Stories are sometimes best told in small pieces. The delay between points of comprehension are sometimes amusing, often frustrating and generally worth the wait.
I keep long hours lately. Up early and home late, this makes home life hard, but I am enjoying work so much that it doesn’t seem to mater. My kids are mostly grown and don’t require or desire much interaction, but it does make it hard to have a normal family life. This is especially hard on my lovely wife. I miss much of what happens at home, which is both a blessing and a curse.
There are incidences worth missing. This is one of them.
On a normal weekday night I expect my wife to be down stairs in the basement cuddled up on the couch watching TV with at least one cat physically attached to her side. If she had an exceptionally tough day at work she lay with a good book in bed with two or more cats.
As I walked up to our front door I noticed that my lovely wife was standing at the window watching me approach. Unusual, as I walked up she opened the window and said hello. “Uh… what’s going on?”
She simply said, “There is a Mouse”.
“Right next to your foot”
So I looked down and sure enough there was a small mouse on the ground next to my foot. It was a cute little mouse, brown on its back and white on its face and belly. The mouse was lying on its back with its little feet in the air. It looked like it was resting.
“Ok,” I said “There’s a dead mouse on the ground.” There must be some story behind this so I play stupid and ask, “Are you afraid that the cats will bring it inside and play with it?”
“Oh, that’s already happened”
The plot deepens.
My dream of a drink by the fire-pit was beginning to fade.
I can see now that I won’t get the entire story all at once. I am a bit tired for this kind of game, however, I just got finished teaching a class on loop theory. This fits in perfectly.
“Ok, I’ll throw the mouse away and you can tell me about it.”
While tossing the mouse into the garbage I ask. “Did the cats kill the mouse? It looks to be all in one piece. It’s cute, kind of looks like Stuart Little.”
She thought for a moment and said, “Your son killed it with a speaker, but we weren’t sure it was dead”
“Ok, that clears things up”
Then she turned and went down stairs saying “I have to move the laundry around, I’ll be right back, go wash your hands… yuck-o”
While washing my hands I thought about what questions would shorten this tale. I started thinking, if the mouse was dead, and it made it to where I found it then I have to assume that some attempt was made to throw it in the garbage. Or maybe it somehow got out and died on the way to the drive way. Where did the speaker come in?
I went to my son’s room to get some more information. “So, tell me about the mouse” I asked. “What about it?”
This kind of retort leaves one cold.
My wife came back up stairs and told the story.
I will paraphrase,
We have three cats. They seem to have come to an agreement with each other, if one has a toy the others will let it be unless the toy owner looses control, and then the toy becomes fair game. Once the mouse was free it took off running much to the delight of the other cats. Apparently one of the cats brought in a field mouse and started to play with it. My wife tried to rescue the mouse. Once free the chase was on. Down the stairs they went into the basement after the little mouse. Soon after much commotion our son became involved. Somehow he cornered it and killed it with a speaker.
My son had to interject, “I didn’t mean to kill it with the speaker”
“The mouse scared you and you jumped” my wife offered helpfully.
“I wasn’t scared, but it jumped at me.”
“It went into the corner behind the speaker. I had a pillow case, and I thought I would just pull back the speaker and nab him”
The speakers are the size of a short filing cabinet and about as heavy.
My son went on, “I tilted the speaker towards me and reached down to get him and it lurched at me!”
“So that’s when you smacked poor Stuart with the heavy speaker?”
I figured that would get a good response.
“Don’t call him that! Now I feel sad, poor little Stuart!” My wife goaded.
“No, I jumped back and the speaker fell back, you know it just tilted back to where it was”
“And that’s what killed the Stuart?” I said.
“Yea, apparently he tried to get underneath it before it fell, it pinched his little head”
Poor, poor little Stuart, he volunteered for the mouse equivalent of the Darwin award.
Ok, that’s part of the story. I just had to ask, “How did the mouse get on the front porch?”
“I guess I Dropped it on the way to the garbage can”
Again my lovely wife clarifies the issue from the other room, “It twitched and you jumped, and dropped it”
“At least I didn’t scream like a girl!”
My lovely wife pokes her head into the room and says simply, “I am a girl”
I could see it was time for me to take my leave from this conversation. I went to the garage and poured myself a glass of whiskey with ice, sat down by the fire-pit and drank a toast to poor little Stuart. I am grateful for his sacrifice, this house was getting just a bit to quiet.