In high school, in order to fulfill a requirement for 4-H, I gave a talk to my dad’s Lions Club about hantavirus, a disease that is similar to the flu carried by rats and mice and their poop. It wasn’t that great of a talk, but I mustered through it. My content was good, but the delivery suffered through constant nervous shifting from my left foot to the right foot. I don’t know why I was so nervous; I knew that information from front to back. What I remember now, though, is that rats are disease-ridden creatures who do not belong in my house or garage.
I decided to re-arrange my room the other day and was cleaning under my bed. There, staring right at me, unmoving, was a tiny, gray, cute mouse. I called for my oldest son to help me keep an eye on it while I prepared the room to catch it. My daughter came in as well, and the three of us shut all the doors, picked up everything off the floor, and began to devise a plan to get it in a safe, touch-free bottle or box so I wouldn’t have to actually come in contact with the nasty thing. Meanwhile, my son let me know periodically that it wasn’t moving. It must have been in possum mode, thinking we wouldn’t notice it if it sat still.
Finally, I couldn’t put it off any longer. I was going to poke it with a stick and let my kids watch where it went so I could capture it. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do with it after that, but I knew I’d think of something.
I went around the bed and positioned myself as far away from it as I could yet still reach it with my stick. My first attack missed completely, although I let out a yelp that caused giggles from the other two.
The second attack produced results. I took a deep breath and jabbed at it. It still didn’t move. At first I thought it was a stoic little fucker, but then realized my folly. Right away I batted it out from under the bed and picked it up by its rubber tail. The kids were laughing hysterically. Maybe because my daughter had told me five minutes before that she thought it wasn’t real in the first place, although uncertainty had been hanging in the air a few moments earlier.
Someone placed it there, and I’m pretty sure I knew who, but it had been long enough ago that no one remembers.