The Mouse (Flash Fiction)

They called her The Mouse. Her features were, well, mousy. They shouldn’t be described as rodent-like; this was definitely an attractive woman. But the Mouse was known as the Mouse by everyone in her life. When she was a younger girl in primary school, her classmates called her Minnie, and Jerry. After she went on to Dartmouth, she would hear colleagues on her floor whispering, “Have you talked to The Mouse yet?” Or she would hear, “That girl is pretty cute, but she’s so quiet. I’ve never seen her say anything?” “Oh, you’re talking about the Mouse.” But then she got to her job at Franklin, Franklin and Greenblatt. The water cooler conversation consisted of, “Just ran into Mouse in the coffee room, yeesh that was weird.” She’d had enough. Her entire life, despite the acute variations to the name, people saw her as a mouse. There was a fire inside of the Mouse. A fire the world never anticipates to be inside of a mouse, but oh it was there. The Mouse wanted to be a lion. She wanted to roar. She wanted to trample through the jungle and let everyone know of her presence. But that was not what her mother taught her. She was always instructed that behavior wasn’t ladylike. “Don’t speak unless spoken too. Don’t voice your opinion out of turn. Don’t be a nuisance, and never cause a scene!” The Mouse woke up from a dream one day and thought perhaps she had taken her mother’s words too close to heart. Perhaps today will be the day she roars and tramples. She won’t let people cut in front of her in line. No one will talk about her while she’s a few measly feet away and she won’t speak up. “DON’T, CALL ME, MOUSE!” Everyone in the office froze dead in their tracks. Any passerby temporarily observing the scene might’ve thought some of those people were dead. Jaws were agape, and files were spilled all over desks and cubicle floors. She laughed a tiny, mousy laugh. “My name is Linda.”

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