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The Short Form

“Furry White Noise”

Christen Enos

Excerpt

Immediately after every national tragedy my uncle Daniel buys half-a-dozen white mice.  Whatever calms him down, his sisters say.  Whatever makes him feel better.  Whatever shuts him up.

Daniel lays down newspapers and lets the mice run throughout his apartment.  He has cages, but he doesn’t use them.  I know because I visit him the day after every national tragedy, when I can’t watch any more television.  I bring a loaf of bread I’ve baked in a desperate attempt to keep active the night before.

In the days after every national tragedy, while the rest of the family calls each other under the guise of commiseration but really to show off what we’ve learned from CNN, Daniel doesn’t reach out to anyone and only accepts my visits grudgingly.  “Isn’t it so sad?” I say, but Daniel acts like he doesn’t know what I’m talking about.  His television is on, but playing cartoons.  You’d think he wasn’t aware of the tragedy, except it’s all over his floor.