Saturday, 16 February 2008

Chenna earns her breakfast

Chenna has really earned her breakfast this morning, but I feel too ill to eat just at this moment. I sit here, nursing a coffee, and shudder.

It all started at about 2:30am this morning when I heard Chenna playing under the bed. This in itself is not abnormal -- she'll often pick up a milk bottle ring or some other thing to scoot around the floors with. But the thing that woke me up at 2:30am was a squeak.

My stomach churns to remember. A squeak can only mean one thing. I switched on the bedside light, stuck my head over the side of the bed, peered underneath. Yep. She had a 'toy' that squeaked.

Panic flashed through me. Where had she got the mouse from? She'd been locked inside for the past few hours. Please don't tell me she found it inside!

But then I remembered two things from the previous evening . . . the skewed mat beside the bed . . . the intense fascination with the wardrobe as I was going to bed. As I had stood before the wardrobe for 10 minutes or so, clearing out some of my old frumpy clothes that had not yet been purged, lurking within must have been the small furry mouse.

My first reaction was to leap out of bed (because by now, she'd taken her toy out of the room) and open wide the backdoor, thinking I could herd her out there somehow.

For 10 minutes, I lurked in the kitchen, trying to get her attention. But by this time, the mouse was hiding behind something and Chenna crouched in waiting. Besides, I reasoned, she'd already brought the damn thing in, so she clearly wanted to play inside. If I let her outside, she might just go find another one where that came from!

If I just crawled back into bed, she would probably keep playing until the thing was dead. If it was dead, then I'd be able to 'catch' it and get rid of it. It couldn't actually get me if I was in bed. And anyway, even if it did happen to run over my foot, was that really going to kill me? I might as well just let her have her fun and deal with it in the morning. [So ran my thoughts at 2:30am.]

So I closed the backdoor again, turned off all the lights (except the one in my room) and went back to bed. Lay there listening to Chenna -- that devilcat -- romp around the house with her mouse. Heard the occasional squeak. Hoped desperately that the poor thing wouldn't go and die underneath the fridge or behind my massive bookshelf, or some equally unmovable item. Eventually slept.

This morning, I woke with Chenna curled up beside me on the bed. My first thoughts: What have you done with your mouse? She was hungry. Oh, so you haven't eaten it? No wonder you're hungry then, with all that exercise you were doing last night!

I crept out of the bed, eyes pinned to the floor. It didn't take me long to find it. Right in the middle of the hall. The centre of the house. I couldn't possibly miss it.

Nor can I ignore it. It's still there. I'm going to have to deal with it very soon. A dead mouse on the floor is not exactly something you want to live with. But OMG I wish I didn't have to go near it! My stomach churns again at the thought. It's definitely a time for those thick gardening gloves . . .

10:23 - It turns out the mouse was not dead, after all. It lay there, a gash in its little side, chest heaving in and out. When I transferred it onto newspaper, it writhed. It is now 'dealt with'. I am weeping.

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