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NOVEMBER 18, 2012 1:06PM

Of Mice and (Watch)men

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With Apologies to Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Steinbeck.

 

rorschach journal

OF MICE AND (WATCH)MEN

 

Chapter I

 

Rorschach’s Journal.  July 10, 1934. 4 PM:

Dead mouse in pocket this morning. Somebody knows who killed him. Nobody cares. Nobody cares but me. This road is hot and rocky. Sun blazes like machine gun from hell’s armory, its rays ricochet off stones with demented banshee wails. Soon, all will change. All the jerkline skinners and the barley buckers and the bosses’ whores will cry, “Tell how it’s gonna be.” And I’ll look down and whisper, “Gonna get a little place of our own. Gonna have a pig and chickens, maybe a little alfalfa. I get to tend the rabbits.”

 

“Hey, Rorschach! Put that notebook away.” Nite Owl took off his hood and flicked the sweat away. “Damn, it’s hot. Bastard bus driver. ‘Jes’ a little stretch down the highway,’ he says. God damn near four miles, that’s what it was.” He wiped a rag under his chin and around the back of his neck. “Shoulda taken the Owlship, I guess.”

 

“Where we goin’, Daniel?” said Rorschach.

 

Nite Owl jerked down his hood and scowled over at Rorschach. “So you forgot that awready, did you? I gotta tell you again, do I? Jesus Christ, you’re a goddamned lunatic.”

 

“Tried and tried,” said Rorschach. “Didn’t do no good. Remember the rabbits, Daniel. Think of them often. Good days.”

 

“To hell with the rabbits. That’s all you can remember is them rabbits. And how to get information by breakin’ a man’s little finger. Say – what’d you got in that pocket?”

 

“Hurm. Ain’t a thing in pocket,” Rorschach said.

 

“What you got in your hand?”

 

“Grappling gun, Daniel. Honest.”

 

“Come on, give it here.”

 

“Only mouse, Daniel. May be connected to mouse killer. Pet it while walking.”

 

“Give it here!”

 

Nite Owl took the mouse and threw it across the road.

 

rorschach and nite owl

 

Rorschach’s Journal. July 10, 1934. 8 PM:

Dreiberg quick to dispose of evidence. Supports mouse killer theory. This river valley fears me. I have seen its true face. Birds shriek their song of depravity and corruption to an uncaring black void. Soon, moon will rise, a pallid, bloodless millstone hanging over the head of humanity.

 

Nite Owl took two cans of beans from his utility belt and opened them with his miniature laser. He passed one can to his companion. “You like some ketchup with them beans, Rorschach?”

 

“No need. Fine like this.”

 

They sat by the fire and filled their mouths with the beans and chewed mightily.

 

“Wish we’d get rabbits soon, Daniel.”

 

“Well, we ain’t got any,” Nite Owl exploded. “God a’mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. When the end of the month come, I could take my fifty bucks and go to the Gunga Diner and order anything I want. I could ask the Silk Spectre for a date. But whatta I got? I got you! You get into trouble. You smell bad. You do bad things. You put people into the hospital needlessly. You can’t keep a job an’ I gotta keep bustin’ you outta jail all the time. I wisht  -- ”  his anger left him suddenly. He looked across the fire at Rorschach’s squidgy face, the blots moving, changing, flowing endlessly, black and white never mixing, no grey, and he thought of pretty butterflies and nice flowers.

 

“Hurm,” Rorschach said softly. “Daniel. I am sorry…that it is sometimes difficult. I’ll go off. Live in hills there, by myself. Off the hot boiling fat of the land.”

 

Nite Owl said, “Hey. Forget it. It’s okay, man. Really. No, you stay with me. President Truman wouldn’t like you running off by yourself, even if he is dead.”

 

Rorschach spoke in his horrible monotone voice. “Tell me. About the rabbits.”

 

Nite Owl’s voice became deeper. He repeated his words rhythmically as though he had said them many times before. “Guys like us, we understand. We see the cracks in society, see the little men in masks trying to hold it together. We see the joke and no one else does. That’s why we’re lonely. Costumed adventurers like us, they’re the loneliest guys in the world.”

 

“No. Not us.”

 

“But with us, it ain’t like that. I got you to look after me and you got me to look after you, and that’s why.”

 

“Took down Underboss, Big Figure together. Good team.” Rorschach laughed delightedly. “Hurm. Hurm.”

 

“An’ someday, we’re gonna have a little nest of our own an’ a secret basement an’ lots of spare costumes an’ hoverbikes, an’ –”

 

“And I get to tend rabbits.”

 

“An’ you get to tend the rabbits.”

 

“And no mollycoddling criminals.”

 

“No mollycoddling,” Nite Owl said sleepily. “Now, shut up now.”

 

The red light dimmed on the coals, like blood cooling and coagulating on a dead dog. The sycamore leaves screamed and screamed in a raging night gale.

 

 

 

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