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Science fiction or documentary?

Posted: October 2, 2017 1:53 p.m.
Updated: October 3, 2017 1:00 a.m.

“History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man…” Blue Oyster Cult, “Godzilla”

Awhile back I read an article, the gist of which was that shadowy government drones from a shadowy government agency were searching for a radioactive mouse somewhere in the Northwest. Apparently, while cleaning an old plutonium plant in that area, workers came across animal droppings that turned out to be radioactive.

Upon closer inspection, someone from said shadowy government agency ultimately determined that the droppings came from a mouse and a rabbit, respectively, and further hypothesized that both creatures ate something from the same radioactive source. 

I know the story is true because I read it on the internet. 

All I can say is, yikes.

I’m not real fond of mice or rabbits. Oh, sure, in the abstract, they’re cute enough, and I’ve had pet rabbits. They really didn’t do much of anything except produce endless and copious amounts of rabbit pellets when they weren’t chewing through anything into which they could sink their little bunny teeth. They weren’t particularly affectionate; their personalities largely vacillated between vacant stare and belligerent indifference. And contrary to popular mythology, my experience was that they couldn’t (or more likely, wouldn’t) learn to come when called nor could they be trained to use a litter box. They did, however, quickly learn how to growl, scratch and bite. And when the mood strikes, they can scream. Great, googly moogly, but they can scream.

I think that’s what is so especially unnerving -- an animal that is essentially a sonic blank slate most of the time suddenly unleashes this glass-shattering sound that immediately has neighbors five blocks away calling the SWAT team because they think a machete-totin’ homicidal clown, or some such, is chasing an entire day care through the neighborhood.

As to mice, well, they too are cute in theory. After all, Mickey Mouse, Speedy Gonzales and other such beloved cartoon characters wouldn’t have been so wildly successful financially if they weren’t deeply appealing to millions of slack-jawed, mesmerized, television-addled sand blowers everywhere. But, in practice, I beg to differ. I can’t decide what it is about a mouse that truly skeeves me out. Maybe it’s the speed, the silence or the fact that you usually only catch a fleeting glimpse -- maybe a wriggling tail disappearing under your bed, couch or refrigerator -- but there is nothing, I mean nothing, creepier than a mouse in motion.

It makes me love snakes all the more.

So, when I read this little news item, that someone found evidence of the presence of radioactive versions of creatures that already give me the willies, well, this immediately raises a lot of questions. Like, who exactly identified these droppings? How did they find them and where? Were these clues glowing in the dark? Did some poor sap mistake phosphorescent rabbit doots for yogurt raisins? Were they normal-sized products, or did the plutonium create rodent pellets the size of channel buoys?

Remember, the operative word is “radioactive.” Does this mean fast, huge, bullet proof and/or carnivorous? Does this mean three ears and six legs and teeth the size of stalactites?

This could be serious. After all, I’ve seen animal droppings, right here in my own front yard that I believe to be proof positive that someone in my neighborhood has a pet rhinoceros. Even my dogs are impressed.

And don’t forget, we’ve already seen photos of the Lizard Man on the internet, so we know he’s still out there, somewhere.

I’ve also seen pretty much all the science fiction “B” movies and horror films ever made. As anyone who regularly lets his imagination get the better of him knows, something like this could conceivably elevate such films from “cheesy laugh riot” to “serious documentary.”

Just ask Ken Burns. 

Or Buck Dharma.


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