Tuesday, January 27, 2009


My cats are making me nervous.

They are poised in front of the fireplace, staring intently at the grate. I don't know what could be in there. We haven't even used the fireplace yet, which come to think of it, probably increases the possibility of some creature living (or dying) inside there.

It's probably nothing. Maybe just a draft.

Of course, that's what I thought when we first got Pasha. We were living in an apartment in Troy, NY that overlooked the river. Our tiny little kitten spent hours just staring at a corner in the kitchen. I was certain she must be able to feel a draft.

Until I saw the mouse.

The mouse only appeared three or four times, and with enough time in between that I didn't spend a lot of time worrying about it. I'm not particularly afraid of mice, and although I did not like being startled by this one occasionally running across the floor, I wasn't upset enough to call an exterminator. I'm not even sure we called the landlord. (But we must have. Right? Not calling about a mouse seems ridiculous.)

Then one night the sound of Pasha playing with her cat toys woke me up. Again. I could hear her tossing her toy mouse (we had named him Stanley) into the air, and the thump of its wooden body against the floor.

(I know you can see it coming. Suspense. Foreshadowing. I wasn't a creative writing major for nothing.)

I finally dragged myself out of bed to put the toys away. I always meant to hide them before bed, but only remembered when I heard Pasha tossing them around in the dark.

I could see Pasha hovering in the doorway of our bedroom, the brownish-grey mouse at her feet. I bent down to pick it up, and then decided, at the last minute, to turn on the hall light.

It wasn't Stanley.

It was a real mouse. A real dead mouse, whose limp body I almost picked up with my bare hands in the dark.

After a gasp, my first thought was to flush the mouse down the toilet, like a dead goldfish. Instead, I went into the kitchen and emptied a box of crackers. Then I manoeuvred the body of the mouse into the box and put it in the trash.

I never saw the mouse again. But we still have Stanley.

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