KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 3: Spring 2015
Haibun Story: 373 words

Knowing Mouse

by David Cobb

partners in crime
behind dark shades no clue
what she thinks of me

At an in-service workshop for teachers of English in Bangkok. They invite me to be a resource person and pair me with a young, very pretty teacher to make visual aids. Slowly it dawns on me, she uses the Thai word noo, meaning “mouse,” as a pronoun, both to talk about herself and about those she thinks of as her juniors.

“Go fetch me an iced coffee,” she will instruct a servant. Handing her a baht coin, she adds,“I don’t want mouse spilling half of it this time!” And then, for everyone’s better enlightenment, why she is drinking so much coffee, she tells us, “Mouse couldn’t sleep a wink last night.”

Five days I spend with mouse, drawing and snipping, painting and pasting, sometimes melting wax to fix things together. And then, barely a day after we disperse, there is a photo of her on a newspaper front page.

With it this story. Some time earlier, when mouse was following a course in linguistics, the professor in charge had seduced her. Told her he intended to leave his wife, was tired of living with a parrot, he said.

But then, it must have been on the very eve of our workshop, she had been with friends on an outing to the seaside, and whom should she see, strolling along the beach with their elbows nudging, but the professor and his wife. An old folk saying shot into her head: “The snake can see the hen’s nipples; the hen can see the snake’s feet!”

Gossip added to the report. When the sirens sounded and police burst into the school, the principal calmed them down: “Miss Sulee is teaching just now; come back when lessons end. You can speak to her when all the pupils have gone home.” And she gave the officers “tea money” to go away.

Later, in mouse’s purse they found the pistol, spanking clean and neatly wrapped in rose-coloured Thai silk cloth. Were puzzled why she had another small metal object in the purse. I could have explained it to them.

what to think of her
using a bell with no tongue
to snuff a candle

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