to do on your birthday.
Mick is 70 years old now. The
Duck probably much the same. The whole zoo is gentrified and creaking.
Characters that amused your grandparents and even their parents are getting
pretty desperate. They feel trapped, its a small world after all
and they may not look like cuddly hamsters, but they are on a treadmill
and thats looking pretty tired as well.
Duck feels the same way and Pluto is pretty grumpy. But you are Mick and
Mick is the grand poobah of the whole she-bang. They cant do the
Disney thing without you and there is so little of you left, you just
know that you are going to explode one of these days and ...
knows he hasnt been funny since, oh since around 1940. Its
hard knowing that you peaked in 1940 and youre still around.
Sure Mick goes through the motions, but there have been funnier,
better mice since then and some even got to have a good time. Its
depressing sitting in your dressing room everyday, knowing youll
have to smile and dance and put on your squeaky voice, when all
the while you just want to put up your feet, smoke a pipe and order
carpet slippers from a Sears catalogue.
Well why not.
Why not escape?
Why not just pack your bags and get out. Sure the
gates are patrolled, the guards have guns and its hard for a mouse
to get out of the compound, but ...
Its this thought that
haunts Mick, day in, day out. Year in, year out. Escape. Getting out.
Never having to be nice to Japanese tourists ever again. Never having
to say have a nice day to anyone ever again, or entertain
anyone. Sure Bob Hope still thinks hes entertaining people, but
thats all in his own mind. Mickey just knows he doesnt want
to be as old as Bob Hope and its getting dangerously close. They
have to keep spraying his fur black, for gods sake. Why cant
he go grey like George Clooney. Hes grey and sexy. Why cant
Mickey go grey for christsakes. Have a little decency in ones senior
These are the things that
haunt you. That and the hot dogs and the concession stands. The whole
place stinks of grease. Of course he rotates. He gets to be in Eurodismal
in August. Never let him be there in July when its cooler. No
in July he always has to lead the parade in California. He hates Dismalland.
The whole place is too cramped. Why they didnt just relocate it
to the coast , build something new instead of constantly patching, patching.
His dressing room there is a disgrace, the floorboards rotten. No one
cares. They just paint over it. Just like his hair.
Hed talked to Dumbo
about it, but Dumbo didnt mind. He didnt get out much anyway
anymore. Just like the chipmunks, he was pretty much forgotten. Like
many others, he rarely left left his dressing room except for the parades,
and didnt they all just hate the parades. Even Roger Rabbit was
getting restless. He always keep hoping hell get another movie,
but no, they just wont do it and he can see himself, just like
Mick, ten years on, older, fatter, greyer, a secret drinker...
Mick had been on the wagon
four years now. There had been a time there when hed tried to
finish himself off with drink, but they had to dry him out for the remake
Try and be more like
your old self, they told him, but that was the point. He was his
old self. Well old anyway. He just didnt get a kick out of magic
anymore, or kids, or candy floss and if he had to see one more broom
And now he was staring at
a Germans whod come to see the Maus.
Smile for the Germans. Dance
for the Poles, sing for the French, scowl at the English....
Escape. He just had to escape
and when he heard the French guards were thinking of going on strike,
he just knew, he just knew this was his last chance.
He was packing when the Duck
came in. He knew instinctively what was going on.You
cant go. Its not fair on all of us. Im not going to
let you go.
Mick, looking ragged and desperate,
continued to pack, taking the gun off the rack hed kept from an
appearance in a wild west show.
going. You can come with me, or quack for the rest of your life Duck,
but Im outta here. Im going and you cant stop me.
you cant leave, no one ever leaves. If you leave you die, everyone
Mick smiles. Yes, that is what he wanted most of all. To die, just like
understand Duck, I gotta go, I have to escape, I want to die. I cant
say Youre a cute kid, one more time without puking.
Mick has gone just two minutes before the Duck is on the phone blabbing.
The EuroGuardi yells at him to calm down, stop quacking. Whos
running this time? Theres one a week in August. Its peak
time for breaking out.
Mick can hear the siren blaring.
Now he knows they know. He can hear the refrain going around the compound,
We got a runner. Everyone is excited to know who. Porky
Pig is lying in the gutter and stops him.
running this time?
The Duck Mick
lied, he wont make it. No sense of direction.
The Pig snorted in agreement.
Stupid duck, never liked him.
Mick knew that. It was one of those things. Not really understood by
outsiders, but no one actually liked anyone at Eurodismal. A professor
who came to study the place from the Sorbonne told him that the atmosphere
was just like the University in Paris. Only the animals were more polite
to each other.
At edge of the compound Mick
has to jump over an electric fence. Its the only way into the
tourist compound. Hed long worked out a plan to leave with a family.
Hell hed even wear a Mick Mask. But a searchlight picked him out.
||A Euroguardi spots him
and calls out the dogs. If there is one thing Mick hates, its
The Duck and Pluto
don battle fatigues, grabbing their guns as others come in to hear the
news from the Ducks mouth.
Micks gone ape-shit guys, we got to get him before he ruins it
for all of us. They understand. Bambi needs a rifle. The Beast
is already on the case. Wed better get him before they do,
he tells them all. Pass the word.
no choice. The parade is no good, the other animals will give him
away in no time. He knows he is on his own in this. He cant
rely on anyone. This is no chicken run. He knows the red alert phone
will have sounded in the executive boardroom and theyll pull
out all the stops. Without Mick on the posters, theyre dead
and they know it. Everyone knows that when the star quits the show
the audience stays at home. What would Friends me without, well
does the only thing possible. He grabs a kid, points his gun at him
and tells him that hell blow him away if he doesnt do as
hes told. He drags him into the Pirates Cave. Its empty,
the Pirates are French, theyve been on strike for a month, theyd
have to cross the picket line to stop him and he knows they wont
do that. Not here, in France.
are making trouble for us all mouse, a pirate complained.
You cant kidnap little keeds and get away with
pirates, Mick reminded them. Trouble is your business.
This is cool,
the kid told Mick. No one will believe this back in Kalamazoo.
from Kalamazoo? another Pirate asked. Do you know Lefty
The kid asked, but Mick had the gun up to his head again now.
if you want to live.
holding the gun right, the kid told him, showing him how
to take the safety off. When I grow up Im going to
be a terrorist just like you, Mick.
sighed. He could see that he wasnt exactly setting a good
example to the young anymore. But had he ever? What kind of kid
took his lead from a mouse?
he could hear a commotion. The kid and Mick could see the other animals
were hunting for them in packs, all of them armed to the teeth. The
parade would be over soon and the fireworks would begin. Thats
when Mick was hoping he could break for it.
Meanwhile the family of tourists
who saw Mick taking the kid hostage were being brainrinsed to forget
what they saw. In an underground lab scientists with giant hypo-needles
wait at their sides. Its a regular thing. Operation Forgetful
runs all the time and they know just what images and words to show these
traumatised folks. Desperate fairies dance in a corner with fixed smiles
as the drugs kick in. Oh what a wonderful day we had, a
voice intones. Were going to tell all our friends what a
wonderful time we had...
Beast roams, he does not need a pack. He will find and terminate
the little mouse. It would be a lesson to all the rest of them.
No one will escape the terminator. Hed never liked the little
mouse, his dressing room was too big for a mouse...
youre going to go, wed better go now, the kid told
Mick. Mick and the Kid run for it, mingling with the tourists. But its
no good, a boy with a mouse, whatever was he thinking. People just stare
and point. They could see a guard talking into his phone, besdie him
a sniper trying to get a clean shot.
no good, were going to have to jump for it kid.
with you Mick.
Together they jump
over the barrier into the lake.
isn't very deep. Which was lucky as mice dont swim.
do. The Kid screams once. Mick raises his gun and blasts the Croc.
He kills it, but its drawn a crowd and Mick can see a EuroDismal
chopper hovering in the sky. His heart began to sink. The possibility
of him not being able to escape was beginning to dawn on him.
Behind him a mob of armed animals was beginning to pour over the
part of the show, nothing to see here, the guards were yelling
as they fixed laser sights on their guns.
Miraculously Mick and the Kid reach the car park unscathed, but Kid
scrapes his leg on a jeep and falls. A Eroguardi is on him in a second
beating him senseless.
Mick is on his own now. In one desperate last move he points his gun
at a family of Chinese tourists. He makes them hand over their family
wagon. They take pictures, they seem almost happy to see him and chant
Mick, Mick. They do not know they will be spending the
night in interrogation and brainrinsing. It will be a busy night underground.
Mick thanks his lucky stars he learned to drive back in the 40s.
At least he know how to use a stick shift. He guns the motor and heads
away from Eurodismal. The animals behind spread into the car park and
commandeer more vehicles. Its chaos now and the tourists are growing
frightened. Bambi with a gun makes children cry. The executives have
begun to realise that things are getting out of hand. But the guards
They hand out guns to whoever
who asks, telling them Dont come back without the fuckin
Mouse - dead or alive.
The Duck and Pluto steal
a jeep but crash it. Neither one knew shit about driving. Never did.
Never take lessons from Mr Magoo.
The Beast watches from a
distance. He will follow. The mouse will fuck-up. There will be a trail.
He will find and kill the mouse.
Hours later Mick arrives in Paris, stops to ask directions in the Pigalle
seems very friendly, but she wont tell him where to go without
being paid. Mick has worked for 66 years and never yet been paid,
just the thought of that makes him feel very angry and hard. He
levels his gun at her and she climbs in.
She does what she knows best
and Mick feels his whole mind expanding. Minnie Mouse never did that!
Suddenly Mick knows why the French like to smoke so much. He points
the gun at her again and with a growl he didnt know he had, he
tells her, Bitch, from now on you work for me.
Hard Graft - What Mick does next.
(probably not coming froma website near you)
© Marcel DAgneau 2000
Artist Pirate Jon Miller 2000