On Thanksgiving day I had a delightful meal at my parents’ dacha and then retired to my bed to await rigor mortis. Before it had a chance to set in, however, I drifted off to sleep in order to dream of a better world.
Imagine my alarm when a few hours later I heard a lot of commotion in my room.
It’s pitch black at night at the dacha, there are no streetlights, so I could not see a thing. As so often happens when one loses a sense, the others became more intense. I had developed bionic ears. Every sound was amplified. I heard loud thrashing.
I listened for a moment, trying to decide whether to turn the light on or not. Apparently I am pro-light, because I clicked it on and I saw something that I will never forget.
Nicki was sitting on my bed. And next to her was a dead mouse. Not in the best of health. Rigor Mortisized.
Needless to say, I almost passed out.
Then I went to find Husbandrinka. He was reading in the living room, still occupying that happy space where he didn’t know that there was a dead mouse on our bed.
“There’s a dead mouse on our bed,” I told him.
“What are you talking about?” he asked in a not very friendly way. I never know how to respond to questions like that. Is I’m talking about the dead mouse on our bed a response that experts in marital bliss frown upon?
“Nicki killed a mouse,” I told him. Because I didn’t want him to think that I was on some kind of a post-holiday meal murderous rampage.
“And where is the mouse?”
“Our bed, your side,” I reported. I stuck to the facts, just as they taught us at the Police Academy. Before Charlie took me away from all that. And now I work for him.
“I really wish you hadn’t told me that,” Husbandrinka said and went back to his book. Probably a manual on How To Ignore Your Wife In Her Time Of Crisis. Which he had written.
So I went and did what I should have done right away.
“Mama,” I stood at the foot of my mother’s bed, “wake up!”
After a few pokes, she woke up and I told her the news.
“Cats kill mice,” she said. “This is normal.”
I readily agreed that this was indeed normal, and as luck had it I wasn’t there because I was worried about Nicki’s developmental issues, but because I wanted to sleep without a dead mouse on my bed if at all possible.
“So throw it out,” she said, apparently not sensing the emergency and also pretending like she has never met me before.
“I thought maybe you could throw it out,” I suggested. I read that older people like to feel needed and useful, so I was just doing my part, really.
Mama got up. She looked unhappy. I don’t understand why people always seem so put out when you wake them up. Shouldn’t they be celebrating that they’re able to wake up? I bet the mouse on my bed would be delighted to wake up. Which, incidentally, is exactly why I was hesitant to touch it. I’ve been watching soap operas for long enough to know that coming back from the dead is pretty common these days. And the last thing that I need is a rodent resurrection.
Mama went to get some tongs and threw the mouse into a plastic bag. “Good girl, Nicki,” she told Nicki. Nicki looked sad. Like her baby was just taken away from her by an evil Lifetime television for women movie nurse.
“Do..Do you think she killed the mouse?” I asked, gesturing towards Nicki with my eyes. I wasn’t going to make any sudden movements and become her next victim.
“What, you think mouse look at Nicki and has heart attack?” Mama laughed at me.
“I didn’t see any blood,” I defended my perfectly reasonable question.
“What blood? Nicki didn’t stab mouse. No blood.”
After Mama threw out the mouse and I turned off the light, I tried to get back to sleep.
“Do you think she is going to kill more mice and put them in our bed?” I asked Husbandrinka.
“You’re the one who wanted her to kill mice,” he pointed out. A little too accusatorily, if you ask me.
Which is true. Because two summers ago Nicki was what I lovingly refer to as mousing impaired. Like a mouse would run across the room holding a piece of cat nip and Nicki would fall asleep looking at it.
So yes, I did want Nicki to be a mouser. But I wanted her to kill the mice and pile them up in a corner somewhere. Preferably somewhere where I didn’t have to be or see or hear.
Her own private killing field.
Is that too much to ask for?!
(Read Nicki’s account here.)
One year ago ...