I was sitting in my particularly special recliner one afternoon, having finished my writing on a particularly strong intellectual subject, and I was now reading a particularly fascinating book titled UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens: What Science Says by Donald R. Prothero and Timothy D. Callahan, when a mouse sauntered across the living room floor.
A mouse! In summer! A mouse! I watched it leisurely stroll under the couch.
Call my wife! the Beautiful AP! call my wife! of course, of course, at the library where she works. So I called. I must have misdialed the number. “I am sorry, this is not a working number!” said the operator-voice. Crap! I dialed again.
“Rockville Centre Public Library, please hold (click, then music).”
A mouse! In summer! And I have to wait to talk to a librarian?
“Hello, Rockville Centre Public Library,” said a voice that I thought was my wife’s.
“We’ve got a mouse,” I said.
“A mouse! A mouse! He just ambled across the living room floor! What should I do?”
“Who is this?” asked the voice that I now realized was not my wife.
“Sorry, sorry, can I speak to the Beauti – I mean Alene,” I said.
“Maybe I can help you,” said the voice.
“No, no, we’ve got a mouse and I have to talk to my wife.”
“Who is your wife?” asked the voice. “Why don’t you call her?”
“Alene, Alene,” I said. “Alene! Alene! She works there.”
“And you are?”
“Her husband!” I said, “Her husband!” I realized now that I didn’t recognize this voice so it must be someone new. Most of the librarians know me, especially Amy.
“Hold on a moment and I’ll look for her (click, music).”
Four years later, the phone picks up, “Alene speaking.”
“Mice! We’ve got mice!” I said.
“How do you know? You heard them in the attic?”
“No, no, one walked right across the living floor! He saw me and didn’t care; he just kept going.”
“Under the couch!” I said.
“Call the exterminator,” she said calmly.
“Oh, yeah, yeah, right, right,” I said.
“How big was it?” she asked.
(The size of an African elephant. Huge. A true killer!)
“Small, baby size.”
“Well, call the exterminator,” she said.
“Yes, yes…oh, crap!”
“There’s one over there at the sliding doors, a different one,” I said.
“You sure this is a different one?”
“Yeah, yeah, this one looks sickly,” I said. “We’re being invaded—in summer no less!”
“Don’t panic,” she said.
“I’m not panicking! I’m not panicking!”
“Okay, how big is this one?” she asked.
“Small. Another baby,” I said.
“Can you catch it and throw it outside?”
“You kidding? With what? With what? I’m not touching it.”
“The net you use for your fish tanks,” she said. “Trap it in there and throw it out so we don’t kill it.”
“It’s a damn mouse!”
“I don’t want to kill it if we don’t have to.”
“Didn’t the Japanese kill Godzilla!?”
“What? What are you talking about?” she said.
“Never mind, never mind. I’ll figure it out, somehow,” I said.
“Use the net you use for your fish,” she repeated. “You won’t have trouble if it is sickly.”
“Then my net gets all sickly-shit on it,” I said. “What then?”
“You clean the net afterwards.”
“Oh, yeah, right, I’ll clean it.”
“And call the exterminator,” she said. “I’ve got to go. I have a patron at the desk.”
“But the mice….”
She hung up.
I got my fish net and cautiously approached Godzilla. I caught him and he struggled a bit but I opened the sliding doors to our deck and catapulted him out of the net. He hit the wood and slowly walked towards the back of the deck. I closed the doors quickly. He fell off the deck onto grass.
But that first one, that casual elephantine one was probably still under the couch.
I called the exterminator. He couldn’t come right away. What was I paying this company about four-trillion-dollars a year if they couldn’t come when I called…when I was in great danger from a massive, monstrous mouse invasion?
That night I kept every light on in the house because mice seem to prefer the dark and I hoped this monster would stay out of sight if my house were super-illuminated. But I wasn’t taking any chances.
No, no. I sat in my recliner, holding my fishing net, keeping watch in the harsh glow of all the lights, prepared to stay up all night just in case a monstrous mouse again sauntered across my living room floor. But then, my wife pried the fish net out of my hands and escorted me to bed, reassuring me the whole way. I drifted off to sleep thinking it’s great to have a good spouse when you have a horrifying mouse.
Frank’s latest books are Confessions of a Wayward Catholic!; I Am a Dice Controller and I Am a Card Counter. All of Frank’s books are available from Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, e-books and at bookstores.