The mice in the attic, aflutter with business of their own, have no inclination to consider Granddad's advice for a happier life. He reminds the mice that they have parasites and carry disease, and that they often traipse through rotten places tracking excrement on tiny paws across the kitchen floor. They squeak. They scurry through the pantry, dig into the walls and chew holes in boxes full of keepsakes and photographs and scarves from Grandma's years in Manila.
Coconut hair and shredded palm leaf must make a better nest than last year's credit card bills and a mound of dust filled with mites and dead skin over Granddad's framed photograph of Grandma's years in Manila. Hardened vermicelli and dried bread sopped in dishwater behind the garbage can't warm the palate the way fresh pineapple and berries do. To the objection of the owls and hawks and snakes that circle the yard for an unwitting mouse to make a run from the barn to the garage, he mentions a secret island covered with Gouda and Cheddar, morsels he will put there himself on boats of provolone, the perfect place to raise a family, not merely existing in the shadows of greater mammals, vicariously living through photographs of Grandma's sultry three years in Manila before she met Granddad, not giving occasion to rummage through old boxes to clean out the mouse's mess, but breathing fresh air, a free mouse, free from the cathouse.