FIEVEL GOES DARK - PART ONE
Welcome to "Fanfic No One Asked For"!
Today's installment is part one of a ??? part series that explores the dark, seedy underbelly of Fievel Mousekewitz and his "American Tail".
An American Tail:
Fievel Goes Dark
The great west was a disappointment. In New York, the west seemed endless but in Green River Tanya’s world became incredibly small.
The crowd was so thin tonight it was nearly non-existent. The stage was small even by mouse standards. Made from matchboxes, the stage’s edges had begun to fray into soft paper fans much too close to the candle stumps in Tanya’s opinion.
“Camptown ladies, sing this song,” she huffed out.
Her father played his violin to the beat in his mournful way, counter the normal pace of the song. A portly mouse, as tall as he was wide, nodded his head back, his mouth open in a snore. If papa didn’t pick it up soon, every mouse in the bar would be asleep. And then where would her tips be?
In a moment of inspiration, Tanya stopped her choreographed skirt dance and scrambled up to the main stage, even as her corset dug deeper into her ribs.
The shining black boots of the human women marched a deadly staccato across creaking boards. Tanya gathered her skirts, and before she could think too critically about her decision, she jumped into the fray.
She weaved around kicking feet, spinning back and forth, and at one point managing to climb atop a pointed tip of one shoe and be kicked nearly halfway across the stage before she grabbed a hold on one of the lacy skirts.
Unfortunately, somehow her boot buckle caught tight in the looping lace. Her corset was so tight, Tanya couldn’t bend to reach her feet. She would have remained there hanging helplessly if it wasn’t for a suddenly flying violin bow nearly slapping her in the face. Tanya grabbed blindly. It was her father’s. Tanya reached up with the bow and prodded her boot. She would have fallen free and right on her head if at the same time the human whose skirts she rode had not sashayed grandly, swinging her skirts and Tanya high into the air. The human males bellowed at this move and, even as she flew through the air, Tanya made note of how the move worked for future reference in her show.
Tanya made a small flip of the launch and landed on her feet between the feet of the dancers. She danced her way back to the mouse stage, keeping time with the humans and using her father’s bow as a prop. She reached the edge of main stage just above the mouse stage at the last verse of the song and finished her skirt dance as rehearsed.
As the music ended, Tanya bowed deeply. Her corset bit painfully into her hip as she gasped the deepest breath she could. After a moment, Tanya braved a glance up. Her father stared open mouth up at her along with every mouse in the bar. Tanya smiled. No one was sleeping now.
“That, mouses and mousettes, was the world renowned Rosie Pearl!” said Miss Kitty from her place behind the bar. The mice erupted in applause.
Tanya blushed at her stage name. She wasn’t quite used to it, but she did think it rolled off the tongue better than “Tanya Mousekewitz”.
“Oh Tanya,” her father said disapprovingly as she climbed down to the mouse stage.
“What, papa?” she asked. She set her shoulders straight and looked down at him.
He sighed and offered his paws to her to help her down. Tanya acquiesced and primly gripped her father’s arms.
“You must promise you will be careful around humans,” he said as her set her next to him. He placed a soft kiss on her powdered cheek. “You will not always be faster than the humans and I won’t always be around to protect you.”
“Don’t worry,” Tanya said handing over his bow that now wept several stray hairs, “everything worked out perfectly.”
She walked to the bar, forcing her father to follow. Miss Kitty winked at her and passed her a thimble of amber beer.
“And what is wrong with the name of ‘Mousekewitz’? It’s an honorable name,” her father said, catching up.
“Miss Kitty,” Tanya said not looking at her father, “could you explain show business to him?”
Miss Kitty just laughed as she cleaned a bottle cap. She shook her head and said, “My days of show business are far behind me. There’s no place for showcats out here in mouse-country.”
“Tanya,” Papa said, “I worry about you.”
Tanya took a long gulp of her beer and leveled a gaze at her father. “Don’t worry about me,” she set the empty thimble on the bar, “I know exactly what I’m going to do with my life. You should worry about Fievel. When’s the last time anyone has seen him anyway?” It was a low blow. She felt gutted to mention it especially in front of Miss Kitty who still mourned the loss of Tiger, but she knew she was right. Her life was in her hands and she knew exactly where she was going. Out of Green River.
Papa reached for his own beer and gave her a shrug so large that Tanya felt her own shoulders rising in imitation. “Oh, you know Fievel. He goes missing from time to time. At first, it was world shattering but now,” he drank deeply, “Well, Fievel always comes out okay, right?”
It was the answer she was waiting for. Tanya smiled at her father and said, “Exactly and so will I.” She patted him on the shoulder and left him to his beer. Tanya nodded her thanks to Miss Kitty and then she was out in the crisp night air.
Funny how it was always so cold on desert nights. She wrapped a shawl around her fur shoulders and made her way down main street. She thought of nothing except for getting out of her corset, when a large brown tail with a white tufted end fell solidly in her path. Tanya looked up into the gloom of the alleyway and almost screamed before she was snatched up, a paw over her mouth.
“Please, Diva,” Cat R. Waul said, “don’t scream.”
Next time on An American Tail: Fievel Goes Dark
The wind screamed across the desert. The mouse made his way slowly across the sand to the distant mountains. The copper star he wore, nearly as big as him, had a tendency to blind him when the sun caught it just right. His left ear was a mess of shredded fur and flesh.
As tired as Fievel felt, he felt a responsibility to that star. He didn’t stop.
His mouth was cotton dry but still he repeated one name over and over.
“Tiger, Tiger, Tiger…”