Sick Mouse, Pt. 4

The sick mouse is on his hands and knees in a shack assembled piecemeal from planks of wood, pieces of corrugated metal, moth-eaten bedsheets. The figure is with him as well, and they are both animated in such a way as to suggest insubstantiality as before. The figure ignores the mouse’s pain and instead points at a dog-like character sleeping in a bed. The bedsheets roll towards the character’s feet and back up towards its face as it snores.

This is, of course, [REDACTED]. As with the duck, [REDACTED] had nothing to do with the dog’s conception and no longer worked with [REDACTED] when the character debuted in 1932.

The mouse crawls towards the dog in the bed, visibly struggling to do so. The figure stays behind. The focus shifts to a close up of the mouse’s face, and we can see thin lines of the black fluid at the corners of his mouth and dripping from his nose. His eyes are bloodshot and sunken. It’s worth noting that attention to these kinds of details are entirely inconsistent with [REDACTED]’s personal style, not to mention highly unusual for the time period. Given the usually lighthearted nature of animation from the era, such intense focus on the mouse’s agony, already mildly shocking and unpleasant by today’s standards, would have been doubly so in 1927.

The mouse reaches the edge of the dog’s bed and pulls himself to his feet. His eyes are wide and wet, his jaw and hands unsteady. He reaches towards the dog, hands close together, fingers grasping stretched out and grasping. But then his muscles go slack, his hands drop to his side. The mouse shakes his head,

“I can’t. I can’t.”

The figure stiffens. It has no face or eyes, but its anger is unmistakeable. The expression passes as quickly as it appeared, and the figure quickly returns to its posture of cold indifference. “As you wish, little mouse.” It swells to darken the entire room again, and when its darkness recedes, we are in the sick mouse’s bedroom once more.


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