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Not normally a subject one would choose to launch themselves out into the writing world, you say.  True.  Then again, what is an appropriate subject?  How does that get chosen?  By whom?  And, ultimately, does it matter?  Evidently not (at least to me) as this is the topic I am writing about.

***

It was a dark and stormy night.  (It really was.)  Gavin and Godfry were out.  We had just moved into our house and I decided to stay and continue unpacking.  Finding spots for books, antiques, candle holders–I was in my element.  What art goes where?  I get to decide.

I walk down into the basement and turn left.  I see Cat (the name of our cat) sitting on the floor near a stack of boxes looking up.  I follow his gaze and see it.  A brown mouse sits on the top box.  I'm surprised by how big and black its eyes are.  I stand there for a minute.  If I make a sudden move, the mouse will jump off the box, followed by Cat and I will likely not like what comes next.  On the other hand, if I don't move, it may still jump off and start running.  Cat is not moving.  The mouse is still.  I decide to slowly back up and walk up the basement stairs and find a place to hide.

I get upstairs, find a phone and quickly call Gavin.

"Get home now," I say.

"Why?"

"Just do.  There's a mouse in the basement and Cat is going to kill it."

"Good.  Let it.  That's what cats do."

He is so not helpful at times.  I clearly need to beg.

"Please.  Can you just come home?  I don't want to be here alone when Cat starts running after it.  Oh my God.  I hear them!"

I do.  I hear Cat's feet thumping on the basement stairs and I know it's only a matter of time before...before what?  He kills it and brings it to me as an offering?  He's done that before.  I know I'm meant to gush over the "gift" as I didn't do in the past.  I had not seen the dead mouse Cat had been carrying in its mouth, dropping it by my feet as I sat at my desk working.  Cat kept meowing and I would snap back,

"Go get the boy to feed you," not realizing he was offering me his prized possession.

Only when I had walked down the stairs to find him sitting on the very bottom step looking up at me coming towards him, annoyed he's blocking me, did I see the dead thing on the step right where my foot would have landed.  This scene goes through my head as I frantically run through the house (who runs faster, a human or a mouse chased by a cat?) looking for a place to hide.  I find it.  The door to the foyer is glass and if necessary I can escape through the front door, down the steps into the dark and stormy night.

I go into the foyer, standing and listening.  I see Cat come around the corner from the kitchen into the dining room, a blur of black running in front of him.  It is at this point where I realize there's a gap between the door and the floor and the mouse, should he see it, could easily come into the foyer.  This won't do.  Before I get caught in a foyer with a cat on one side of the door and a mouse standing near me for protection, I open the front door, slam it shut and go out into the rain.

I still have the phone so I call Gavin again.

"I'm outside!  The mouse came into the foyer."

"What were you doing in the foyer?"

"Hiding!"

Is this man dense?

"Please, please come home.  I need you to get rid of that mouse."

"OK.  We're almost there.  Go stand under the tree house."

Good idea.  I do.

Soon, I see the headlights of the car coming up the drive way.  Gavin pulls up, gets out of the car, followed by a too excited Godfry who clearly can't wait to see what Cat has done.

"Just stay here," Gavin says.  I don't argue with this.  I'm not going there.

In less than five minutes, Gavin comes back out to the tree house.

"Did you kill it?"  I ask, standing under the tree house, shivering.

"No."

"Why?"  I clearly don't understand.

"I didn't need to."

Oh, I get it now.  Cat did get to it.

"So, Cat killed it?"

Gavin smiles.

"No."

"But, it's dead?"

"Yup."

"How did it die?"

"You don't want to know."

"Yes, I do!"

"Baby, it's dead.  Just let it go."

"No, I really want to know how it died."

By now, Godfry is also outside, grinning like he did something I will never know about.

"Stella, it's OK.  You can come back in now."  (He calls Gavin and me by our first names.  Don't ask.  “Mommy” and “Daddy” just never stuck.)

"No!  I want to know!  How did that mouse die?"  Then it dawns on me.

"Oh my God.  No way.  No way !"

Gavin and Godfry both grin wider.

"Oooooh.  Was it all squished?"

"Not really," Gavin replies.  "More like, two separate pieces."

"Oh my God.  That's disgusting!"

In that split second where the mouse ran into the foyer and I out the front door, the mouse evidently followed me, but having the uber-quick reflexes that I do, I slammed the door on it, neatly decapitating it.  Had I been asked to repeat the act, there's no way in hell I would have gotten the timing right.

We all go back inside and I peak into the foyer expecting to see mouse blood splattered over the walls.  Cat is clearly angry, stalking some imaginary creature through the house, stopping in front of the now closed foyer door sniffing the gap between the door and the floor.  I feel horrible for killing an innocent creature that I'm sure carried numerous diseases (the plague!)—not—but am some how more angry at the lack of sympathy offered up by Gavin and Godfry.  Godfry is going around the house making blood gushing noises, slicing his head off with his finger a line across his neck and Gavin is laughing saying, "Don't let Stella see you do that!"

Clearly, this is the last time I will stay home alone on a dark and stormy night.



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