Saboteurs, by Holly Conant


The mice knew they were lucky, or did they. It’s one thing to infest a windmill, another thing ripping the piss by getting the elves to tailor them clogs. Maybe they’d caught wind of the Pied Piper from the rats, made contingency plans to save their children. Maybe they were blind, and were adapting to echo location. I thought they’d seen the horses at the mill and wanted to be fashionable. That’s what happened with me, anyway. I’d heard about the mice in Amsterdam, thought they sounded fun. I wanted to clip clippitty clop like them, like the grown-up women going to work in a skirt and cloppy shoes. I found some little clogs for my fingers in my Grandma’s thimble collection, and I’d drive them along flat, wooden surfaces, wear a thimble on my thumb like a fez, sing clip clippitty clop. My fingers got too big after a while. I upgraded to my mum’s rank, cloppy-cloggy shoes. I wore them to school fancy dress, remember clopping to collect my first prize. I wore them out on the concrete in the rain, remember clippittying water back into clouds. I pretended they were tap shoes, and tried to become the first clog dancer/tap dancer/ Irish dancer hybrid. Maybe that’s what the mice were doing, dancing, whilst they could, because there’s only so long the world will let you wear clogs for, before they start grinding.

Holly is a mature student, studying at the University of Leeds. She likes sarcasm and silliness. Her poems have appeared with Ink, Sweat & Tears, Anti-Heroin Chic, Dreich and more.


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