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"Sleepy Tobias" for Georgia Scout

Editor's note:  The following is a story written by the Jailbird for his cousin's daughter, Georgia.  He expressed interest in sharing it with the readers of Enjoy.

I knew about a mouse once, Georgia.  A little grey mouse with a black spot around his eye.  His name was Tobias.  He knew about you too, you know?  He used to tell me about you in this very cell.  Tobias was a special sort of mouse.  He could move about from place to place as he pleased but never forward or backward in time.  Maybe he was a magical mouse, then again maybe he wasn't.  Who am I to say?

Tobias lived here in this prison and he got along pretty well.  To Tobias, this place wasn't any worse or better than another, but then again Tobias could leave whenever he pleased.  He would travel to the most nonsensical of places.  Sometimes he would pop up at the animal shelter to rile up the cats.  Other times he would pop up amongst the un-knockoverable bottles at a field fair in some forgettable town.  He would wiggle into the weighted bottles and make them tumble onto the floor - before any ball were even thrown!  Often times, he would pop up right in your very room so he could report to me all the fun things that you get up to.  Maybe you saw him in your shelves when you played in your room on rainy days.  You would have had to look close, he was a slippery, shimmering thing.

Tobias had a great sense of humor.  After he had gone cell to cell getting little bits of bread or cheese he would come to mine and cheat at cards or dice.  He had some funny jokes, too, but they were a little blue so I'll save those for another time.  Tobias would tell me about all of the places he went and what he did.  "The greatest part," Tobias would tell me, is that the never had to be a reason for him to be where he was at any time.  "Nobody ever notices me," he would say, "and I dig that just fine."  He thought there was a sense of being bigger than all of it.  Nobody acted different because to them he was never there.  He saw the good side of people but also the natural ugly side.  He saw the side that picks their nose and wipes it on the couch.  He saw the side that pulled on a puppies ear to hear it whine.

Tobias told me he saw these things and it was so human that it was animal and that in it's self made it less of an atrocity.  He liked to taunt cats, remember?  He said these people's mean streaks usually never outweighed the niceness that they showed.  "Usually," he said.

Tobias had a pretty good grip on it.  He would sometimes go and comfort other convicts when it got to the heavy places.  He could sit with them and speak softly into their ears, sometimes tickling them with his jittery whiskers.  He once told me when I was in a particularly narrow place that as long as you still experience the stars as something "above you" you lack the eye of knowledge.  Tobias knew that I knew it was a quote from Nietzsche.  He also knew that I would get through that narrow place deciphering it.

Like I said, he really had a hold on it, man.

You know, I wasn't even sad when Tobias stopped coming to see me.  I'm not sure where he ended up, maybe you still see the old boy.  He's sometimes known to whisper in the ears of sleepers tugging at the dream until it's a thing of bright tiger's eye.  I'm not saying he's a magical mouse, but I ain't saying he isn't.  You just keep watch for him, George.  Keep a sharp eye.

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