Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Nursery Rhyme:

Hickory, dickory, dock,
The mouse ran up the clock,
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down,
Hickory, dickory, dock!

The Killer Clock

I was enjoying a nice evening with a friend. A successful private eye
doesn't get many days off, but I needed a breather after the Winkie case.
Alma and I were relaxing over Scrabble after dinner when a horde of mice
raced across the room.

"What th'?!" I exclaimed. Alma put her hand on my arm as I reached for my

"It's nothing," she said, "just a game they play with the clock. Every hour
on the hour they race up the clock. In between bongs it tries to hit them.
There's no harm in it."

I wasn't so sanguine, but just then the old grandfather clock began
striking, and we heard the shrill twittering of the mice negotiating the
gauntlet. As the mice ran back across the room, I counted ten of them. It
was ten o'clock. Apparently that was part of the "game," if game it truly

We were still there at 11 (though we had abandoned Scrabble for other
pursuits), and the same thing happened. I saw out of the corner of my eye
eleven mice galloping across the floor. The clock struck eleven times. The
mice ran back, squeaking excitedly. Alma was blocking my view, but I am
sure all eleven returned to their warren.

An hour later we had adjourned to an adjoining room, but I paused to listen
to the scratching of tiny feet as the horde passed our open door. Then came
the clock: bong, bong, bong, bong, crunch, ["What was that," Alma asked,
peering over her shoulder.] bong, bong, bong, bong, bong, bong, bong.

"It sounded like the clock struck one," I replied, getting up.

"But it's midnight ? oh." she said. "How horrible!"

When I reached the hall I saw at a glance that my surmise had been correct.
Blood dripped from the pendulum and the crushed body of a mouse lay in the
corner. The clock's smug grin vanished when I placed it under arrest and
cuffed its pendulum to the newel post. On duty or off, I make sure that
crime does not pay.

Reprinted from Nursery Rhyme Noir --

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