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Thrice Mice

Tags: humor, musing

Some twenty plus years ago, I was standing on the tee ready to hit at a charity golf tournament when a commotion behind me caught my attention. A small feral kitten, probably less than a couple of weeks old had run out of the bushes and been run over by a golf cart.

After the obligatory "Oh gosh" comments, they picked it up and tossed it back into the bushes. I could see it crawling and staggering around until it made its way along the edge of the bushes and finally collapsed at the base of a parking bollard.

I had already teed my ball up to hit it, and everyone was yelling at me to play, so I walked over and took my stance. I was going to bomb a 300+ yard drive down the fairway and relish the usual "oooohs and aaaaahs" I was used to. But I didn't.

I just said "sorry guys" and walked away leaving my ball on the tee. I picked up the kitten and hustled to my car. I drove the 40 minutes back to my town and rushed him into my vet. After about an hour of medical magic she came out holding the kitten and said other than sore and bruised and fleas he was fine. Evidently he was so young that his bones were still soft enough not to break.

A longer story shortened, I brought that cat home, named him "Putter", and for the next 17 years he was the king of the house. My two small dogs raised him and between the three of them, a turtle, a rabbit, two parakeets and a 3-legged raccoon who visited occasionally, my ass was pretty well held in servitude.

I know.. mice.. I'm getting there.. so along with various birds and lizards, Putter loved to bless us with the occasional mouse. On this one occasion while the wife and I were lying in bed watching TV, he comes running in and jumps up on the end of the bed with a squirming mouse in his mouth. Which he then drops and runs off.

It bounces once and runs up the blanket and under the sheets. The wife yelps and starts to laugh as I feel it trying to burrow under me. I start laughing and reach down and grab it. I can only imagine the thoughts going through its head. One minute I'm in the garden feasting on escargot and the next minute I'm playing tag on 600 thread count sheets. I carried him back to the garden and let him go.

Maybe two months later, I'm awakened at 2:30 in the morning by rustling on the floor at the foot of my bed. I sit up and look down and I can see Putter playing and rolling around. I yell at him and he jumps up and runs out of the room. He runs into the hallway and the mouse runs into the bathroom. Are you kidding me!!

I can't leave a mouse running around the house so I go into the bathroom and close the door. I find him behind the trashcan next to the toilet. I reach for him but he starts running all over the place while I grab air. The little guy was greased lightning.

It's 2:30 in the morning, middle of summer, hot as hell and I am not even as good a hunter as my cat. The mouse runs up the edge of my shower door and crawls into the overhead track. Nothing I do will make him come out. So being an intelligent man I speak in a firm voice to the mouse, "I bet if I slam this door on your ass you'll come out!"

So you guessed it. I begin taking my door assembly apart. I lift the framed glass doors out of the tracks. Stack them against the wall. I use the tip of a nail file to unscrew the frame to the top rail. It is also caulked in place so I have to jam my hand upwards to break it free from the wall. Then, "voila!" I'm holding a mouse filled top rail in my hands.

I look down the open end of the rail and he is looking back at me. We both know he has me right where he wants me. So I move the trashcan out and shake the rail until he slides out into it. He hits the bottom, does a half-gainer with a triple twist, and leaps out of the can and I'm grabbing air again.

I'm in the middle of mouse Olympics and I'm coming in last. He runs up the back edge of my vanity, across the marble top, and hides behind the hand lotion in the far corner. I guess he was waiting for the bell to ring before we started round four.

There is a triple mirror in front of me. I'm a grown ass man getting out-smarted by a mouse. I look around the room. My shower is torn apart. Towels are on the floor. Trashcan is tipped over. I'm standing there in pale blue boxers, I have bedhead hair and sweat is rolling down my face. I just shake my head and lean forward with both hands resting on the marble top.

He is peeking around the edge of the lotion at me and I say "Well partner what are we gonna do next?" Not even a second passes and he scurries across the top, crawls up onto the back of my hand and runs up my arm. He crosses my shoulder and hides behind my left ear. He sticks his head out and we are both looking at each other in the mirror. Then like a 6 year old kid I briefly think "Hey.. maybe I can keep him!"

The next thing you know he crawls up on top of my head and sits there. We looked like a totem pole in the mirror. Now it has to be near three o'clock in the morning and I know the wife would want to share this moment with me, so I crack the door and keep whisper shouting her name until she wakes up.

"Come in here! You have to see this!" Soon the door opens and she steps inside. Her eyes focus in the light and she starts looking around. World War Three. Armageddon. Then back to the top of my head. The mouse runs down my head and out to the edge of my shoulder so he can sniff her. He bobs his head a couple of times and then runs back up and sits on my head again.

Now I just figured her silence was due to the magnificence of the moment. But in that moment, as only husbands can do, I had a complete conversation with just her eyes. It went "You woke me up for this?" Then to "Who's going to clean this mess up?" Then finally to "I married a fucking idiot."

She calmly squeezed by me, opened the window and pushed out the screen. I guess I wasn't going to get to keep him. I leaned forward, stuck my head out the window, and the little guy jumped down and ran into the front bushes without ever looking back.

Some years later, the wife has a rather large vegetable garden in the back yard, so she and a friend drove to Half Moon Bay, California to get a bale of straw to put around her plantings. She got home late so we left the bale in the car overnight before pulling it out and disbursing the straw.

Maybe a day or two later we took her car to pick up the kids and go to dinner. I'm driving along on the freeway gabbing with the others and I feel something scrambling up my leg. I jump and stomp my foot hard a couple of times and a mouse plops out and scurries up past the accelerator and into the back of my dash. Of course the others wanted out of the car as soon as possible, but I was a world class mouse tamer by now.

We finally got home and I put a cracker on the seat and we went into the house. After a bit I went back out to check and sure enough there he was. He was one of those true barn mice with the big round Mickey Mouse ears. His ears were almost bigger than his body. I called him Baley in honor of his origin.

Over the next few days we left the car doors open but he wouldn't venture out. I would leave cheese and caps full of water for him each night. He would run up to the window now when I watched him. He actually got into the glove compartment and chewed up the registration into shreds to make a nest. Each morning we would check to make sure the food and water were being touched. They were.

For nearly two weeks he lived in the car. Then one day I had an idea. I opened the door and made a bridge into the bushes with a yardstick. I put cheese and crackers and peanut butter all along the bridge. We never saw him leave but the food and water were no longer being touched at night so we assumed he had moved on.

About a month later I was standing in the driveway talking to my neighbor. He was listening to me but I could see his eyes looking to my right and then down to my feet. He looked up at me and said "There's a mouse by you!"

I looked down and saw those big ears and yelled "Baley!" I reached down and he crawled into my hand like it was the most natural thing in the world to do. He was so skinny and I didn't know how much longer he had, so I took him back into the wife's garden and put him in a nice full tomato plant. My neighbor still talks about that day.

As a final note, all of the animals I've spoken of in this story, with the exception of Kip the turtle, have gone on to animal heaven as it may be. Kip will probably outlive us all.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © 2010-2040 LDJohnson (Dreamcatcher) - All rights reserved, including all copyrights and all other intellectual property rights in the contents hereof.

The contents and composition herein are not to be copied, reproduced, printed, published, posted, displayed, incorporated, stored in or scanned into a retrieval system or database, transmitted, broadcast, bartered or sold, in whole or in part without the prior express written permission of this author.

Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited and will be considered illegally plagiarized and subject to any or all damage claims, and is an infringement of National and International Copyright laws.

This composition may have been inspired by something seen or heard at a time or place heretofore forgotten. In all cases, credit has been attempted to be properly given and when so given, shown as a note or in footnotes. Failure to give proper credit is a mere oversight and/or unknown to this author and not an intentional act.

It is intended to reflect an original work of fiction or based upon personal experiences. Names, characters, places, and descriptions of incidents are products of this author's imagination, fictitiously expressed, personal experience expressed either in detail or loosely referenced, or merely the humble opinion of this author. Any similarities to actual persons or events are coincidental and subject to this author's determination.

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