INTERVIEW WITH A MADMOUSE
A Journalist's First-Furson Account Of Her Close-Up Encounter With The Illustrious German Mouse Scientist, Dr. Heinrich Fremdeliebe
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is a short GMD ficlet that I wrote yesterday, featuring my two GMD fanfic characters, Dr. Heinrich Fremdeliebe (my little furry version of the famous movie character Dr. Strangelove) & Anastasia McCheese. I hope you enjoy it. (smiles)
All GMD characters, elements, & properties belong to Disney.
Dr. Heinrich Fremdeliebe & Anastasia McCheese belong to me. Please be sure to ask for my permission before using them.
Enjoy the story! I'll take anything from comments to constructive criticism, as long as they're not flames.
The streets of London were fairly quiet today; there was a slow stream of human-sized carriages & phaetons parading down the cobblestone avenues, along with a smaller rush of rodent-sized cars, trucks, & other automobiles. As I walked across the busy lane & made my way over to the cement pavement on the other side of the road, I looked around in every direction with swift turns of my head, watching warily for any traffic that might be heading towards me. Thankfully, no accidents or mishaps ensued, & I safely stepped onto the sidewalk, which I began to travel down en route to my destination--the place where I would be conducting my interview for today's evening edition of "The Daily Brie".
After spending about a good 30 minutes or so walking, I finally approached a large human's building...a mighty Victorian tower, constructed of worn red bricks & reaching a height of two stories, that was terribly dilapidated after several years of neglect. The glass in the windows was smashed out, & the empty panes had been boarded up with wooden planks. The four cement steps that formed the front porch were dusty & covered in cobwebs, & the oaken door was padlocked & adorned with a small cardboard sign that said, "Professor Mandrake's Science Lab -- Closed Permanently". But it was not Professor Mandrake's defunct laboratory that I had come to see; I had my eyes on a much smaller lab, located just behind a tiny mousehole at the bottom of the building's basement...
Slowly, carefully, I walked over to the mousehole & made my way through the tiny threshold, ducking for a moment to avoid bumping my head on the top of the stone arch above me. Once I had reassumed my earlier standing position, I looked around with a gaze of curiosity, fascination, & even slight anxiety as I stepped into the grand laboratory of one of Mouse London's most illustrious--& notorious--scientists, engineers, & inventors ever...the subject of today's interview...Dr. Heinrich Fremdeliebe.
The lab was awfully dark, even in the bright glow of daytime that was pouring outside, & appeared to be quite empty as I entered the magnificent chamber, adorned with all sorts of tools, junk, trash, prototypes of inventions, & unfinished projects--& that was just to name a few of the stuff that I could see in the lab. The workspace was cluttered, & everything was a mess! Either Dr. Fremdeliebe hasn't done his spring cleaning yet, I thought to myself, or he's having a little too much fun indulging in the laziness of a bachelor's lifestyle...
Before too long, I saw the silhouette of a shadowy figure sitting beneath the hull of what looked like a large rocket-ship; judging by the outline of the tools he held in his hands as he worked feverishly on the invention he appeared to be making, I figured that Dr. Fremdeliebe was in the middle of an experiment. Not wanting to interrupt him, I thought for a moment that perhaps I should leave for a while & come back later, but then I reconsidered: I didn't want to wait too long, or I wouldn't have time to conduct the interview, & my boss back at the "Daily Brie" would not be pleased with that.
Sporting a shy smile & a friendly, but bashful, gaze, I took up my briefcase into my paws & strode over to Dr. Fremdeliebe with slow, timid steps; when Fremdeliebe did not respond to the sound of my footsteps, which echoed throughout the spacious depths of the laboratory, I gently cleared my throat to get his attention. The scientist turned to face me with large brown eyes (hidden behind the thick lenses of his dark sunglasses) & a pair of slender, angular eyebrows raised in curiosity. "Ah," he muttered in a thick German accent, "I see I have a visitor..."
Dr. Fremdeliebe immediately stopped working on his rocket-ship, then placed his delicate paws onto the rims of the wheels that flanked his special chair, which he proceeded to rotate as he made his way over to me. As Dr. Fremdeliebe approached me, I could see that he was dressed up in his usual attire--a jet-black jacket & matching pants (both tuxedo-style), with a long black tie that went down to his stomach level. Underneath his jacket, he wore crisp white shirt-sleeves that were dry-cleaned & neatly ironed; the flaps of the collar were turned down at the sides of his neck, & the cuffs of the shirt-sleeves were fastened together with shiny gold link-pins. His feet were clad in white socks & black shoes that had been glazed over with a bright polish that glimmered in the fluorescent lights that illuminated from the ceiling above. A cigarette smoldered in Fremdeliebe's mouth, hanging down over his lower lip; the bitter gray fumes drifted up from the end of the cancer-stick, & in the thick, dense air of the underground laboratory, the smell was overbearingly strong.
Dr. Fremdeliebe, upon seeing his "visitor" & recognizing her at last, settled back into his wheelchair comfortably, as his eyes twinkled merrily in their sockets & his lips curled into a pleasant smile--one that was almost charming, really. "So," he said, "you are the journalist from the Daily Brie who has come to interview me...Anastasia McCheese, am I right?"
"Yes," I replied, blushing profusely as I broke into a wide smile of my own, unable to hide the great joy I felt inside at this moment. I extended my paw & offered it to Fremdeliebe, who shook it heartily. "It's truly a pleasure to meet you in furson, Dr. Fremdeliebe."
"I should like to say the exact same thing to you, my dear Dame McCheese," Fremdeliebe said with heartfelt warmth. He stopped shaking my paw & then took it in his own hands, bringing it up to his lips & kissing it with the chivalrous, gentlemousely tenderness & grace of an Arthurian white knight. I giggled a little, flattered by the scientist's kindly gesture. When Fremdeliebe looked up & saw my reaction, his face took on a more mischievous, playful smile now, & his eyes twinkled again, this time with a hint of suave coyness. "Why are you blushing, pretty fraulein?" he asked coquettishly. "There's no need to be so modest...You are, indeed, a vision of fair loveliness." With that, Fremdeliebe took my paw & kissed it again--not that this made me stop blushing or giggling in any way.
I couldn't help but be taken by Fremdeliebe's charms; for a work-a-holic scientist who insisted on remaining a bachelor & literally spent all day in his laboratory, he sure knew how to enchant a lady & captivate her heart. That was one of the many things about Fremdeliebe that made him seem so appealing, so kind & gentle & generous & friendly to others...And for a moment, he almost really looked that way to me. I had forgotten about the darker side of Dr. Fremdeliebe that lurked beneath the surface of this genial gentlemouse...the demonic Hyde that lived & breathed inside the body of this biplegic Jekyll, waiting to burst out at any moment. Looking at Dr. Fremdeliebe now, you could hardly tell that he was no longer the good-hearted mouse he used to be in the days of his youth...the altruistic, benevolent rodentitarian who had dedicated his work & his life to serving for the benefit of mousekind...that is, before the series of Incidents happened that caused his bright, brilliant mind to collapse into shambles & his fursonality to warp into something totally different from how it once was...how it would still be, were he as sane as any other mouse...
I suddenly snapped out of my nostalgic reverie when I realized that I had an interview to conduct. "So, Dr. Fremdeliebe," I asked politely, "shall we begin our long-awaited interview?"
"Ja," Fremdeliebe answered with a nod of his head. "Let's." With that, Fremdeliebe wheeled his way over to a small mahogany desk on the other side of the laboratory, & he pulled out the chair that went with it, gesturing to it with an open paw as he beckoned for me to sit down. "Come, come, my dear fraulein," he said with brisk cheerfulness, "please take a seat & make yourself comfortable. Setzen Sie sich hin, liebchen." I was only too happy to oblige, & after I sat down in the chair, I took out my briefcase & opened it, before taking out a small laptop computer, which I proceeded to plug in & turn on.
"So," Fremdeliebe asked, "while you're waiting for your computer to boot up, is there anything I can get you, Miss McCheese? Coffee? Tissues? A pen or pencil? Some nice little pieces of candy, maybe? Anything you need, I'll be glad to provide for you."
"No, thank you," I said with a gentle shake of my head. "I'm quite fine, but I appreciate you offering."
"It's no problem, my dear," Fremdeliebe said, the pleasant smile still playing across his lips. "No problem at all."
Once my laptop had come on & I'd logged in, I opened up my computer's word-processing program, created a new document, & prepared to write the interview that would take place between us. As soon as Fremdeliebe & I were both ready, we began. Naturally, for the first round of questions, I started out by asking Fremdeliebe about his past & the events of his life so far.
"So, Dr. Fremdeliebe," I asked, "where, exactly, were you born? Who were your parents? Did you have any siblings or other relatives?"
"I was an only child, & as far as I know, I don't have any relatives to speak of..." Fremdeliebe paused for a moment to take a long drag of his cigarette, then exhaled the smoke in a deep sigh of breath & leaned back into his wheelchair, his eyes half-closed in wistful rememberance. "I lived with my parents in Mouse Berlin...I stayed there until my young adulthood," he continued in a hushed voice. "My Mutter was a teacher at the local elementary school for several years...Around the time I entered my first year of high school, she was promoted...She became one of the 10th grade teachers instead...And Vater was a very prominent scientist & engineer...one of the most famous in all of Mouse Germany! He was the one who inspired me to seek a career in his fields of work...He taught me everything I know about science & engineering--& inventing, as well..."
"How was your relationship with your parents?" I asked.
"Very good, very wonderful," Fremdeliebe replied, lazily nodding his head as he lingered in his memories of the past. "I loved my mother & father, just as much as they loved me...Mutter & Vater were very good to me. There was always enough money to support the family, & we never lived in need of anything...We had a very comfortable lifestyle. I always got enough toys & goodies for Christmas & for my birthday, & on every weekend or so, whenever we went to the stores. I was given plenty of good food to eat, my belly was always full, & I never drank anything but the purest water & freshest fruit juice...& a small drop of beer or wine on special occasions. My father always took me jogging in the park on early mornings, & every Saturday afternoon, Mother would take me biking, so I was always able to keep in shape. I had a good education--though you can probably already tell that, Dame McCheese--& my professors taught me very well."
"what was your childhood like?" I asked. "How would you describe your days as a mouseling?"
"I'd say that my childhood was a good one, on the whole," Fremdeliebe replied, taking another drag of his cigarette. "While I was growing up, I had a small group of intimate friends, I was very warmly received by my classmates & fellow peers, & teachers & other adults in my neighborhood took quite a liking to me, so I can't say I was unpopular in Mouse Berlin...although sometimes, I liked to spend my spare hours in solitude, if I could help it...There were times when I just liked to be alone & do things by myself, you know? Just as a quiet little way to relax...But I also enjoyed the company of others, & I never once tried to hide it. Although I must admit," he added with a sheepish chuckle, "I've not had the pleasure of finding a wife, & to be perfectly honest, I'm afraid I have no interest in doing so. I've never been the marrying kind of mouse...But rest assured, I hold no grudges against those who are!
"Anyway, back to my childhood...My interests were fairly typical, not much different than those shared by other mouselings my age. I liked to play sports, but I didn't really enjoy the rough kinds; I mostly played badminton, chess, checkers, soccer, tennis, hide-&-seek, Cops & Robbers...things like that. I liked to read books; in addition to the science & engineering volumes I often perused through in my father's library, I also enjoyed reading 'Alice In Wonderland', 'Gulliver's Travels', 'Oliver Twist'...& other stories that were commonly read by children. I loved just about every sort of meat & vegetables, but I was a little picky with certain types of fruit...I also enjoyed plenty of servings from the sweets group, although my parents--& my dentist--had to help me make sure I didn't eat too many at the same time...I wasn't a very artsy mouseling, by any means, though I did color & draw pictures with crayons or paints from time to time...And of course, having grown up in the days before TV & movies, I also enjoyed listening to the radio...I always loved it whenever they played music by Wagner, or Schubert, or Mausthoven--they were my favorite mousicians when I was a mouseling..." Another pause, & then Fremdeliebe asked, "Is that all you need for your interview, or would you like to hear more?"
"Thank you," I answered as I entered the last of the information in, "but that's perfectly fine. I think we should move on to our next set of questions now."
"By all means, please do," Fremdeliebe said. The pleasant, cheerful smile had not left his face.
"Very well, then," I said. "When did you graduate from high school? What college did you attend, & what kind of courses did you take?"
"After graduating from high school in my 18th year," Fremdeliebe replied, "I went on to attend Berlin Universität Für Nagetiere--that's, um, the Berlin University For Rodents. Anyway, I took classes there for about four years, till I was about 22 years old...I pursued a major in engineering, with minors in various sciences...And upon graduating & receiving my diploma, I decided to take up a position as a professor at the college. After a few months of training, I was accepted as a member of the faculty...I taught courses for engineering & physics, along with science, chemistry, aeronautics, astrology, biology & genetics, mechanics, forensics, business & communications, & inventing...Needless to say, I became a valued member of the college & the community of Mouse Berlin...I was applauded & adored by students, professors, & micefolk alike!
"At around that time, during my years at Berlin Mouse University, I had begun extensive work on a wide variety of projects...Now, back then, when I was starting out, inventing was just a useful hobby for me; I wasn't really planning on making a living off of it--well, not at first, anyway...But my interests in science & engineering influenced me as I worked on my inventions, & soon, I began coming up with all sorts of fantastic devices! Well, really, they were more like prototypes or small models, but still, you should have seen the things my mind was coming up with! I mean, can you imagine!? A rocket-ship that could fly to the moon! A space station! A satellite telescope that could travel out of the galaxy, explore the unknown depths of the cosmos, & take pictures of everything it saw--which could then be sent back to Earth for mortal eyes to view! When I showed off my prototypes to my students, my friends, & my parents, they were amazed at the things I had created! They called me a genius! They recommended my works to every patent office in town! For the first time in my life, I felt I had truly accomplished something! To me, it was as though I had become the greatest mouse in all of Mouse Berlin--nein, in all of Mouse Germany!" By this point, Dr. Fremdeliebe had been working himself up into an excited frenzy, & when he had stopped speaking, his smile had broadened even more, stretching from ear to notched ear, & his hands were clenched into tight fists, raised high in the air above him as he sat up in his wheelchair, appearing as if he were trying to stand in joyful triumph! Then, after a few moments, Fremdeliebe lowered his paws down at his side & slumped back down into his seat, as his earlier smile gradually changed into a sad frown & his ears drooped downward. For several more moments, he did not speak.
"All right, then," I asked with some hesitation, "what happened next?"
It was a while before Fremdeliebe spoke again; this time, his voice was softer than it had been before, & tinged with a hint of melancholy. "Well..."--he sniffled, & dabbed at his face with a lace handkerchief, wiping a few tears away from his eyes--"...pretty soon, dozens of rodent critics from all over the world--including my native Germany--were coming over to take a look at my works...They all saw my inventions...& they labeled them different things..." He sniffled again, but the last of his tears quickly dried up as his paws clenched into fists again--angry fists, this time!--& the veins in his neck pulsed with rage, as his face contorted into a terrifying mask of pure, unleashed fury. As he did so, his sad whisper became louder & harsher in intensity as it grew into a near-scream: "Unique...revolutionary...ahead of the years...bizarre! Strange! Ridiculous! Foolish! The fantastic products of a demented mad-mouse's imagination!"
Fremdeliebe couldn't keep his anger contained any longer, & as he uttered the last few "insults", he pounded his fists against the arms of his wheelchair with such violence, such primeval ferocity, that I feared he would hurt himself. But no sooner did he finish screeching than he suddenly ended his outburst & collapsed back into his chair, panting for breath as he lay a hand on his chest, looking quite exhausted from his emotional ordeal.
"Are you all right?" I asked, looking at Fremdeliebe in concern as I started to get up out of my own chair. "Would you like me to bring you a glass of water or something?"
"No, no," Fremdeliebe blurted in between gasps of air, "don't worry about me, Miss McCheese! I'll be quite fine, I assure you..." He inhaled deeply once or twice more, then began to relax as he gestured for me to sit back down. "No need to trouble yourself, Anastasia; just sit back down & carry on with your interview."
I did so, but before I turned my gaze back to the computer screen, I took one more look at Dr. Fremdeliebe. The scientist was beginning to look more placid now, but still, in the back of my mind, I began to have worries. Was Fremdeliebe's outburst a sign of his inner demons trying to break free? Was Dr. Jekyll beginning to transform into the terrifying Mr. Hyde right before my very eyes? I wasn't really eager to wait & find out, & without another moment's hesitation, I went back to writing the interview. "Dr. Fremdeliebe," I asked as an afterthought, "is this topic too painful for you? Shall we skip to when you got to Mouse London?"
"Nein, nein," Fremdeliebe said with a shake of his head. "I feel it would be most unfair to leave all the rest of the details out, after revealing so much to you already...And besides, I think it would really be a great help for you, Miss McCheese...It would give you so much to add to your interview for when you put it in the paper...I think your readers would be extremely pleased to hear it all."
"Well," I finally said with a wary look & some hesitation in my voice, "if you say so..." I cleared my throat, & continued on with my questioning. "So, what did you do when the critics started giving you a hard time?"
"I just kept at my work like there was no tomorrow," Fremdeliebe replied with a sigh & another drag of his cigarette. "But the critics' opinions never changed, in spite of all the hard laboring I did on my inventions...Overall, I did not receive acclaim for my scientific experiments. I was branded a 'lunatic' by the mouse kaiser of Germany, & then I was revoked of my teaching license. During my years of service at the college, I received a few--& I do mean 'few'--honors & decorations, but they, too, were all taken away from me. And before I knew it, I was forced to spend the rest of my life in the Irrenanstalt...Mouse Berlin's local insane asylum."
"How did you fare there?" I questioned.
Fremdeliebe's glum, sullen countenance only became more so as he pouted in indignant irritation, continuing to puff on his cigarette every few seconds. "It wasn't too bad...well, not at first," Fremdeliebe replied, each of his words dripping with bitter sarcasm. "I could take being ordered to strip-search & remove all my valuables. I could take the full-body physical examination that I was given by the medical staff. I could take having my cavities--including the not-so-discreet ones--checked for diseases & contraband. I could take being slapped around by brutish asylum guards, being kicked all over the place, & being beaten from head to toe like a rodent punching-bag..." At this point, Fremdeliebe became angry again, but instead of flying into an outburst of rage, he managed to contain his fury, but his paws clenched into tight fists & his body shook & shivered all over as he snarled, "But when the head of the sanitarium was finished with my mental examination...& labeled me 'insane'...that was where I drew the line at toleration for the hell I'd gone through!" Fremdeliebe growled fiercely & tremored quite violently for a few seconds, but before too long, he was calm, cool, & collected as before. "Because, as you & I both very well know, I am not insane," Fremdeliebe added, as his lips curled into a smile...but this time, it was not the charming, pleasant smile that had appeared on his face before. It was a smug, self-satisfied smile, as if to assure me that he knew he wasn't insane...He was perfectly confident that he was as sane & stable as any other rodent.
"Only insane rodents belong in the asylum," Fremdeliebe said, his cocky grin accentuating the arrogant look in his eyes. "I am a genius...an intelligent & educated mouse! I don't belong with those Geistesschwache Idioten, those stupid fools...And that's what I was thinking the whole time I was at the insane asylum."
"What happened while you were at the insane asylum?" I asked.
Fremdeliebe continued to smile, but the tone it took on changed from smug to sinister & creepy...& it wasn't that much different from the way it was earlier, which made the transformation all the more eerie. "I didn't stay there very long," Fremdeliebe answered haughtily. "They only kept me for a week, but one night, the other patients started a riot, & in the confusion that followed, I managed to sneak out of the asylum & stow away on a human's cruise ship to London...which, of course, is where I settled the next afternoon."
"How difficult was it for you to get settled into your new home?" I asked.
"Well," Fremdeliebe replied after a pause in thought, "aside from the fact that I had to find good lodgings, learn the customs & language of the Englishmice, & try to find work, I'd say that I didn't have much more difficulty than any other mouse who was immigrating to another country. When I moved to Mouse London, I decided not to take up my teaching career again--for fursonal reasons, mind you--but I thought that, given my various talents in certain fields & the work I had done on my numerous inventions & experiments back in Germany, it would be a wise idea to take up careers in those subjects instead. And so, I did. After moving into these very quarters & setting up the laboratory you are in now, I began to launch my careers in engineering, physics, science, chemistry, aeronautics, astrology, biology, genetics, mechanics, forensics, business, communications, & inventing...Phew!"
After taking a deep breath for air, Fremdeliebe said, "As the years passed, I gradually gained prominent status in Mouse London for my scientific achievements, especially in the years following the Great Month Of Change...That was when my career really began to sky-rocket!" Fremdeliebe, bristling with ecstasy & excitement all at once, let out a joyful cackle. "No pun intended," he added with a bashful chuckle, before continuing: "Anyway, as you can tell, I had a very warm reception in Mouse London...& I found it was much more enjoyable, compared to the reception of my ideas in Mouse Germany..."
"And why's that?" I wondered aloud.
"Because of the fact that anybody at all would applaud for me & congratulate my genius without mocking me behind my back," Fremdeliebe answered.
"Just how many inventions did you make altogether?" I inquired.
"Too many to list," Fremdeliebe said, "but among them were my rocket-ship, my space-shuttle craft, my satellite, my orbit probe, my floating space telescope, a miniature simulated model of my proposed space station--which I've already mentioned to you--my solar-powered jet-pack backpack, my planet-roving vehicle, my rocket-powered flying car, my digital translator for intergalactic alien languages...Well, like I said, those are just a few out of what must have been over a thousand inventions...or a million inventions...I can't quite remember which amount!" He let out yet another laugh, but this time, it was more wistful than joyful. As to why it sounded that way, I couldn't really imagine the answer to that.
"Now, those particular inventions I just mentioned," Fremdeliebe said, "were part of my latest batch of more recent creations; these creations were focused more on space travel, intergalactic studies, & suchnot...Unlike my earlier products, these were not-so-warmly received. As soon as I started distributing them, the London micefolk & Queen Mousetoria herself, those who were once my proud patrons & loyal supporters, began to turn down my patent offers & didn't want anything more to do with me. They said my inventions had no practical use for 'normal, ordinary, everyday life' in New Mouse London, & that they wouldn't need my inventing services anymore! I felt as though I had just received a slap in the face!"
Now Dr. Fremdeliebe had broken down & begun to sob hysterically, bursting into a torrent of tears. I quickly reached for my own handkerchief, which I kept tucked behind my jacket lapel, & offered it to him. Much to my surprise, he furiously swiped out his hand & snatched the hankie away from me; he dried his eyes with it & blew his nose, before instantly becoming angry & ripping the tissue to shreds. "Die dummen Bastarde!!!" he screeched, tossing the ripped-up pieces of the hankie into the air, watching them fall to the floor, & rolling over them with his wheelchair in a terrifying rage. "You stupid...stupid...MORONS!!! How could you be so foolish as to insult my genius & dump me like a bag of rotten potatoes?"
By now, all of Fremdeliebe's attempts to control his anger were completely futile; the scientist blew his top, like an active volcano that had just exploded! But instead of lava & ash, the only things that spewed forth from Fremdeliebe were flying fists of fury & a stream of German cusswords. The gute doktor (if one could even use that word to describe him now) screamed & shouted & swore as he punched at everything in his path (barely missing me a couple of times, despite my vain attempts to calm him) & grabbed the nearest objects he could find, flinging them across the laboratory room in a mad fit. I quickly scuttled back to my chair & watched on in horror as Fremdeliebe carried on with his irate display, stewing in his own rage as he succumbed to his inner demons; pretty soon, there wasn't a single trace of the seemingly-kind Jekyll that had once inhabited that wheelchair. In his place was the evil madmouse Hyde, & now, I was left alone to face the wrath of the deranged lunatic that had appeared before me.
Fremdeliebe must have continued his tirade for several minutes, but finally, he reached a point where he calmed down & began to return to his pleasant self...But unfortunately, Hyde had not transformed back into Jekyll. As he continued to cool off, Fremdeliebe turned to face me with a "friendly" smile, but his eyes widened & glimmered wickedly as he asked me in a voice that, like his two paws, shook with uncontrollable tremors of emotion, "Oh, my, I'm so sorry for throwing such a nasty fit, Dame McCheese...I'm afraid I let my temper get the better of me! But no worries, my dear liebchen; I'll make sure that an outburst like that doesn't happen again..." He turned his wheelchair around to survey the mess he had made earlier, as I followed suit.
"Ach, what a terrible mess we have here!" Fremdeliebe remarked with facetious disappointment upon seeing the objects & debris scattered about, but he quickly got over it. "Nothing a little spring cleaning won't fix, however!" he chirped "cheerfully", & with that, he began cleaning everything up, disposing of any trash items, & making any necessary repairs while he busily worked on fixing the laboratory, as his rich tenor voice belted out the bars of a merry Strauss waltz to provide some ambience.
I just stood there in shock as I watched Fremdeliebe clean up the lab; even for a mouse in his early 30's, he had such a startling level of energy, that it was almost difficult for me to believe he was doing his work with such vigorous movements & agile swiftness! He was like a young child or a teenager in this way; in this manic state he was in now, it seemed as though he was a powerful Übermaus who could do anything with the greatest of ease, & nothing could touch him! He was virtually indestructible! Even when he accidentally bumped his elbow or banged his head against something, Fremdeliebe didn't seem to notice until he finished cleaning up & began to wind down from his euphoric state. As he sweeped the dust off his paws & approached me, Fremdeliebe took a moment to push his glasses up the bridge of his nose & take a look at the bruises he received earlier, before shrugging it off & jovially humming another tune as he gently took me by the hand & pulled me along with him until he brought me back over to the desk.
"Well, now that we've taken care of the mess from earlier," Fremdeliebe asked cheerfully, "shall we continue our interview?" I nodded & sat back down in the chair, before turning back to face the laptop screen as I went back to the word document I had been writing during the whole time I was here.
"So...I can see that you didn't take the comments from others about your intergalactic inventions very well," I said, trying to pick up from where we left off earlier.
"Of course, I didn't," Fremdeliebe said as he lit another cigarette & began puffing on it. "I imagine that anyone else in that situation would say the same thing." This time, Dr. Fremdeliebe showed no signs of anger; he continued to act perfectly happy & content, as if nothing was wrong a few seconds ago. But while the smile took on its earlier pleasant tone, the cocky gleam returned to his bright brown eyes; once again, he spoke his words with conviction & the firm belief that everything he said was reasonable & rational enough for everyone to understand.
"I'm inclined to agree with you, Doctor," I said, entering the words he had just spoken. "But how did you react to them?"
Fremdeliebe calmly leaned back in his wheelchair, then took another drag of his cigarette & made his answer: "Well, when Queen Mousetoria sent me her letter & told me that she wouldn't be accepting any more patent offers for my inventions, that was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. But I wasn't going to give up so easily...That night, Her Majesty & the royal family were hosting a formal dinner at Buckingham Palace, & they had invited all of the rodents who had contributed to the new technology that blessed our civilization during the Month Of Change...all of the rodents, that is, except for me, of course. But I managed to make my way into the palace & crash the party; Queen Mousetoria tried to 'explain' to me about why she had rejected my patent requests for my inventions, but it was far too late for talk then. I started to argue with her, but she had me thrown out onto the street by her guards, who warned me never to come back. And so, I returned back to my lab, where I immediately began work on the updated version of my rocket-ship prototype..." His voice trailed off a bit, as he became lost in his memories once more.
"I see," I said, continuing to write down what Fremdeliebe had spoken. "Go on."
"Well, after several nights & days of relentlessly working on my rocket, I was nearly finished with it! Nearly finished!" Fremdeliebe shouted in glee, but suddenly, he became sad, & his face fell as his ears drooped down. "But then..."--a pause--"...it happened..."
"What happened?" I asked.
Fremdeliebe paused for a moment or two longer, then spoke up again. "The accident," he said in a choked voice, "that ruined my life forever..." His eyes misted with tears, but he quickly dried them away with his paw & continued: "I was almost finished with my rocket-ship, as I mentioned earlier, & one of the last things I had to do before it was completed was to test the engine & make sure it was running properly...I took my seat in the cockpit & placed the key in the ignition, but nothing happened. I tried again & again, but even when I'd reconnected some wires & fixed some electrical errors I found, the rocket still wouldn't start up. I went down to look at the inside of the rocket & see what was wrong, but at the same time, I'd forgotten to turn off the rocket & take out the key, so it was still running. Not realizing that the rocket was on, I tried to reconnect a couple of more wires in the hull, & suddenly, the engine exploded with enough force to send me hurtling into the wall--& it did! I crashed against the bricks & collapsed to the floor, but it was a lucky thing that the collision wasn't hard enough to knock me out, or even kill me; however, I lost all the feeling in my legs & feet, so I couldn't run or walk...& that wasn't a good thing for me, because the whole lab caught on fire, due to the explosion. Thankfully, I managed to escape by crawling out of the building through an auxillary exit made out of a mousehole. I made it to a neighbor's house across the street, & then, I was transported to the hospital; the doctors did everything they could to heal my injuries, but they weren't able to undo the permanent paralysis I had received in my lower half from when I hit the wall of my lab. And that," he added as he gazed sadly at me & gestured to his wheelchair, "is why I am forced to use this wheelchair for the rest of my life."
For once, I had nothing to say. I just nodded my head & continued writing, letting Dr. Fremdeliebe carry on with his speech.
"I stayed for another week at Mouse London Hospital, but when I finally returned home from the clinic, I was horrified & dismayed to discover that the fire from the accident had left most of my lab in ruins. The majority of my inventions & everything else that I had not kept stored in my house was destroyed! Reduced to cinders & ashes! There was no possible way I would be able to fix my inventions, & even though I still had the original diagrams I needed to make them again, I couldn't recreate them & expect them to replace the original devices...my little kinder...my children...." Fremdeliebe cried a bit, but once again, he wiped the tears from his eyes & continued talking: "For the next fortnight, I remember sinking into a deep depression...& I couldn't seem to get out of it...I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't indulge in the interests that had once brought joy & pleasure to my life...I was miserable each & every waking moment...Many times, I tried to kill myself. But then..."--tears once again poured from his eyes, but this time, they were tears of joy--"...one day, I discovered something that would put meaning & purpose back into my life..." His face formed a bittersweet smile as he revealed the name of that special something: "Nuclear physics!"
"And the rest, as they say, is history?" I asked.
Fremdeliebe nodded, smiling even wider now as his tears finally dried up. "Ja, ja," he said. "Anyone who's heard from Basil Of Baker Street or the Mouse Detective Agency about little old me will know what became of the kindly scientist they once knew & loved..." His expression became more insane now, & as his smile widened to reveal two rows of shiny white teeth, an evil gleam filled his eyes. "But one day, they'll love me again, just as they did before...No, they'll love me even more than they did before! And not only that--I'll be knighted by Queen Mousetoria! Canonized as a saint! Buried in Westmouseter Abbey with the painters, & the poets, & the mouseters of the arts & sciences!"
I nodded along in response to Dr. Fremdeliebe's words, not wanting to upset him by appearing to disagree with him in any way. After writing the last of his speech down, I saved the word document with the interview onto my hard drive, & then closed the laptop lid, before putting the computer back into my briefcase & getting ready to return to the headquarters of the "Daily Brie". "Well, thanks for your time, Dr. Fremdeliebe," I said as I got up out of the chair, "but I'm afraid I need to get back to the newspaper to turn in my interview."
"Ohh," Fremdeliebe said with a look of mock-sadness as he wheeled his chair alongside me, "what a shame! It was so wonderful to have you here with me, Dame McCheese! I can't bear to see you leave just yet...at least, not without a decent parting gift."
I paused & turned around to face Fremdeliebe with a curious look. "What would that be?" I asked.
Fremdeliebe took my paw in his hands & brought it up to his lips, before planting a tender kiss on it, just as he had done when we first met. Then he tilted his head back up to look at me, & for a moment, I saw the gentle gaze that had filled his eyes earlier...the gentle gaze of the benevolent Jekyll-figure that this mad scientist had once been. "A kiss on the paw for my fair fraulein," he answered with a warm smile, before shaking my paw & waving "goodbye" to me. I returned the wave & smile at Fremdeliebe as I began walking out of the laboratory & making my way back to the Daily Brie headquarters...away from the world of darkness. Away from the home of the madmouse I had just interviewed...the madmouse who had treated me so kindly & offered me such warm hospitality...Quite the paradox, isn't it?