I'm participating in Friday Fiction today because I've been crying a little too much lately, due to missing the ACFW conference this weekend, and I needed a good laugh. Just thinking back on this event accomplishes that. This story is both fiction and non-fiction. Because it's based on a true story (a few minor facts fictionalized), feel free to mock me, accordingly. My family hasn't let me live it down yet, so believe me, I'm used to it.
This was actually the last FaithWriters Writing Challenge entry I submitted, in July, 2009 (has it really been that long since I've entered? Wow.)
Anyway, hope it makes you chuckle.
THE SUMMERTIME EINSTEIN ESCAPADE
There was a mouse in my basement. Nasty little thing with big beady eyes and a tail as long as an extension cord. But by the time I yelled—some might say screamed hysterically—for my husband, the sneaky rodent had disappeared. My husband, bless his heart, knows how terrified I am of mice, bugs, and anything else that magically appears when the temperature rises above fifty degrees. Because hubby loves me—and prefers a happy wife—he searched for the mouse for two straight hours.
To no avail.
Honestly, if it were up to me, I’d live at the North Pole—a constant winter wonderland—with Santa and all his elves. I’ll bet they don’t have spiders crawling on their tool benches and mice hiding in their toy boxes. Unfortunately, my husband and kids love summertime and all of the icky things that come with it.
Nut cases. All of them.
I slept with one eye open all night, and my husband offered some help before leaving for work in the morning.
“Here,” he said, shoving a broom into my hand. “If you see the mouse again, smack him with this.”
I looked at the broom with skepticism. “This won’t work. Mice can squeeze through the tiniest cracks and crevasses. He’ll slip right through these whisks.”
“But you’ll feel better with some sort of weapon.” He winked and kissed me goodbye.
“Mom, all my jeans are dirty. Can you do a load of laundry?” My son called over his shoulder as he left for school.
Laundry? That meant going into the basement.
Well, a mother’s gotta do what a mother’s gotta do.
Armed with my broom, I carefully made my way down the stairs, ever watchful for the slightest movement or flash of tail. By the time I reached the laundry room, my armpits were damp. If I weren’t in such a hurry, I’d have thrown it in the wash along with the denim. But no time for that.
Setting the broom on the dryer, I hurried through the pile of laundry, praying I wouldn’t touch something furry.
A noise from behind startled me. I stopped, hand mid-air, to listen. It sounded like someone was scratching a plastic bag. Feeling brave, I cast a look over my shoulder. There was a shelf along the wall, with four hooks lined up underneath. On one of the hooks, hung a plastic grocery bag. The crinkling sound continued, and it was coming directly from that bag.
So this is what I figured happened. Einstein, the name I appointed the mouse, was sneaking along that shelf, lost his footing, and fell into the bag. And now he couldn’t get out.
I talked some smack to the bag before leaning against the dryer to slow my speeding heart rate. Now I had a decision to make. I could either wait until my husband got home to take care of Einstein, or I could face my fear and dispose of the mouse myself.
I chewed my lip.
Before I could think too hard about it, I lifted up a silent prayer, grabbed the broom and fed the pole through the bag’s handle. With total concentration, I kept the broom steady so the bag wouldn’t slide off the end. I wasn’t quite ready to die from a heart attack.
I maneuvered the broom up the stairs, out the door, and through the garage. My hand trembled slightly but the bag stayed put. By the time I reached the driveway, my armpits weren’t just damp, they were soaked. But I did it!
Here was my plan: I would count to three, drop the bag and start pounding the mouse like crazy. Sounds brutal, I know. The Animal Rights Activists would gasp in horror. But set it free so it could make its way back inside my house? Don't think so.
I mentally prepared myself.
Pound! Pound! Pound!
Did I smush him?
Tentatively, I poked the bag. Standing as far away as possible, I lifted a corner of the bag with the broom and looked inside.
Something was making its way out! I held my breath.
I squinted. Huh?
A clearly disoriented cricket hobbled out of the bag.
I let out the breath I was holding. Quickly, I looked around the neighborhood to see if anyone had witnessed my insanity. A couple of curtains moved, evidence that I had an audience.
I looked down at the bug and shuddered. Yep, summer was way overrated.
*Based on a true story. Only in the real version, I called my brother and his girlfriend and begged them to come over and help me dispose of the "mouse." Bless their hearts, they came to my rescue and witnessed the whole thing, much to my embarassment.