The sound of victory and the agony of defeat

September 27, 2011

Now that the weather has turned slightly cool, something emerges that can strike fear in the hearts of millions of American women, and right in their own homes. The very thought of it is enough to make you take a Valium in the morning, have a drink by noon and put the house up for sale by sundown.

It is your common, garden-variety, “Brr, I want to be in your house” mouse.

Don’t even bother dialing 911 either. Burglars, home invaders, homicides, they can handle. But the very word, “mouse,” has been known to cause an entire precinct to call in sick with the Asian flu.

The whole time they are on the phone telling you it is not their jurisdiction, you know they are standing on the chairs.

No, this calls for a very special friend. And not just any friend. The profile reads like this: female; over 40 years old; has raised five or six  children, all bottle fed and toilet trained by 1 year; not embarrassed to wear a blue bowling jacket to a wedding; has never suffered from depression; and her favorite drink is Dewar’s Scotch.

Well, I saw “IT” the other day. You’ll have to excuse my not using the correct word too often because even the computer, when seeing this word typed across the screen, will shut down immediately and try to move to higher ground.

Anyway, IT was scurrying across my kitchen floor. They are fast today due to the fact most of them have lucrative contracts with Nike and Air Jordan.

I called my friend immediately. She arrived with three traps. One was the size of an aircraft carrier.

If I had to trap something that big, the house was definitely going on the market. She handled the traps like a seasoned demolition expert.

“Where is it?” she demanded. I pointed down the hall. We stood to each side of the door armed with brooms, much like Inspector Garret and Danno on “Hawaii Five-O.”

We conducted a professional sweep.  Drawers were opened, doors were ajar, and closets were rummaged with contents spilling out on the floor. Still no sign of IT.

Oh, we took prisoners. There was a black sock that had the unfortunate luck of falling off a shelf.

We beat it to death, accented with the proper screams. And the brown teddy bear under the bed had its eyes poked out. Still no sign.

“Maybe it left,” I told her. We’d opened all the doors and windows hoping a miniature Bekins moving van would pull up.

“Are you kidding me?” she answered.

“No, this is definitely a case of habeas corpus. You’ve got to have hard evidence.”

The rest of the day was pure hell. I stayed away from the house as much as possible. When I returned I checked every room as if there was a serial killer loose in the neighborhood.

I wore spike heels so it would at least run under my feet. I checked the phone every half hour to make sure it was working, and I filled the car up with a full tank of gas and parked it pointing out of the driveway.

It wasn’t until late that night, after my husband told me it was all in my imagination, that I was able to get some relief. I heard the sound of victory and the agony of defeat - a loud snap. I hate to hurt anything, but this was survival of the fittest.

I called my friend to tell her we had the evidence. “Good job,” she told me. “Chalk outline it and book him, Danno.”

Yeah, that drop in temperature will start a crime spree before you know it.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.