A Strangely Usual Day of Mr. Steve

Başak Ünal

Mr. Steve was awakened by what little daylight he was letting into his room. He made himself a delicious breakfast and a cup of black coffee while listening to the record that was playing on his dusty turntable. He checked the mousetraps. The baits in them were gone, and not replaced by rats’ bodies. He cursed the rats.

He didn’t like to waste time while he ate his breakfast. He headed to the poetry bookshelf with his coffee in hand. One might guess that Mr. Steve had a huge library consisting of different kinds of bookshelves filled with various volumes, but in fact he only read poetry books. Novels are read by the author’s mind. Poems are read by the reader’s mind, free from outside influence. Unnecessary fiction is not included in poems. Poems do not disturb those who do not want to be disturbed. The raw material of poems is emotions, not ideas, so they won’t force you to think. 

To choose a book to read, he climbed on top of his suitcase, which still had its price tag hanging out. He stuffed the suitcase first so it wouldn’t tip over. Just as he reached the top, he was startled by a disgusting voice coming from down the hall. He went down straightening some of the books he had accidentally bent. Grabbing his flashlight, he cautiously entered the living room where the sound had come from. He was not worried for his life, for what was the point of being alive if he didn’t even feel safe at home? First, he saw a huge shadow on the wall: A gigantic creature with huge teeth and a thick neck. He hesitated to approach the shadow, but his curiosity overshadowed his fear. As he got closer, he saw how much smaller the shadow had become. He turned off the light. It was a small, helpless, poor, sickly mouse. He complained to himself about the poor quality of the traps he had carefully placed last night, as he did every night. Then he looked once more at the mouse in his living room. He quickly walked away so as not to vomit.

It was only 2 p.m., but it was already dark inside. “I have to move out,” thought Mr. Steve. “I have to go far, far away.” Why was he still calling such a dark and unsafe place his home? He thought about the last time he went out: This reminded him of what he thought of other people as well. “Ignorant people and hideous rats,” he said. This time he cursed not only rats, but mankind too.

He recited poetry until the small deformed candle by his side could no longer give light. Some terms were strange to him. He was looking at the dictionary but couldn’t make any sense of them. Another day came to an end as he rummaged through his books and poems. He was really tired.

He jumped and gnawed a piece of cheese from the trap into his mouth. He then washed his tail in the murky sewage water. Carefully grooming his thin mustache, Mr. Steve slowly fell into a peaceful sleep under the quilt, which was five times his own weight.