Of Mice and So-Called Men: Part One

If you are as faithful of a reader as I would hope that you are, you will already know that this column constitutes my 50th fully composed article that I have created here at Bag Stranded. Though it may seem arbitrary, it means a lot to me that so many of you have encouraged me to continue wasting my time and yours with this blog. In honor of that, I wanted to share one of my favorite, never-told-before stories with you. It is a two-parter, so just to let you know, there will be a cliffhanger. Thanks for sticking with me for the first 50. Here's to hoping I become authentically published and paid for my writing so I will never have to do 50 more!

Three and a half years ago, Miranda and I moved into our first home that we somehow managed a pre-economy-crash mortgage company to loan us the money for, though it was clear that we would have to live to be 400 before we could pay it off. We were euphoric about our home and thrilled to begin filling it with our frivolous crap. When we first got married, we lived for a few years in a small apartment that was at one point very nice and comfortable and eventually evolved into something out of a Spike Lee film. Despite my misgivings, we moved in with Miranda’s sister and her husband while we looked for a home and some semblance of dignity. After a few months, we moved in to our own house a
nd enjoyed the wonderful, elated feeling that comes to the young homeowner.

After three weeks, my nine-month, bulgingly pregnant wife, stooped on the top of the kitchen counter in her stretched-out maternity nightgown, grabbed me by the collar of my shirt and, with fear and anger emanating from her eyeballs, brought me close to her face and shrilled out the words, “We are going to have to move!” How she managed to get on top of the counter when I had to physically push her out of bed just that morning was mystery to me. Only three things in this world would give Miranda the adrenaline to perform these Xena-like maneuvers: spiders, stray dogs, and mice. I was hoping that there was a stray dog in our bathroom.

We were the second family to live in our house on Wormwood Drive. Aside from being the name of a demon in a C.S. Lewis novel, “Wormwood” is also the name of the star that, according to the wackiest of books in the bible Revelation, will take part in plaguing the earth and its people before the Second Coming. Admittedly, we should have heeded the warning. But, we looked past the unfortunate street name and the lingering scent of brimstone that wafts through our neighborhood and signed the contract anyway. As is the case with many people, if you are not the original tenant of a certain residence, you end up inheriting some of the items that the previous tenants, intentionally or not, left behind. Well, along with a doormat and some cans of paint, we inherited something much more exciting: vermin.

It all began one evening as we came home from a night out at the movies, completely unaware that days away from the birth of our first child those excursions out of the house would become a distant memory. We were happy and proud that we had nearly everything completely unboxed and that the house was beginning to feel more like a home. We took our shoes off and began walking up the stairs to our kitchen area when Miranda saw a conspicuous black square on the middle of one of the steps. She casually asked me what it was and made her way closer to it in order to inspect it. She leaned in closer and just as she reached out her hand to pick up the object (cue crescendo violins) the square shimmied, ever so slightly.

As Miranda made her way screaming past the object and into the furthest corner of the house, cupping her hands over her mouth as her only defense, I took a closer look at the object. It had responded to my wife’s shrill screams with even greater movement and some shrills of its own. I flipped it over and discovered that it was a glue trap that had in its deathly grasp a small gray mouse and the lower two-thirds of its tiny anatomy. After disposing of it the garbage can, an unfitting end for such a brave little journey, we discovered that the trap came from underneath the stove. We had suspiciously noted the traps when moving in, but figured that they could only be a means of security in the event of a possible mouse, and not a temporary solution to a widespread problem. In our absence, this mouse had trapped himself underneath the stove and crawled across the tile and carpet with his two little feet, dragging his limp body behind him as if in a poorly-made teen mouse horror film, and toppled over the stairs, helplessly awaiting our return.

Had this tiny mouse been an isolated incident, we would have laughed it off as a sort of rite-of-passage for homeowners like us. However, after a quick late night trip to the local hardware store and a deafening “snap” heard later that night, we knew that this mouse was more than just a single event but a portent of the horror that was about to enter our lives.

"Portent means 'something that foreshadows a coming event', in case you were wondering. Now, can someone get me some damn cheese over here?"


Joe said...

Wow, even when you told us there would be a cliffhanger, I forgot and go to the end wanting more. Nice move.

At a job before my mission, a mouse had died in our break room, but we didn't know where we and could smell it decaying day after day. Adam Walden and I were challenged to find the source of the smell. We pulled the fridge out and found that it had died right where the fan blows the hot air. It made it twice as bad.

mattandheather said...

You were right about the cliffhanger. I was locked in and could have kept reading for hours! I will have to wait. How long? Great job Cameron, I honestly love the stories. You should put together a book of short stories. I would buy it!

The Doutts said...

Great story, can't wait for more. Just be glad you don't have voles in your yard as well. The book in the Bible is Revlation(not Revelations) becasue it is singular. Sorry just a pet peeve.

Cameron said...

Thanks for the biblical correction. One of my pet peeves is when someone spells because "becasue", but we all have our crosses to bear.

The Doutts said...

Sorry for my type error. Actually, Jesus Christ carried is own cross then, He wasn't able to and was helped to carry it. I apoligize that I was just trying to help.