Sometimes stories just seem to clump together.
I came home one night last week to the sounds of an animated conversation in the basement. Usually at this time of the night my lovely wife is either asleep or reading in bed, the house is quiet. I went downstairs and before I could say a word I was told that I just missed Fredric.
Ok, so they are screwing with me by baiting a conversational hook and hoping I would bite. That’s cool I will play their silly game.
I ask, “Who is Fredric?”
“That’s the name I gave the mouse”
This game is familiar. I know that I will have to ask lots and lots of questions to get anywhere.
So I ask the obvious question.
“Ok, where is Fredric right now?”
“Oh, he is someplace in the back yard, I put him back there after Willow brought him in the house”
Willow is one of our cats. She isn’t a real hunter because she doesn’t eat the things she catches. In fact she doesn’t even hurt what she catches; she just likes to play with them. They are her friends. To my lovely wife, this fact is somehow endearing and repulsive at the same time.
So I now have all I need to know, no further questions are needed. I am also sure that my son would like this game to continue so I offer up the obvious. “You know that Fredric will be back”
“Yea, he is so cute. You should see him”
I am sure I will.
That weekend I went to see the movie “The book of Eli” with my eldest son. In one of the beginning scenes Eli shoots a cat with arrow for food. Later Eli is sitting in a little concrete shelter cooking up the cat, he hears a mouse. “Hey mouse, are you hungry? You have to get closer to have a snack. You will like this, it’s cat”
The next day I come home from work and find a clear plastic container in the middle of the living room, next to the fish tank. Inside is a cute little mouse. I assume it is Fredric. My lovely wife hears me come home and she greets me at the top of the stairs.
“So did you meet Fredric?” She says, some what sarcastically.
My son comes around the corner and says, “Isn’t he cute?”
This is the perfect time for a great big I told you so. But I don’t use it. I figure it would be fun to start a conversation even though it isn’t really necessary, I already know the outcome.
“So what would you like me to do with the mouse?”
My wife knows exactly what she wants me to do with it, and what I want to do with it.
I know exactly what she wants me to do with it, without asking, but we have to go through this dance anyway.
My son has other ideas, but he knows that he is moving back to college and can’t have a pet in the dorms.
My lovely wife says, “What do you think we should do with it?”
My response is automatic, “Kill it, it’s a pest”.
“Oh no, couldn’t you just take it out someplace and let it go, you know down the block or something?” Yea, sure that’s a great idea.
This is one of the times where it’s best not to argue. Sure I could say I took it up the block and set it free then kill it anyway, but she would somehow know. As tempting as that is, I just can’t lie to her. So I took Fredric in his little plastic box out to the car and we drove up the block to the corner of the street. I opened the car door set the box down and opened the lid.
Fredric took off like a cruise missile. He went down the street straight for our house. It was so dark outside that I lost sight of him quickly. Damn, I turned the car around and headed back home, hoping to catch sight of Fredric running down the street. No such luck.
It’s been a few days and as far as I know Fredric hasn’t made an appearance. It could be that another cat in our neighborhood found him before he made it home.
The next morning I am driving to work and listening to NPR on the radio. I would like to know how NPR selects the stories that they believe to be important enough to air. I figure it is either completely random or it involves some scary math and psychology. Just after an update on the earth quake in Haiti they went on to a story about sexual competition among mice.
I turned the volume up.
Apparently mice are promiscuous, who would have thought? Anyway, the biologist that was being interviewed was doing research on mice to determine how competition and mice sperm interact inside a single female mouse. She found that mouse sperm clumps together in a collaborative effort. It seems that clumped sperm swim faster than lone sperm. Collaboration over competition was her theory. To prove this she did an experiment where she took a sample of mouse sperm from one mouse and dyed it red. Then took a sample from another lucky mouse and dyed it green. She mixed the two together and noticed that the red sperm clumped only with other red sperm and green with green.
I am glad that NPR covers stories like this, it makes one think. Shows like this feed the imagination.
It also brings up a lot of questions. The most obvious one is how did she get mouse sperm samples? Was mouse porn involved? Were the guinea pigs jealous? Where is Mike Rowe? Does Minnie know about this?
I now know where to send Fredric if Willow brings him home again.