It didn’t take long for The Country Mouse to start causing trouble. The village that reared and programmed him found his affectations to be troubling. He not only saw through, but then wore the Emperor’s Clothes, and cavorted with Black Sheep and Spoke Truth to power any chance he could get. While he chewed on a piece of straw and could dress the part on Sunday, he did so with a sense of irony and disdain, and terrified the villagers as he challenged them with words he assembled himself.
Without making a public decry or consensus, the villagers began brushing The Country Mouse’s whiskers, outlining a perimeter in which he was not welcome. It didn’t take long before the entire village was forbidden, and as The Mouse looked at rolling hills, beautiful forrest, mountains and valleys and deer and rabbits and woodchucks and hippopotamuses and wood elves and robins and salmon and rivers and beautiful houses, he knew that he had lost something that he could never retrieve. The Country Mouse sent a letter to his mother, hoping that he could mend the fence he’d destroyed, and return to tending the chores, but again his words terrified her, and it was clear that The Country had no place for this mouse.
The Country Mouse had heard tale of a place where everything was done differently, where electricity and money and concrete and offices and three piece suits had conspired to create a place of art and culture and wonder and magic. Cars quickly criss-crossed the surfaces as artists screamed above the din of The City. Clubs pulsed and beat with a rhythm unmatched by The Country, and everywhere the smell of animals in heat and the defection of monied people filled the air. There was a terseness to the delivery of language, a sense that you were constantly being sized up by everything and everyone. The Country mouse set out to find this place, to make his fortune among the hard edge, unforgiving City.
The Country Mouse put on some clothes and studied hard. He followed the mice he encountered, tracing their paths and eating where they eat. Every surface was shiny, and every person looked beautiful. The sounds he heard were so incredible, he begged to hear more, and in galleries there were masterpieces, in theaters the greatest dramas. Large buildings contained more books than he could even imagine, and he could sit and leaf through any of them. Behind every corner was some fascinating thing, from the very buildings he sat in, to the clothes that he put on his back. The Country Mouse paid close attention, and after much studying he found he could speak so much like a City Mouse that it was hard to know when he no longer had to pretend.
For many years The Country Mouse lived like this, taking on work here or there, and for a long time he felt he had been successful. Where once he kept a few simple garments, he now had closets so full he could never wear it all. Around his he amassed piles of films and comics and books and albums, and the stacks were so high that he could no longer reach the top or the bottom. He ate and drank every manner of poison and so-called food he could find, but every feeling was only fleeting, leaving him feeling no better than he had before. He followed the same paths, every day, for 20 years straight, and every time he was shocked to see that the shiny surfaces had not changed at all, so much so that they became invisible.
Eventually the City Mice decided that the only way to fix the City was to double the costs of everything. The Country Mouse could no longer get new books and albums, and he could no longer fit into his small room. The cost of traveling the well worn route was too much for him to travel it, and the food around him was more and more with each passing day. The City was a bright and shiny place, full of incredible wonders and strange things to do. But none of it was worth anything with no one could afford it.
So, The Country Mouse sold his belongings, and gave up his new life. But as he traveled back down the road to The Country, it was clear that his time in The City had left a mark upon him. He spoke a little too clearly, and had more than a few garments to wear when he went foraging. He told stories of the things he had learned from books, and saw on TVs, and seemed to long for that world more than the one he was in now. He was viewed with suspicion and concern, and it was clear that he did not belong.
The Country Mouse settled down and sat with the notion that he did not fit in. And together, they failed to raise a family, and cultivated nervous ticks that culminated in occasional, nonsensical outbursts.
The Country Mouse and The City Mouse were, now, both unhappy.