Mighty Mouth

By Tony Owens

sfgenre‘I’m afraid it’s just not going to work,’ said Vassali, the circus strong man.

Klinko, the King of Klowns could only nod in agreement. All day he and Vassali, had been watching various acts audition for Hernandez’s Circus of Terror. This last candidate had been their best hope, but it was not to be. They made their way down from the back row of the big top seating. In the centre ring, a mouse held an elephant aloft with one tiny paw.

‘I thought my act most impressive. What has failed to please you?’ squeaked the mouse.

‘The act in and of itself is astounding,’ said Vassalli.

‘The problem is that you’re so small, nobody is going to see you from the grandstand,’ said Klinko. ‘We can see the pachyderm alright, but not who’s lifted him.’

The mouse sighed and gently placed the elephant back on terra firma. ‘I understand gentlemen.’

Jumbo gave a quizzical snort and wandered off.

‘How did you develop such strength?’ asked Vassalli.

‘A combination of diet, supplements, and weight training Not to mention the supreme power of the will,’ said the mouse, puffing up her miniscule chest with pride.

‘Well, we’re sorry it didn’t work out. What will you do now?’ asked Klinko.

‘It’s no big deal really. I was just looking for a little supplementary income while I finish my PhD.’

‘What are you studying?’

‘Rene Descartes. My topic is Cartesian Dualism and the Rodent Psyche.’

The two men exchanged a glance. ‘Interesting. Well, good luck with that.’

‘Well, it’s been a pleasure to meet you both, but I have a bus to catch at five p.m.,’ said the mouse.

Both men squatted down and shook the rodent’s paw. Klinko noted it was quite a firm handshake.

With a jaunty salute, the mouse headed outside the tent.

Vassalli wiped the sweat from his brow. ‘It’s been a pretty useless day, all in all. Shame we couldn’t use the mouse.’


Later that afternoon the Bearded Lady walked in, looking perplexed. ‘Well, if that don’t beat all,’ she exclaimed.

‘What’s that?’ asked Klinko.

‘I had the most extraordinary experience earlier. A conversation with a talking mouse,’ she said. ‘Can you believe it? A mouse with the power of speech!’

For a second there was silence. Vassalli looked at Klinko. Klinko looked at Vassalli.

‘Ooops,’ said Klinko.

‘It’s twenty to five now. If we’re quick we can catch her before she gets on that bus,’ said Vassalli.

The two men bolted from the tent leaving the Bearded Lady in bemused solitude. ‘That mouse might be a graduate student,’ she muttered, ‘but she’s got totally the wrong idea about Rene Descartes. She should read some Kierkegaard.’

She stopped for a second and chuckled, despite herself. ‘That’s just crazy. A mouse that can read. Who ever heard of such a thing?’

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About The Author

Tony Owens

Tony Owens is an ESL teacher living in Brisbane with his wife and son.  His short fiction has appeared in the anthologies In Fabula-Divino, Zombies Ain’t Funny, and 18. He also does a flash fiction series chronicling the adventures of the long-suffering Klinko, the King of Klowns, which appears semi-regularly on the AntipodeanSF website.  His ultimate ambition is to find the literary sweet-spot between H.P. Lovecraft and P.G. Wodehouse.


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Coming In Issue 233

Asset Class
by Matthew Harrison

Build Blast
By Douglas J. Ogurek

Home Hardware & Rentals
By Zebuline Carter

Iron Will
By David Whitaker

By Darren Lipnicki

The Drop Out
By David Scholes

The Maiming Fields
By Kevin J. Phyland

The Numbers Danced
By Laurie Bell

This Page Unintentionally Left Blank
By Wesley Parish

Totally AI
By Kevin J. Phyland

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Take a listen to Dr. Alan Finkel, Australia’s chief scientist on Radio National’s “Big Ideas” with Paul Barclay, who sums up Finkel’s speech in the following way:

“Our future leaders and policy makers should read more science fiction…scifi can be useful for the building of a good society.”

You can find the program audio here: <http://radio.abc.net.au/programitem/pgM7rLEl26>, originally broadcast on ABC Radio National on Tuesday September 19 2017.


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If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.

J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire