13 April 2016

Mouse versus humans


I have a cat who likes to catch small animals and large insects and then bring them into the house to play and share with us. Tonight he struck gold.

So I’m sitting down for dinner with my parents when our cat begins fumbling around in the entry, a telltale sign that he has prey. Abandoning our spaghetti, we pull aside a table to reveal a sweet gray mouse quivering behind an empty box.

I shoo away the cat to avoid further trauma to the mouse. My parents, oddly fearful considering the critter’s size, begin debating the most effective way to remove it.

“Get the cat, let him catch it,” says my bloodthirsty father.
“No, he’ll kill it!” my mother objects.
“That’s the point!”

Finally, my mother and I coordinate with strategically placed boxes to capture our uninvited guest. It runs beneath her box, and she scoops it up. We peer inside. The box is empty.

I turn to my father and see his panic setting in. “Are you kidding me?” he shouts, irritated.

We continue searching in bewilderment, dinner forgotten, but the mouse is nowhere to be found. My parents turn over two sofas and an armchair. They toss the cushions onto the floor. They shine flashlights into dark corners. They empty the shoe rack and peer into every single shoe.

At this point, I’ve grown bored of searching. I’ve had pet hamsters and rats, so I’m not concerned about a single scared rodent. Instead, I return to the dining room and observe my parents over my plate of spaghetti.

My father peers around and lifts a box. Suddenly he screams and drops it, leaping six inches into the air, his voice pitched higher than I’ve ever heard it, “SHIT OH MY GOD.” He stumbles backward, his eyes wide. The mouse, mirroring him, jumps about and throws itself against the wall, then disappears again.

My mother and I gape. Then we crumple into uncontrollable laughter. Now too wary of the mouse to continue searching, my father barks orders at my mother as she continues alone, still giggling.

“Where is my dress shoe?” he demands.
“It’s right here, honey, don’t worry.”
“And the sock, my sock’s in it.”
“The mouse ate it,” she snaps, exasperated.

In the end, the mouse was never found. The clever thing escaped despite the best efforts of three humans and a cat. She’s going to be alright.