We were just stepping inside the kitchen from the garage, having returned from a visit to my doctor, when just from the corner of my eye I thought I saw something skittering across the kitchen floor. I was unsure if I really saw something or if I was hallucinating, being still somewhat sedated from that earlier encounter with my doctor. Mary saw nothing since she was behind me. Then suddenly it happened again. On the one hand I was relieved that I wasn’t hallucinating, but on the other hand I was pissed off that now I would have to hunt down that intrepid little mouse who dared to invade my home.
But first I had to deal with Mary. I knew what her reaction would be to having a mouse as a house pet, so I adopted my calmest, most zenlike state of enlightenment, softened my voice to nearly a whisper, and prayed that the expected seismic disturbance wouldn’t drain the lake.
“Uh, dear, I think we have a visitor sharing sharing the warmth of our home.” I broke the news to her as gently as possible.
“ What do you mean, a visitor?” She was giving me only half of her attention, thinking that I meant a big fly or a moth or some other winged nuisance that had managed to survive the cold outside and had found a way into the warmth of our house.
“What? What do you mean?” she repeated, a note of apprehension in her voice.
“It’s actually a mouse. I just saw him again in the kitchen.” It felt so good to have some important, consequence laden, honest news to lay in her lap that I wasn’t involved in or responsible for. I didn’t have to lie at all.
Her brain hadn’t quite kicked in yet to the possibility of the visitor being, in fact ,a “critter” from outdoors who managed to to get itself indoors where it could cause all kinds of problems, not the least of which was eating everything in sight and leaving the resultant excremental evidence of its comings and goings. The idea that a wild thing that is usually found only outside, was in fact, inside, was gradually beginning to snap those brain synapses that deal with mice into place.
“I mean, I just saw a little bitty mouse scoot across the kitchen and head into the dining room.” I stayed calm and undisturbed, hoping she would feed off my calm and not go ballistic upon hearing the news. “ Don’t worry. He’s harmless. The poor little thing is more scared of you than you are of him.”
Then, despite all my prayers and hopes that she would simply delegate the job of evicting our own Mickey to me, the feared eruption began, not with any kind of preliminary huffing and puffing, but with full blown fear and indignation.
“Eeeeek!!!” She exploded. (her screams did actually sound like eeeeek) “You get that thing out of here right now.” She nearly choked on the words as she leaped up onto the nearest chair. “How can you be so calm!?” She acted as if I had personally gone out and recruited a suicidal mouse to live with us for the evening. “ I am not going to live in this place unless you get rid of him. Now! I’m staying in a motel as long as that rodent is in here,” she hysterically informed me. “What if there’s more than one? What if he gets in my bed ? (notice she didn’t say our bed. That’s when I knew I was in deep mousey dodo) “How did he get in here? You must have left the door open like you always do. “ (Notice how it is becoming all my fault.) “You have to do something or I’m moving out! “ I was going to offer to pack her bags, but reasoned that that would only make it worse.
And wouldn’t you know it, just then little Mick decided to make a run for it. He careened full speed around the corner from the livingroom and made a mad dash for the basement stairs, squeessing his tiny tush under the closed door and disappearing as quickly as he had arrived.
That’s when Mary finally calmed down enough to realize that this wasn’t the end of civilization as we know it. As long as she was reasonably certain that the cute little adventurer would remain downstairs and not violate the upstairs/downstairs boundary, she would be content to wait until morning for my mandated killing rampage to begin.
You will have to wait to learn the outcome of my battle with the mouse that nearly brought us to the brink of insanity. If you don’t hear from me again you can assume the worst. Getting fitted for your mouse ears at that point might be a good idea.