|This week Jinny’s article will be written by her daughter, Adele Anderson.
The other night, my son, Chuck, and I, found ourselves battling the forces of predators and elusive prey at the unnatural time of 12:30AM. It all started when I was awakened by Chuck throwing on the light in my bedroom and shaking me vigorously. Thinking some horrible disaster had occurred, I jumped out of bed, primed and ready for action.
“What happened?” I asked, expecting the worst.
“One of the cats got a mouse!” answered Chuck excitedly.
Ok. I wasn’t expecting that. It took a moment for this news to be assimilated into my sleep fogged brain.
“Let me see if I understand this.” I said slowly. “You came in here yelling and shaking me like a terrier with a rat because one of the cats caught a mouse?” I had to be certain that this just wasn’t some bizarre dream I was having. “How do you know this?” I asked him suspiciously.
“I woke up because the mouse was squeaking really loud.” He told me.
I have to tell you, when Chuck is sound asleep, a Sherman tank could roll into the kitchen in full throttle with guns blazing and he wouldn’t wake up. I have often found this to be a little unsettling since I worry that he wouldn’t hear a fire alarm. Yet, somehow, he had been awakened by the frantic squeaking of a tiny field mouse. I had a little trouble wrapping my mind around that.
“So you felt that it was appropriate to sound the alarm with such enthusiasm that I jump out of bed ready to take on invading Mongol hordes?” I inquired.
Chuck took a moment to look at me critically. “If Mongol hordes were attacking you’d be taking them on in your pink plaid jammies,” he said sarcastically.
“Don’t let the pink fool you, smart guy.” I said haughtily. “How do you know that this isn’t the tartan of a warrior clan?”
“Mom, that’s the tartan Barbie wore when she went to a sorority dance in Scotland.” He sneered.
“If we didn’t have a mouse to liberate from certain death right now I’d show just how brutal Barbie can be” I told him threateningly. “Now, where is this extraordinarily vocal mouse?”
It turned out that my female cat, Belle, had the hapless rodent cornered behind the couch. I deduced this from the fact that she was hunched at the end of the couch like a lioness about to spring on an antelope with her tail snapping back and forth like a whip. I told Chuck to round up the two felines and shut them in the bathroom. He complied, although I could tell that he had some concerns that Belle might resist strenuously since he carried her arms length with extreme caution. While he did that, I fetched a box and a broom. When he came back, he was wearing his nightshirt, boxer shorts, and sneakers, and carrying his plastic Star Wars blaster rifle.
“You plan on disintegrating the mouse or just annoying him out of hiding with the obnoxious noise that thing makes?” I asked him.
“It just so happens that this blaster has a light in the scope.” He replied smugly.
“How handy.” I responded. “Point that thing behind the couch and spotlight our victim.”
Chuck lay on his stomach and pointed the light behind the couch. “Intruder located.” He reported.
“Good. Take your position at the end and prepare to entrap the enemy in the box while I overturn the couch.” I ordered.
I heaved over the couch and Chuck went to snap the box over the rodent. Low and behold, the little wretch was gone.
“Good Lord!” I exclaimed in horror.
“What is it?” Chuck asked. “Is it dead, or squished like a mouse pancake?”
“How do I know?” I answered. “That mouse can move faster than the speed of light. I’m talking about all the junk you managed to accumulate under this couch!” I was mortified.
“Pick it up right now!”
“Mom, you seem to have forgotten about our little uninvited rodent problem” He reminded me. “Right now Mighty Mouse is probably wreaking havoc somewhere in the house.”
“Forget the mouse.” I said. “Even if he’s the mascot mouse of the Mongol hordes he couldn’t possibly wreak the havoc you have under this couch! We’re picking it up before I put this back.”
“Just Great.” He mumbled. “Only you would want to pause for housekeeping chores in the middle of a crisis.”
He picked up the junk and we heaved the couch back against the wall. Chuck suggested that the mouse may have wisely fled to the cellar, the door of which had been diabolically opened by one of our alarmingly agile cats. I pointed out that the average mouse had a brain the size of a bread crumb, so assuming that it would do something intelligent wasn’t a good bet. We pondered the problem for awhile until I had a flash of inspirational brilliance.
“Charles,” I said in my best British accent, “loose the hounds!”
Chuck went and opened the door to the bathroom. The two cats bolted out like thoroughbreds at a starting gate. Belle immediately headed for the couch, the last known location of her victim. Bear, our male cat, sprang in the opposite direction. If I didn’t know better, I would swear that the two of them had been engaged in strategy planning in the bathroom.
Eventually, they tracked the mouse to his current hiding place behind the Grandfather Clock. Tales whipping, they positioned themselves to wait him out. We hauled them away and put them back in the bathroom. Then Chuck, using the barrel of his handy Star Wars blaster, prodded the pest into the awaiting box on the other side of the clock. We released him outside to enjoy the remaining four weeks of his miserable lifespan as a free mouse.
The cats were angry and not speaking to us as I tucked Chuck into bed for the second time that night.
“Mission accomplished!” I told him. “The great mouse invasion has been averted.”
“Yeah.” He agreed. “Unless he had a girlfriend we missed.”
I went to bed hoping fervently that he was the kind of rat who couldn’t get a date.