They will be surprised, that much is certain. Every precaution has been taken to ensure it. The mice, they will not see it coming.
I have gone over the plan. Late at night, when the mice were scurrying and squeaking and nibbling, I sat in bed and went over the plan. Checking. Rechecking. Making sure that they would not expect it. That it would take their tiny little rodent brains by complete surprise. That it would guarantee victory—sweet, undeniable victory—over the mice.
Everything has been leading up to this.
The kitchen floor has been waxed. The wooden cabinet, once a safe refuge for the mice, has been rigged. The box of crackers is not a box of crackers at all. No, the box of crackers is something entirely different. Something not so innocent. Something not so benign. The mice, they will pay for their insolence. They will cry out for forgiveness. Their beady little eyes will fill with sorrow and regret. With remorse.
This is why I'll have the video camera there. To capture the remorse.
Some people might say that my plan isn't fair. They might look at the strobe lights, at the spring-loaded steel, at the decoy mouse—fashioned from old dishrags and spray- painted gray—and they might say that my plan goes too far. But then, they do not know what these mice are capable of. They were not there, horrified, when the little tyrants got into the cupboards. When they ate those crackers. My crackers.
Yes, there was a time when the mice had the upper hand. Not so long ago, before my wife, Teresa, stopped speaking to me, before my managers found my blueprints at work, before they said they were going to have to let me go—the mice had the upper hand then. But things are different now. Teresa has left, and in her absence, hundreds of diagrams have been produced. Every last thought worked out on paper. Every waking minute devoted to the great surprise.
Three blind mice. Three blind mice. See how they run. See how they all fucking run.
This is not the first plan, of course. There have been many. There was the plan with the hot wax and the wires. The plan with the firecrackers and the large feral cat. The plan, earlier this week, to get Teresa back, to convince her that the mice had not gotten the best of me, that they were not, in fact, "all I could think about." But each failed. And that, dear friends, is what separates those plans from this one. That and the sheer terror that will run through the mice when they see what I have in store for them.
When they see the mirrors. Carefully arranged to heighten the panic. Perfectly positioned to reflect the horror. The moment of terror duplicated a hundred times over in their surface. The moment of defeat surrounding the mice in each and every direction.†
This will be the moment, after months of anguish, when the mice will realize what their actions have wrought.
Now, there is a chance that my new plan could go awry. I hate to admit it, but yes, that is a possibility. For instance, the audio recording I have made of tiny mouse sounds—cheerful and upbeat mouse sounds, mouse sounds that seem to convey an air of normalcy and in which no sense of approaching danger can be detected—may fail to draw the wily rodents out of their hole. Also, there is a small chance that the bucket of rubber snakes—the mortal enemy of the mouse—will not drop from the kitchen ceiling as intended, will not paralyze the unsuspecting creatures with a mixture of fear and dread.
And, while I hate to give the theory any more credence, there is also the risk that I and not the mice ate those crackers. That I forgot I had eaten them the day before and that there are, in fact, no mice to speak of. That the mice, as some professionals have claimed, are nothing more than an elaborate justification on my part. An invisible rationalization, one intended to cast blame aside, and leave me a guiltless victim of the times.
Or, there's a chance that my therapist has been infiltrated by the mice and is now operating on their side. Yes, that's it. Dr. Bernard has been compromised.