Mouse Trap

I had a day of tidying and cleaning. I was supposed to be going to a festival, but the whole thing somehow didn’t appeal so I stayed and tidied and sorted things instead. I still have too much stuff – especially for someone who is an instinctive traveler. How the hell have I accumulated all this stuff? I was sorting and cleaning, but before it was all finished my friend Flavia come round with her 3 year old.

A friend of my mother in his late 70’s recently forwarded me an email telling me of the death of one of their and my friends.  I read the chain attached to the email, and it was just a string of grief. It made me realise how lucky I am. Right now most of my friends are marrying and breeding. For this guy, his friends are dying and many of them are dead. This existence that we all take for granted – it is so fleeting, so smashable. We have to clutch at the offers of happiness we have. Everything goes so quickly.

I’ve been remembering how to feel recently. It’s not pleasant, but that’s the human condition. I did the best I could to protect myself for years, so putting myself back on the line is a good thing for my sanity. And at least my current issue is to do with whether or not someone loves me, rather than my best friend dying. That’s all to come, and I’m happy to wait, thanks. But I’ve been feeling weird the last few days. So it’s good to just hang out with my old friend. And Ivo.

Ivo is 3. We exist to serve him. If he is not having fun, the world is coming to an end. Fortunately, fun can comprise of putting things into other things repeatedly for hours. We have the Mouse Trap board game here. Ivo spotted it almost immediately and wanted to play with it. It’s an incomprehensible game with loads of fiddly bits, but it looks exciting for kids. He’s a good kid, and we play well together. So I tried to construct the thing, around his attempts to disrupt me by walking on the board, stealing the bits etc.


He found a box, and was happy with just putting things into the box for ages. It reminded me of myself with the earlier version of the same game back in the 1980’s – It’s about building the traps more than it is about playing whatever idea of a game they’ve structured around them. I suspect I was an annoying little bugger to babysit. I know that one of the women who used to get that job still refers to me as Damian from The Omen.

We spent hours repeatedly flushing a plastic loo and guessing which hole the ball would come out of. It was great fun and no different from what the majority of people do in offices every day. At the end of the evening, Ivo had to be gently parted from his box for putting things in. I thought there’d be a tantrum, but somehow at the 11th hour I swapped it for a Kinder egg Disney Princess and the chance to go down in the exciting old fashioned lift that he’d have gone down in anyhow. Now they’re home and I am relieved to be back in my own space, not having to put him to bed, but also not having to put up with the pain of a growing cancerous tumour, or a broken hip, as all of the emails I saw today were talking about.

Get out there and make positive change. It turns into sludge so suddenly, and then we just fall by the tracks as the rollercoaster keeps rolling. People keep killing themselves and others for ideologies. It’s a weird world right now. I take my hat off to the likes of Flavia, bringing a child into this madness. Let’s all keep forging forward fearlessly.



Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

One thought on “Mouse Trap”

  1. Oi Cap’n

    Doing a reading of a tiny part in Marks and Grans new sitcom Three into Two tonight at North London Tavern Kilburn if you want to swing by for catch up..


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: