During the winter season my cats choose to stay inside away from biting winds and frosty fields. They loll around on our furniture, scratch the couch, chase one another, meow for no reason whatsoever and grow fatter. Big Zekie has recently developed an insatiable curiosity with the closet that houses our stacked washer/dryer unit. About five, or six times a day he feels the urge to walk into the bathroom, paw open the closet door (which creaks like a prop in a haunted house), meow a few times, peer intently into the dark recesses of the closet and then waddle away. I have no idea why he does this. Cats are messed up animals. The good thing about their winter schedule for me is that I don't have to deal with the plethora of animals that they bring into the house during the other three seasons. No scurrying chipmunks, no panicking birds fluttering their wings helplessly against the ceiling and windows and best of all, no carcasses.
The other night I was making a 3 a.m. trip to the loo and out of the corner of my sleep filled, blurry eyeballs I saw a small brown mouse running across the floor.
"Oh Buddy," I said. "You picked the wrong house to break into." As if on cue, Mia came trotting into the bathroom causing the mouse to dart behind the toilet. I ran back to the safe haven of my bed, thinking may the force be with you, little mousie because I'm not in the mood for a search and rescue mission at this hour of the night.
The next next morning I tip toed into the bathroom and saw no sign of the mouse, dead or otherwise. I supposed that maybe he'd gone out the way he came in, therefore escaping a certain deadly ending. As I passed through the doorway into the living room I saw the mouse sitting next to the book case, with Miss Girl sitting NEXT to him and Marbles eyeing him greedily from across the room. The clock was ticking and I knew I had to act fast. Grabbing a red Solo cup (thank you Toby Keith for forever planting your song in my head) I swiftly scooped the mouse up and covered the top with a cd case. Remember I've been catching mice, moles, chipmunks, etc. for years now. I should host classes on this shit.
Opening the door, I felt a wave of guilt over putting the mouse out in the cold, but there was no alternative for him. He had to go out, or face the fangs and claws of four bored felines. I set the cup down, fully expecting the mouse to dart away, but instead he came part way out, stopped and repeatedly rubbed his mouth with his hands. And then he turned in circles to the right like a shopping cart with a sticky wheel. It was then that I noticed the small wound on the top of his head. One of the stupid cats had performed some kind of brain experiment on him. I could just imagine the conversation:
Mia: Hey Marbles, have you ever pierced the frontal lobe with one claw to see what would happen?
Marbles: No, but that's a brilliant idea! Let me go pick the furniture for a minute so my claws are good and sharp. Be right back.
Well, the damage was done and he didn't look to be suffering so I brought him a small hunk of cheddar and left him preening and circling in the red cup. Throughout the morning I checked on him several times. No real changes to report. Just hanging out in the cup, and he didn't touch the cheese. The cats had turned him into a mentally impaired mouse who needed to go have round the clock care at a mouse rehab center.
When it began to rain I decided that I would get the mouse and put him in some sort of container where he could attempt a fair recovery in the barn. Now I don't have all the facts, nor was there any forensic evidence to be recovered, but when I went up to get him the cheese was gone and so was the mouse. My two dogs stood behind me, both failing to make eye contact with me as I questioned them on what had happened in the last hour. I'll never know for sure, but I'd like to think that one of the dogs ate the cheese and spooked the mouse out of his catatonic (forgive the pun) state, enabling him to find the mental faculties that involved running the hell away from this House of Satan. That's my version of a Hollywood ending, rodent style.