To catch a mouse
Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2008 9:16 pm
By: By Lisa
A new family member has moved into our home. Small. Sneaky. Clever. He fits in perfectly with our two boys who have been known to be both sneaky and clever. I first met this little intruder when he ran into the pantry one day. The click-click of his little paws on the tile and the swoosh of his speedy retreat caught my attention. While he was rather quiet, I’m sure folks in neighboring counties heard my declaration, “AUGH!! It’s a ... a ... mouse! Oh my word, get that mouse!” And of course, like mice always do, he vanished into thin air as quickly as he had come.
I’m afraid of mice. Deathly afraid of mice. I’m not afraid of flying or trying new foods or meeting people. I’m afraid of small creatures who make clicking sounds on tile. Beady little eyes. Long skinny tails. Hairy little bodies. Real mice are nothing like Mickey Mouse or Jerry from “Tom and Jerry.” No. They’re devious-looking little creatures with devious little plans for destruction and contamination. A few days passed after the first sighting. I started feeling confident. The loud scream of a big middle-aged woman had clearly scared him into exile. But I was wrong.
While stepping out of the shower one day, I heard that ever-daunting click-click on the bathroom linoleum and saw that rascal run from our bathroom closet into the bedroom. Now he was in our bedroom. A mouse. A mouse where we sleep every night. My husband assured me not to worry. While I was on a speaking trip for several days, he would catch and deal with the intruder. Enter our younger son. Jonathan is an animal lover. I don’t mean a cat lover or a dog lover. I mean an “all animal” lover. He rescues moles from our outdoor cat. He cried when the baby birds on the front porch died. He loves lizards and bugs and slugs and yes ... even mice. Jonathan convinced his dad to buy the traps which actually keep the mice alive. We all agreed. The question? What would we do with an incarcerated mouse? What is the rightful punishment for having a long skinny tail, beady little eyes and devious plans to overthrow a nuclear family?
I returned from the trip and asked about the status of our “little visitor.” The live traps had been carefully placed near the pantry and in the bathroom, but no mouse had visited. When I settled into bed that night, I started hearing noises. Clicking noises. Swooshing noises. I could feel beady little eyes staring at me, even though it was pitch dark. Every time Philip moved the covers, I envisioned a mouse peering over the patchwork quilt ready to pounce on the woman who had robbed him of his hearing on that fateful day in the kitchen. Then it happened. The mouse started growing in size. Large, pointy teeth. Claws the size of a man’s fist. And he no longer seemed like a scared little creature. No. He was intent on a full-fledged attack. In reality, I wasn’t attacked by a mouse that night; the mouse hasn’t been seen in quite a while. I was attacked by the things that live in my imagination. But I’m still for leaving the light on. Everyone knows that even imaginary things are scarier in the dark.
Editor’s note: Lisa Smartt’s column appears each Wednesday in the Friends and Neighbors section of The Messenger. Mrs. Smartt is the wife of Philip Smartt, the University of Tennessee at Martin parks and recreation and forestry professor, and is mother to two boys, Stephen and Jonathan. She is a freelance writer and speaker. Her book “The Smartt View: Life, Love, and Cluttered Closets” is available at The Messenger, The University of Tennessee at Martin bookstore or by mail for $10, plus $2 shipping. Send checks to Lisa Smartt, 300 Parrott Road, Dresden TN 38225. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 10.01.08
Lisa Smartt, The Smartt View