting even more excited. Can you imagine what his little mouse heart rate was? How would you do CPR on a mouse? Can you imagine how fast you'd have to count one-and-two-and-three-and so on and so on. Anyway, he comes out from the hallway, rounds the corner (almost falls over) runs right out in the middle of the living room floor, surrounded by six brains, all working overtime by now - all thinking RABIES!

No one moved. The mouse sat there for an instant then started flying around in a circle, like a dog chasing his tail. Then, all of a sudden, he lets out this tremendous SQUEAK jumps up the air, falls down and dies, right out there in the middle of the floor. No shit we all saw it, no one was on acid (at least I wasn't). It took about five seconds or so to register, then there was such a clammering of "Wow," "Farout,” "Hey man, look what happened to the mouse. Hey man that was far, fucking out!"

We all talked that way back then.

The guy who rented the apartment told me several months later that he had discovered that the mouse had gotten into his stash, didn't know when to say when, and had paid for his over-indulgence with his little mouse life.

It was a few years later, I was in the Navy learning how to be a medic to go overseas and save Marines. We were being taught CPR when I harkened back to the sight of that little, still warm body prostrate on the floor of that apartment in Sioux City Iowa. Could I have brought him back? And if I had tried, and jumped off my place on the couch, gone over, bent way over with my lips almost to the floor, and began doing mouth-to-mouth on the mouse, what would have happened to my friends? Would not the sight of this clearly impossible sight, be enough to permanently damage them? I think so. I shudder to think what would have happened if one or two of them HAD been on acid! They'd have died right there, I'm sure.