Author's Note: Have you ever had those moments were you hear some really bad news and have a moment where you think to yourself, "I wish I just didn't even know," or, "I wish they hadn't told me," like somehow, not knowing would make the thing go away? I have had that moment a few times. And I was thinking about that scenario the other day and I determined that it might be a good idea to write it out in a story. Carter came to mind as the perfect character for such a story. He is perceived to be so oblivious, naive, clueless, childlike…but the man is in the middle of a war. He must see and understand the things happening around him. And then I wondered, has Carter ever had a moment where he wished he really was as naive as people thought him to be? Could Carter be envious of someone else who he thought really was oblivious to the trials of life? Who might that other someone be? So this story was birthed. It's short, maybe it's pointless too, but here it is nevertheless. Enjoy!
Another Author's Note: This scene was also inspired by the "Operation Briefcase" episode when Carter is distracting the guard while Lebeau and Kinch get the briefcase to Hogan through the window.
"Easy there. Easy. Don't be scared. There's nothing to worry about," I said, lowering him in slowly. I tried to sound soothing so that he wouldn't panic, but the way he looked at me with those big black eyes made me think he wasn't buying it. "It's just water. Just a teensy little bit. I didn't even fill the bowl up all the way. Easy now Felix, in you go." His little feet kicked around furiously until I placed him in the bowl and released his tail.
He seemed pretty upset with me, running around the bowl, trying to find a way out. I felt bad, like I was torturing him somehow. "I know. I hate baths, too. But if you could just see yourself, Felix…you're filthy. No one would even know you're such a pretty white mouse. With all that cinnamon on you, you look like any old Tom, Dick, or Harry of mice. Now come on, hold still." I pinned his tail down with my thumb and dipped the toothbrush in the water.
I started scrubbing him gently, re-dipping the toothbrush often. Felix didn't seem to like it. He did a lot of squirming, kicking the brush away and flopping over on his back a lot. "Now quit fussing. If you had listened to me all the times I've said, 'be sure to stay away from Lebeau when he's cooking,' this would never have happened. But you just had to scurry over there and investigate while he was making that pie."
He squeaked at me and squirmed around some more. I smiled and dipped the brush in the water again. "You've been so rebellious lately. First you ran off for a whole day, then you got into my care package and ate my last biscuit, and now you've played in Lebeau's cinnamon." I lifted him out of the bowl and examined him at eye level. "Hmm…I wonder when puberty happens for mice. Maybe you're a little mouse teenager," I said, scratching him a little on his belly. He just kicked around and curled his body to form a little hook. "I hope you're not a teenager. That would make me feel really old."
I lowered him back into the bowl and kept scrubbing. I smiled when a memory came to mind. "You know, when I was a teenager, I bought a motorcycle…with my own money too! No help from mom or dad….I'd bet you would really like riding on a motorcycle. We could get you a little helmet, with two little holes for your ears to poke through. And some little riding goggles. How'd you like that?"
Felix squeaked at me and it made me laugh. I pulled him out of the bowl again. "There you go…clean as a whistle." His white fur seemed to shimmer under the light layer of water, making it appear almost silver. I grabbed one of my nearby shirts and gently dropped him into it. He scurried around some more and I rubbed him in the cloth to dry his fur. "Course, we can't go riding until after the war's over. And who knows how long that will be."
Felix managed to climb his way to the surface and poked his head out from the t-shirt. He stared at me with those big eyes, tilting his head slightly. I smiled when I saw how scruffy his hair looked. He seemed confused by what I had said. "I guess you don't know anything about the war. No body takes the time to explain things to mice. You just sort of get caught up in this great big thing, and you never really understand why."
I maneuvered him out of the t-shirt and gripped him gently in my hand. His little paws held on to the top of my thumb and he looked at me curiously, tilting his head a little. "You don't seem to mind not knowing about the war, though." I held him close to my face and closed my eyes. I could feel his whiskers tickle my skin as he sniffed me and then stuck his tongue out to taste the tip of my nose. I smiled. I liked his little mouse kisses.
I opened my eyes again and stroked him on the top of his head with a smile. "Maybe ignorance really is bliss. I'll bet it's nice not knowing about all the violence. All the killing. The hate. You get to just go on scurrying around the floorboards, squeaking and looking for cheese…and girl mice, of course. You don't care about countries and all their arguments. That doesn't bother you. It's like you're immune or something."
I opened my hand and he spun around a few times, trying to decide which way to go. I lowered my hand and let him crawl onto my mattress. He darted around until he found some crumbs on my sheets and started snacking.
I looked up when I heard Kinch's bunk open to reveal the secret tunnel. Soon after that, Kinch's head poked out from the opening. "Hey, Carter, have you seen the Colonel?" he asked.
I shook my head. "Not for a while," I answered. "He's not in his office, I don't think."
The Sergeant climbed out of the tunnel and headed for the barracks door.
"Why? What's up?" I asked.
Kinch barely stopped long enough to answer my question. "Gestapo's putting the heat on the underground ring in Heidelberg. The Krauts have captured two agents already. London wants us to do something before the Gestapo gets any important information out of them." With that, Kinch left the barracks in a hurry.
I looked back at Felix, admiring the way he ate happily…admiring his obliviousness, his peace. I petted him gently with one finger as he munched. "I bet it would be nice to be a mouse," I said, before following Kinch to find Colonel Hogan.
As I said, short. But I still hope you managed to find some worth in this little story. Feel free to leave a review and tell me what you thought! Thanks for reading!